SFP

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  • John

    Stop manipulating her, Patrick. How deep does your shell game go?

    • Subbak

      How can someone who can read your mind not manipulate you? They know exactly the counterarguments you’ll have before you can even fully formulate them, and even if you know they can read your mind you’re not used to deabting in that setting so you can’t react accordingly. You’ll either be completely manipulated, or you can try to react by saying that no matter what they say, you’ll refuse it but that’s not going to advance things a lot.

      However IIRC Patrick can’t read minds over the phone, can he? Why don’t they have this conversation in a way where Alison knows (or thinks she knows, maybe Patrick lied) she won’t be manipulated?

      • StClair

        It’s about as pointless as demanding, “You, stop using your opposable thumbs!”

    • motorfirebox

      Why would Alison be worth manipulating?

      • Mechwarrior

        She’s a person of mass destruction. How is she NOT worth manipulating?

        • motorfirebox

          Manipulating her into what, though? Taking her mask off? The way he did it, he lost more capacity violent force than ‘the good guys’ did.

      • David

        As a distraction…

        He manipulated her into stepping away from the hero business and removing her mask on national TV. That became the big news that almost everyone focused on.

        “and as for myself, my favorite schemes were the ones that flew under the radar until it was too late for anyone to do anything about them”

        Not to mention that she is incredibly powerful, and could take him out quickly.

        • motorfirebox

          She’s strong and tough, but that’s pretty much it. Sure, he took her off the board, but he also stopped employing the only methods that she could oppose anyway.

      • His plan may involve the movement of heavy objects at some point?

    • masterofbones

      Stop talking to people everyone! Your manipulation is evil!

    • TheGonzoMD .

      Is just telling your perspective on things manipulation now? Does every single character have to say things in completely neutral terms with no editorial whatsoever for it to not be manipulation? Because people have been throwing around that word a lot.

      Alison’s a big girl. If she comes to a conclusion it’s probably because she herself decided that thats the conclusion that makes the most sense to her. Not because Patrick or the Doctor or whatever tricked her soft wittle brain into thinking it.

      • Darkoneko Hellsing

        I’dx add that Patrick even left her alone for a good while, ostensibly so she could check for alternatives.

  • Kid Chaos

    Skip the justifications and get to the point!

  • Ryan

    Sounds like Patrick is driving toward some sort of large-scale Utilitarian goal, something along the lines of “minimize total violent deaths worldwide”. He has no qualms about sacrificing a few to save many. There’s the famous moral quandary about a trolley headed toward five people, where you can choose to pull a lever to divert it onto a track with only one person, thus saving a net 4 people at the cost of actively participating in the death of one. Patrick would pull the lever without hesitation, and I think he’s looking for a way to do so on a global scale.

    • S.I. Rosenbaum
    • The problem is that the world is much more complex than the trolley problem. The logical solution to the trolley problem is to save people. I hope that I would have the courage to save many at the cost of one, but I’d definitely always feel bad about it.
      But there are several problems with Patrick’s Utilitarianism:
      1. Would his would be better to live in? Sure, maybe it would be safer, but there’s also freedom, equality, happiness etc. Dictatorships, no matter how benevolent, have problems with those. Life is about more than just living.
      2. What if he fails? Kill hundreds to save millions and you’re a hero if you succeed. But fail, and you’re a mass murderer. Patrick’s caused a lot of damage with very little progress so far.
      3. What if there’s a better option that he hasn’t found or dismissed? A way to redirect the trolley so that nobody has to die?
      Anyway, that’s what I love about this webcomic. There are no easy answers.

      Personally, I think I’m Utilitarian, but the end MUST justify the means.

  • Lostman

    Everyone trying to change the world in there own way;

    Alison: go to college and figure out a way from there.

    Feral: sacrifice herself for the betterment of others.

    Mary: kill people who do wrong.

    Patrick: gain power to help people on a grand scale.

    Each method has it’s flaws.

    • This is precisely the beauty of this comic.

