“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” Warned Us About the Lockdown – but No One Listened
Bored at home, I opened my laptop and decided to watch my favorite MCU movies. I watched four of them in a day.
The lessons I have learned shook me to the core.
The Continuous Threat to Democracy
My favorite hero used to be Iron Man. Now, it’s Captain America.
Captain America is a republican — a real one, like those from the 1940s. The type of person that puts personal responsibility, honor, and courage above all else and embraces democracy, freedom, and freedom of speech. As such, the enemies of Captain America are most of the time, political.
Captain America does not fight aliens or terrorists. That’s Iron Man’s job. He fights political organizations that want to take people’s freedom away. Most of the time, they are dictatorial ideologies like fascism and communism (he ends up a lot in Eastern Europe) but not always.
Captain America fought the Nazis in the first film, then he fought Loki that wanted to take away Earth’s freedom in the Avengers. He fought Hydra, the Nazi’s science branch in the movie “The Winter Soldier”, then he fought…the US government when they tried to control his freedom to intervene in “Civil War”.
It doesn’t matter who takes freedom away. Captain America will fight them.
The Story of the Winter Soldier
The Winter Soldier takes place after Earth was invaded by a bunch of aliens in the Avengers. This event led Nick Fury, director of SHIELD, the organization that protects the planet, to request a defense program in threat analysis called Project Insight. This project consists of three flying ships consistently flying around the planet to surveil the population and eliminate potential threats. Nick Fury’s explanation to the Captain went like this:
– The satellite can read a terrorist’s DNA before he steps outside his spider whole. We are going to neutralize a lot of threats before they even happen.
– I thought the punishment usually came after the crime.
– We can’t afford to wait that long.
– Who is we?
– After New York (the alien invasion), I convinced the World Security Council we needed a surge in threat analysis. For once, we are way ahead of the curve.
– By holding a gun to everyone on earth and calling it protection…
– You know, I read some SSR files. You did some pretty nasty stuff too.
– Yeah. We compromised, sometimes in ways that made not us sleep so well, but we did it so people could be free. This isn’t freedom. This is fear.
– SHIELD takes the world as it is, not as we’d like it to be. This is way past time for you to get with that program, Captain.
– Don’t hold your breath.
Later on, we find out that HYDRA created an algorithm that can analyze people’s information online and predict their future behavior regarding HYDRA. HYDRA plans on using Project Insight to eliminate people that are against the organization instead of eliminating terrorists.
At the end of the movie, I froze in my seat. I never thought I’d live the day the government would take away my freedom “to protect me”, in a climate of fear.
The Lessons of the Winter Soldier
The movie portrays a world consumed by the fear to be attacked again. In order to ensure safety, governments don’t hesitate to sacrifice everyone’s freedom and privacy, “to protect the people”.
It’s not difficult to guess where the screenwriters found inspiration. The metaphor is directly related to 9/11. After the attacks on the WTC, the US government voted on a law that sacrificed privacy on the altar of safety — the Patriot Act.
Hooked on information and high on data, the US government started wanting and taking more of it, until all worldwide communications passed by the NSA’s headquarter, as revealed by Edward Snowden.
“The Winter Soldier” only mirrors the reality of our world, governments’ thirst for data, and obsession for security. Shaken by alien (instead of Islamist) terrorist attacks, everyone comes to be considered as a potential threat to others, and must therefore be put under surveillance, “for the safety of everyone”.
In the real world, this obsession for safety further migrated to the realm of ideas, where SJWs dictate which is deemed safe to discuss, and which must be cast out because “dangerous” and “unsafe”. As such, freedom of speech has never shrunk as rapidly in democratic societies since…well, ever.
The virus was the last touch, the pinnacle, the cherry on top of the authoritarian cake. For the first time since WWII, democracies controlled their people’s freedom to move and to dress, under the excuse of “safety”.
The lockdown, as we were told, served to “protect” the most vulnerable and the population against the propagation of a virus that doesn’t kill nearly as much as, say, cigarettes, car accidents, or obesity.
The ignominy was pushed further with the introduction of the tracking apps that promised citizens to alert them if they came to be in contact with someone that was infected.
And just like that…The Winter Soldier wasn’t fiction anymore. People got fined for not wearing masks. They were arrested if they did not stay at home. The climate of fear, installed by audience-hungry media pushed the weakest among us to voluntarily sign up for constant government surveillance in their pocket.
To protect us, they said. 68 million got the virus. 1.5 million died from it, despite the lockdowns.
The protection is clearly effective.
The Bottom Line
Democracy is brittle, fragile, delicate, frail. Throughout history, dictators always promised something in exchange for democracy. Some promised prosperity, others promised peace. Some even promised freedom and the worst ones, those that killed the most people, promised the end of poverty (communism).
Needless to say that none of what has been promised ever was delivered. This is the case with the COVID lockdown. We were promised safety and health. And yet, so many died. And more even died due to the fear to go to the hospital, due to suicide because of loneliness or mistreatment, and many other reasons we have yet to discover.
As the Captain said, “this isn’t freedom. This is fear”.
Will we ever get our freedom back?
In regard to history, it is highly unlikely. If we don’t fight for it at least…extremely unlikely.