sfp 6 114 for web

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  • Jonathan Boynton

    I’m being reminded a lot of the discussion between Kevin and Reverend Theo from Schlock Mercenary about dictatorships. Dictatorships are dangerous, not necessarily evil, because you then have a society resting on the decisions of one person.

    (September 13-16, 2009 in the Schlock Mercenary archives for the original discussion)

    Also Dalinar and Wit from Words of Radiance.

    Really impressed at the depth of the discussion going on here. Especially since it’s mostly a two sided argument from one person.

  • Cokely

    I’m starting to think the authors should stay away from visual sound-effects outside of dialogue in general. The face does not quite match the sounds.

    Anyway I’m looking forward to a productive and reasonable discussion about the Civil War, which is always a source of fruitful discussion on the internet.

    • Oren Leifer

      Well, here at SFP comments it may actually be. Just as long as we don’t have anyone denying the existence of neo-confederates.

      • Weatherheight

        I deny the existence of neo-confetti-ists!
        (There, that’s out of the way…). 😛

  • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

    I’m guessing this is supposed to irk American sensibilities definitely the wrong way, but as a foreigner not in on the nostalgia bandwagon that is the genuinely concerning amount of worshipping for your own glorious past, much of it is lost on me.
    So the guy who said “I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races.”, be he in eternal torment right now… *shrug*

    • Cokely

      The English Civil War would be a nice historical example to use for a change, but explaining it to an American-centric audience is always pretty frustrating.

      • AdamBombTV

        I just tell them “it’s basically Game of Thrones, but without the dragons”

        • deebles

          You may be thinking of the War of the Roses. The English Civil War was between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads, ending in the execution of a pretty shit king and the installation of a puritanical despot who banned festivities at Christmas and committed atrocities against the Irish in his stead. But which also led, ultimately, to the situation approaching democracy we have today.

          • Which ignores the entire existence of the ECW as the Anglo arm of the Wars of Religion between Catholicism and Protestantism. The rest of Europe had the 30 Years War, England just went to war with itself, with the King and much of the House of Lords taking on the Commons.

            Henry VIII left us a hell of a mess with his kids. First he kicks out the Catholic church and establishes himself as head of the church in England, and combines that with theory of the Divine Right of kings. His death puts Edward VI on the throne at 9, and he’s a Protestant fanatic with Divine Right. He’s dead by 15, which puts Mary on the throne (after offing Lady Jane Grey, Edward’s attempt to fix the succession to a Protestant), and she’s a Catholic fanatic with Divine Right whose reign leaves her known as Bloody Mary as she tries to reverse Edward’s changes. Then she dies and Elizabeth takes the throne as a Protestant, if at least not a fanatic, but very much a Divine Right monarch.

            Elizabeth dies without issue (‘The Virgin King), bringing to an end the Tudors, In comes the house of Stuart in the form of James VI and I, ironically son of Mary Queen of Scots who Elizabeth had executed. James is another Protestant religious fanatic, in his case more focused on Divine Right than active persecution of Catholics, though the rest of his government was quite ready to handle the persecution for him, when they weren’t rowing with him over money. He’s succeeded by his son Charles I, who is a Protestant, but very much a High Church one (i.e. on the wing of the Anglican church closest to Catholicism) and absolutely convinced of his Divine Right to rule. Charles promptly marries a French Catholic princess, promises aid to France on the Catholic side of the Wars of Religion, and signs a secret treaty with France promising to ease the persecution of Catholics.

            At this point you have a Protestant King convinced of his right to rule without consulting Parliament and cosying up to the Catholic side of the Wars of Religion, opposed by a fanatically Protestant parliament and south/central part of the country, with central Scotland even more fanatically Protestant. Catholicism is hanging on in the North of England, Norfolk, the Southwest, the Scottish Highlands and Islands, and Ireland, while many of the richer noble families have been able to remain quietly Catholic by buying off the punishments for not worshipping as Protestant.

            The recipe is set for a conflict between King and Parlament, with the Protestant King forced to look to the Catholic part of the nobility for his support, while Parliament is convinced he’s trying to bring back Catholicism by stealth. In the religious powderkeg that was Great Britain at that point, it was always going to end in war.

            The ECW established the superiority of Parliament and led to the Constitutional Monarchy form of government, but it did so by cementing the persecution of Catholics for another two centuries. It really doesn’t work as a parallel for the ACW as it’s very much a case of ‘a plague on both your houses’.

            On the other hand it really works quite well as an example of what can go wrong when someone is convinced that their way is the ethical way.

          • KatherineMW

            The English Civil War set the precedent that a king could be deposed and a major country could be ruled as a republic. It laid the foundations not only for the Glorious Revolution, but for the French Revolution and European democracy as a whole (despite Cromwell ruling as a dictator). I’d say the net results were positive.

          • Mart van de Wege

            It really didn’t. The Act of Abjuration (‘Plakkaat van Verlathinge’) in which the Netherlands abjured the authority of the Spanish king and started a republic predates the English Civil War by more than half a century.

          • How positive you view it depends a lot on whether you’re Catholic or not! I can admire the growth of parliamentary democracy and the end of the idea of the divine right of kings, but two additional centuries of legally codified discrimination is difficult to forgive.

    • shink

      Gurwara is making an argument in defense of the actions of John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln. In the course of fighting the American Civil War Lincoln did all of the things ascribed to him by Gurwara, he was a tyrant the likes of which America has never seen before or since. He is also of course among our greatest heroes, as he ended the institution of slavery and kept the USA from becoming two nations (which it was going to become). Of course, all the horrible things Lincoln did in order to fight the civil war are not generally taught in American schools, it’s plausible to think Alison is entirely naive of all the damage he did.

      • I was curious to learn more about this, so found an NYT article. Thought I’d share it here if others want to give it a read:

      • Wood

        The difference between Lincoln and Allison was that Lincoln was elected, having clearly stated his intention to end slavery.

        • zarawesome

          A good point that will probably be discussed in the comic.

          But Alison is -already- following the ideal ethical framework of an elected politician: both are performing actions to benefit the masses rather than individuals.

          The difference, of course, is that Alison is not subject to -judgment- by the same masses she works for.

          • Harland

            I think she is, actually. In this world, heroes sponsored by government agencies have been given the right to basically kill anyone they want so long as that person is classified as a “super-villain” or in the act of “defending” an area. Alison, for instance, was never brought to task for throwing a mech at a hospital.

            This might be because she’s just too damned powerful to contain or safely fight, but there are plenty of ways to kill or permanently inhibit a super like her; find out where she buys her coffee and slip some arsenic into it, for example.

            On a side note, lately every time I open this comic my brain gets turned into gravy by Gurwara. I appreciate this, so good job Brennan and Molly

          • GreatWyrmGold

            Um…talking about how the government gives Alison a license to cause all kinds of destruction in the course of fighting supervillains and how she’s basically immune to prosecution isn’t a good way to sell the idea that she’s still subject to judgement. Since, you know, it’s saying basically the opposite.

          • phantomreader42

            It doesn’t establish her as subject to judgment, but it DOES establish that she was granted some degree of legal leeway by representatives of a duly-elected government. She wasn’t elected herself, and nor were most of the people who supported her being granted this power, but they were appointed or hired by legitimately-elected leaders, or in accordance with established policies dictated by the Legislature.

          • SJ

            It doesn’t establish her as subject to judgment, but it DOES establish that she was granted some degree of legal leeway by representatives of a duly-elected government…

            As a member of the Guardians, sure, but she resigned her “commission,” for lack of a better term, and on national television, no less. It seems reasonable to believe that she isn’t (nor should she be) entitled to the same “legal leeway” as a private citizen, which is what she currently is.

          • Arthur Frayn

            By a combination of executive order and act of Congress, American Tier 1 and 2 metahumans were given special status, including medical monitoring for life. Quitting the Guardians didn’t change her interdependence with the bureaucracy, and their assumption of her availability as a strategic asset. So they continue to look the other way at her property damage and occasional freakouts like the hospital and the protesters.

          • SJ

            Refresh my memory: where is that stipulated?

          • Weatherheight

            Well, at the very least she wasn’t imprisoned for throwing a mech into a hospital. One of the down sides of sequential art is that you have to leave out a lot to keep the story moving forward. For all we know she did get some form of reprimand from her superiors. Then again, for all we know she didn’t. 😀

            In the RPGs I run, I give the players only that information to which they reasonably have access (if I can can come up with a reason they might have access, I’m probably going to give them a chance to find it out). Sometimes that means they don’t have access to key information that completely reframes the context in which they are operating. All of us readers are operating in that same mode, with Brennan and Molly being the evil Game Masters.

            There is a danger in assuming that because we didn’t see what happened “off-camera” that nothing in fact happened “off-camera”. Then again, there is a danger in assuming that routine differs significantly from the real world.

            Which brings us back to letting the lack of clarity in the things we don’t know paralyze us. 😀

          • Likely she wasn’t brought to task for throwing a mech into a hospital because everyone agrees that was better than the alternative of letting the mech roam free and continue killing people anyway. Sometimes collateral damage is unavoidable, and if you’re fighting high energy combat in a densely populated built-up area then you can probably change ‘sometimes’ to ‘always’.

            As a real-world example, the WWII rooftop level raid by Mosquitos on the Gestapo headquarters in Copenhagen is pretty well known and celebrated. Less well known is that the RAF initially turned it down as too risky in a densely packed city and only attacked after repeated requests from the Danish resistance. In the event several of the Mosquitos bombed a school in error, with 86 children and 18 nuns killed.

        • Agree that it’s a key point, although I’d make the distinction that Lincoln came into office opposing the expansion of slavery and being deeply critical of it. But his stated platform was to preserve the Union, even if that meant preserving slavery. Only with the emancipation proclamation did the shift come to ending slavery. The Civil War was certainly about slavery, and the course of the war itself made clear that ending slavery was necessary to preserve the Union.

          • Mechwarrior

            That’s because the office of president didn’t have the authority to end slavery in the US, only Congress did.

          • shink

            Yeah, but eventually Lincoln decided to ignore that. The Emancipation Proclamation was put into effect on January 1st 1963, and didn’t make it through both houses of Congress until January 31st 1865. It wasn’t fully ratified by the states until December 6th 1865. For almost 3 years this wholly unconstitutional amendment to the constitution stood and was enforced, and for this action that goes against all the principles of what the US was founded on Lincoln is one of our greatest heroes.

          • StClair

            Similarly, the President did not have the authority, unto himself, to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase. And Jefferson knew this, and (reportedly, at least) gave enough of a damn about such things to agonize over it a bit. But it was just too good a deal to pass up, and so he went for it.