    • Ian Osmond

      Yup. I think this whole comic is about what happens when you’ve got idealists who have the power to do stuff about it, given how disastrous almost everything designed by idealists has been throughout history.

      • Lostman
      • At least they do something. Idealism is a creative, progressive force as long as it is coupled with realism and the acceptance that positive change is slow and irregularly paced

        • Ian Osmond

          Yeah. I think the problem here is POWERFUL idealists. Idealists who are forced to work with other people, who need to find consensus and convince people of things, and therefore are forced to modify their ideas as they encounter new information, and compromise on plans without compromising their ideas — those are the drivers of almost everything good that humanity has ever done.

          But idealists who have the power to just, y’know, DO stuff unilaterally?

          There’s a reason that absolute rulers went out of favor at least five hundred years ago. A monarch who has to run their ideas through a Parliament or advisory council or whatever before just doing stuff tends to work out a lot better. And getting rid of monarchs entirely works even better.

          • very good point. You have convinced me. good show. 🙂

    • Markus

      Not just each method, each actor:

      Alison: Self righteous, black-and-white thinking, overzealous, sometimes excessively forceful, sometimes inactive in situations where it might be important for her to act, not concerned enough with maintaining a public image that helps her enact change.

      Feral: Self deprecating to the point of masochism, shortsighted.

      Mary: Sociopathic, hypocritical, more satisfied by the act than by any social good it might be doing, at best a hero in name only.

      Patrick: Overbearing, egocentric, shows similar sociopathic tendencies, shows a significant distrust of his peers, acts as though he’s working with complete information in situations where he most likely isn’t.

      Lisa: Unempathetic, reactionary, emotional, views any failure as a personal failure and any attack as a personal attack.

      Hector: Vapid, egotistical, desperate for attention, wants the rewards of effort without the work.

      • S.I. Rosenbaum

        that last isn’t fair – Hector’s put in a lot of work. Just, very fanboy work. Hector is essentially a cosplayer on a grand scale.

        • Markus

          If I have to trust cosplayers with my future I’ll go ahead and get murdered by roving bands of cannibals before the dehydration kills me, thankyouverymuch.

      • Lisa is unempathetic? I disagree. Expecting her to see the good in someone she only knows as the man who kept her ideas enslaved through contract law and a would-be world conqueror, who cultivated that image no less, without knowing him personally is very unfair.

        Outside of her problem with Patrick, she seems very empathetic. In fact, I believe empathy is why she is baffled by how Patrick could do what he did.

        Other than that, your assessments are spot-on, if a bit purposefully slanted towards the negative. But I think that is the point, right? Or am I wrong?

        I would like to add that another flaw of Lisa is that she has problems with dealing with emergence, which I think is reflected in her work with AI.

        • Markus

          She lashed out at untrained construction workers for not correctly placing an unmarked machine of unclear purpose in a highly technical lab. She either didn’t understand that her people didn’t intuitively know how a professional machine shop is laid out or didn’t care when it came to yelling at them.

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Patrick’s feeling pretty cranky today. Being alone and never fully understood takes its toll even on people that don’t considers themselves fully human.

    “toppling one of the bloodiest’s governement in history”… the USA ? ooh boy, once the local patriots catch up on that, this comment section will become a war zone.

  • “I suppose more of my victims were white and English-speaking, so if that gets you a spot in supervillain category, I guess I just have to eat that.”

    Hell yes.

    • masterofbones

      That seemed the least noble line he said, at least to me. It seemed very much crafted to appeal to her social justice desires in order to divert attention from him.

    • Classtoise

      This is pretty much exactly what Patrick is trying to invoke. “Agree with me because I said what you were thinking but are ashamed to admit you believed out loud”.

  • DaFlipp

    Long time reader, first time commenter, I absolutely love this comic!

    That said: is one of his arguments seriously “How can I be evil when I’ve killed fewer people than the atom bomb(s)”? I can’t tell if he’s being hyperbolic or if his death count is pretty damn high.

    • Ian Osmond

      A little of both, maybe?

