Daily Debates Day 1

Suh dude, I’m gonna start a friendly debate everyday about things that don’t matter. Seems fun, as long as we are nice to one another and remember this is all for good fun.

Today’s topic: Cinematic thanos is not evil just misguided
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You could say that about plenty of bad guys. The thing that makes him the bad guy isn’t necessarily that he doesn’t think he’s doing good, it’s just that he has a goal that’s directly opposed to the heroes of the story. I would even argue that Thanos is the protagonist of infinity war since he’s the one who actually goes through a hero’s journey arc.

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It comes down to how one defines evil, which will have a relationship to what one defines as virtuous. As @TheJohnUMD has astutely observed, every villain observes their self and sees a hero. Where I would differ from my colleague is in his assessment that good and evil are determined by which team one is on.

We could certainly spend time nailing down what is and is not virtuous, but for the sake of the argument at hand, I would like to throw out one simple virtue that I have tried to adhere to for all my days: Killing someone is wrong. To me, it makes no difference whether that killing happens with a painless snap that blinks someone out of existence or if there is great suffering. I hope we can agree that killing is wrong. This is a simple virtue to grasp, and no level of good intention offsets this virtue.

Undoubtedly, Thanos’s system of ethics is not centered in virtue, though. He thinks more teleologically. His system of ethics focuses more on making the right choices to produce the best outcome. If you share this sentiment, you could talk yourself into seeing him as misguided rather than evil. However, Thanos is a perfect example of how thinking only of the outcome can produce evil actions.

Thanos takes it upon himself to determine the fates of countless beings in order to avoid the outcome of suffering beings. He clearly shares the sentiment of aging, disillusioned Solomon who wrote, “So I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.” For Thanos, the suffering of many outweighed the deaths of the many, and therefor justified the deaths of the many in the pursuit of alleviating suffering. But the many did not share this desired outcome and so Thanos forced it upon them.

Furthermore, Thanos undercut his own end with his chosen means. It is well established that the loss of a loved one is the most painful form of suffering in the human experience. Nearly all of us will experience it at some point. But Thanos subjected everyone to a cataclysmic form of loss. The suffering inflicted was worse than the suffering avoided.

In conclusion, Thanos and his supporters may be able to talk themselves into believing that the ends (alleviating suffering) justifies the means (mass death), but any observer can see that these actions were disproportionately wicked in pursuit of an end that was not even secured by these unthinkable actions. Thanos was an abusive father and a mass killer and there is no level of justification that can label this man as simply “misguided”. He was “misguided” in the same way that Jeffrey Dahmer was misguided about which meat grills best.

Thanos is evil.

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due to this reply, I’m v intrigued about what the next topic will be

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I think both in different ways.

He is misguided in his thinking and evil in his actions.

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I see where you’re coming and understand your reasoning, and when I say misguided I don’t mean what he did was okay. He was hurt by the destruction of his people, traumatized even. To the point of wanting to prevent this from happening to anyone else, had he used his brain clearly he could’ve did something else to “save the universe” instead of halfing everything. And I do believe killing someone is wrong to a point, because I can’t fully say that I do not believe in defending my family and killing someone who’s trying to do the same to them. Plus if we look back in old times the law was a life for a life, you wrongly killed someone you must atone to it with your own life. Thanos was a terrible father indeed, but again due to his delusions he thought he was making his children strong. Look at what he did after the snap, he reduced the stones to atoms, he did not go on a rampage while he was ahead but instead hung up his armor and became a farmer

Star Wars tomorrow

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The thing is who’s to say who is the good guy and who is the bad guy? We think the avengers are good only because that’s what they portray themselves as, and the “good guys” were even wondering who’s “good” in civil war. And I will argue the fact that every villain thinks their good because I can name plenty who full well know they’re evil and hold nothing but evil intentions