sfp 6 70 for web

Hey gang, I’ve been traveling for the last week and have had limited internet, so comments have been slow to be approved – things should be back to normal by Wednesday!


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  • Matthew Dowd

    So which joke is more appropriate, something about White Flight in urban areas or something about Flight Privilege?

  • EthernetGuru

    That departure is long over due.

  • Kid Chaos

    *sigh* Goodbye, Rich Boyfriend; easy come, easy go. 😜

  • Thatoneguy

    Theeeeeeerre we go… took ya long enough. Dam girl…

  • pleasechangemymind

    “I can’t fly!”
    “Really? Why did you choose that?”

    BOOM. Also, everyone who totally called the whole Randian everything-is-self-interest-and-altruism-is-a-lie thing: I clink your glass and nod in solidarity and understanding. What a grade A fartknuckle.

    • Izo

      Why are people continually calling it ‘Randian’ as if Ayn Rand was some sort of awful person? I’ve only read Anthem by Ayn Rand (required for high school reading) but it was a good book, all about individuals vs the evils of an oppressive, Orwellian statism. Felt a lot like some modern movies like The Hunger Games, Divergeant, The Giver, The Island, etc.

      I somehow think that a lot of people who are acting like Ayn Rand is the devil might never have even read a book that she wrote – more like they read analyses of her books from a certain viewpoint of the reviewer. At least, that’s what it’s seeming like from the comments. Then again I havent read any Ayn Rand books other than Anthem (which apparently was one of her earlier works – and a really good read) – I probably should read Atlas Shrugged since I heard that was a good book too (havent even seen the movie)

      What I do know about Ayn Rand is that she believed in classic liberalism, in which individual rights are paramount, and the initiation of force as immoral. She grew up in Russia, which very likely forged her opinions about why statism, fascism, and collectivism were evil (and judging from people like Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot and others who came after she emigrated to the U.S., she did have a point), but she also took it to extremes by rejecting altruism in an almost cynical manner. It might just be that she never had been subjected to true altruism – most people DO expect something in return. Lets face it… how many of us have ever met a truly selfless person? If you’ve met any, it’s likely you can count them on one hand. Because the old motto ‘nobody’s perfect’ tends to be true.

      Still, it’s jerky of Max to have brought that up. There’s a thing called tact.

      • Misty

        Atlas Shrugged is generally the book referenced by Randians when they come off like assholes, so if you want to understand why, that would be the one to read. It’s effectively all about how the rich deserve what they have, and they totally pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, and everyone else can fuck right off.

        It’s… well, a bit insulting to those of us who didn’t come from a privileged background.

      • Charles

        Because Ayn Rand *was* an awful person. You don’t know very much about her.

        • Izo

          Did you READ any of her books?

          Are you judging her literature, or her personal history?

          For that matter, do you actually know her personal history, or are you relating what you’ve heard second-hand from other people with biases?

          • Charles

            Both. Do YOU know her literature well? Or her personal history? Clearly not.

      • Rumble in the Tumble

        I don’t know about Rand, but I find these guys’ opinions reliable.

        • Izo

          Did you bother to read the book, or did you get your information from this one panel, very un-funny and hateful comic?

          Also, I’m guessing you also hated Shakespeare since you think the way to judge a book is if there are monologues or not.

          Guess you also hate Mark Twain.

          It’s sort of telling that the comic you posted was from a place called ‘jerkcity.’

          • Rumble in the Tumble

            Sorry, I get my opinions only from the dankest of memes.

      • GaryFarber

        I’ve read all of THE FOUNTAINHEAD and ATLAS SHRUGGED, and Rand’s philosophy is deeply evil. It glorifies greed as the highest value, and altruism as the greatest of evils. Rand’s views justify narcissism and value above all else the right to private property.

        It’s just a terrific philosophy if you’re wealthy, healthy, and privileged. It tells you you deserve all that, you’re wonderful for achieving that, and if anyone isn’t wealthy, healthy, and privileged, why, they just deserve that, too, because clearly they haven’t worked hard enough and contributed enough. She and Max go hand in glove.

        In her personal life, she was also quite despicable, but that’s not necessarily an indictment of her philosophy.


