Superman’s Partnership with the Feds

by | May 6, 2024

As we all know, as part of the U.S. government’s much-vaunted war-on-terrorism racket, some big technology firms have chosen to partner with the government in an effort to win the war on terrorism. In the process, they have aided the government, sometimes illegally, in the destruction of people’s privacy. The firms engage in such wrongdoing either because of some warped interpretation of “patriotism” or for money or both.

When I was a kid growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, the same thing was going on with respect to the Cold War racket. Back then, the big scary thing was communists rather than terrorists. The federal government’s Cold War propaganda convinced most everyone that the Reds were coming to get us, either from Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, North Vietnam, East Germany, Eastern Europe, and even from here in the United States in Hollywood or the civil-rights movement.

And just like today, there were private companies that bought into the Cold War propaganda by partnering with the U.S. government to prevent a communist takeover of the United States.

One of favorite comic books when I was a kid was Superman. Every week, I would use my allowance money to purchase the newest Superman comic book at a newsstand in my hometown of Laredo, Texas. I felt like Lois Lane, Jimmy Olson, and Clark Kent were my best friends. I also loved watching the Superman television series that starred George Reeves.

I recently came across one of the televised Superman episodes named “Stamp Day for Superman.” You can watch it here. It’s a classic example of how the U.S. government was as successful in garnering the support from private entities for its Cold War racket as it is today in garnering support for its war-on-terrorism racket. It also provides a good example of how the federal government uses propaganda and indoctrination to infect the minds of the young.

The segment starts out with a stunning introduction: “The United States Treasury Department presents the Adventures of Superman.” Appearing on the screen is the logo of the Treasury Department.

The U.S. Treasury Department? Why in the world was the U.S. Treasury Department hosting a television episode of the Adventures of Superman? According to Wikipedia, the episode “was produced by Superman Inc. for the United States Department of the Treasury to promote the purchase of U.S. Savings Bonds.” (Links included in the Wikipedia entry.)

There are actually two themes within this particular episode. One theme revolves around a classic Superman type of situation. A pair of burglars breaks into a building and one of them later takes Lois Lane hostage. Superman saves the day by breaking through the thick wall in the building in which Lois is being held, saves Lois, and takes the burglar/kidnapper captive by bending and wrapping a steel rod around him.

The other theme revolves around inducing elementary school students to use their allowances and savings to purchase U.S. government stamps that can later be converted into U.S. savings bonds. I will guarantee that you will break out laughing when you see the group of over-excited kids listening to Superman deliver his pitch for buying the government’s stamps.

The episode was filmed in 1954, when the Cold War was in full swing. The notion, of course, was that everyone, including children, needed to do his part to prevent a communist takeover of the United States.

In fact, I myself fell victim to this Cold War nonsense. When I was in elementary school, I bought those stamps, just as many of my classmates did. I don’t recall what ever happened to them. I know I never converted them into bonds. So, the feds effectively got a free gift of a major portion of my allowance.

One day, my cousins from San Antonio introduced me to Marvel Comics. They immediately became my favorite comics. In fact, I pretty much gave up reading Superman and began using my money to purchase Spiderman and Fantastic Four comics. I can’t help but think that the big reason for my switch was that I subconsciously knew that the Marvel superheroes — and their creators Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko — would never cooperate with the federal government’s Cold War racket. In fact, whenever I read Marvel comics, I felt like I was engaging in something subversive. I felt like I was in a world that parents and schoolteachers simply could never understand. 

Reprinted with permission from Future of Freedom Foundation.


  • Jacob G. Hornberger

    Jacob George Hornberger is an American attorney, author, and politician who was a Libertarian candidate for president in 2000 and 2020. He is the founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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