The star spangled man, the hero of WWII, the Avenger. The scrawny kid from Brooklyn who turned out to be the greatest force against the Nazis would by today’s standards be a conservative. Despite a lot of liberalism in comics during the event called Civil War, Captain America was the Conservative poster boy.
Captain America was not always mighty and strong, no, there was a time when he was just Steve Rogers, a scrawny blonde and blue-eyed kid living in New York. He was born in 1918 on the most patriotic day of the year, July 4th and lived in Depression Era Brooklyn. He was brought up Irish Catholic and due to that and his parents developed a sense of morals, duty, honor and humility as stated in his official biography on the Marvel Wikia. Little Steve was also very frail and suffered from Asthma. By the time he was a teenager he had lost both his parents.
Then the war hit and seeing what was going on at the front made Rogers want to join. Sadly though due to his frail physique and abundance of health problems made this impossible. Seeing his desire to serve his country Colonel Philips (played by Tommy Lee Jones in the movie) offered him a chance to participate in Operation Rebirth. Thanks to Dr. Erskine’s formula Steve Rogers became stronger, taller, and physically more agile. He got a suit, a shield, a mission and later even a sidekick by the name of James “Bucky” Barnes. Together the two fought the Nazis, Hydra, the Red Skull, and other enemies.
Towards the end of the war Bucky and Captain America were trying to stop a missile aboard a plane launched by Baron Zemo. There was an explosion and Bucky was supposedly killed, while Cap was thrown into the icy waters where he remained until he was found by Namor and the Avengers, or SHIELD depending on if you want Comic Book or Movie verse respectively. Since being woken up from his icy slumber in the present Captain America devoted his life to fighting for good with the Avengers.
Now none of this necessarily makes him a conservative. So let us jump into that, shall we. Captain America was always portrayed as a soldier who follows the rules, he believes in G-d, loves America and Apple pie and serves his country proud. The movies aside, as I am waiting for Captain America: The Winter Soldier to really explore the movieverse conservatism I will focus on comics, or one comic specifically. That event is the emotionally draining, feel inducing Civil War(2006-2007), written by Mark Miller. The premise of the comic is rather interesting as it pits Captain America against his best friend Iron Man and the question of big government against small government and what is morally right.
The book starts of with a group called the New Warriors who are the focus of a reality show. They failed to apprehend a group of supervillains hauled up inside a house in Stamford, Connecticut. During the fight the villain Nitro detonated and destroyed a few city blocks including one with an Elementary school right at the center. This explosion resulted in approximately 600 deaths, sixty of whom were children of the elementary school. There were other events proceeding this, but this was the final straw that caused major outcry from the people. It resulted in the passing of the the Superhero Registration Act. This legislative bill mandated that all people with superpowers and those who wanted to be superheroes register their identity with the government.
Iron Man came out in support of the SRA after the Connecticut incident, though he initially opposed it. There was mass retaliation and some superheroes were beaten up like Johnny Storm or lynched. Some then, such as She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, Mr. Fantastic, etc decided to stand with Iron Man, but many others such as the Young Avengers, Luke Cage, Daredevil, and more joined Captain America in opposition to the Registration act.
Captain America’s position is very conservative on the matter. The issue of privacy comes up as the act requires the superheroes to register their very much secret identities with the government. Many superheroes debate the issue. As SHIELD agent Maria Hill asked the Captain to enforce the act and he refused. Hill then proceeded to attack him with her special unit. Captain America saw the SRA as a violation of freedom of the heroes and the safety of their families. It is a violation of the privacy of the heroes and proposes a new danger. Imagine if a supervillain like Crossbones or Ultron or someone else infiltrated the government either physically or hacked in and got the identities of known superheroes? This leaves the superheroes and their loved ones, their families (for those that have them) in danger.
On the other hand the SRA allowed for a standard training of young superheroes, turning them into soldiers, essentially. This is not exactly a bad thing given the bad guys and evil that they fight, however it gave this power to the government.
Captain America speaking directly to Peter Parker. This is the end of the speech Cap gives the younger man, he says:
…Doesn’t matter what the press says. Does
n’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This country was founded on one principal above all else: The requirement that we stand for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and the tell the whole world….No, you move”
To the left is the entire speech that leads to the above statement. Captain America talks about the government vs the people. It encompasses a lot of what Captain America is about, he believes in standing against injustice and fighting for what is right. The people are the ones with the voice in a Republic and they are the ones who have the power and should stand, as individuals, with that power against the bullying powers of the press and the government.
Sadly, however this comic ended in 2007 with Captain America surrendering because he did not want to endanger the people. Perhaps the wrong move, as the event that followed was titled The Death of Captain America which begins with Captain America about to stand trial for criminal charges.
In 2010 there was even a rather negative and rather inaccurate and horrible portrayal of the Tea Party in a Captain America comic, which resulted in great controversy and Marvel admitted an error on their part. Still, despite the writings of various authors Captain America’s core beliefs seem to be conservative. Cap fights for the little guy. In Civil War he fought for the right to privacy against the power of big government. He is a patriot and a man who stands with America, not its government, but America. The entire comic depicts the struggle between big and small government, who is right and who is wrong. Big government in the comic ultimately takes the win, but it did not make what occurred right. Sometimes what is right is trumped. Still, the powerful struggle and moral debates of the comic can be applied to today.
Despite the amount of liberalism that has been in Captain America comics where Civil War is concerned Captain America was a conservative in all the right ways.