  • motorfirebox

    Ehhhhh not really, Patrick. In terms of empires, the US is actually pretty okay. Especially when you’re talking about modern history, because modern history includes Maoism and Stalinism.

    Which isn’t to say that the US’s hands are clean by any stretch. In addition to our bombing policies in WWII, there’s all the bloody dictators and regimes we propped up. And nowadays we’ve got the highest incarceration rate in history, here at home. But as bad as we are, we’re certainly not the bloodiest.

    • peregon

      Slavery. Inmigrant indenture. Mass depopulation of half the continent. The Cold War. The tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties of the Bush Wars? Really?

      • motorfirebox

        I wasn’t taking slavery and early Jim Crow laws into account, since Patrick said “recent history”, but even adding that stuff in… I still wouldn’t rank the US very high, relative to the size of its sphere of influence. That’s mainly because the bar is very, very, very, very low. I mean, let me be clear: many, many of the US’s foreign policy actions since WWII could reasonably be classified as war crimes. There’s good reasons a lot of the world hates us. But—and this is appalling—we’re still not nearly the worst.

    • Ian Osmond

      There’s a difference between “bloodiest” and “worst.” If the great majority of the killings are justified, you can have a regime which is, arguably, bloody but just. We even have a word for that: draconian. Draco made one of the earliest reasonably fair codes of laws in Western history, in terms of treating people the same — but most of its punishments were “kill the dude”. But that was still a step up.

      Genghis Khan and Vlad Tepes are two other historical figures who are noted for their use of ultraviolence in the pursuit of something vaguely resembling justice.

      None of these people were what I would call “nice”, and I would certainly prefer to live in the society I live now than under any of them, but nonetheless, I’d argue that, although they were probably the bloodiest rulers in their spheres of influence, they weren’t the worst. And that, therefore, you could reasonably call the United States very bloody without implying that we are unusually unjust.

      • motorfirebox

        I’d actually say it’s the other way, that the US isn’t very bloody but is very unjust. We won’t roll into a country and kill everyone to get what we want, like many other empires have (Iraq was, by most standards, a very low body count affair). But we’ll damn other nations to grinding, inescapable, generational poverty while we loot them for anything and everything of value.

        Sorry, I meant to say “help them gain access to the free global market”.

  • Pol Subanajouy

    I hope the main thrust of this is that Moonshadow is justified in what she has been doing. I mean, unless you got new intel, you aren’t -that- persuasive, Patrick.

  • Henry Cannon

    No, you have to start pulling the lever at a global scale.
    Once that happens, welcome to the club.

  • D. Schwartz

    Opinion isn’t analysis so while an interesting point on perception if you were to ask thee countries governments the answer would be very different in many cases.

  • motorfirebox

    Yeah, I mean, if you’re including the governments of, like, the Netherlands and Switzerland in the comparison, the US doesn’t come off well. But if you’re looking at it relative to the size of their sphere of influence, it’s hard to find many governments that are less bloody.

  • Mechwarrior

    Patrick pulls out the “I’ve killed less people than that other group” trick. It’s the same old bottom-of-the-barrel argument about how you can’t be condemned so long as you can find someone who’s worse than you.

    • masterofbones

      When you are comparing your government to the government you intend to overthrow, saying that you are less evil than the current one is actually a decent argument.

  • Ian Osmond

    You’re probably a person for whom utilitarianism makes sense at a basic, gut level. Other people slant a bit more to something Kantian, or perhaps Stoic, in which the morality of actions is somewhat more separated from their net results. You perform “right actions” and avoid “wrong actions”. You look at and consider each of your actions as whether it is consistent with your code of behavior, whether that’s “morality”, “honor”, the Greek philosophical concept of “arete”, or whatever else.

    Utilitarianism is all about results. But “virtue ethics” is more about the general rightness or wrongness of a specific action. There are lots of different versions of “virtue ethics”, but, in many of them, “pulling a lever to kill an innocent” is simply wrong, Even if it saves others.

