Julian Sanchez header image 2

photos by Lara Shipley

Care Bear Stare!

November 6th, 2007 · 35 Comments


For those of you who didn’t grow up (or have small children) in the 80s, the reference at the close of the previous post is to the cartoon Care Bears. The Care Bear Stare was a sort of deus ex machina the magical furballs could employ when faced with some insuperable obstacle: They’d line up together and emit a glowing manifestation of their boundless caring, which seemed capable of solving just about any problem.

In politics, Matt Yglesias has identified the neocon’s version of the Care Bear Stare, which he’s dubbed the Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics. It holds that, like a Green Lantern’s power ring, the American military can produce just about any effect imaginable if only the Will of the American People is strong enough. When any foreign intervention fails, this is proof that our will was insufficient, presumably due to the malign influence of fifth columnists in the media.

The left, of course, has its own version, which can be seen in claims that we know perfectly well how to solve problem X, if only we cared enough or had the political will to address it. A common variant holds that some vital function can’t be left to the market, since only government can guarantee the right result, presumably by putting the word “guarantee” somewhere in the relevant legislation. Feel free to use the photo above to tag instances of Care Bear Stare from either side.

Update: Commenter John Cain points to an alternative illustration.

Tags: Journalism & the Media



35 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Adam // Nov 6, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    Let’s not forget the Rainbow of Light from My Little Ponies. Just where IS Megan’s locket when you need it? We should point those carebears at the White House and see what comes of it 😉

  • 2 John Cain // Nov 6, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    I believe it’s against blogosphere rules to refer to the Care Bear Stare without posting this comic.

  • 3 Joseph // Nov 6, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    Libertarianism, of course, has its own version, which can be seen in claims that we know perfectly well how to solve problem X, if only we allowed the market to address it. A common variant holds that some vital function can’t be left to government, since only the market can guarantee the right result, presumably by putting the word “guarantee” somewhere in the relevant economic theory.

  • 4 Julian Sanchez // Nov 7, 2007 at 1:57 am

    Aww, that was almost a passable imitation of a clever person. Solid B for concept, C- for execution. Keep trying; you’ll get there.

  • 5 JasonC // Nov 7, 2007 at 11:30 am

    He gets a solid B for concept? Man, I want you as a professor.

  • 6 Randy // Nov 7, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    I agree with MEgan, this one was inspired, Julian. To bad you can’t trademark it because it strikes me as having a great deal of mileage ahead of it.

  • 7 Joseph Hertzlinger // Nov 7, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen an economic theory with the word “guarantee” in it.

    In the words of Wikipedia, “[Citation needed]”.

  • 8 Jesse // Nov 8, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    That Care Bear Stare is powerful stuff, man. Here’s incontrovertible visual proof!

  • 9 Jacob T. Levy // Nov 8, 2007 at 7:27 pm

    I’ve thought Julian won the internet a couple times already, most notably with his vlog. But I think he’s won it yet again.

  • 10 Joseph Hertzlinger // Nov 9, 2007 at 12:40 am

    Green Lantern? Right color, wrong comic book.

  • 11 Jon // Nov 22, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    If I got a B “for concept” on a philosophy/political science paper claiming that libertarian principles “claim perfectly well to know how to solve problem X, if only we allowed the market to address it”, I’d not have gone on another semester there. Professor Sanchez, you’re a friggin’ pushover.

  • 12 Jon // Nov 22, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    Obviously I misquoted above. I’m down to a B-.

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  • 19 Gallantheart Knight // Aug 5, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Who knows where I can find the sound effects to the care bear stare?

    That would be cool to have.

    I grew up watching Care Bears and thought maybe it would be cool to use the care bear stare sound fx in maybe a flash movie or something.

  • 20 SaoirsĂ­ // Dec 3, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Gosh, we’re all so precious when it comes to the libertarian right wearing the hat that fits! I will be using CareBearStare, though.

  • 21 Borris // Jan 31, 2009 at 12:08 pm

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  • 22 Saskue // Jan 31, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Care Bears StareStare!Stare!Stare!Stare!Stare!Stare!Stare!Stare!Stare!Stare!Stare!

  • 23 danielle // May 10, 2009 at 3:22 am

    i love carebears for ever

  • 24 Bailey // Apr 12, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    lol, care bear stare! :)

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  • 27 kelly // Feb 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    wll yall shut the fuck up i love care bears too but it anit no need to aurgure

  • 28 kelly // Feb 8, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    shut the fuck up :)

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