It's about resistance to the authority of a state which has ceased to serve its nominal purpose.
It highlights a Bruce Wayne highly trained in the arts of aikido, the harmonisation of the life energy as a way of life and being.
It represents a non-violent Bruce, drawing a contrast between him and the state which has bestowed upon itself a charter to monopolise the use of force.
Who endowed the state with this right? Tis it the divine right of kings to maim its own? Batman, though synonymous with vigilantism, would never presume such folly.
Obsessed though he may be, he is conscious that the wiles of his rogue's gallery pale by comparison to that of the foundation upon which Gotham City resides - the United States of America.
As a man, Bruce can be a sprite, cheekily taunting the authority of the GCPD, albeit in collusion with Commissioner Gordon, having taken it upon himself to be a man apart from a corrupt system whilst working within.
"I believe in America", opines Buonasera in the opening stanza of the novelisation and cinematic adaptation of The Godfather, the consummate allegory of the machinations of crime in the Land of Manifest Destiny. "These...animales."
What is the greater conceit? To present to the world a facade of integrity upon a rotting foundation? Or to be a card-carrying member of those which flout the norms of society, enshrined in legislation and judicial precedent? To embrace the occupation and enterprise of 'crime'? Is there equal fairness in each? Does the former's deceit leave a more bitter taste in one's mouth than the forthcoming flouting of the 'criminal'?
Does the criminal justice system work? War on Crime - the state monopolises the former whilst sanctioning the latter.
The superlative and iconic illustrative talents of Alex Ross' War on Crime graphic novel, The Wire of Batman narratives, promises more grotesque characters than the existent rogue's gallery ever could. Who needs the colour and flamboyance of the Riddler, Penguin and Two-Face when the wretched stench of the Establishment nurtures the fertile plains of Gotham's maligned streets and searing skyscrapers? Palaces to gross commerce, unchecked by the social balancing to give back to Gothamites what the captains of industry have harnessed by the intersecting environment of corporatocracy the City, US government and revolving door of mercantilist clients have cultivated.
Who's the greater threat to Gothamites - an acutely isolated incident of The Scarecrow poisoning the waters of the city, or the chronic maladjustment encased in the 'rules' each man, woman and child navigates in the name of 'social order'? Separated from nature, encased by a warden of steel and concrete, how else was a civilisation constructed of such inert materials to allow its citizenry to flourish?
The criminal justice system does not work in Gotham. A sick, oxymoronic affront to the decent efforts of all those trying to live in peace and prosperity amid relative decadence. Has Gotham City been abandoned by its its federal government, let alone that of the state government? A city, one of the greatest loci of hope and energy in our modern world, only takes care of so many services and responsibilities.
Are there echoes of New Orleans after Katrina, a bountiful city abandoned - or worse yet, incapable of providing aid - by its federal government? What is the purpose of the state, whether federal, unitary or constituent, if it fails to progressively ensure peace and prosperity? Does it continue to be relevant? If the 'crimes' it has enshrined are committed as commonplace, then do these rules the state has laid out define it? A disfigured, self-fulfilling prophecy; a Harvey Dent/Two-Face analogue, almost suffocatingly gorgeous its its poignancy.
Bruce works as a self-imposed exile to the system, undermining it, impudent and light-footed, an essence of his years of hardened training in Japan and the globe over permeating throughout.
He didn't fit in to Princeton, New Jersey. And why would he? It's an institution, bound by a likely charter or constitution, which noble though its ideals may be, proffer the parameters within which justice is continually miscarried, rupturing the psyche and fabric of a society's compact of goodwill and hope asunder. If the real-life Governor of the state the university sits upon is so obviously corrupt at face value, where does this state continually derive its legitimate authority in the eyes of its people? By its fortitude in weathering the passage of time, much like the ivy resplendent upon the sturdy structures of the universities whose credibility and endowments multiply by virtue of their durability
Though the primitive aspects of ourselves gravitate to the comfort of symbols, logos, and perhaps in some instances, institutions of myriad description - corporate, civic, governmental or religious - it is the symbol of the individual which speaks to my soul.
Is the symbol of the Bat, and what it represents, pure and untouched by any challenge to its integrity? Certainly the philosophy of jurisprudence would explore and weigh the virtues or otherwise of this vigilante, and the positing of what would happen if everyone acted this way?
"I believe in America." I do not believe in America. America has lost its legitimacy. I believe in Batman. I believe in Bruce Wayne.
I am Batman. I am Bruce Wayne.
I do not believe in America.