            (In hindsight, I do believe he did the best/right thing for the country, and this overreach is easier to defend than a lot of his other flaws/examples of hypocrisy.)

          • Zorae42

            No no no no no. The Emancipation proclamation was an executive order, not an amendment. And it ONLY freed slaves in most (not even all) of the Confederate States.

            That’s it. It didn’t free any present in the Union, or in the Confederate States the Union was occupying at the time. It just meant that any slaves in the rebelling States were considered free if they made it to the Union (and could then fight in the Union army when they got there). This helped add to the chaos in the Confederate States and gave the Union more people it could conscript.

            Now, it did free millions of people which is amazing and a good thing! But it was done for strategic reasons only. After the war we ratified the amendments that freed all the slaves, but that is not what the Emancipation proclamation was for (although the existence of said executive order possibly helped pave the way for the amendment. idk, I may just be saying that to not sound so awful about it).

            Lincoln is still a great, tyrannical hero, but the relevance of the Emancipation proclamation has been blown way out of proportion.

          • Add to which it is the accepted role of the leader of a nation at war to cause maximum disruption to the operation of the enemy state (c.f. Churchill’s creation of SOE to ‘set Europe ablaze’). The Confederacy was both an enemy nation and an illegal subversion of government in the southern states, it had no legitimacy with which to enforce slavery, and in the absense of legitimate state government it’s the clear role of the federal government, no matter whether the Constitution addresses it or not, to rule in defence of its citizens, especially if that will tend to disrupt enemy operations. People tend to consider the Constitution the ultimate arbitrator of legality in the US, but above and beyond that the US is a common law state, and common law is pretty flexible when you want it to be.

          • Kid Chaos

            “While I’m not calling Lincoln a tyrant, I am saying he did whatever he wanted, for over four years. You know, like a tyrant.” 😜
            –from “How To Fight Presidents”, by Daniel O’Brien

          • GaryFarber

            The Emancipation Proclamation wasn’t an amendment to the Constitution, period.

        • Micah Matheson

          Furthermore, Lincoln’s position as an elected official bound his decision to wage war to the will of the people. He could only command his armies if the people who he represented, by way of Congress, were still in support of it.

          The Civil War was a collective effort, not the tyrannical imposition of a single person’s will on a pseudo-nation of people. And the professor’s stance is a gross simplification of a very complex situation that played out over the course of years with a tremendous amount of nuance and context.

        • Elaine Lee

          He wasn’t elected by every person who voted for him and many who didn’t vote for him suffered. And of course, the slaves, who had no vote, were already suffering terribly. Alison strong-armed one selfish guy to save her good friend from agony and many others from certain death. Small potatoes for a tyrant.

        • bryan rasmussen

          Lincoln never stated he would end slavery, but he was elected.

        • GaryFarber

          “Lincoln was elected, having clearly stated his intention to end slavery.”

          Not on this planet, he didn’t.

          Lincoln was opposed to the *expansion* of slavery into new states. He held that he as President would have no power to free the slaves because he believed the Constitution barred it.

          The South launching the war led the way to changing events to change Lincoln’s position, but he most certainly was not elected on a platform of ending slavery. That’s a huge Southern lie.


      • Nathanaël François

        “Of course, all the horrible things Lincoln did in order to fight the
        civil war are not generally taught in American schools, it’s plausible
        to think Alison is entirely naive of all the damage he did.”
        I think Alison would at the very least know that the ACW was extremely bloody. And “muh he suspended habeas corpus” is such a classic talking points of confederate afficionados she probably heard it as well.

      • Graeme Sutton

        Lincoln wasn’t a tyrant by any reasonable definition of the term. The actions he took were legally justified and within his power as the president in wartime and he was scrupulous about relinquishing any expanded powers and relaxing any extreme measures when they were no longer necessary. Only someone who has no familiarity with the actions of actual tyrants would confuse Lincoln with one.

        • StClair

          The irony being that everything you say, and that Lincoln did, was perfectly in keeping with the original Roman definition of the term/role. So yes, he behaved exactly as an “actual tyrant” was intended to.

          • Saved me making exactly that point. The role of the tyrant is as an appointed wartime dictator, putting a single strong leader at the undisputed helm of the nation. People tend to forget that.

          • Graeme Sutton

            The word tyrant as we currently use it is very different from the old Latin legal term, this isn’t a relevant comparison.

        • pidgey

          That’s pretty generous. Any tyrant I ever heard of would argue that he was only holding the power he thought it was necessary to hold. It isn’t like you can say there weren’t a whole bunch of people at the time who absolutely did not think that description would have applied to the man. Who is to say, when Lincoln died so quickly?

          Merriam-Webster’s definitions of a tyrant:

          1a : an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution
          b : a usurper of sovereignty
          2a : a ruler who exercises absolute power oppressively or brutally
          b : one resembling an oppressive ruler in the harsh use of authority or power

          Which one doesn’t apply to Lincoln?

          • Izo

            1a does not apply to Lincoln.
            1b does not apply to Lincoln.
            2a does not apply to Lincoln.
            2b does not apply to Lincoln.

          • Graeme Sutton

            None of them apply to Lincoln.

          • Campor

            Depends what point of view you have. 1b, 2a and 2b certainly apply if you were part of the Confederacy. The only one that wouldn’t really work would be 1a, and even then an argument could be made depending on how the law/constitution is interpreted.

          • Graeme Sutton

            The people of the confederacy are entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts. Lincoln was far from being an absolute ruler, what violations of the constitution he approved were temporary emergency measures, all but one of which was approved by congress, he also stood for re-election in the middle of a civil war in a fair election. He clearly wasn’t a usurper of sovereignty since he was the lawfully elected president of the United States in two completely fair elections, if that doesn’t qualify him as ‘not a usurper’ I don’t know what would. He didn’t exercise his power repressively or brutally, certainly nowhere near as oppressively or brutally as the leadership of the confederacy itself. None of these descriptions bear even a faint resemblance to reality. What would be your argument for Lincoln being a usurper? Where is your example of him being oppressive or brutal? If anything he was known for stepping in to reverse or commute harsh sentences and explicitly avoided dealing out harsh sentences to the leaders of the confederacy, with the sole exception being his policy of executing confederate prisoners whenever the confederacy carried out it’s policy of executing all captured black soldiers, a move that was adopted by necessity as the only way to deter the murder of his own men.

          • Campor

            ‘what violations of the constitution he approved were temporary emergency measures, all but one of which was approved by congress’

            Which could be said of any tyrant in history. Nobody is all good or all evil, and Lincoln’s actions are a pretty solid case of ‘the ends justify the means.’

            ‘he also stood for re-election in the middle of a civil war in a fair election’

            Did the confederacy get to vote? Of course not, because then he’d never have won given his side was at war with them. The only Confederate states that were allowed to vote at all were ones under Union control.

            ‘He clearly wasn’t a usurper of sovereignty since he was the lawfully elected president of the United States in two completely fair elections’

            One of the definitions of sovereignty is thus- ‘supreme and independent power or authority in government as possessed or claimed by a state or community.’ The US is made up of various states, each with their own governmental system. You hear all the time about how the Federal government is infringing on state governments with anti-gun laws, allowing same sex marriage and the like. The Civil War and the attempt to rid the country of slavery when the Confederacy valued it could easily be seen as attempting to usurp the sovereignty of the states.

            ‘He didn’t exercise his power repressively or brutally, certainly nowhere near as oppressively or brutally as the leadership of the confederacy itself.’

            He certainly did exert repressive and brutal use of his power by silencing any dissent within the Union against his actions and the actions of his administration. Just because it’s not as bad as his opponent doesn’t clear him of that charge.

            Was Lincoln a good man or an evil man? Personally I’d say he was net good, just like I’d say Allison is firmly net good. That doesn’t mean he didn’t do tyrannical things by their definition, and it doesn’t mean those tyrannical things didn’t need to happen to ensure an end result that was good for all. It means that people have to do things in reality that aren’t best for individuals or groups of people in order to help the larger group, or even specifically their group. Some of those things will be ‘bad’ from a moral standpoint even if the outcome of those actions is incredibly beneficial to the country/world at large.

          • Graeme Sutton

            All of your arguments consist of a chiseling down your definitions to the point that any government is guilty of the worst crimes. That Lincoln’s breaches of the constitution were temporary emergency measures could not be said of other tyrants, at least not honestly. Actual tyrants don’t rescind their own extraordinary powers when the crisis is passed the way Lincoln actually did, or allow themselves to be contested in fair elections the way he did. Even though the war was still in progress. Your definition of sovereignty makes any authority tyranny and your definition of repressive and brutal makes any use of power repressive and brutal. If imprisoning someone makes you brutal and repressive then every government in history has been brutal and repressive. No government tolerates open sedition in the middle of a civil war, those that do don’t survive. Given that imprisoning the supporters of the Confederacy was necessary for his government’s survival the mere fact that his government did so, and released the prisoners almost as soon as the war was over, doesn’t make him brutal or repressive. The fact that he ‘allowed’ someone to run against him in a fair presidential election should indicate that he obviously didn’t silence any dissent against him. You keep acting as if words mean whatever you want them to and they absolutely shouldn’t, it is very important that we be able to distinguish between the measures a democracy under threat must take to preserve itself and the actions a tyrant takes to suppress resistance while they take over the country and you are intentionally blurring those lines in the name of some kind of totalitarian takeover. Contrary to paranoid memes there are plenty of examples in history of democratic governments taking exceptional powers when threatened during wartime and relinquishing them peacefully when the threat is past. And when you look at those situations you can see that the patterns of the two are very different. The Union during the civil war was a society that kept it’s democracy intact through one of the most brutal civil wars in history. This is arguably Lincoln’s greatest achievement and it ought to be studied very closely to understand how it was accomplished and how we can tell the difference between emergency measures and tyranny in the future, not maligned after the fact by making an impossible perfect the enemy of the good.

          • Campor

            It strikes me that you don’t actually understand the point. The point is that to us in the present (or at least the present who think what Lincoln did was the right thing), he’s not a tyrant. To the people of his time, particularly the people who opposed him? He was most certainly a tyrant by every definition of the word. Was it tactically a good idea to imprison people who spoke against his actions or the actions of his administration? Certainly. It is also a tyrannical action. Just because it had a good outcome doesn’t mean the action itself was morally ‘good.’ And I’m not saying it had to be- Lincoln made the right choices, including the morally ‘bad’ actions.