    Another related issue is whether the value of lives is additive. From a utilitarian perspective, that’s just plain obvious — two lives are more important than one life. And from many virtue ethical traditions, it’s obvious, too.

    But you can also look at it a a question of adding infinities. Infinity plus infinity equals infinity. You can’t say that five lives are more valuable than one life, because 5 times infinity equals infinity.

    It’s simply mathematically true that, in order to decide that two lives are more important than one life, you have to decide that every life has some sort of finite value.

    Which, again, seems obvious to many people, but it’s not universally true throughout all moral systems.

    • Markus

      Actually, as far as the value of infinities is concerned, you can make comparisons between some infinities of different scales. So, for instance, if the value of a human life is countably infinite (i.e. like the number of integers between 0 and infinity), you could argue that the value of two human lives is uncountably infinite (like the set of all real numbers). From there, for every larger number of people, you could say that the value of their lives is equal to a power set of the previous set that denotes the value of a group of humans one smaller.

      • Ian Osmond

        I don’t know about that, largely because I don’t have any real grasp of anything other than aleph null and aleph one. I’m not even sure what an aleph two would even mean. But something in my head is saying that, if you are matching up an ordinal number of people with an ordinal power series of infinities, that would all just collapse down to aleph null again. Not sure about it, but that’s what my gut says. And, apparently, I have some e. colli that work with number theory or something.

  • Alan_A

    Very, very minor grammatical quibble, but it should be “pains-takingly” (as in, taking pains) rather than “pain-stakingly” (as in, staking pain).

    Though I suppose with Patrick you can never be sure…

    • S.I. Rosenbaum

      or better yet, painstakingly

      • Alan_A

        True that.

  • MrSing

    We can see that you are very broken up over being responsible for the cause of thousands of deaths. Jeez, this joker cares more about Alice’s opinion about him than the fact that he’s more harmful than most warlords.
    Dang, he’s even trying to justify his murders. By pulling the race card of all things?
    “Oh, so when you murder a whole towns worth of white people you are suddenly a monster? Racist!”
    What the hell man.

  • StClair

    One perk of being rich (and powerful – same thing, really): having people willing to apologize for and praise you because, in one sense or another, they wish to become rich themselves. (This includes, but is not limited to, people who you hire to maintain and improve your public image.)

  • Rumble in the Tumble

    You’re right, Patrick, dropping those atom bombs and wiping out two cities was fucking atrocious.

    Everybody agrees that going into a long, bloody sea/land war with Japan until they’d capitulate who-knows-when would be far better. More dead people this way!

    • Love Janse

      I think that’s his point.

    • Thomas Woods

      this. irritates. me.

      dropping those atom bombs and wiping out two cities was fucking atrocious.

      there is debate on your latter statement as there are articles on the internet suggesting that Japan was negotiating surrender as early as 1944.

      • There’s also evidence that even after the use of ONE nuclear bomb, there were still people in the Japanese government who refused to surrender. I’m not a historian, but I think it’s unfair to say that the US just decided “Let’s try out our new toys!” 20/20 Hindsight and so on.
        It’s interesting that wiping out a city with nuclear bombs is considered worse than destroying a city with conventional weapons. Which had already been done. Although there is the fact that nukes are more efficient, and so leave fewer survivors.

        • KatherineMW

          The Japanese leadership were willing to make terms of surrender before the use of the atomic bombs. Their main sticking point was that they weren’t willing for the position of emperor to be abolished, but the US were calling for unconditional surrender.

          Since the US ultimately did allow the position of emperor to continue, they could have negotiated a conditional Japanese surrender without using the atomic bombs or launching an invasion of the home islands.

  • Damien S.

    Alison might be fairly receptive to this argument: http://sfp.nsch.co/issue-3/page-74/

  • masterofbones

    He is more arguing that her system of “morality” is inconsistent than arguing that he is innocent. She is getting angry at him for being evil, even though he has actually had a much more positive effect on the world than most.