  • Whatareyoureaing12

    Everyone excuse me for my choice of words, but I think he just Fucked up. On the plus side for him a least she didn’t put him threw a wall for pressing her BERSERK button on Feral’s situation.

  • Lmcfly

    I love how Alison is using her abilities to basically teach Max about privilege. Not everyone is born under conditions that let them choose freely where to go. Not everyone can fly.

  • paercebal

    *Really? Why did you choose that?*

    Awesome answer.

  • youwish youknew

    I’ve been reading for a while, and I love the comic. I’m not an objectivist, but I do have a better understanding of how to communicate its ideas than Max does. And since Max just totally blew a chance to convey a pretty interesting idea, I will pick up the slack.

    When an objectivist says “selfless”, they mean something subtly different than the standard definition. From an objectivist perspective, Feral isn’t being selfless, because the goals she is trying to achieve are her own. No one told Feral that she had to care about people, she decided
    it for herself.

    (As an aside, if the teleporting British man had been correct, and Feral was only doing this because Alison had made Feral feel like she had to do it, then an objectivist would consider it a selfless act.)

    Caring for others is a real part of Feral, and Feral’s desires. Feral did some deep soul searching, and learned this objective fact. Then, in accordance with this goal, she made a plan to help other people as best as she could, and followed through. So Feral does in fact “get something out of it”; she fulfils her goal of helping others.

    None of this is a defence of Max. Max is an asshole.

    • Johan

      Very well put. You would have had a nice date with Alison 😀

    • Christophe2314

      I honestly think Max here is the result of bad writing, and it comes down to what you say at the end: he’s just an asshole. He brings absolutely nothing to the story other than being an asshole. While that happens a lot in real life, good storytelling means not wasting a dozen pages on something that adds nothing to the story.

      A lot of readers took issue with Gurwara earlier and saw him as the bad guy (though I didn’t), but Gurwara served a purpose: he argued his point better than Alison, and as a result is forcing her to consider that her ideology has shortcomings. It doesn’t matter if he’s right or wrong, or a good guy or a jerk; what matters is that he’s actively challenging Alison, and in a story that’s entirely about Alison learning how the world works and what her place in it is, that’s legitimate plot progression.

      But Max is just an asshole. He could have made an interesting point. He could have challenged Alison and the readers to consider new ideas. Instead, he gives us just enough to indicate that he’s a Libertarian and then immediately proceeds to make a complete ass of himself. That seems really unfair on the writer’s part, I think. He’s just crapping on Libertarians without ever giving them a chance to explain what their ideology actually is and make a proper argument. What we’re seeing is a completely one-sided, extremely biased takedown of their ideology using an idiotic strawman.

      Look, I don’t agree with Libertarianism, and the author doesn’t have to either, but if you’re going to make an argument against an ideology in your book, the least you should do is respect it enough to do research on it and present its arguments. There is no merit to defeating an opponent who’s tied down and not allowed to make a move. The writer here is doing us, Libertarians and himself a great disservice by refusing to take part in intelligent debate and instead just taking cheap shots at people he doesn’t like.

      • Fluffy Dragon

        In terms of character progression Alison now knows from experience that she can and will just straight up leave idiots behind. Before this she only thought she would.

        Someone who has learned this lesson is far less likely to get caught in an abusive relationship. It’s even more impressive that it happened on a first date. Women are usually taught to bear it/hear him out till the date ends naturally and resolve to not let there be a second.

      • bryan rasmussen

        the thing is that to Allison Gurwara’s point and Max’s point might seem very similar to each other. Maybe she will end up asking Gurwara about it.

    • Olivier Faure

      But then what does qualify as selfless by that definition? Helping other people, but only when helping other people isn’t neither profitable nor something you value? That sounds like the very definition of “making a mistake”.

      I mean, using “selfless” as “attributing a greater value to other people’s well being than to your own” seems more accurate and straightforward to me.

      • youwish youknew

        Your first paragraph is absolutely correct, which is why objectivists say you should not be selfless. Your second paragraph is also correct, which is why no one else uses the objectivist definition.