            ‘it is very important that we be able to distinguish between the measures a democracy under threat must take to preserve itself and the actions a tyrant takes to suppress resistance while they take over the country and you are intentionally blurring those lines in the name of some kind of totalitarian takeover’

            A tyrant doesn’t just have to take things over. That’s not the title of someone who is solely in the process of taking control. It is a descriptor for someone using their power unjustly, and you said yourself that some of Lincoln’s uses of powers would be considered unjust by the Constitution. The reason it was allowed legally was because he established a state of emergency, but then you’re in the situation where sometimes the rules don’t apply to the ruler. That is a form of tyranny.

            You seem to be of the mindset that because Lincoln’s actions led to a positive outcome that somehow those actions themselves must also be positive. That’s not, and wasn’t, the case. By today’s standards, Lincoln’s actions would still be morally reprehensible (How dare Trump imprison that CNN presenter for even daring to suggest that we shouldn’t be executing prisoners?! He’s a fascist tyrant!), even though the outcome would be better for the vast majority of the country and arguably the world as a whole (Well, as despicable as Trump’s actions were, he put a stop to a global threat…).

            Perhaps it’s you who should stop making the mistake- Don’t try to whitewash historical figures. Lincoln did ‘bad’ things for a good reason, and that’s a valid viewpoint to have. That’s my viewpoint. But claiming that as a result of the outcome being good, everything he did was good? That opens the door for taking the same actions, justifying them with Lincoln’s actions and disregarding that maybe next time the ends won’t be so positive. Maybe people will use it as an excuse to further their power, becoming more of a tyrant than Lincoln was. The example of Trump shutting down and imprisoning media people for instance could very well happen if we went to war, and he could say ‘Well, Lincoln did it during the Civil War, and look how that turned out!’ But his intentions could easily be far worse. Just because Lincoln did it doesn’t justify it.

      • Lheticus Videre

        I think more that the very point that he’s making here is that John Wilkes Booth is considered the BAD GUY between the two of them.

      • crazy j

        Jefferson Davis did those things as well in order to persecute the war effort. Let us not forget exactly who bombed who’s fort that went and started the whole bloody affair to begin with.

    • motorfirebox

      In America, the ACW is generally viewed by as a war intended to end slavery. That’s… close enough to the mark that it isn’t wrong. Lincoln is viewed as sort of an anti-Hitler, a great leader who ended the terrible abuse of a race of people. That is… also close enough to the mark to not be wrong.

    • Not American, but I still think Gurwara’s point was extremely clever. It starts off looking like it is talking about John Wilkes Booth, but then inverts itself to show that the tyranny being discussed is that of Lincoln.

      Gurwara describes what Lincoln did as tyranny, and it was, but implicit in his point is that was the expected role of the tyrant in wartime. And, not stated, but the elephant in the corner, that most everyone nowadays agrees with the reasons he did it.

      His whole strategy with the duelling arguments seems to be to show Alison that there are multiple ethical points of view on whether compulsion is ever appropriate. I’m not certain how much of an immediate help that’s going to be, it’s potentially something she’ll need to work her mind around.

      (Incidentally, take a look at A Girl and Her Fed for another web-comic looking at the cost of the ACW and the effects on Lincoln, it’s a major plot point (TLDR: it drove his ghost mad, but he’s finally getting better))

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        (I can’t manage to get into the webcomic, but the Rachel Peng book series? Political science fiction gold.)

        • Absolutely, Penguin rocks! (The books deliberately don’t touch on the ghost side of the universe).

          I’d personally call them technothrillers as they’re contemporary and there’s very little extrapolitative technology apart from the cyborg chip.

    • KatherineMW

      Lincoln may not have gone to war to end slavery, but the South unequivocally and openly did go to war in order to preserve and expand slavery.

      It’s been most accurately expressed in saying that the Civil War had three sides: the South fought for slavery the Union fought for keeping the US intact, and African-Americans fought for freedom from slavery.

      Lincoln’s intent prior to secession was to prevent slavery from being expanded to the new western territories. He hoped that, without expansion, it would gradually become economically unviable and die out. The South wanted it expanded everywhere, including into the Northern states that had already banned it (the infamous US Supreme Court case, Dred Scott, stated that southern slaveowners could bring their slaves into northern free states and they would remain enslaved – which effectively overrote all laws banning slavery anywhere), which is why they seceded upon Lincoln’s election.

      Lincoln was not especially progressive even by his day’s standards. Nonetheless, his actions did play a leading role in ending slavery in the US.

    • Pythia

      Okay dude, come on. In literally the same paragraph Lincoln says:

      “I have never said anything to the contrary, but I hold that, notwithstanding all this, there is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence,—the right of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

      I mean, there’s “let’s remember he was kind of racist by today’s standards” and there’s “because he said some racist things, his fighting for the rights of people who were being oppressed and whose rights were being denied is no longer pertinent to my judgement of his character”.

      • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

        “Our republican system was meant for a homogeneous people. As long as blacks continue to live with the whites they constitute a threat to the national life. Family life may also collapse and the increase of mixed breed bastards may some day challenge the supremacy of the white man.”

        But I can’t blame you. Gurwara’s argument only works because we are to reflexively relate to Alison’s offended reaction, so a bit of defensiveness is unavoidable as well. But the real important difference is between what you say I’m doing and “finding flaws in the Epic White Men Edition of American History amounting to the tame criticism of a mere shrug.”

        • Pythia

          That’s not even a thing he said! Reverend James Mitchell said that.

          /In mid-May 1862, Lincoln received a paper from Reverend James Mitchell that laid out arguments for resettling the country’s black population:

          “Our republican system was meant for a homogeneous people. As long as blacks continue to live with the whites they constitute a threat to the national life. Family life may also collapse and the increase of mixed breed bastards may some day challenge the supremacy of the white man.”

          Mitchell went on to recommend the gradual deportation of America’s blacks to Central America and Mexico. “That region had once known a great empire and could become one again,” he stated. “This continent could then be divided between a race of mixed bloods and Anglo-Americans.” Lincoln was apparently impressed with Mitchell’s arguments. A short time later, he appointed him as his Commissioner of Emigration./

          source: http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v13/v13n5p-4_Morgan.html

          Like, dude, was he racist? YES. I’m not saying he WASN’T racist. He apparently agreed with that statement, so he was SUPER RACIST. But “hey, it’s kind of funny, this guy who helped black people have rights was pretty racist himself” is fundamentally different from “Lincoln was ACTUALLY SATAN AND HOW DARE ANYONE SAY OTHERWISE”.

          I’m all for “finding flaws in the Epic White Men Edition of American History” and I know that everything in the 19th century was SUPER RACIST and SUPER SEXIST, but there’s a difference between finding a flaw in order to add nuance and finding a flaw in order to discredit things that are true.

          For example: Gandhi had a weird… thing with his celibacy. See below.

          /In the 1940s, in his mid-seventies, he brought his grandniece Manubehn to sleep naked in his bed as part of a spiritual experiment in which Gandhi could test himself as a “brahmachari”. Several other young women and girls also sometimes shared his bed as part of his experiments./

          source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahatma_Gandhi

          And yet going “Ghandi had a weird sleeping naked with young women and girls thing, sometimes with vague to implied-nonexistent consent because authority figure” shouldn’t discredit the things he DID DO and the ways he DID HELP INDIA.

          Going “you know, this old white guy in the 19th century wasn’t all that not-racist” isn’t news, and it’s not really… insightful either (I don’t think anybody would believe that Lincoln wouldn’t freak out by Obama existing). And saying “I’m fine if Lincoln is being tortured in hell forever because he said racist things that were super common at the time” isn’t exactly “a mere shrug”.

          Again, it’s not like I /enjoy/ the Great White Men Did Everything Interesting All The Time narrative of history, but that being a shitty narrative is a good reason to go “hey guys, did you know John Edmonstone was a real freed slave who TAUGHT DARWIN TAXIDERMY and INSPIRED HIS VOYAGES?” and build up new narratives.


          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            Well, again, I feel we can tell which one of us is misguided and which isn’t in our interpretation of each other’s opinions by looking for the more measured response, which has the other absolutely freak out.

          • Pythia

            So “I’m fine with someone being tortured forever” is the more measured response by virtue of lacking all-caps sections?

          • ∫Clémens×ds 🐙

            The question was about getting riled up at someone positing the prospect that he would be to offend you, and nothing more. I’d like to remind the audience that Hell doesn’t actually exist and can’t be equated to an actual lifetime of torture.

  • Kid Chaos

    Once again, highly entertaining but not helpful. Just go with your gut, Alison; that’s the only advice I can give. 😜

    • Mechwarrior

      Alison’s gut says “screw all this philosophizing, let’s go get capecakes.”

      • Kid Chaos

        Count me in! 😁

  • AshlaBoga

    He’s pointing out that Honest Abe would match part of the description of a tyrant, but that most of us (myself included) think that Abe was justified.

    • rpenner

      A good lawyer or philosophy professor can argue from any set of axioms. The thing is, life is complicated, we don’t get to know all the consequences of our actions before we act, and inaction is itself an action. Also, humans are much better story tellers than scientists or mathematicians, so have a problem separating how they want the world to be from how it actually behaves.

      On this morning of January 20, I find it delightful that one fictional powerful American is having a serious think about the difference between truth and stories, between principled justice and acting out, between human decency and an abyss of narcissism, between the limits of what one can do and the limits of what one is prepared to do.

      Here’s hoping for a brighter season to come for Alison.

    • Graeme Sutton

      As usual Gurwara’s definition of tyrant is far too permissive. Most definitions of tyranny imply that their power is illegitimate or at least unaccountable and that they are selfish, erratic or brutal in their use of that power. Gurwara seems to consider any use of power or authority to be a form of tyranny. Lincoln’s power was both legitimate and accountable- he stood for re-election in a fair contest even in the middle of the civil war- his use of extraordinary powers was proportional, restrained and only used in order to fight against tyranny, for even if you ignore slavery the confederacy was far more tyrannical than the Union.

      • Zorae42

        Someone doesn’t know their history/didn’t process what Gurwara said. “Journalists imprisoned, Habeus Corpus suspended” are the relevant statements.

        Lincoln imprisoned any journalist that published negative things about the Union (as well as any dissenters really), and then they were never given a reason for their imprisonment (no Habeus Corpus) and stayed in jail until the war was over. He grossly violated his people’s freedom of speech/freedom of the press and Habeus Corpus is supposed to be guaranteed by the Constitution itself. He may have been elected legitimately, but hjs use of the power he gained was in no way legitimate.

        Now many argue/accept that he did what he had to in order to keep the country together (and I agree) but he definitely acted as a tyrant.

