Silver Circle: Inspiring Heroism
Sometimes a movie can change your life without you even knowing it. A subtle change in thinking over the course of many years produces major results. When I think about heroism I think about "Angus," a 1995 teen comedy about an overweight science geek in a purple tuxedo who wins a dance with the girl of his dreams by being brave. The line that changed my life, in a subtle way, is when his grandfather told him, "Superman isn't brave... He's smart, handsome, even decent. But he's not brave.... Superman is indestructible, and you can't be brave if you're indestructible. It's people like you and your mother. People who are different, and can be crushed and know it. Yet they keep on going." That was the first time I imagined that heroism was something that vulnerable imperfect people like me could achieve.
Almost 20 years later, even while espousing a ruggedly individualist philosophy, I think it's important to understand that heroism accomplishes very little without cooperation, or if you prefer a division of labor. To achieve this people must be inspired to work in concert voluntarily.
We are living in an age of ubiquitous, unopposed, unacknowledged evil, and we few fringe radicals who see systemic violence for what it truly is are in a unique position to engage in some much needed heroism. There are many courageous Rebels who throw their bodies into the gears of State, and behind them is an entire spontaneous support structure of advocates, donors, writers, thinkers and others. Behind them is an even larger body of sympathetic quietists who's heart inclines toward our cause, but who are paralyzed by the climate of fear that surrounds the State, or even by the social pressures in their personal life. And yet we need more. To succeed we must inspire more bravery, and more heroism from all of these.
Silver Circle is both a graphic novel and an animated film that exists in our world after a complete economic collapse and power grab by the enforcement arm of the Federal Reserve. In response, a band of Rebels take their lives and their property into their own hands and fight for the liberty they have lost.
Behind the scenes part of the mission of this project is educational. In the backdrop of a gripping thriller-romance the audience will hear the characters introduce the basic concepts of honest currency, political corruption and liberty itself. But far deeper than that, whether you agree with the politics of the Rebels or not, the message of the story is something tragically absent from most comic books: You too can be a hero.
One of the subtle but dangerous messages of the comic genre is that evil is fought by good, but not by you. Villains are fought by heroes who are bitten by radioactive spiders, or have metal bones or possess psychic powers. Before they discover their super abilities they are just another victim patiently enduring the evils of the world with no power to resist, waiting for salvation to come from above.
Fundamentally, this is the myth of the State. The State claims to be good and fight evil, but at best the State is the lesser-evil alternative to another State. The State claims to have legitimate powers that mere citizens do not have. Whether it's due to a sheet of antique parchment, a star spangled fabric banner, or a piece of brass pinned to their breast, agents of the State dawn dapper costumes that mask their identity and parade around like they are super heroes. They expect you to dutifully call on them, and praise them for their courage and sacrifice. But fundamentally believing that their legitimacy is granted by these insignia is no less magical than believing a yellow sun gives a Kryptonian X-ray vision.
The Silver Circle Rebels are an all together different type of hero. They have no super powers, and neither are they the pillars of infallible virtue we see in Ayn Rand's writing. They are human in their flaws, which makes their standard of heroism attainable by readers. They are also not isolated in their heroism, but part of a vast and varied support structure that makes their activism possible. The demonstrators that rally in the street, the authors and musicians that popularize their message, and even the business owners and customers who conduct commerce with their silver currency are all part of a movement which makes the heroism of the Rebels possible. And they are all heroes in their own right.
The result, we hope, is that the Rebels do not inspire passive veneration as other heroes do, but that the story of Silver Circle will inspire young comic fans, who already value the virtues of courage and heroism, to be courageous themselves. They too can be heroes who stand up to the evils of the world. We hope to activate, to inspire these young Rebels to stop pretending that heroism is the stuff of magic and mutation. They too can take their lives and their property into their own hands and fight for the liberty they have lost.