    • Markus

      I think he needs to point out more good before he can make that claim. The US kills and has killed a lot of people, but it also provides economics of scale to agriculture and farm subsidies that have prettymuch eliminated food shortage related death in the US.

    • Axel_Celosar

      That makes as much sense as saying Lee Harvey Oswald is actually a “hero” for assassinating John F. Kennedy. “Oh, I disagree how the government works, so logical I must topple the government and kill the leaders!”

      • masterofbones

        Or as much sense as any nation having a revolution against its cruel leaders. I guess you could say that all revolutions are evil, but otherwise you clearly haven’t thought this through very well.

  • masterofbones

    Ethically, it is still the obvious choice to push them. Socially however, it is dangerous to do so. People will call you cold and callous. Some will go so far as to call you a psychopath, or murderous.

    The best choice is to not worry about any of the five people. THey can take care of themselves. Just join the crowd of shocked onlookers doing absolutely nothing.

  • masterofbones

    Ha! Poland is thinking: “RUSSIA GUYS! THEY ARE GONNA KILL US ALL!”

    Everyone else: “Lol”

  • TheGonzoMD .

    Eh, I’m not gonna bitch at super villain for wanting to overthrow the Unite States. Though I’d prefer he’d be cooperative with Canada and help transition the states into confederation.

  • GaryFarber

    Just Patrick doesn’t drop a giant squid on New York City.

    That’s all I ask.

  • Kid Chaos

    And she’s Patrick’s only real friend; think about it.

    • Rich McGee

      Your definition of “friend” and mine are radically at odds with one another. Her role is much closer to being a blackmailer, keeping Patrick’s secret in exchange for assistance. Alison is probably too much of a White Hat to feel that way about herself, but that’s the reality of this uneven relationship.

      • Kid Chaos

        I’m thinking more about the early days of “SFP”, when they were taking road trips and sharing ice cream. Good times…O.K., there was the whole thing with Feral, but still, it was a lot less adversarial.

        • Rich McGee

          Issue 3? Real cute right up until the horrifically uncomfortable ending to the last motel room scene. He’s been avoiding her ever since. She basically had to threaten him into the current meeting. Not friends any more, if ever they were.

  • Rich McGee

    No, he’d probably steal Lisa’s design for a better public transportation system and replace the trolleys with that.

  • Markus

    So making food cheaper hasn’t made people less likely to starve? You’re going to have to explain your reasoning there.

    • Abe

      The majority of calories consumed in this country—and most of our food—comes from primarily unsubsidized crops. Economic improvement, welfare, and social security have all had major impacts on starvation. Most of the farm bill, however, goes towards driving down the price of beef, cotton, and artificial sugars.

      • Markus

        So the majority of calories an American consumes aren’t made of corn, wheat, soybeans, rice, peanuts or barley?

  • Classtoise

    Oh come on Alison don’t suddenly become thick about this.

    1. Playing off her want to do something to change the world without punching things. “I started a military coup but it wasn’t as bloody as other methods!”
    2. Play off her want for equality and social justice in the world “But I guess since white people died it was worse because racism and inequity.”
    3. Play off her liberal sensibilities. “But I’m MORE evil and murderous as a corporation than I was as a supervillain!”

    She cannot POSSIBLY be falling so hook line and sinker for this, can she? He even guilts her about how it wavered her view on him as a good person. Jesus, he might as well say “Oh and I guess you don’t want BLOOD money helping your father get better with the best cancer treatment money can buy and also a puppy. You like puppies right?”

    Even through all this he has done nothing but avoid the question.
    “Yo what do you know about Moonshadow.”
    “LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT WHY I WAS NEVER REALLY A VILLAIN!”
    Dude is misdirecting so hard. It’s getting frustrating to read at this point.

    • Karl

      This is the exact point where Alisons college education should come in handy, because this is the exact kind of conversation where knowledge of philosophy, logic, politics and history and experience in debating would be useful. She should be able to figure out she is being played, that the topic of the conversation has changed several times now and given the arguments in his current speech which are probably intended as bait to her in order to change the topic again.