        • rpenner

          Not totally correct. Lincoln’s arrests included newspapermen who published forged presidential proclamations;


          rioters; Southern naval officers who upon returning to port, refused to fight on the side of the Union; etc. Percentagewise, they seemed far more justified than the mass interments and arrests of WWII. And while civilians were arrested, often they were citizens of slave-owning states, which in a civil war fomented on that issue is a difference with distinction.

          Did he rule in an extremely oppressive, unjust, or cruel manner over the northern states? I would say not at all, and there were no riots over suspension of habeus corpus or arrests of civilians.

          Did he rule absolutely? I would say no, since Congress’ 1863 Habeus Corpus Act was obeyed. Also, he ran for re-election in 1864.


          So John Wilkes Booth is dead. What’s _your_ definition of tyrant?

        • Graeme Sutton

          You’re grossly exaggerating. Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus in only one state, which was on the verge of open rebellion, on his own authority in order to keep the country from falling apart further. Most people imprisoned under that act were released within a year. Later in the war congress (not lincoln) passed the habeas corpus suspension act, which Lincoln only invoked in cases of POWs, traitors, spies and deserters, some of whom happened to be journalists. He didn’t imprison any journalist who said negative things about the union. One former congressman who openly supported the confederacy was tried and sentenced to prison but Lincoln intervened directly and commuted the sentence to banishment to the confederacy (in which habeas corpus was completely suspended from the very beginning of the war).

  • The Duck From p.112

    I appreciate that the man with a duck cane (an ambassador to my kind?) should share so much wisdom, but the assassination of Mallard von Quack, responsible for the emancipation of the lesser whistling duck, is no laughing matter.

    • AdamBombTV

      Yours is a rich and lush history.

      • weedgoku

        Ducks are actually horrible rapists and often necrophiliacs. I do not respect their culture.

        • rpenner

          Often?! Just what dystopian hell do you inhabit where encountering dead ducks of that oh-so-attractive state is an event which one may describe as happens “often.” If there is full-scale anti-duck warfare going on, who are you to judge the acts of lonely soldiers trapped in the trenches, far from family, with those that they recently served with just laying there, twitching randomly, and obviously in need in what little comfort a mallard untrained in medicine might give? And if the ground is not littered with the dead, then for all of their suspicious ties to Beijing (or Peking for classical duck aficionados), these maligned birds are merely potential necrophiliacs, _at best._

          Your $0.02 worth from Howard “Stern” Gurwara, the voice of AM Duckburg.

          • weedgoku

            I laughed at your post. But seriously though, ducks will gang rape each other to death and keep going at the corpse until they’re done. They’re awful, awful animals. Don’t give them bread. Give crows your bread, crows are smart and awesome.

          • MrSing

            Crows are smart enough to cover up their even more heinous crimes.
            With ducks, you know where you are standing. Crows could be doing god knows what and you’d never know.
            Don’t trust birds, keep your bread to yourself.

          • Kris Dunlap

            Give them to squirrels. Squirrels have gone down in history as a noble species with a sterling code of honor.

          • MrSing

            Oh yeah? Then why are they always hiding things?

            Always burying food under ground for the “hard times ahead”.

            What do they know that we don’t? And why don’t they share what they know? Keep your bread to yourself and bury it in a safe place.

          • Weatherheight

            I see you are familiar with the Squirrel Conspiracy…

            “Et comedet ad sciurus in nuces. Non credit quod tegit.” indeed….

          • Weatherheight

            Side note – Fun with Google Translate!
            “Let the squirrel eat his nuts. Do not trust what he buries.” becomes…
            “Et comedet ad sciurus in nuces. Non credit quod tegit.” becomes…
            “And they shall eat the squirrel in a nuts. He believes that it covers.”


          • Kris Dunlap

            Clearly squirrels are trying to teach us by example. It’s not their fault we’re to busy with our trivial distractions to notice the bigger picture.

          • Weatherheight

            Has that building always been there?

          • Weatherheight

            Do not trust the squirrels! They’re up to something!

          • phantomreader42
          • Tylikcat

            Even better, wheat thins.

          • AshlaBoga

            A crow broke it’s wing falling from its nest and my family raised it for almost a year before it flew away. We named it Fred. Fred was quite friendly and would try and do helpful things like getting us utensils if we reached for them (of course I didn’t really like the crow handing me my fork but it’s the though that counts).

          • Hawthorne

            You should have taught him to bring you drinks and opened a

            CROW BAR.

          • SJ

            (•_•) ( •_•)>⌐■-■ (⌐■_■)

          • weedgoku

            That’s amazingly cute. My only cool crow story was that once my cat found a crow nest in a giant tree in my yard. The crows chased him off. For years, fucking YEARS afterwards any time a crow in the city saw him they would just divebomb his ass. Crows are awesome and super smart birds. Also I once saw one pick up a squirrel and drop it into traffic. 10/10 best bird.

          • Izo

            A crow once tried to murder my family. I fought it off with a combination of small arms, high explosives, concussive grenades, and hand-to-hand combat. But it will be back one day. And I will be waiting. And ready.

          • weedgoku

            How does a squirrel get a hold of grenades?

          • Izo

            I should think that the ‘how’ to that question is so obvious that I need not give the answer. Everyone knows how they would.

          • Izo

            Wasn’t that the name of the crow in the Shawshank Redemption also?

          • Chani

            Ha, that reminds me, there’s a tame crow in vancouver that stole a knife from a crime scene. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/crow-knife-crime-scene-1.3600299

          • Hawthorne

            No no, give ducks bread – it’s bad for them, teaches them to eat food that doesn’t given them good nutrition, and to clump together, spreading diseases more quickly among flocks.

          • weedgoku

            I never actually knew that. Then again I don’t actually feed wild animals that often, it teaches them not to fear humans in general and that leads to animals getting hurt or hurting people by accident while looking for food.

          • Izo

            I just finished watching the episode of Superstore with the crows and I see through your crow-centric bias.

            A group of ducks is a flock. It sounds so nice and refreshing.
            A group of crows is a murder! A murder!

            I think my point has been made, and I say good day sir.

          • weedgoku

            Sometimes murder is good.

        • Nathanaël François

          Well, there are also horrible rapists and necrophiliacs among humans. Do you dismiss the entirety of humanity just because of this fact?

        • phantomreader42

          Ducks are actually horrible rapists and often necrophiliacs. I do not respect their culture.

          So Daffy has no grounds to call anyone else “despicable”, and Darkwing could secretly be a whole different kind of “terror that flaps in the night”.

        • Weatherheight

          So you’re saying the phrase “Nibbled to death by ducks” has been cleaned up a little to make it proper…?

        • Hawthorne

          Not to mention the male’s nine-inch junk that can twist through any shape and has barbs to scrub away competing sperm.

          • Kifre

            But it’s ok because lady ducks have labyrinthine vaginal passages with false paths that they can clench shut to divert unwanted mallards corkscrew junk. I guess that republican who thought that women’s body’s could shut down pregnancy resultant from rape was thinking of ducks?

          • weedgoku

            It’s like the worst spring loaded action figure ever. “Press the button and megatron fires a missile!” “Press this button and duckbot launches a horrifying corkscrew dick that can penetrate any maze!”

  • BadExampleMan

    Christ, what an asshole.

    • Arthur Frayn

      I politely disagree. In this case Gurwara is a Jerk. He is jerking Alison around until she comes to the conclusion that his arguments pro and con are all sophistry, and she has to work out her own middle ground.

      • AshlaBoga

        Then every sociology prof I ever had was a jerk. Because this is how they taught me in College.

    • phantomreader42

      Christ, what an asshole.

      Yeah, cursing a fig tree for no reason, assaulting businessmen with an improvised weapon, that whole ritual cannibalism deal, and the deeply creepy and fucked-up sadistic afterlife fantasies make that “Christ” fellow one of the biggest assholes in fiction.

    • Tylikcat

      On the off chance historical context is lost:


      • Arthur Frayn

        Thank you for pointing that out. I maintain that Gurwara is being a jerk in this case, though he was definitely being an asshole when we first met him. “Karapovsky is dead.”

        And THEN the rigged Prisoner’s Dilemma exercise. Completely an abusive asshole. The two states are not exclusive, but one becomes more prominent depending on his mood or goals.

        • Gurwara is a student of teaching as performance art. I suspect we’ll never know what he himself believes, because his job is to teach students to think, not what to believe, and he does that by constantly challenging their beliefs and assumptions with his performance. He’s the kind of teacher that’s hated in the now, but then adored for the next 50 years.

      • Weatherheight

        Thank you for making my night a bit more hilarious.
        This made me forget my joint pain for a bit – thank you! 😀

  • Silenceaux

    I appreciate that this answer to “what do you do with a tyrant” is still victim to the same moral dilemma that forced Alison to this point / to be a tyrant. (When is force or violence justified in making a person behave in a certain way, if ever?) There’s no getting away from it, is there?

    • zarawesome

      welcome to philosophy, where all goals are equal and nothing matters

    • critically_damped

      It’s almost like the only moral thing to do is to make a choice yourself that takes into account the specific considerations of the world you live, rather than letting yourself be guided by any kind of fundamentalism. Like fundamentalism *itself* is the source of evil.

      Or something.

      • Graeme Sutton

        Your anti-fundamentalist fundamentalism will be your doom.

        • Arthur Frayn

          Death to all fanatics!

          -Malaclypse the Younger

          • Preacher John

            “And watch out for the fnords!” XD

          • Elaine Lee

            Hail Eris!

  • Fluffy Dragon

    I guess… “in the fight for right, some evil must be committed.”
    the things he talks about all happened during and after the civil war… but most of us agree that the cause was just, regardless…

    • Arthur Frayn

      The US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. fought in the Civil War for the north and was wounded at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff. His experience led him to question the truth of ethics and causes, and he came to a different conclusion. In his private letters to another judge, “I have come to the conclusion that Right is what the most people are willing to kill and die for.”

      This is amazingly close to Mao’s “The truth comes out of the barrel of a gun.” Also the “superhero” Handgrenade Man in the animated show The Tick. “I don’t have any powers, I just have a grenade. It’s amazing what people will do when you tell them that!”

      OWH, Jr. was an asshole who got scared and hurt in war and adopted evil Realpolitik. The proof is in his Buck v. Bell decision where he gave carte blache to Eugenicists in the US and around the world to detain and sexually sterilize lower class people they deemed “feebleminded.”

      • Not just the lower classes, but anyone disabled or otherwise inconvenient to society – Carrie Buck was alleged to have a mental age of nine by those wanting to sterilise her, but in fact the pregnancy that led to her being confined was caused by rape by a family member, not her own behaviour. Eugenics tries to argue that if people don’t thrive,then they must be the ones at fault, not the system. The truth is always more complex.