      • Markus

        Exactly. The defining trick of Objectivism is defining selfless as “something you don’t want to do” instead of as “something that benefits you less than the group.” That way when an Objectivist acts selfish they can say “See? Everyone else is being selfish as I’ve defined it. It’s just coincidence that they’re selfish in a way that benefits everyone else where I’m selfish in a way that benefits only me.”

      • Beroli

        Ayn Rand’s heroes regularly sacrifice things for principle. I’m pretty sure it’s a matter of she, as an adult learning English, looking at the word “selfless” and going, “Huh, portmanteau of self and less. Having no self. Complete self-abnegation.” But unfortunately, unlike most other people learning English for the first time, she already thought she was smarter than everyone else, so instead of asking her teacher, “Wait, does that mean what I think it does? I have to be reading it wrong,” she went, “Oh my God, I’m the only one who realizes this is an awful unhealthy perspective to have!”

    • Izo

      I still don’t think he’s intentionally one though – he’s just incredibly thoughtless. You’re right that Feral does get something out of it in feeling like her life has a purpose. I’m surprised that Max hasnt been able to make that connection.

  • SomaRuiz

    I kind of saw this coming, but I think it escalated too quickly. Unlike the discussion with mind-reader guy (i forget his name), or Mr. Gurwara… Then I again I guess Alison’s not taking shit like this so easily any more. Like she said in class “Next time I’ll be ready”. Still I like her comeback at the end there. lol

  • Harlequin

    And now back to our regular assortment of characters that required more than 30 seconds to write.

  • scottfree


    He’s going to show up tomorrow at the conference Alison is attending, and say something terrible to one of the attendees that Alison is friends with now, and then get his silly ass pushed through a wall, isn’t he?

  • Silenceaux

    Wow. So he really said that. I’d presume that he has absolutely no awareness of Feral’s current situation, but as commenters pointed out on the last page, “Well, actually she gets _something_ out of it” is never the line you use on a person you’re trying to win over and impress.

    Also, sick burns Alison.

  • Pseudo

    And Allison is two pages more patient than any of us in the peanut gallery. What’s up back at the convention?

  • Guancyto

    So, as it turns out, there’s no twist, there’s no payoff, Max is just an asshole, and all the words we spent on him were a waste of time.

    I’m not mad, SFP, I’m just disappointed.

    (Most disappointing is Max’s just complete shrug in reasoning when it comes to crapping on Feral. You could legitimately make the point that she’s standing in the way of a more permanent technological solution – why spend so much money figuring out how to clone organs if you’ve got a living factory of them? Or that without the organ donation she’d be a largely-unknown guttersnipe, whereas now she has the adoration of millions as probably the closest thing the SFP-world has to Jesus. They wouldn’t be GOOD arguments, but they’d be better than “eh, she’s just probably got some angle because everybody does, you know?”)

    • Dean

      As I recall, Feral hasn’t become well-known as a result of her actions- organ recipients and their families are merely told that the donor organs are produced by ‘a biodynamic process’.

      • Santiago Tórtora

        The secret was not very well kept. The guy who attacked the hospital must have found out somehow.

      • Guancyto

        Yeah, you’re right. My mistake!

  • Edmund Gayton

    “Really? Why did you choose to do that?”


  • ambermine

    Saving the world starts with saving yourself from idiots.

  • Deliverance

    Next page:

    Alison: So, Clevin, about that movie.
    Clevin: You are going to love it. It is an indie version of the Foundtainhead that stays true to the book without watering it down like the Hollywood ’49 version with Gary Cooper did. I’ve already seen it 19 times.
    Alison: …Riiiight.

    Next page:

    Alison: I’ve got a terrible taste in men.
    Lisa: Nothing that technology can’t solve. As I told you when we met, we don’t celebrate batteries, and I think that is wrong. How else would you power a vibrator?
    Alison: …Riiight.

    Next page:

    Alison: Hey, Patrick, I know you must be wondering why I’m here, but about those Looney Tunes…

    • 3-I

      Next page:

      Alison: Heeey, Feral, you wanna… maybe take a break for a couple of hours and, uh… oh god is that your liver.

      • Dean

        Feral: Not anymore!

      • Markus

        Next page:

        Alison: Screw it, picnics with Cleaver are the upper bound of romantic activity I can handle for the foreseeable future.