      I mean, you do not compete in the amount of people killed.

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Hmm.

    in the SFPiverse, superheroes happened in 1991 (and then were publicly revealed in… 2006 ?). it’s possible their current governement is different from what we know.

    (oh, hey, we have a http://strongfemaleprotagonist.wikia.com/ now !)

  • motorfirebox

    Yeah, but why start in the first place? Alison’s an intelligent young woman, but he’s a psychic who is smart enough to absorb and collate the five lifetimes’ worth of scientific expertise at once. If he wanted Mega Girl to stop chasing him, he could do that without her ever laying eyes on him.

  • Ryan

    The point is not to deconstruct the situation for being implausible. The point is to pose the question of whether you could/would/should sacrifice one person to save many.

  • motorfirebox

    I’m not saying we’re not really bad, but everyone there is to compare ourselves to is significantly worse. If we’re counting Hiroshima and Nagasaki, then we’re also counting the Great Leap Forward, the Khmer Rouge, Stalin’s artificial famine—the list goes on. The bar to being one of the bloodiest governments in recent history is really, really high.

    • I feel the need to remind everyone that it’s not a competition.

      • motorfirebox

        You’re just saying that ‘cos you’re LOSING.

  • Axel_Celosar

    To quote and paraphrase Black Summer: “”You want to change the nature of justice in America and you kill a president? What did you think that made you? Two-fisted Super-Jesus for the American Way? It made you Lee Harvey Oswald, you prick. You know what? Lots of people hated John F. Kennedy. He barely got elected. But Lee Harvey Oswald isn’t remembered as an American hero. Just a prick with a gun who killed the president. That’s you now, Patrick.”

  • Oakreef

    You’re missing a key word here. It’s “one of the bloodiest governments in MODERN history”. What timespan constitutes modern history is going to be its own argument but going back to 1066 is not modern history by anyone’s definition.

  • Philip Bourque

    The right answer is “people”.

  • SpoonyViking

    Hmmm… Does Patrick really believe what he’s saying, or is he just manipulating Allison? I mean, I can see him honestly believing that a certain amount of evil actions could serve the greater good (although when Spock said “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”, he proceeded to sacrificed himself, not Kirk or McCoy), and I can even see him believing that his being more efficient when committing evil than others would help his case, so to speak (although “others have done worse things than me” doesn’t actually relieve a person from responsibility for what they’ve done)… But he has to know that”world domination” is just Moonshadow’s solution (murder all “evil people”) applied on a global scale, something which he’s just said is, at the very least, inefficient.

  • David Bapst

    …aaaaaaand “You want to protect the world, but you don’t want it to change.” continues to be the best dismantling of the superhero ethical stance in a single sentence that I’ve ever heard.

    • MrSing

      If you fundamentally change something to protect it, did you really protect it? Or did you completely destroy it?

    • If there’s a supervillain that’s going to make the world worse, then keeping the world the same is protecting it.
      Just because you can fly or shoot laser beams out of your eyes doesn’t make you qualified to change the world for the better. What can you realistically do with that?

  • I reckon that they’d just say that the world can’t cope with change. It’s too dangerous. They did the right thing, killing all those kids.
    The fact that they profit immensely from it is totally incidental.

  • This.
    You can’t justify your actions by saying that somebody else did something worse.
    By that logic, the Holocaust was fine, because Communism, particularly in China, killed more people.
    I see Patrick’s point though.

  • I thought the point of Libertarianism was that it’s selfish? I mean, what other reason is there to advocate it?

  • Is it really the same government though? I’m assuming that nobody in the current US administration (because they’d have to be REALLY old) was part of that decision. I suppose you could argue that that was the same government, or that the current US government still benefits from it, but it seems to me that that argument is very similar to blaming somebody for the crimes of their ancestors. Which doesn’t achieve much.
    The war on terror would be a much fairer thing to reference.

  • Patrick, you can’t really compare yourself to governments like that until you’ve tried being one.
    Oh wait, that’s probably his plan.