  • Susan_Sto_Helit

    I forgot which book it was from, but essentially the quote went like this: “Whether you`re a hero or a villain, only time can tell.” In my opinion this is true about Lincoln, but also true about Alison.

    • AveryAves

      I don’t agree with this at all. It’s quite obvious to people in the time whether someone is a hero or villain, one not need the “perspective” (bias, lack of knowledge, ect) of being in a different time.
      Unless you’re talking about the way figures like Columbus and Lincoln are glorified (even though they’re often horrendous, eg Columbus being genocidal and slaving) then yeah victors write history and all that.

      • Arthur Frayn

        Did the Mongol hordes who followed Genghis Khan KNOW that running over cities like army ants was Wrong? No, they had an ethic that told them that their way was Right. Are you aware of the pointless atrocities of the Crusaders that were justified by “God Wills It”? The Confederacy fought the Union with a sense of righteousness, and the problem with the South now is that they’ve had 150 years to stew about being beaten brutally, and make up bogus justifications of States Rights.

        No, most people don’t realize their leaders are lying to them, and genuinely believe They are on the Right Side of History.

        • Mechwarrior

          It’s really, really uncommon for people to take a stance where they’ve determined that they’re the bad guys.


        • Graeme Sutton

          The fact that people are sometimes wrong about which side is the right one doesn’t imply that there is no way to be right. There are certainly people who believe trump’s the best thing since sliced bread but that doesn’t mean that there’s no way to tell who is right in the here and now.

          • Arthur Frayn

            I was disputing AveryAves’ assertion that “It’s quite obvious to people in the time whether someone is a hero or villain, one not need the “perspective” (bias, lack of knowledge, ect) of being in a different time.”

            No, it’s not quite obvious. That’s why we have culture wars of incredible ferocity. Look around you. The US just elected an impulse-control deficient con man to the highest office in the land because they believed a campaign of lies about his opponent. Voters sincerely believed that Mrs. Clinton is a corrupt monster, and either voted against her or stayed away. It was not quite obvious to half the country who was more wrong.

            And almost no one at the time (in Europe) thought the Crusades were a bad idea.

          • Plenty of people voting UKIP or Brexit and convinced Farage is a man of the people rather than an elitist racist who wants to do away with the NHS, and that BoJo, Gove et al weren’t out for what they could get (preferably the PM’s office). And the eventual winner in this Parliamentary Game of Thrones played the long game and scares me most of all. Her reputation is built on runing the Home Office (= everyone else’s Ministry of Justice), where she’s shown she always willing to sacrifice liberty and civil rights for security.

            People are alway willing to put aside the long view in favour of someone who promises them jam today.

          • Graeme Sutton

            What does this have to do with what I said? I’m not denying that some people believe stupid things I’m saying that the fact that people believe them shouldn’t make us think there’s no way to distinguish between stupid and non-stupid or that the difference between evil and non-evil is a matter of propaganda. If some people believe to a moral certainty that cats are incarnated gods that doesn’t mean that all we can say about the matter is “history will decide”. We’re still stuck looking at the evidence and drawing our own conclusion.

          • I’m agreeing with you and pointing out people will often believe charismatic politicians are right and the people to support, even when the evidence that they are lying through their teeth about their core beliefs is readily available and in their own words.

            All you have to do is smile, hold a baby or two, talk fast and loud and claim your opponents are the tools of the establishment,

            Promising to make the trains run on time never hurts either.

        • AveryAves

          And yet the cities that were run over, the victims of the crusades and the slaves all knew they were villains.
          Time doesn’t tend to change this, really. Infact I would say it adds more confusion between hero and villain
          Of course it’s true that people can often think they’re on the right side of history even if they are, simply put, absolutely evil, the “right side of history” isn’t a continually more progressive state. Because of this people that were heroes can be vilified in the eyes of history if the people they were fighting against won and seized power for the next however long.

          In short I don’t like the idea that our view on what is “right” and “wrong” in a historical event is superior just because we can look back on it, as there are always people in the time who knew it was wrong and fought against it. Society doesn’t always progress, a dark age or 1984 can happen and that will vilify heroes and glorify villains and then the villains will be on “The right side of history”

          • Pythia

            There are people who “knew it was wrong and fought against it” in the abolition of slavery, in the suffrage of women, in the French Revolution, and so on. People fight against change they think is bad, and when distance allows us to see the change as bad we cheer, and when distance allows us to see the change as good we boo.

            This isn’t to say that if, Iunno, a nazi takes over the US and rewrites history books to make WW2’s end seem like a tragedy, that it would suddenly “objectively be bad to have fought nazis” or something. Obviously not.

            It is to say, however, that people are products of the environment and they see current and past events through a lens. Knowing the consequences of something, good and bad, is difficult in a short timescale. Distance not only allows us to be “emotionally separated” from the issue, but it also allows us to see what happened then to the people.

  • Loranna

    And now, he’s pontificating the sky blue!

    When it’s -already blue!-

    Only Gurwara can make something even more of itself than it already is – though I think he sees, in Alison, a worthy successor for his multiplicitious ways (and yes, multiplicitious is a word now; take that, English language!)

    . . .You know, watching the process Alison’s going through is so, so much more fun when I’m on the outside looking in, and not the one whose old ideals are getting buffeted about like a boxer’s speedbag. Ah well ^_^


    • Weatherheight

      “You know, watching the process Alison’s going through is so, so much more fun when I’m on the outside looking in, and not the one whose old ideals are getting buffeted about like a boxer’s speedbag.”

      A buddy of mine from high school used to say “It’s all fun and games until you’re the punching bag.”. This seems to be nostalgia week…

    • Pythia

      That’s been the case since the mid 15th century. Just sayin’


      • Loranna

        Curse you, mid-fifteenth century people! You’ve won this day, but the war is far from ov –

        Oh, wait. We’re in the early 21st century now. You’ve been gone a while.

        Ahem, er . . . so, Patrick, how’s that time travel project coming along? I have an idea for the maiden voyage . . .


    • help im a bug

      you don’t know it yet but he changed it from blue to bleen

  • James Crofton

    Is this guy nuts? Probably. He is very clever, but also very crazy.

    • GreatWyrmGold

      Aren’t we all?

      • Giacomo Bandini

        Maybe very crazy, but not very clever.

    • Weatherheight

      If you feel this is crazy, I invite you to visit your state-run mental ward. There you will find truly heartbreaking craziness, on both sides of the doors.

      This is at worst eccentric, at best getting his jollies from having a willing audience at which to philosophize.

  • Charles Moore

    In my headcanon, Gurara is voiced by the same guy that voiced Father Grigori in the Ravenholm chapter of half Life. Here’s a sample: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBrfXgdeWgM

  • GreatWyrmGold

    What is the difference between a tyrant and a hero, between a terrorist and a revolutionary, a madman and a genius?
    Does history agree with you? Were you proved right in the end? Nothing more, nothing less.

    • Lostman

      Not much when you think; it’s what revolution demands of a person, and usually said revolutions are pretty much wars. And we all know how those’ work.

    • Tylikcat

      History is not known for being particularly static.

      • Lostman

        Things are revisited, heroes become villains, villains become heroes.

    • Graeme Sutton

      Well a terrorist is someone who attempts to compel a political outcome by murdering civilians, and a revolutionary is someone who attempts to overthrow the established order. Revolutionaries can be terrorists or not but there shouldn’t be any confusion between the definitions. A tyrant is someone who usurps illegitimate or unaccountable authority and uses it ruthlessly for selfish ends. Hero has multiple definitions, some of which are capable of overlapping with the definition of tyrant and some of which are mutually exclusive. A madman is someone who behaves erratically and irrationally due to mental illness or emotional instability, a genius is someone who has far greater than average ability in a particular field, again madman and genius are not the same, but not mutually exclusive either. History has little to do with it.

      • “Revolutionaries can be terrorists or not but there shouldn’t be any confusion between the definitions”

        There were plenty of Americans willing to insist the Provisional IRA were ‘freedom fighters’, even while they were blowing up shopping centres.

        And how many Americans remember the ‘founders of the nation’ hounded the Amercan Loyalists?

        • Lostman

          It’s all about point of view; Max clearly views Alison as a terrorists, or at least threat to his survival. I would use a real world example of whats going on now, but it may cause a flame war…

        • Graeme Sutton

          How does that contradict my statement? It is possible for revolutionaries to also be terrorists, but that doesn’t make them the same thing. Just as it is possible for a cardiologist to be a rapist but that doesn’t mean that the difference between cardiologists and rapists a matter of propaganda.

          • It doesn’t, it just elaborates on it to emphasise that you can be both at once, and using a couple of examples that should be familiar to a predominantly American audience.

      • GreatWyrmGold

        “Terrorist” has been defined many ways. And let’s be honest, plenty of revolutions are hard on the civilians.
        And it should be obvious that I’m focusing on the situations where there’s ambiguity. Some kind of ambiguity is almost always present, even if it’s not the specific kinds I mentioned.

  • Robert

    At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters is yours, the only feelings that matter are yours, the only wants and needs to be considered are yours. You may choose to entertain the opinions, feelings, wants and needs of others, but that is simply your choice, based on your feelings, opinions, wants and needs. There is no altruism… altruism is a lie.

    I have bread, you do not. You want the bread. Only three scenarios exist. 1. I eat the bread. 2. I share the bread. 3. You take the bread.

    The fun is in the process of decisions and actions leading to the result. Will I eat the bread alone? Very self serving in the short term, but I may need you later, so maybe I should share it. Or perhaps I pity you, and wish no longer to feel the pity, but feel the glow I feel when I’ve done something I consider “nice”. Do I share the bread? How much do I give you? Now I get to weigh your value to me, and compensate you for that value mmm power. Oh? You’re going to TAKE my bread? Now I get an adrenaline rush as we contest ownership of the bread, and one of us is going to get to feel superior.

    It devolves to power, and the exercise of power. We all wish the power to order our own existence. Conflict naturally arises when one person attempts to extend their power to cover another.

    That is, in my opinion, what this is about. When is it OK to use YOUR power to compel compliance in another?

    The RIGHT answer? When you want to.

    Argue all you want, but that is what it distills down to. Whatever debate, whatever justification, whatever argument you use to back up your decision is how to “sell” your choice, and obtain compliance short of violence.

    Do what you want. Expect resistance. It is that simple.

    • Arthur Frayn

      Altruism is not a lie, Ms. Rand.

