Ronald Reagan was famously conservative; Alan Moore’s politics are less famous but still widely enough known: the British writer is an anarchist. But as Matt Yglesias reminds us, there is an interesting overlap between the thinking of the two men. (Spoiler alert for those who haven’t read Watchmen; you might not want to read any further).
The plot of the Watchmen involves the end of the Cold War after a faked alien invasion unites humanity.
Reagan, too, often used the idea of an alien invasion as a heuristic pedagogical tool to argue that Cold War difference could be easily settled.
“At our meeting in Geneva, the U.S. President said that if the earth faced an invasion by extraterrestials, the United States and the Soviet Union would join forces to repel such an invasion,” Mikhail Gorbachev noted on February 17, 1987, wryly adding: “I shall not dispute the hypothesis, though I think it’s early yet to worry about such an intrusion…”
(More examples of Reagan talking about hypothetical space aliens can be found here).
Reagan to his credit had a real horror of nuclear war, which made him think about scenarios that could lead to peace. His willingness to talk to the leaders of the Soviet Union, much criticized by his hawkish conservative supporters, was his most praise-worthy political trait.
Carter Scholz, in the hostile review of Watchmen quoted in an earlier post, drew an interesting connection between real world political thinking and Moore’s fantasy: “And, alas, the world is full of indecent politicians masquerading as super-heroes, and their plots are even cruddier than Moore’s. Which may in fact be the twisted point of Watchmen after all: as in the despising alleys of sub-literature below, so above in the marbled halls of polity. A thought to leave all of us a’shudder.” But as it happens, in this case the overlap between public policy and pulp fiction had a happy outcome.