    • Ganurath

      Patrick: You have terrible tastes in romantic partners, and I’m the only one who’s proven able to pass it off so far that you’ve noticed. Considering recent events, though, it would feel irresponsible if I didn’t point out that many dynamorphs have trouble finding the romantic affection that they seek.

  • Jackson

    That… is a pretty sick burn.

  • William Singletary

    Mic drop.

  • JulietteF

    Catching up after weeks off: Who is this reeking asshat, again? He’s got a brown ring around his ankles, he’s been so deep. Egads.

  • Adalena Berg

    “You know who’s more selfless than Feral? Me. After all, I created that incentive structure for those illegals without thought for myself, I selflessly took you to my house for a fancy dinner which I wasn’t obligated to share, in the helicopter I selflessly didn’t crash into a preschool. Really, you should be praising me.”

    • Izo

      I’m pretty certain Max wouldnt refer to himself as selfless. I don’t think that he thinks ANYONE is selfless, which is his (admittedly misguided and wrong) point. He’s wrong in the case of Feral, but how many people do you know who would be as truly altruistic and selfless as she is? Very few, I’d think. Then again, Feral’s a true hero, and unfortunately there arent many people like that in real life, it sometimes seems.

      No need to put false words in the mouth of the character to make worse than thoughtless. 🙂 He’s doing a good enough job on his own.

  • masterofbones


  • Ganurath

    Remember gentlemen, if you want to woo a woman, let her know that every nice thing you’ll ever do for her is made with your own selfish desires as the foremost priority. If you can, be sure to do so in a manner that undermines the moral integrity of a noteworthy sacrifice made by someone she respects. It’ll really drive home how much weight the philosophy has in your worldview.

  • Spongegirl Circleskirt

    I bet she regrets rescuing him now…

  • 3-I

    “What did I say?”

    Oh come the fuck ON, you know exactly what you said. EVERYTHING you said was offensive and intended to be.

    • I think you have to value the opinion of others to understand when something is offensive. Max doesn’t. I’m not sure other people are entirely real to him.

  • Potatoman

    Not sure if it was just a nuance in the character of some sort, but it felt almost like this was almost certainly an inevitable conclusion from the start of this arc.

    Ah, theres no next page, I started reading not too long ago, now I’m all caught up, haha, and loving a lot of this so far.

  • weedgoku

    Well that was a thing. I’ll be honest I am completely not invested in this character or where this might be going, or was going before he turned out to be crazy. Why did the interesting story derail for this again?

    • Christophe2314

      Because apparently the writer here hates Libertarians and wanted to take cheap shots at them. The story’s been a heavy-handed presentation of stuff the writer believes for a while now. I miss the days when the comic was about examining what a world with superheroes would actually look like and the social commentary was woven in as clever allegories rather than directly shoved in our face with all the subtlety of an after school special. I miss when we had characters like Patrick who, while morally questionable, presented us with an interesting ideology and actually moved the plot forward.

      • Remember, this is explicitly a story about Alison’s sense of social justice. Chance of Alison not encountering a Libertarian with a mission to convince her he’s right approaches zero, chance of her reacting well to it similarly approaches zero.

  • Markus

    Max is one of those people who took a semester of microeconomics and decided it made him a fucking supergenius. Of course people only do things that they think are worth it in some way. It just so happens that Feral values “fewer people will die waiting on the organ recipient list” much higher than Max does. Presumably because Max was sheltered and spoiled his entire life to the point where it’s actually turned him into a sociopath.

    • Izo

      He’s not a sociopath. He’s argumentative though and doesnt know that there is a good time and a bad time to play devil’s advocate. When you’re trying to impress a date and she just got through telling you that her friend is the most selfless person she knows and admires, that’s a bad time to start being devil’s advocate.

      • Charles

        He’s not playing devil’s advocate, he’s just being a dick.

        • Izo

          Even if he’s being a dick (which I don’t know for sure that he’s being, because I genuinely don’t think he was meaning to be offensive, although he WAS offensive and a jerk), he’s not a sociopath. I think he’s just taking being the devil’s advocate and using it in a totally inappropriate setting – a date. A date where the date just told him about someone she truly admired.

          That’s being a jerk, but not like… evil.

