Morpheus is like a really slick lawyer, relying heavily on his cool oeuvre to hide the fact that nothing he says or does makes any sense:
"The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy."
This, of course, is added to the film to justify the wanton slaughter of innocent bystanders we're about to witness (including many cases where they clearly had other options).
We've come to expect more from you, Cowboy Curtis.
But hey, we understand that when you're in the Matrix and shit goes down, police and security guards will come at you and you may have to fight back. It is an action movie, after all.
But Morpheus wasn't talking about that. He said, "... Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters." Seems like he is handing Neo a free pass to straight murder just about anyone, you know, for the cause. Hey, terrorism doesn't come without its perks.
"Hey man, you see a pre-school teacher giving you skunk eye. Feel free to cap one on the house."
Since under his philosophy, any death is justified, we can boil down Morpheus' statement to:
"To save the people, we must kill the people."
And that's the creed of every terrorist and war criminal in the history of the species. You could print that on an Al-Qaeda bumper sticker and stick it next to the one that says, "My other car is an exploded pile of rubble." The way terrorism works is they declare an entire group "the enemy" and attack said enemy rather indiscriminately, figuring that even the common folk are supporting the infidels in spirit.
But Morpheus' worldview is actually worse. At least Al-Qaeda makes their targets as specific as "the West" or "America"; Morpheus declares war on everyone on the entire planet. Why? Because they're trapped in a system without their knowledge, against their will and from which they can't escape. It's like Calvinism as taught by John Rambo.
"You must submit to supreme suffering in order to discover the completion of joy."
- John "Calvin" Rambo
2 & #1 The Wise Old Men of The Dark Knight
First, we have Batman mainstay Alfred the Butler, a calm, subdued voice of reason to counterbalance Batman's more rash impulses. His first appearance in the film is counseling Bruce about self-restraint, and knowing his own limitations. He's the kind of guy a vengeance-obsessed billionaire vigilante needs to have around. He doesn't try to stop Batman from being Batman, but still tries to be a guiding father figure.
But in a moment of crisis, Bruce Wayne turns to the normally subdued Alfred for advice, at which point we discover Alfred is a homicidal lunatic.
Bruce Wayne: "Alfred... That story you told me, about the bandit?"
Bruce Wayne: "Did you catch him?"
Bruce Wayne: "How?"
Alfred: "We burned the forest down."
Don't fuck with Alfred.
If his accent left any doubt, Alfred's preferred solution for dealing with unruly locals leaves absolutely no question about his British heritage. Sure, they could have tracked the guy or bribed his associates or done a better job of protecting the stuff he was stealing. But would that have been as fun as laying waste to an entire ecosystem--and the people trying to live there--for no real reason whatsoever?
And how in the hell was Batman supposed to apply this advice to his situation? Take out the Joker by torching Gotham? Just detonate that building he was holed up in during the climax?
Then we have the other fatherly guiding hand in the Batman reboots, Lucius Fox. He's played by Morgan Freeman, who you may remember played a wise old prisoner in The Shawshank Redemption; a wise old President in Deep Impact; a wise old Civil War soldier in Glory; a wise old detective in Se7en; and a wise old God in the Almighty movies:
He started his career as a wise, old Easy Reader.
Lucius Fox: "You've taken my sonar concept and applied it to every cell phone in the city... This is wrong." And later, "Spying on 30 million people isn't in my job description."
Damn right! See, this is the wise man an obsessed Batman needs. One who'll put his foot down...
"I'll help you this one time. But consider this my resignation."
Ah, OK. Maybe not.
See, Lucius has a strong set of moral guidelines he always follows unless they interfere with whatever he happens to be doing at the present time. We said before that Morpheus' line of reasoning was shared by every terrorist and war criminal, but Lucius' "I stick by my ethics except when it's really important" is what virtually every bad person in the world believes.
Sentences like, "I don't lie unless I really have to," have as much meaning as, "I don't drink beer except for when I drink beer." Any time they feel the slightest like lying, they'll simply declare it a "really have to" situation. It's the same reason it's not OK for cops to fake evidence "when they're really sure the guy is guilty."
"I really enjoy cotton candy, except when I don't."
And the thing is, when you watch the movie you expect the "one-time" breach of ethics to blow up in Batman's face. After all, he spends the finale refuting the Joker's thesis that people are only good when it's convenient (the point of his whole "bombs on the boats" stunt), while actively doing something that proves the Joker right.
So how this hypocrisy come back to bite Bruce? It doesn't! The "unethical" machine works, they catch the bad guy, then they destroy the machine while Lucius stands by and nods approvingly. Everything is fine again! And they'll never violate the civil rights of Gotham's citizens again! You know, until they really, really need to.
You can read more from Dave at www.theblogofallknowledge.com
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