      Humans are a social animal, and if you don’t believe it spend some time in total solitude -at least a week or a month. Most of us healthy human animals have a thing called “theory of mind,” which leads to sympathy for others. Not an argument, just anthropology.

      • Oren Leifer

        Don’t even get me started on Ms. Rand. She lived off donations to her foundation and just lived wildly in opposition to her philosophy. I think she just couldn’t deal with the culture shock of altruism existing.

        • StClair

          Well, she also lived through a revolution where people were having everything they had taken from them “for the common good” (in practice, for the good of those in charge, as is often the case). That sort of thing tends to affect people’s thinking, often for the worse. As for her attempts to spin and reframe her nicotine addiction as something admirable, that I just find sad and pathetic.

          Neither of the above excuses her general hypocrisy, IMO. Or her insistence – delusional, if she actually believed it – that her biases were objective fact.

    • Whenever anyone in any comments section says, “It is that simple,” I have to laugh. What they usually mean is “it is that simple TO ME.”

    • motorfirebox

      Ugh. Grow up, dude.

      • phantomreader42

        Has any Randroid EVER grown up? Their whole philosophy is built on make-believe and denial of reality, and their goddess lived by mooching off everyone else while babbling about the virtue of self-reliance. Even their cult’s FICTION can’t work without flagrant violation of the laws of physics.

    • motorfirebox

      To expand on my previous comment, the problem with Objectivism is that it’s not particularly revelatory to note that, yes indeed, humans have motivations for doing the things we do. And while it’s fine to be aware of that fact, it’s just plain silly to make the leap from “all human action stems from motivation internal to the human performing it” to “all human motivation is equal”. Humans are, as the poster below me noted, literally social animals. We are built, on a biological level, to act in groups. Somehow all of the accomplishments that humans manage to achieve working together—compared to the zero accomplishments of note that any person has made with absolutely no assistance or external input from others—never seems to make much of a dent on Objectivists.

      • Arthur Frayn

        Um, on my screen my comment (8 hours ago) is not below yours (6 hours ago), but your points are well made. Even Isaac Newton, who revolutionized physics and higher mathematics working mostly in his head, coined the phrase “Standing on the shoulders of giants,” giving credit to his predecessors and peers. True, he fought bitterly with Leibnitz over their simultaneous creation of the calculus, but that’s another story.

    • Flesh Forge

      Good analogy! Maybe if I only have bread I should kill the other person so I can eat their flesh too, that might go good with the bread.

  • Lysiuj

    Has anyone noticed he seems to shift from talking about Booth to talking about Lincoln? In a sense each of them resorted to violence to force his way of thinking on the nation. So when does an elected leader become a tyrant, and when does an ordinary citizen become akin to a tyrant?

    • Oren Leifer

      And the interesting thing is the phrase used. “Sic Semper Tyrannis” is the abbreviation of a longer phrase that means “Death will always come to tyrants”, but the phrase “sic semper tyrannis” literally translates as “thus [there are] always tyrants”, which in this came could mean that in a way there will always be tyrants, whether Alison or others leveraging their power to make themselves the sole arbiters of many others’ lives.

      • ampg

        No, it means, “Thus always to tyrants” (tyrannis is the ablative form). You’re right that the death part is implied, so you have to know the context to get the full meaning, but that makes sense in this conversation.

    • He’s always talking about Lincoln, he just lures us into thinking he’s talking about Booth. Superb bit of writing (and drawing).

  • Walter

    Careful Alison!

    No-coat-Guwara is just distracting you with his jibber jabber while coat-on-Guwara gets up to who knows what!

  • Pol Subanajouy

    Man he’s good at zigging when I expect him to zag.

  • Darkoneko Hellsing

    Ah, this requires more knownledge is USA history than I’m used to.

    • motorfirebox

      To be fair, most American’s don’t really know the parts of history that Gurwara is talking about, either.

      • Chris Hubbard

        I admit I was unaware of the journalist part, but the rest is pretty commonly known, if dramatically stated.

  • Superfrick

    So… considering what day today is, I’ll just leave this right here. I’m sorry for the quality, I snapped it mid-framing and my workroom doesn’t have the best lighting. http://imgur.com/yMB1DXU

  • Matrix

    Ah, Perspective. How the landscape changes with your point of view. While it is not entirely, “The ends justify the Means.” type of argument, it is similar. It is more like an equation: Amount of Relative Good happens for a certain amount of bad. Does the Good vastly out weigh the Bad? On both amount and quality. In the case of forcing Max to amp Feral: One person was going though assisted torture of self and body to save thousands of people’s lives, feeling it was her duty to commit this crime and that the pay off was worth it. Now you have someone that can free her but wont for the simple reason that he doesn’t want to and it could put him at risk of having a crime his mother committed coming to light. That crime (or at least my impression of the portrayal is that it was a crime to not report super powers in your child. Nothing official on that that I can see) and now enter Allison. Someone that commits a crime of temporary kidnapping, assault, and forced labor (using his power) and even extortion (of keeping the crime a secret) in order to help one person and by extension Thousands more (as it becomes more efficient to harvest Feral’s gifts). Then she returns Max, making the kidnaping charge inconsequential as he is no longer kidnapped but she remains guilty of the forced labor and assault. If it was the government that did it he might (pending the circumstances) sue them and get a form of financial compensation, both something that he doesn’t want and doesn’t truly need being rich. I mean how often have governments forced people with specialized skills to use them to help others? Answer: All the time with no remorse on doing so, even guilting people into “Volunteering”. In another sense, If she was an official government employee and given some broad powers of discursion what she did could be entirely legal and moral.
    See, Just a different perspective. But being a private citizen it becomes more complicated. She is struggling with the moral implications and now has a startling realization: She CAN do these things with immunity. She does terrify others with the power that she COULD use on them. It is like the hunter with a firearm suddenly realizing that he CAN go to work with the gun and “solve some problems” with other people having no ability to stop him, unless they kill him. But Allison doesn’t even have that limiting factor as she is bullet proof and strong enough to break through most prisons and can fly. So how do you contain her power (a superman problem to be sure) should she “go bad”. The short answer is you don’t. For people with that level of power, we can hope that morals and “doing what is right” will restrain them and hope that the definition of “doing what is right” in her mind and her thoughts matches up with social’s views.
    Any form of “Rights” or document proclaiming rights is a cleaver fiction. A fiction that is supported by society. The debate between CAN and SHOULD continues. The simple fact remains that she physically CAN do these things. Does it make it “right”? People often confuse moral behavior for possible behavior.
    I like Gwarra and how he is presenting a complex argument and it is obvious that he has only begun to teach, this is the pause for the student to start to put the pieces together and form structure that he may yet break apart to show that it is a house of cards, try using bricks.

    • Graeme Sutton

      He wasn’t primarily concerned with exposing his mother’s crime, he was concerned (correctly, given Allison’s actions) that once people learned about his powers he would have a massive target on his back and no way to protect himself. Since the first person to learn about his powers kidnapped him and forced him to use his powers on her behalf it’s hard to say he was wrong to worry about that.

      • J4n1

        And tortured him.
        Let’s not forget the torture, and the murder threat.

        The whole scenario is roughly on the level of “FTL drive that uses live human babies as fuel”, sure, maybe in this situation torture and kidnapping might be ok (they weren’t).
        But how relevant is it to anything in the real world?

        • Let me mention Yoon Ha Lee’s ‘Ninefox Gambit’, where the FTL drive is powered by regular, civilisation-wide torture of ‘criminals and heretics’. ‘Raven Stratagem’ is out next month (IIRC) and may come even closer.

          And also Ursula K Le Guin’s ‘Those Who Walk Away from Omelas’, where a civilisation’s utopia is based on the torment of a single child.

      • Matrix

        True, sorry I forgot about the target part too. Actually, It wasn’t the first person. Remember she did get a file on him. The other thing to think on it is only one generation that were Supers. So anybody needing buffed are all of the same approximate age. If the boosting is permanent then he would only need to do it a finite number of times. For good or bad.

    • Zac Caslar

      Paragraphs, mate. Please.

  • Philip Bourque

    That’s what happens when you have power and choose to wield it; you will find people in opposition to you. Whether you are a hero or villain lies solely in the eyes of those observing you. History is written by the winners.

  • Smithy

    Of course, that’s the core issue isn’t it?
    By always tiptoeing around others sensibilities, by being careful and diplomatic, it is so easy to fall into complete inaction. True, you’ll never be wrong, but then will you ever truly change anything?
    By taking the bold choices that you think need to be made, you’ll probably vex people, even hurt some. But then, you might actually change the world, for better or worse. Sometimes you’ll make mistakes, but sometimes you might actually do the right thing.

    The question is, at the end of the day which one would you rather live with?

    • MrSing

      I think that finding a good balance between rushing in and doing something for the sake of doing something, damned be the consequences, and always pondering and weighing this against that while never doing something to help is what most people should strive for.

      • Smithy

        True, that is what we are to strive for, but sadly sometimes there’s no time to ponder, and though we can weigh consequences, it is often difficult to fully apprehend them until they start coming into effect.

        • MrSing

          Ah, but the same is true for the other side. Sometimes we do have to take time to think our actions through, no matter how some people might claim there is no time.

  • JohnTomato

    Was the prof a dictator when he was a younger man?

  • Jeremy

    I love her facial expressions in all the art today – they really communicate her emotions.

  • Weatherheight

    Am I the only one who saw panel six today and heard Gary Coleman pop up saying “Whatchu talking ’bout, Willis?”

    Just me? Okay….

  • Mechwarrior

    Unrelated to this page, but I just had a quote from a comic book I follow that I felt like sharing today:

    “They’re not your people, they’re not your anything. They’re ordinary citizens who went insane and put you in charge. Any day they’ll wake up, realize what they’ve done, and kill themselves. Suicide by face-palm”.

    • Lostman

      Batman I take it?

      • AshlaBoga

        I’ve seen that in a Transformers comic where Starscream (yes I know, oh god why him?) got elected leader of Cybertron. But it might be a reuse of another older comic.

        • Mechwarrior

          Nope, that’s the one.

      • Mechwarrior

        Rodimus (previously known as Hot Rod, renamed due to copyright reasons) to Starscream in Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye.

        • Lostman


  • Graeme Sutton

    Strictly speaking it was the south that resorted to violence.

  • Ophidiophile

    Forget wanting to be an actor; this guy’s a ham.

  • Martin Cohen

    Today, everything is about Trump.

  • Roman Snow

    I think this conversation has redeemed the weird way the classroom scene was handled.

  • AshlaBoga

    I just realized something, I don’t know if he’s referring to Lincoln here.

