Does Prof. X have a Naive Belief in Cooperation Between Superior and Inferior?

ImagesOne of the articles from the new issue of Salvo is "X-Men Ethics Class" by Cameron Wybrow. The author first gives a brief intro the the latest X-Men movie, X-Men: First Class, and then makes an interesting observation:

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It must be noted, however, that Magneto's campaign to conquer humanity is justified not merely for reasons of prevention—that is, on the grounds that humans are a threat to mutants. Magneto also offers a justification based on biology. He distinguishes between normal humans, Homo sapiens, and mutants, Homo superior. In one dramatic scene in an early story, Magneto and Professor X meet in disembodied mental form, and debate the fate of man and mutant alike. Magneto declares that mutants, by right of their extra powers, should rule over normal humans, who are, because of their biological inferiority, natural slaves. He rails at Professor X for his naive belief in cooperation between superior and inferior, and demands that Xavier join his side or be counted a deadly foe. Xavier, of course, nobly refuses, thus setting up the central conflict of the series.

The X-Men films, with their elaborate plots and dazzling special effects, make for highly entertaining cinema. But my purpose here is not to offer a film review, but to meditate upon the significance of the argument offered by Magneto and rejected by Professor X. It seems to me that this argument is very much pertinent to current debates over "evolutionary ­ethics."

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