  • Andorxor

    Looks like all her boyfriends have the power to just say the right things to drive her away

  • Concagh98

    Yeah, he’s obviously going to be baddie. Just hoping it’ll be something clever.

  • Stuurminator

    “And after all the work I did establishing my fiscal dominance and intellectual superiority, she gets hysterical just because I discredited her values, opinions, and aspirations and reacted with hostility when she tried to question them. Women sure are illogical.”

  • Oren Leifer

    And these last two comics are why I changed majors from economics to sociology. By Objectivist economic logic there’s nothing wrong with what he’s saying. By basic observable human decency, there’s so much wrong. Good people don’t act purely out of principles of self-benefit, but consider their impact on the world around them and choose based on how their action impact others.

    • Denimcurtain

      People who subscribe to “Objectivist Economic logic” don’t understand Economics. They teach it to show how assumptions influence economic thought. Good Economists are aware of the pitfalls of their assumption which is why Behavioral Economics is a thing. In general, I find high-level economics requires a higher burden of proof than Sociology

    • Izo

      Originally I felt that what he was saying NOW wasnt logical, although when I reflect about it, it IS logical. It’s just incorrect since he’s so jaded as to assume the worst in people, or at least assume no one can be totally altruistic. And in real life, that’s… actually not that unrealistic. Most people do have at least SOME sort of reason for acting ‘good,’ even if it’s just to have a sense of moral superiority over another. But there are some people who are genuinely selfless and I doubt Max has ever met someone who was like that .

      So… he’s not illogical. But he was thoughtless, because he assumed that Feral, someone who he doesn’t know at all, was just like everyone else he’s ever met. Not to mention it’s sort of a stupid conversational topic to have with someone that you’re trying to impress after they call Feral ‘the most selfless person I’ve ever known’ by trying to poke holes in that.

      Most people, even good people, do act out of some source of self-benefit. Even forgiveness of others is not for the other person, but for ones own ability to move on past the pain for which they’re forgiving. It’s probably very hard for Max to ever put himself in the shoes of someone as selfless and giving and sacrificing as Feral, mainly because someone like Feral could never actually exist in the real world (someone who would intentionally subject themselves to essentailly ETERNAL torture in order to help heal others), and Max is very largely an example of a realist. It does, however, seem to fly in the face of him not wanting to stand in the way of ‘choice.’

      Because people keep calling him ‘Libertarian’ but a libertarian would actually support Feral’s right to do what she’s doing, and not question what the motives are. Libertarians tend to support the right for drugs to be legal, so why shouldnt Max support Feral’s right to have herself be tortured for all eternity for the net good of helping others with organ donation. It seems to fly in the face of what he was saying JUST last page about ‘it’s about choice’ and ‘creation of an incentive’ – she’s giving the doctors an incentive to do something that goes againt the hypocratic oath of ‘doing no harm’ by showing all the good she can do for all the other organ donor recipients. It just seems odd that he’d take this stance, I guess.

    • Arkone Axon

      The thing is… Adam Smith, when he wrote “Wealth of Nations,” stated that capitalism and the pursuing of rational self interest was meant to apply purely to economic decisions, NOT to social ones. Smith openly encouraged charity and regularly gave much of his own wealth away.

      Whereas Objectivism… not only did Rand regularly receive charity from others throughout her life (meaning she was a hypocrite), but her entire philosophy is based on her adolescent fangirl crush on William Hickman, a convicted child murderer and unrepentant monster. Quite literally, every time an Objectivist quotes Rand, they’re quoting from a woman’s glorified fanfiction based on her crush on a death row inmate.

      • Olivier Faure

        That’s an ad-hominem. Just because you despise an author doesn’t mean her ideas and positions are worthless.

        If you took two speeches advocating the same idea (let’s say animal rights) with the exact same wording, down to the letter, except one was written by Hitler and the other one by Gandhi, neither speech becomes more or less valid/quote-worthy because of who wrote it. What’s important about the speech isn’t who whether or not its author has despicable personal flaws, it’s the ideas inside, the validity or invalidity of its logic.

        Ad-hominem isn’t a legitimate way to consider ideas, it’s just a social flag for “you’re allowed to hate that person and ignore everything they say”.

