I finally watched Avengers: Infinity War and have concluded that if you’re someone who walked away thinking Thanos had a point, you also think there’s plenty of merit to the Republican Party’s political policies.
Thanos sacrificed everything to gain control of the Infinity Stones, which in turned gave him power over space, time, reality, mind, and soul. Why? Because he anticipated a future when there would be too many sentient beings clamoring over finite resources. He gives no timeline for this “inevitability,” rather, he relies on our Malthusian impulses to give credence to his austerity measures.
Once he acquires the stones and thus control over space, time, reality, mind, and soul, does he use his power to create a universe with endless resources, limitless material prosperity, and uninterrupted peace with a snap of his finger? No, instead he doubles down on the redemptive power of pain and loss before euthanizing half the universe in a moment. There is no referendum and no debate—only action for action’s sake supported by the confidence of yes-men and cronies.
Like Republicans, Thanos unleashes unmitigated horrors on the world and retreats to his peaceful country estate. He is comforted and ennobled by the belief that the pain and sacrifices he made inflicting his ideology on the less power ennobles him.
No one need thank him, for Thanos needs no one’s gratitude. “You have my respect, Mr. Stark,” he once told his defeated foe. “When I am done, half of humanity will still be alive. I hope they remember you.” Staring into the sunset, the victorious Thanos hopes they’ll remember his gift, as well.
So goes with the Republican Pain Caucus. “Resources are finite, poverty is inevitable,” they tell us, “so, There’s point to social programs.” They lack the imagination to imagine that the same resources and power they’ve used to build militaries, wage endless wars, extract oils from the deepest oceans, reap unprecedented levels of wealth, shore up racial and class privilege, and subsidize corporate growth could be used to alleviate or eliminate hunger, poverty, and homelessness.
To the contrary, they believe in the redemptive power of poverty and suffering. Suffering inspires people to pursue wealth and comfort in a world with finite resources. Eliminate poverty by placing limits on the hoarding of resources, they argue, will simply disincentivize success. Forcing rich white people to share their schools with impoverished black and brown people is not a solution, it’s yet another problem. Taxing the rich instead of cutting social services only “kicks the can down the road.”
If the Republican Party were ever to get the Infinity Gauntlet, you can bet your sweet ass they’d choose to eliminate half of humanity instead of creating a reality where resources are distributed equitably. If you’re fortunate enough to survive, they’d expect you to be grateful, too. Then, finally ride of the takers, they’d retreat to their country estates and retire.
Then again, Thanos chose to eliminate half of the universe regardless of wealth, status, race, and age. That’d be a nonstarter in the modern GOP.