In Quis Custodiet Ipsos Bloggers?, Julian Sanchez comments on Alan Moore’s Watchmen:
The comics you liked as a kid typically seem preposterous a few years later — unless, of course, you liked Alan Moore comics. Jim Henley looks at what emerges on rereading Moore’s justly venerated Watchmen in a fine short essay.
An excerpt from that essay:
The core question of the superhero story might be phrased as What do we owe other people? The problem is that comics have typically answered the question before they’ve barely asked it: “With great power must come great responsibility!” Really? Are you sure about that? And how much is “great,” anyway? What part of my life can I keep back for myself?
You may have noticed that these questions are salient whether you wear tights or not. They apply to you. Because most of us, certainly most of us in the developed world, have more power, wealth or wherewithal than somebody. Certainly almost everybody reading this blog item could, in principle, quit their present jobs and work pro bono for an African AIDS clinic while subsisting on donated food, or maintain a couple of homeless people instead of taking vacation, or — join the Volunteer Fire Department. Depending on your politics, you may believe that people like yourself or people like Bill Gates really do owe some non-trivial portion of time, wealth, influence or attention to — something or someone. The poor, the ill, the frightened, alienated, the “doomed, damned and despised” as Jesse Jackson once put it.
And having had the thought, you’ve got more problems. Which will it be, first of all — the poor, the ill or the frightened? Just how should you help them? And when, if ever, do you get off-duty?