I recently finished Stargirl and the “twist” with the villains intent for the mind control device, as well as their intentions for the “Injustice Society” as a group for combating injustice in society. It’s kind of a fascinating thing, as presented, and well worth discussing I think.
The villains intend to use mind control to promote clean energy, tolerance for those of various ethnicities and sexual orientations, and universal healthcare, across a vast number of states in middle America. The images of their “coverage” literally show them turning the states Blue. The heroes end up stopping this in part due to the knowledge that about 1/4th of those effected will “fight” the changes and “die resisting” the mind control device.
It cannot be unintentional that this was an extended metaphor for liberalism sweeping across middle America. As someone who is politically far left myself, observing this plot was extremely interesting. The villains end up as caricatures, not of the actual political left, but of how the political right often perceives “liberal intellectual elites.” The villains are either intellectuals - doctors and scientists - wealthy philanthropists, or people in political power. They have a progressive agenda they are attempting to literally force onto a “Red States” to “Turn them Blue.”
The ethics of the situation were interesting to consider. Would it be wrong to use a hypothetical mind control device to promote positive change in peoples mindsets? Would the loss of those overly resistant to change make it ethically wrong to proceed? In the show, in the moment its revealed, it was a group of children who had to make the decision whether to fight it, or allow it to proceed. The adult characters seem to share the sentiment, but how much of that is based on the ongoing enmity and grudges between the Injustice Society and Justice Society survivors?
I cannot assume it’s accidental, so I have to wonder why the writers chose to frame the villains as these “left wing bogeymen,” and have the heroes standing up for the “right to be intolerant and stand against clean energy and universal healthcare.” The Icepick character presents it as a matter of numbers, “Kill a million to cure cancer forever,” but the free will vs overall human good and progress aspect is touched on less. Stripey comments that “people’s beliefs never hurt anyone,” or something to that effect, which was probably the stupidest and most naive thing any character said in the entirety of the show.
What seems to be an upbeat and straightforward superhero adventure ended up having one of the most philosophically and morally complex conflicts emerge at the end. Admittedly, it didn’t give it much room to breathe or really dive into it, in the show. But here, on the forums, we can do that.
Why did the writers decide to make the Injustice Society into a right-wing notion of left-wing bogeymen? Were the heroes really justified in stopping them? Putting aside the various unethical acts that pave the way for the development of the machine, are they really ethically in the wrong for risking the deaths of the 1/4th of people who would sooner die than accept positive changes that would better their lives and those of others around them, as well as future generations?
This is all of course an intellectual exercise for entertainment on a forum, so please take no personal offense if your own politics differ from those of the Injustice Society, or Stargirl, or any other fictional character.