        • I’m not sure that’s actually ad hominem, it’s not flattering of Rand, and it’s skirting ad hominem, but it’s also critical commentary on her influences. I don’t know if the comments are factually correct, but if they are, then criticism of her influences and aims is entirely valid.

          WRT your speeches, swap Hitler for Professor Peter Singer, the high priest of utilitarianism, who actually made his name based on arguing for animal rights. But we can’t consider Singer’s views that animals have rights in much the same way that humans do (a point I actually have considerable sympathy with), without also considering the other side of Singer’s views, which is that some severly disabled humans don’t have those rights, including a right to life. So Singer and Gandhi can make identical pitches, but the wider context of their beliefs must be taken into account when considering the moral validity of their positions. They can both say, for instance, ‘I support a human right to life,’ but you need to check one of them isn’t qualifying who counts as human.

          • Anon

            If a disabled human has less capacity to think and feel than a dog, should they really have more rights just because they’re of the same species as us?

        • motorfirebox

          What? No. The death of the author should never be absolute, especially when it comes to consideration of philosophy. The author is a useful guide for how a philosophical point might play out in real life rather than in theory. Any philosophical point made by Hitler is damn well worth taking a very, very close second look at purely due to its authorship, because it’s clearly possible that such a philosophy can lead to some truly awful places.

          That doesn’t necessarily mean that an author’s work should never be considered outside the context their authorship. I think, honestly, that the only truly valuable assessment of a piece of writing has to examine it both with and without the author.

          Rand’s philosophy can be examined on its own, but examining it without considering the woman herself is incomplete. And Rand… really doesn’t do Objectivism any favors. Which I suppose is completely appropriate.

        • Charles

          Ayn Rand’s ideas and positions are worthless because they are juvenile sociopathic garbage.

        • Arkone Axon

          Actually, I wasn’t commenting solely on Rand; I was also commenting on her ideology. Which was directly inspired by her fangirl crush on William Hickman. Including direct quotes by the man when he tried to justify throwing a bag containing the torso of a little girl at his victim’s father just to see the look on his face.

          And yes, not only have Objectivist ideas been demonstrably been proven false when applied in the free market or to politics, but when the originator of those ideals can’t even uphold them herself, that is a telling sign.

    • John Smith

      I don’t think so. I don’t think there is such a thing as a 100% selfless act. There is always some sort of self-serving mentality. Not explicitly like Max would imply, but more in the sense of
      Feral sees world suffering.
      Feral wants to stop world suffering and can’t live with herself if she doesn’t.
      So in a sense it is in her own self-interest.

      • Izo

        I partially agree and partially disagree. On one hand, I think there CAN be 100% selfless acts. On the other hand, I think such acts by people are incredibly rare, and it’s okay to be very skeptical about someone claiming to be purely selfless.

        Although maaaaybe not on a date with someone you’re trying to impress, when the person they described as completely selfless is their friend who they care deeply about?

    • Eric Johnson

      What’s the difference between a large pizza and a sociologist?

      A large pizza can feed a family of four.

      • Johan

        Haha good one XD

      • Ah, but how many can a hundred odd pounds of long pork feed?

  • Superb exit line! Bravo Allison!

  • SirKaid

    Well, we all saw this coming. There was very little chance that this wouldn’t end with Allison leaving abruptly, given how drastically differently they each view the world, and no amount of being handsome and vaguely similar to Patrick in appearance was going to keep them together for a third date.

    That being said, there is some value in examining his philosophical position. Does selflessness exist, and if so what defines a selfless act?

    • Olivier Faure

      “Selflessness” is not that hard to define. You are selfless if you give a higher priority to the well-being/happiness/life/whatever of other people than to your own.

  • Jordan Hiller

    Good rebuttal.

  • bryan rasmussen

    I’m actually imagining his life history now.
    Good looking,
    incredibly wealthy,
    very smooth at getting women to go on dates with him,
    but somehow
    still a virgin.

    • Izo

      I doubt he’s a virgin.

