The story of The Watchmen takes place in an alternative or parallel 1985, a world deeply cynical, a world that found no solace after Nixon. Actually, somehow in 1985, Richard Nixon is still the president of the United States. The Cold War has become so intense that the clock of Atomic Scientists is only moments before midnight, an all-out nuclear war looms over the entire world. Where there had been a golden age of superheroes (akin to the all-American Superman), many of their followers had become less than virtuous. And, it turns out, not all that seemed to glitter in the first era of superheroes had been gold as well. Moore and Gibbons deal frankly with societal decay, with paranoia, with justice, with injustice, with child abuse, and with the role of conformity in society. Philosopher Aeon Skoble has written the single finest essay on The Watchmen) as graphic novel. In his own understanding, Dr. Skoble sees the story as much about real world events as it is about “the psychology as well as the ethical and political ramifications of vigilantism.” In other words, what is a man (or woman) to do, when the government corrupts rather than protects. When does it become not just a right to defend oneself against injustice but an actual moral and ethical duty to do so?
To read the whole piece, please go to The Imaginative Conservative. http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2016/08/high-cost-virtue-watchmen-bradley-birzer.html