Marvel’s Captain America is much more right wing than society wants to admit – and his true thoughts on socialism prove it.
This article contains spoilers for Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #4
marvel’s Captain America is often positioned as a fairly progressive man, even of his day – but his latest adventure proves that Steve Rogers is considerably more right wing than the company cares to admit. Rogers is the quintessential “man out of time” in that, despite living longer in the present than he ever did during World War II, he still brings a sensibility of the years 1940 to modern comic. But Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #4 suggests that this sensibility brings a political bent that runs counter to how Marvel positions the character – and his stance against socialism proves it.
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s decision to bring Captain America back to the 1960s was no accident. The character’s popularity had declined after the end of World War II, and an unfortunate “Captain America: Coco Smasher!” the soft reboot in the 50s failed to gain popularity. But Rogers in the ’60s gave writers a perfect opportunity for Captain America to criticize his own country instead of other people’s countries; he lived through the counterculture revolution, the civil rights movement, and even Nixon’s Watergate scandal. Writers at the time cast Captain America as a voice of the left while calling for peace between generations (and enemies). But Captain America, a product of the 1940s, should have a 1940s sensibility – or at least that’s what more modern writers think.
In Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #4, written by Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly with art by Carmen Carnero, Captain America – while on a mission to uncover a plot involving his shield – visits a union bar frequented by brash blue-collar Arlo. When Arlo insists that America constantly exploits the “little guy” while the rich reap the rewards, Steve responds with “But that’s the purpose of the law, isn’t it? To make reality match our ideals? You want all these socialist reforms, why not wait and let the system do its job?” Arlo replies that socialism has always been an important part of America – and points to the military as a clear example. “Soldiers may live to defend capitalism, but they certainly don’t practice it!”
The fact that Captain America is apparently against socialism betrays his right-wing beliefs. The character was never meant to be apolitical, but Marvel very rarely forces their characters to take sides (Democrat or Republican) in any American political debate and Captain America is no exception. Rogers isn’t loyal to any man or even the president, but rather to the nebulous “American Dream.” Captain America’s voting record has never been officially released, but perhaps Steve Rogers isn’t as liberal as modern fans have been led to believe.
The 2022 run brings Captain America from the lairs of supervillains to the streets of New York City, where he roams among ordinary American citizens. These themes were explored last year United States of Captain America, but were somewhat derailed by a resurrected Hitler serving as the villain. There are no outlandish cartoon haters here (or at least none that absurd), so Captain America political leanings are free to be explored…regardless of their right.