    He says MILLIONS dead, but when I google it, the American Civil War had 620,000 casualties.
    As a Canadian, is there some context to the casualties that I’m missing?

    • Google itself says 620,000 is the originally cited figure for military deaths in service, it doesn’t count deaths from wounds that occurred after discharge, nor deaths of slaves and other civilians. A figure of 850,000 military dead was calculated from the 1870 census and modern estimates are that the figure should be at least 750,000, with civilian casualties on top, giving a total of somewhere over a million.

      And Gurwara’s a performance philospher, not a military historian. He’s allowed to exaggerate for effect.

      • AshlaBoga

        Thanks for the numbers 🙂

  • Izo

    Wow. Calling Lincoln a tyrant. And basing it on John Wilkes Booth’s statement. That’s some real BS and ignorance of history there. Congrats.

    • Denimcurtain

      The twisting of history by sharing it from the perspective of John Wilkes Booth while making it applicable to Booth himself is the point…

      • Izo

        Well heck, might as well use the same idiotic argument for Hitler as for JWB. The point is that Lincoln was NOT a tyrant by ANY stretch of the imagination from anyone who has even the slightest understanding of history (which apparently is not the case here) – JWB was essentially a failed actor turned terrorist.

        Sorry, this entire argument and INCREDIBLY false equivalency really ticks me off.

        • No one is defending Booth, but we do have the knowledge of history to understand why the description of Lincoln as tyrant is not just fitting, but mandatory.

          Being a tyrant is not necessarily a bad thing. At least not historically. It was in fact about the highest accolade a civilization could give a man – we trust you with absolute power (and to give it up afterwards*).

          * And there was the rub.

          • AshlaBoga

            Yep, back in Ancient Greece it was originally a neutral term. It just meant you had unfettered power.

          • Izo

            “No one is defending Booth,”

            Actually, Gurwara is specifically defending Booth as standing up to a tyrant, which itself is an absolute lie, since Lincoln did not act in a tyrannical fashion, went to war as a LAST resort, and was still subject to the Constitution for what he could and could not do during war. He did not WANT to go to war, and literally tried everything to preserve the Union without going to war. He was literally backed into it when the Southern states started seceding.

            “but we do have the knowledge of history to understand why the description of Lincoln as tyrant is not just fitting, but mandatory.”

            Actually, anyone who has even a rudimentary understanding of history knows that the description of Lincoln as tyrant is not even remotely fitting, and shows a stunning ignorance of undisputed and well-documented facts in order to force a moral that the end justifies the means and that even good people are tyrants. If you think that Lincoln was a tyrant because he preserved the union by going to war with the southern states that seceded, you don’t know history. It sets up an idiotic false equivalency that’s easily shown to be inaccurate in every conceivable way when you make even a half-hearted comparison.

            “Being a tyrant is not necessarily a bad thing.”

            Actually, being a tyrant IS a bad thing if you care even a little about personal liberty. Which is something the US was founded on. If you don’t care about personal freedom? Well…. you missed your opportunity with other Alison-esque leaders like Kim Jong Il, Stalin, and Hitler.

            ” At least not historically.”

            Again, historically being a tyrant is a horrible thing for the population if you care even the slightest bit about living in a free society. In fact, you wouldnt be able to talk like you are on a forum like this under a tyrant. It’s the great irony that the people who want a strongman tyrant leader are the ones who would most likely be first on the chopping block once a strongman tyrant leader took power.

            “It was in fact about the highest accolade a civilization could give a man – we trust you with absolute power (and to give it up afterwards*).”

            I know you’re trying to quote the movie Gladiator in order to try to paint Ancient Greece as ‘good tyranny’ – but actual history proves otherwise. Tyrants almost never voluntarily step away from power, barring fear of revolution by the people (or actual revolution by the people). Honestly it never worked out that way ANYWHERE until George Washington, and the US put many limitations ON the President so he or she did NOT have unfettered power, actually. It’s called Separation of Powers and the US Constitution, which specifically does NOT give the President absolute power. Even in wartime, during which the President has the most power. Still not absolute.

          • No, he’s not defending Booth, he’s illustrating the true nature of Lincoln and that being a tyrant may be morally necessary. Much the same points he’s making about Lincoln could also be leveled at FDR or Churchill, both of whom used censorship and internment without trial, yet are accepted as positive examples of wartime leadership.

            The model of tyranny you need to be looking at is not the solely negative modern one, but the archaic one in which tyrants could be popularly installed absolute rulers (note the ‘could’). The history is distinctly mixed, but there are examples such as Hiero II of Syracuse who demonstrate that the tyrant could be a popular and effective ruler. The position of dictator in Republican Rome was essentially that of a tyrant with his powers and term of office more precisely dictated and was used successfully from the 6th to the 3rd century BC. The revived 1st Century BC dictatorships of Sulla and Caesar were not typical of the original model and ultimately destroyed the republic.

          • Izo

            “No, he’s not defending Booth, he’s illustrating the true nature of Lincoln and that being a tyrant may be morally necessary.”

            No, he is, in idiotic fashion, making a false equivalency that what Alison did is the same as Lincoln in the Civil War, so as to claim that Lincoln is a tyrant, and therefore Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, assassinated a tyrant. So either he’s making one of two moronic arguments. Either that 1) he’s defending Booth because Booth killed a tyrant (which he did not do, since Lincoln was not a tyrant and only an idiot who does not have the slightest comprehension of history would think that), or 2) he’s saying that tyranny is/can be a good thing. Which means he, and by extension anyone who believes that, has no concept of what civil and personal liberty, and is essentially a fascist in mentality.

            “Much the same points he’s making about Lincoln could also be leveled at FDR or Churchill, both of whom used censorship and internment without trial, yet are accepted as positive examples of wartime leadership.”

            In other words, all the points he made about Lincoln would make just as little sense being made to FDR or Churchill. I can’t stand false equivalencies.

            “The history is distinctly mixed, but there are examples such as Hiero II of Syracuse who demonstrate that the tyrant could be a popular and effective ruler.”

            Try living under a tyrant and have an opinion that differs from said tyrant, then tell me that. The hilarious thing I always find with people who excuse fascist behavior if the fascist behavior happens to suit their current opinion is that they don’t realize, or perhaps don’t care, that unless YOU are the tyrant, you will eventually fall under his or her heel.

            “The model of tyranny you need to be looking at is not the solely negative modern one,”

            You are aware that if we’re going to go back to the ancient world, it was quite brutal by modern standards. AND not even considered atypical. Saying a tyrant was popular back then just means people didn’t want to die by criticizing the tyrant’s rules.

            “The history is distinctly mixed, but there are examples such as Hiero II of Syracuse who demonstrate that the tyrant could be a popular and effective ruler. ”

            You can say the same thing about HItler. If you happen to be of aryan descent. That’s the thing about tyrants. They’re great for the people who they favor and agree with him, and horrible for anyone else.

            The very notion of saying that Lincoln was a tyrant literally means Gurwara, or the author, does not know what a tyrant means.

          • Your whole argument is based on refusing to accept that tyrant (and dictator) was not originally an implicitly negative term, and that calling Lincoln a tyrant is not condemning him, but legitimate exploration of the nuance of his rule. Or is there some tyranny that insists Lincoln’s actions not be questioned?

            Gurwara is demonstrating to Alison that there is nuance to tyranny, or absolute rule if you prefer. You’ve been insisting for weeks that Alison should be challenged over the ethics of what she did, along comes Gurwara to do just that, and you don’t like his argument.

            You mentioned Gladiator a couple of messages ago, accusing me of getting my history from that. Maximus can’t be an exploration of the role of the Roman dictator because he’s about 4 centuries too late and we’re in Imperial Rome, not Republican. But one of the acknowledged models for Maximus is Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who was Roman dictator in 458 BC and he forms the model of the Roman dictator in its ideal form. With Rome’s field army surrounded and besieged by the Aequi, the Senate decided they needed a dictator with absolute powers and elected Cincinnatus in his absense for a term of 6 months. Reportedly they found him ploughing his fields when they went to tell him. He assembled a relief force, counter-besieged the Aequi, defeated them and imposed a merciful settlement, all within 15 days. And then he handed back the dictatorship, not waiting for his six months to be up, no matter he had supposedly been reduced to near penury.

            There’s a slightly less well attested story that he then did exactly the same thing in 439 BC, resigning after 21 days.

            There are questions about how accurate the stories are, but what’s not in
            question is that the later Romans regarded Cincinnatus as the very model
            of how a dictator should behave, i.e. they believed it was possible to dictator and a popular and good ruler.

            BTW: If you think Hitler was an effective ruler you really do need to brush up on your history. The Third Reich’s war machine was spectacularly incompetent at the strategic level and largely responsible for Germany’s defeat. Hitler was directly responsible for much of that, and indirectly responsible for everything else.

        • Denimcurtain

          You’re missing the point still. Its a critique of false equivalency by providing JWB’s perspective and then turning it on its head. He cleverly provides a perspective of someone who took action against a tyrant and then showed that the action taken doesn’t hold up under its own rubric.

    • Look up the historical ‘tyrant’ job description.

  • pidgey

    …Is he talking about Lincoln or JWB?

    If he’s talking about Lincoln, then there are plenty of people who wouldn’t see his tirade as ironic at all (although I suppose it’s fair to say Alison definitely wouldn’t be one of them). If he’s talking about JWB, then I’m not sure what his point is besides “hypocrisy is funny”.

    If this is all leading up Alison deciding that Max ought to be trussed up by her and lead around by the nose on a mission of mercy to all the strangers in the world, I’m going to be pretty disgusted.

    • Stewart

      That is the interesting thing. In a way he is talking about both.

  • Izo

    The exceedingly dumb moral of the story trying to be forced here like a square peg through a round hole (which I sadly predicted would be the case) – Alison is like Lincoln and it’s a good thing to force people against their will, and liberty and freedom is overrated for the personal beliefs of what one person believes to be the greater good.

    No. Alison’s not Lincoln. Alison, at least in mentality of ‘might makes right’ is more like Stalin. Or Pavelic. Or Hitler.

    Now watch someone who has no concept of history try to compare Lincoln to Hitler.

    • weedgoku

      Lincoln was a man who had to do something drastic because there were no alternatives left. The south would never budge on slavery and made that abundantly clear, they were willing to tear the country apart rather than let go of it.

      Alison didn’t even try, jumping straight to violence after a plea of “But you should” didn’t work. She is the worst negotiator in the world and comparing her to Lincoln is a genuine insult.

