Ladies and gentlemen, what follows is one half of a non-responsive debate between myself and William Avitt. After reading this argument, I would encourage you to go and read his article, which will contain the pro-Captain America position, before voting in the poll at the bottom. The winner of the debate will receive absolutely nothing, and the results will have no bearing whatsoever on the outcome of the actual film. Also, if you were on one side and either argument convinced you to switch sides, please let us know in the comments. While it is entirely possible that the reasons for the Civil War in the film might prove to be different than the original comic book, for the purposes we are going to assume they will be the same or similar. Let's begin...
In a world where individuals can heft a semi at another with little effort, is it really too much to ask for a bit of security? My opponent would have you believe that this is a matter of freedom. He will try to make you see that helping people should have no restrictions or boundaries, and that justice has no borders. A noble cause. But once you realize that the idea of "justice" and "help" varies from person to person, you will begin to see that the only true way to help is by giving people the knowledge of who's helping them, and what to expect from their help. After all, it's not a very good "help" if you're causing thousands of dollars of property damage and leaving them not knowing who to foot the bill to but themselves. I will show you today that the only way heroes can provide the safety and security that society wants is to register with the government.
1. The Government Needs You to Identify
The Superhuman Registration Act is the law. This isn't a matter of pride anymore. It's a matter of national security. When liability becomes an issue, and many are dead due to the negligence of superpowered beings, you forfeit the right to operate normally. At that moment, you lose the right to remain anonymous. You must be held accountable for your actions from then on out, because otherwise, there's no telling what other tragedies could occur from the actions of highly powered individuals. The foundation of being a hero is protecting people. How are you protecting people by evading the law?
2. Once Regulated, Crime-Fighting Will Become More Efficient
When a hero chooses to register, they are then brought aboard S.H.I.E.L.D. and given the status of an operative. They must follow certain strategies and tactics, and after years of observing and even fighting themselves, who is better qualified to help bring down known supervillains than S.H.I.E.L.D.? On the field of battle, the levelheaded prevail. Knowing what you're up against and how to combat it is sure to keep you levelheaded and in control of the fight.
3. Registration Does Not Mean Intervention
My opponent would have you believe that registration is akin to the execution of Jewish citizens in Europe during World War II. However, this is merely a play for sympathy. For them, registration was no better than death. For us, registration means giving people the security they want and need, as well as giving superhumans the option to lawfully continue the practices they've dedicated their lives to thus far.
4. Government Regulation Is an Incentive, Not a Hindrance
If a superhero decides to give up "protecting" people just because those same people are asking to be protected within different confines, I ask you if they're much of a hero at all? Protecting people shouldn't be something you do because it's fun, you like it, or it makes you feel nice. It should be done because it's the right thing to do. And, if you choose not to do the right thing just because someone is telling you how to do it, are you really deserving of the moniker of "hero?"
5. Your Secret Is Safe With the Government
One of the most outstanding concerns regards whether or not the government will be able to protect the identity of registered superhumans. The answer to that is simple: yes, they are able. My opponent would have you believe that the government has been shown to be less than capable, but I pose a question in response: if someone is capable of breaking into the files of the government, what's stopping them from finding out the identity of superhumans through other means? They're obviously capable, but which would you rather have? Great security and a smaller chance of being identified, or no security and a greater chance of being identified?
6. You Have a Duty to Attend to
If you're operating on U.S. soil, you need permission from the U.S. government. The world is held to the same standard everywhere, why should superhumans get special treatment? Furthermore, if you're needed to protect the country as a whole, who among you would disobey the call of duty? You've dedicated your life to protecting the needs of society, yet you get to pick and choose which needs and which groups of people get your protection?
7. Your Morality Remains Intact
The government isn't trying to stop you from doing what you're doing, or trying to make you do things you normally wouldn't. They're simply trying to make sure you're not doing things you shouldn't. As long as you abide by the law while registered, the government would be happy to let you operate as normal, except when specific needs need to be addressed.
8. No One Is Above the Law
If we allow superpowered individuals to wreak havoc with no regard for the law, how are they any better than the criminals they've pledged to defeat? Surely they've not killed anyone, but disobeying the law is still a crime, and crime is something they claim to be against. Who is in the right in situations like these? Not the lawbreakers.
9. It's for the Greater Good
My opponent would try to tell you that mutant registration would be the next logical step after superhuman registration. While that may be true, it's also very necessary. We're not asking them to register at birth, we're merely requiring them to register with us in order to do what they claim they want to do: protect people. We cannot allow special treatment of any group of people, or the entire foundation of the registration act falls apart.
10. If You Can't Trust the Law, Who Can You Trust?
America operates under a system of rules that everyone must follow to be safe and lawful. If you don't place your trust and faith in that, then what is keeping you from doing everything in your power to disobey the law? There are consequences to every misdeed. And if you can't place your faith in a larger body of people who claim to stand for you and protect you, then who can you place your faith in?
There you have it. Ten reasons as to why you should support Team Iron Man in the Civil War. No one is above the law. None of us can effectively protect the nation if the nation itself refuses protection. They want to feel safe. They need to feel safe. And our duty is to make sure they feel that way. If they don't, we've not only failed to serve our purpose, but we've failed to serve ourselves. You were given those powers for a reason. Use them wisely. With great power comes great responsibility. Your responsibility is to uphold the law and save people. And how can you do that the best? By registering.
So, whose side are you on? Be sure to head on over to Will Avitt's profile (linked at the top of the article) and read his pro-Captain America argument and then decide for yourself, also linked at the beginning of the article. Then vote in the poll, and feel free to continue the discussion in the comments.