Is Batman a Burkean conservative?

By on July 25, 2012

Is Batman a Burkean conservative?

Ross Douthat considers the politics of The Dark Knight Rises:

[Nolan is] trying to simultaneously acknowledge the injustices of the existing regime while suggesting that both the revolutionary and anarchic alternatives would be much, much worse. Across the entire trilogy, what separates Bruce Wayne from his mentors in the League of Shadows isn’t a belief in Gotham’s goodness; it’s a belief that a compromised order can still be worth defending, and that darker things than corruption and inequality will follow from putting that order to the torch. This is a conservative message, but not a triumphalist, chest-thumping, rah-rah-capitalism one: It reflects a “quiet toryism” (to borrow from John Podhoretz’s review) rather than a noisy Americanism, and it owes much more to Edmund Burke than to Sean Hannity.

Matt Yglesias seems to advocate noblesse oblige:

The question is do you want to overturn the existing social order or do you want to defend it against the forces of chaos? If it’s “unfair” that the people in the top position have so much, then it seems like you do want to overturn it. But that’s radical. If it turns out you’re really just sad that orphans are going hungry, then that’s consistent with the status quo. But the solution is basically to persuade wise stewards of the status quo that it’s in their interest to feed orphans rather than have needy teens ending up in the sewers recruited by Bane.

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