  • KatherineMW

    Okay, I’ve thought a bit about my objection to Patrick’s argument.

    Patrick is correct about the US having killed large numbers of people, even if we only look at the last approximate half-century. He’s correct about Hiroshima and Nagasaki: the Japanese government was willing to come to terms, but not to surrender unconditionally, and their main sticking point was that the imperial position not be abolished. Since the Americans ultimately decided not to abolish it, they could have ended the war with a conditional Japanese surrender without the need for either the bombings or a land invasion. Throughout Latin America, they overthrew democratic governments, propped up tyrannical ones, trained death squads and torturers, and funded terrorism, all for the purose of maintaining US people in the region. They took similar actions in other parts of the world, including Iran. They killed over a million people in Vietnam, mainly civilians, and their attacks on Cambodia were to a large extent responsible for the Khmer Rouge, and thus bear some responsibility for its crimes. For the last fifty years, they’ve politically and financially backed the Israeli occupation, oppression, and ethnic cleansing of Palestine. That’s not even getting into the harm done by the economic policies that the US has pushed on nations of the world – especially the developing world.

    However:

    1) I don’t believe Patrick when he said that he endeavoured to minimize civilian casualties. He’s already said that he’s extremely adept at manipulating people because he knows what they’re thinking. He seems to have inherited wealth. If he’s really so smart, it should be trivially easy for him to hire a lobbying firm and have them make the policy arguments that he knows would be most convincing to the people holding the levers of power in Washington. “Taking over the world [or the country] via killer robots” is not remotely the lowest-casualty way a telepath has of effecting change.

    2) Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and any other US actions in the past, are a red herring. If Patrick wants to justify violent overthrow of the government, he has to do so on the basis of wrongs the US government are currently committing, the deaths they are causing and will cause in the projected future if they continue their current actions, and an argument that the number of deaths he’s causing is lower, AND an argument that his being in power would prevent all the deaths the US is currently causing. He’s made no attempt at such an argument; instead, he’s deflecting. “Less than Hiroshima” still leaves him with a staggering potential death toll.

    3) From a utilitarian perspective, his argument is overwhelmingly flawed, because as I’ve pointed out before, the vast majority of deaths in the world (i.e.: over 75%, and over 90% in most years) are not caused by deliberate violence, but by disease and accidents. Patrick’s power, in the way he’s using it to learn about time travel, gives him the ability to develop cures for many major diseases in the world – there’s less obstacles to a malaria cure than to time travel, surely. It could enable him to develop methods of making gene therapy broadly workable, which could cure every genetic disease in the world. Those actions would, in the long run, save far more lives than he could save by eliminating violence altogether.

    4) If his argument, as some on this thread have suggested, turns out to be about climate change, that’s even more idiotic. Climate change isn’t a result of the US government being evil; it’s the result of most of the world being dependent on fossil fuels to achieve a decent standard of living. He’s a billionaire genius with a superpower that allows him to synthetize the knowledge of numerous different scientists; there is literally nobody on earth better suited to developing workable, global-scale alternative energies and energy conservation technologies. Not that such an achievement would stop global warming, or prevent its negative impacts – to quote another show, the avalanche has already started and it’s too late for the snowflakes to vote – but it would prevent us from making things worse than we already had.

    5) If he’s making a moral argument – not “what I did was right”, but “why are you calling me evil and not calling [so-and-so] evil” – fine, Patrick: the actions of Bush, Cheney & Co were evil. The actions of arms manufacturers are evil. None of that means that your actions aren’t. It’s not an either/or proposition. I have no doubt that Allison regards weapons manufacturing as immoral.

    So why did Allison bust up supervillains and not arms manufacturers? Because once you do the latter, that’s a revolution. And as I said in point 2, while I’m not fundamentally opposed to a revolution, you need to have a strong rationale that your actions are causing less destruction than those of the regime you’re deposing, and that you’re able to put something better in its place. A war between the US government and biodynamics – which would be the probable result of Allison taking that course of action – is a potential world-war, mass-casualty level situation.