I wouldn't know, sir.
The idealized heroes of the 40's date back from a time when it was maybe more clear-cut who the bad guys and the good guys were (on the radio and in the comic books, that is). The villains of that era were easily identifiable: they were the one "disturbing the peace."
It is perhaps a sign of our times that today's heroes (or anti-heroes) are more ambivalent: more often than not they are the one "disturbing the peace" now.
Maybe "The peace" had not yet acquired back then the same sinister association with authoritarianism (where ordinary citizens have less significant share in state decision-making), than it does now.
It could be that people have grown more circumspect, or more cynical about the world they live in.
Half a century or so, marked by fascism, totalitarianism, Vietnam, Nixon, Iran-Contra-Gate and whathaveyou, and the invasion of Iraq, will do that to you. Not to mention the recent Global Financial Crisis.
Clearly, "law and order" has come to take a very different meaning whether it is uttered by the Lone Ranger, or Nurse Mildred Ratched (McMurphy's nemesis in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), or the Norsefire party in V for Vendetta.
Possibly, people have become more informed (to a degree) about the robber barons of their times.
As Abraham Lincoln famously put it, Yes, you can.
"Fool some of the people all of the time," sir.