In the midst of what has become a very internet-influenced election year, self-identified liberal Whedon released a video over the weekend calling the Republican presidential candidate the “one with the vision and determination to cut through business-as-usual politics and finally put this country back on the path to the zombie apocalypse.”
The clip, which has gotten more than 1.1 million views on YouTube since Sunday, details how the policies proposed by Romney would create just the right environment for the walking dead to take over. Whedon also advises that the new “one percent” will be those who can run fast or know parkour.
“Romney’s ready to make the deep roll-backs in health care, education, social services, reproductive rights that will guarantee poverty, unemployment, overpopulation, disease, rioting — all crucial elements in creating a nightmare zombie wasteland,” the Avengers director says in the video (above). “But it’s his commitment to ungoverned corporate privilege that will nose-dive this economy into true insolvency and chaos — the kind of chaos you can’t buy back. Money is only so much paper to the undead.”
[. . .]
“Mitt’s ready,” Whedon says. “He’s not afraid to face a ravening, grasping horde of subhumans, because that’s how he sees poor people already.”
The video had 1,814,549 views as of my most recent viewing.
Daniel Drezner, a political scientist and blogger who has made his name as an expert on zombies, was quick to provide commentary on Whedon's argument in his post "What policies would best promote the zombie apocalypse?".
Now, as much as I've dissected both candidates' foreign policies and foreign policy statements, I hadn't really thought about which one of them would be more likely to trigger the zombie apocalypse.
[. . .]
Whedon is onto something different and altogether more interesting in his video. Are there domestic policies that would increase the likelihood of a true zombie apocalypse? He lists serious cuts in health care and social services, as well as Romney's commitment to "ungoverned corporate privilege" that would foment the undead apocalypse.
Now I give Whedon points for acknowledging that we don't know which kind of undead are coming -- "no one knows for sure if they'll be the superfast 28 Days Later zombies or the old school shambling kind." But is Whedon's hypothesis actually true? One could posit that he's got it backwards. After all, the key to preventing the spread of the zombie apocalypse is to slow down the infection rate and spread of the undead contagoion. Cuts to public services might actually discourage the 47% from congregating in public places, thereby making it that much harder for the initial cluster of the undead to be able to spread their pestilence and hunger for human flesh to others. Similarly, it is likely true that giving corporations a freer hand might incentivize one of them to take the Umbrella path to global domination, Romney's tough stands on immigration will likely restrict the H1-B visas necessary to hire the Eurotrash that always seems to be a the top of the corporate ladder when Things Go Wrong.
Stepping back, if you think about it, the relationship between economic inequality and the zombie apocalypse is kinda complicated. On the one hand, consistent with Acemoglu and Robinson, more politically and economically egalitarian societies are likely to invest in the public goods necessary to mitigate the spread of the deadites. On the other hand, unequal societies are likely to have elites invest in worst-case scenarios -- mountaintop redoubts, vast underground laboratories, panic rooms, evil volcano lairs -- that guarantee a minmax outcome in which the human species will continue to exist in some form. Of course, on the third, undead, dismembered, delicious hand, those last redoubt solutions never seem to work out as planned.
Glorious, all of it.