      • Izo


      • Lostman

        People do bad things, sometimes they do it to believe that it’s for the right reason. There argument to be made over what, or not regardless of government action as farming was becoming more industrialized. Fact fun: there was a machine that of made a part of the cotton farming a lot more easier. Then again, the south refused to change with the times; as the civil war rage on. The more industrialized north had the clear advantage over the rural farming south.

        Meaning that slavery was on the way out, no matter what the southern states. It just going to show that one must change with the times, then again that change is never easy.

        • weedgoku

          They wouldn’t have let go of slavery just because they weren’t useful as farm equipment anymore. They certainly wouldn’t have let them go free as independant human beings.

    • Stewart

      I think the moral getting got at is more that tyranny is not inherently wicked. That use of force to achieve goals has existed in human society since it’s dawn and has been. Integral in the greatest and worst of our accomplishments as a species. Power is not by its nature evil, use of power is how we have achieved the quality of living we now experience.

      From my perspective, forcing action on those who can serve the greater good but choose not to is actually a good thing. The sticky side of the situation is that there is no person or organization which can be trusted to infaliably make the correct decisions for the greater good. Any attempt at control is doomed to make mistakes, which through the lense of the violence used to ennact that attempt is inexcusable. I think that this is important to stress to Allison at this juncture.

    • Michael Smith

      Do you honestly feel okay calling her Hitler and Stalin? Do you not see how obnoxious that is? How incredibly absurd?
      It is not okay to make those comparisons. It’s obscene to be throwing these comparisons around. Don’t worry. I’m not going to explain how comparing a heroic young woman–who is making reasonable moral compromises in order to save countless lives–to genocidal maniacs who murdered millions is insane. You’re just impervious to that logic. Also, that is not a personal attack. I know, that’s your go-to comeback. To call any response a personal attack. IT’s not personal that I find your comments unbelievably irresponsible. Do you realize that you just compared her to HItler? Have you said that out loud? Especially at this moment, when the rise of Trump has meant the rise of nazis and neo-nazis everywhere, you have the audacity to compare her to Hitler?
      I don’t know how you can act like that. Feel free to now dogmatically throw out your alternative facts.

    • Stephanie

      I think that’s a severe misinterpretation of the page. Gurwara’s point is not “you are Lincoln, it’s all good.” He’s casting Lincoln and JWB, both people who used violence to force their way of thinking on others, as two sides of the same tyrannical coin. He demonstrates how even a policy of destroying tyrants has an element of tyranny in it. From this, he’s clearly leading into some more complex point than “Alison is Good” or “Alison is Evil”–we’ll find out what in the next few hours.

      I think your expectation that the writer is going to push a specific “dumb moral” is biasing your reading.

  • Dawn Smashington

    Masterful trolling, Guwara.

    But is he speaking satirically of Lincoln, or is he alluding to whatever scarred-up past he has, or both? Guwara having personally put down a tyrant once would be fun.

    In any case, that’s some Joker-level chuckles right there. I’m still betting Guwara edges into the “villain” category.

  • Flesh Forge

    Did she tell him she tore up a check for twenty five million dollars that she could have instead used to do concrete good and save lives all over the world, because she was mad at a guy who failed to flatter her correctly?

    • Zac Caslar

      Do you think he would care?

      • Flesh Forge

        He literally and philosophically patted her hand so probably not, but it’s a lot more satisfying to beat up rich libertarian shitbirds than it is to build hospitals and schools and feed starving people I guess.

    • Arklyte

      “Menace” wasn’t trying to flatter her, he literary used his powers to tell exactly the things she’d hate him for because he’s afraid of getting close to her. Besides it’s a check, it means that money weren’t transfered from his account and he might have spent them EXACTLY on doing the things you’ve mentioned. Or rather provoking other people into action and concentrating on the reasons people are starving, not educated and no one helps them… though he’s probably going through mental breakdown and facial surgery still.

      • Flesh Forge

        Oh I agree Patrick knew what he was saying and how she’d react (he’s an instinctive mindreader, it wouldn’t make sense otherwise) but -Allison- doesn’t know that, or she wouldn’t have been so shitty in response. And you’re right, Patrick could do positive things with his wealth, but that’s not the point – Patrick’s a villain, Allison’s supposed to be the hero. She threw twenty five million dollars in the trash out of principle (?) and instead went and did an objectively evil thing because …. ???

        • Beroli

          You’re saying that she can’t actually have realized something she explicitly spelled out realizing in the strip sequence in question because your disapproval of her reaction is so strong that you take for granted that it was based on failure to realize something you realize.

          • Flesh Forge

            I went back and re-read those pages and I don’t see anything to make me revise my opinion ¯_(ツ)_/¯

          • AshlaBoga

            She admits she realizes he’s trying to make her angry, but she also decides that his “philosophy” is what he actually believes. I suspect he didn’t believe half the stuff he said, and that it was all part of the effort to make her distance herself from him. Hence why he didn’t dodge at the end, he had accomplished his goal of pushing her away, but felt bad so he didn’t dodge.

          • Flesh Forge

            I agree she understood WHAT he was doing, but it seems pretty clear to me that she didn’t understand why, or didn’t trust her own suspicion of why.

  • I just love Alison’s expression in panel 3 after Gurwara’s ‘sic semper tyrannis’

  • Chris Hubbard

    Oh my god he is trolling her to the brink of insanity! Im starting to think he wants to be punted into low earth orbit.

  • Arklyte

    Don’t know if it’s pointless to write it as next page will come out right after this most likely and discussion will switch there plus don’t know how many already pointed it out and countered it, but:
    There ARE categories of people who’re judged for inaction. Ship captains for example. It is their duty to save people or otherwise they can go to jail. It’s in he law. Because when your place is higher in hierarchy to the point when your inaction can endanger dozens or even hundreds of lifes, inaction IS widely considered a crime then it seems. Same goes for military, police, doctors and many others, I guess though it might not be written in law like in previous example. Al’s powers put her in position where thousands of lifes are dependent on her choices so she’s automatically put into same category. Max on the other hand becomes a passenger on the cruise liner opposing saving other people because they’re going to ruin his vacation. So all in all, society is expecting Al to act, but will then allow Max and other passengers to sue her for ruined vacation:D
    Truth is that there is no right answer and Al is overstressing herself even if her reasoning on both doing it and hating herself for it is right at the same time. There might have been a third option, but it wasn’t much different in outcomes.

    • Flesh Forge

      If that’s how it works then she should go take all the wealth from rich people and end world hunger and poverty.

      • MrSing

        A society where freedom can only be found in poverty.

      • Arklyte

        Well, if you know what she should do then be my guest, because as I’ve stated before, there isn’t an easy and proper option as far as I see.

      • Arklyte

        And yes, when seen not from eyes of first world country citizen, she probably should:P

      • palmvos

        sadly the solution is unnecessary and ineffective.
        we produce enough food to feed the hungry now. the issue is distribution. remember, food has been a weapon of sorts for a long long time.
        and in reality poverty is a relative measure- in the US few people live in what much of the world would consider poverty, yet we have poor here, and many need help they do not get.so take the wealth from the wealthy…. and little will be accomplished except a very small group of people may get a rapid education in some areas of life they haven’t had before. here’s the kicker- I saw somewhere that they estimate that if you did equalize the wealth of the world… in a depressingly short time it would be back into an order much like we have now. so taking all the wealth from rich people will end neither hunger nor poverty. it will just kill a fair number of people.

        • Flesh Forge

          These answers miss the point, I was being sarcastic – if it is justified for Allison to coerce Max into acting for the common good, then holy fucking shit there’s a lot of other coercion to get on with aside from the magic fairy dust scenario of Feral and organ transplants. Tens of millions of people are literal slaves, forced to work, no basic freedom and paid no wage. Hundreds of millions of people are starving. These are not glamorous problems but a flying, invulnerable, superhumanly strong person could absolutely effect real, meaningful change there – just have to figure out which people to torture to get it done.

          • Stephanie

            OK, maybe she should, then.

      • AshlaBoga

        There’s enough food in the world to feed everyone.
        The issue isn’t quantity it’s distribution.

        To distribute food you need transportation and labour. So the best way would be to give the food to local governments that would give it to their citizens.

        But in many countries (North Korea, Somalia) starving people who don’t support your corrupt rules is a method of political control. So those governments would need to be toppled to feed their people. And once you topple them you have to replace them lest something worse take their place. So you’d have to essentially take over the world…

        Like Patrick.

  • Arkone Axon

    …I’m hoping that the next page will point out that Gurwara is well aware that all of those points are actually part of the package of thin justifications offered by Confederate apologists (along with “states rights”) and that blaming Lincoln starts with ignoring the fact that the Confederates were the first to attack with the “War of Northern Aggression.” Otherwise it will be clear that, whatever else he might be, he’s NOT a professor of history…

    • Axel_Celosar

      I think it’s more he’s just being dramatic to try to explain Booth’s motivations and how it’d seem justifiable to a guy like him to murder Lincoln.

      • Arkone Axon

        I hope so. And… yeah, that would make sense. To point out how people rationalize their actions, lie to themselves and ignore inconvenient facts to justify misdeeds.

  • bryan rasmussen

    wow, time-traveling super-mutated Patrick knew Lincoln!

    • weedgoku

      He actually came from the future where they cloned lincoln and he was raised by clone double hitler, so he started world war six to free everyone from their inferior genes.

  • Stewart

    An interesting take on the nature of Tyranny. Isn’t all action taken to compel others with violence as a threat tyranny? Yet at the same time aren’t those actions fundamental to maintaining the fabric of human society? The question is, who holds the power and with what justification?

    I am interested in hearing what the comic’s creators think about this subject. I personally fall on the side of thinking that indiduals are responsible for doing the greatest good they can accomplish. In Allison’s case I believe she was justified in what she did, she saw a way to improve the world and made it happen. If people got hurt in the course of achieving that goal then it was regrettable but necessary.

    • AshlaBoga

      It’s a classic political science/philosophy question.

      Hobbes would say that we need a strong leader to prevent canis canem edit, but one must remember that Hobbes never lived to see any successful democracies (that I’m aware of).

  • Danygalw

    How much did she tell him about the details of this? Like. A lot more than I’d expected.

  • Jordan Hiller

    I can’t decide what this guy actually does: teach philosophy or be a professional troll.

    • palmvos

      can’t he be both?

      • Jordan Hiller

        Of course

  • weedgoku

    So serious question; how drunk is this guy you think? Daily double; What is in that flask?

    • Mechwarrior

      Romulan Ale.

  • RobNiner ♫

    Tyrant would make a great supervillain name for Alison.

    • AshlaBoga

      Tyrant and Menace would a be a terrifying team.

  • He’s really taking her over the bumps, isn’t he?