  • Aroel

    *Wonders if Max is just going to get out the helicopter, talking about how of course Allison’s right and people have to choose to take initiative in getting what they want, thus missing Allison’s point entirely.*

  • Beroli

    I don’t even think the second one’s necessary. Fundamentally, he’s the same person he was when he was telling her that “freedom is the most valuable thing we have.” The one thing he has going for him is consistency; it would be phony for him to pretend he’s not an Objectivist. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to him, he had a choice between “be phony” and “make it clear that your desire to have sex with me is entirely trumped by your desire to stuff me into a mason jar and hurl me into the sun.”

  • Skylar Green

    The lesson here is clear: When you save lives, not every life you save is going to be a wonderful person who makes the world a better place.

  • Laurelinde

    Exactly! People like this always seem to think that they make other people upset because ‘you can’t handle the truth’. They totally fail to see that they are the ones not able to deal with the reality that they might be wrong, that other people might be more altruistic and kind than you are and that your position of indifference is not objectively the ‘correct’ or the best answer. But if they considered that, they’d have to evaluate and re-evaluate themselves, honestly, and deal with the uncomfortable fallout from that. They might feel some compulsion to try to better themselves instead of just shrugging it all off as ‘well everyone/life is like that’…and that crap is like, work, so…

  • Laurelinde

    How glad is Allison now that she didn’t sleep with him? Pretty damn glad, I reckon. It does make me think how different (and lucky in a way) things are for Alison. I think a ‘normal’ girl in this situation, who does not have the ability to fly away, let alone be impervious to anything he could do to her (and able to punch him into the next state if push came to shove), would be…well, if it were me, I would have been wary for awhile, but I would have started being properly freaked out as soon as he had his little outburst. From that point, it would be a case of ‘let’s just get through this horrible date with as little friction as possible, escape the situation ASAP, and try to make sure I never have to see this guy again.’ If Alison couldn’t fly, she’d be trapped on a somewhat secluded terrace or rooftop with a controlling guy who has a sharp temper, a bad case of callous indifference, and the means of transporting me back home. That’s not a comfortable situation.

    • Eric Johnson

      Instead of flying away you could just call for a cab.

  • GaryFarber

    Am I the only reader morally compromised enough to wonder why Feral couldn’t do organ-donation as a 9-5 job, with weekends off, rather than the 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week that she apparently chose?

    Obviously, yes, more people would die if Feral were less selfless. But according to that reasoning, we should all be maximizing our time helping others, and maybe indeed we should, but that’s observedly not how most people actually work and society as a rule doesn’t condemn people for not being selfless 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    It’s a bit digressive to this page, but the point has gnawed at me ever since we saw Feral make her choice. It always has seemed to me that she went to the most extreme choice possible with no consideration ever given even a moment’s thought that it wasn’t necessarily the only possible choice that would be a moral good.

    • chaosvii

      It was intentionally set up that way to hammer in why Alison is so very opposed to it.

    • I think it’s essential to consider a couple of points wrt Feral’s decision.
      1) She’s in love with Alison, and Alison isn’t able to reciprocate. She’s hurting to a degree most of us can’t contemplate.
      2) She’s desperate to live up to Alison’s example.
      Those two together are a dangerous combination, add Feral’s anomaly and the result is a horrific tragedy with simultaneous deal with the Devil ethical issues.

      • GaryFarber

        But in that case, it seems to me that it’s up to Alison to talk some sense into Feral and tell Feral that she’s entitled to some life of her own, and that Feral can still be a good person and spend five days a week, 8 hours a day (or whatever) saving life after life, without having to 100% sacrifice all life of her own, 24/7, for the rest of her life (which probably is immortal, which makes Feral’s current situation pretty much hell on earth).

        There’s a middle ground here. How heroic is it for anyone, especially Alison, to allow someone to inflict that level of self-torture on themselves, no matter in how good a cause? That’s another version of letting the ends justify the means.

        Feral is entitled to a life of her own. It’s not selfish for her to get one. Sometimes the need of the one, and all that.


  • Olivier Faure

    “If only he chose to view things outside his ideological presumptions :)”

    Absolutely no-one ever does that. Like, not me, not you, not left-wing people, not right-wing people, not the Dalai Lama, no-one. Being open to challenging ideas and questioning yourself is one thing, but “viewing things outside your ideological presumptions” is on another level.

    The thing about assumptions is that you can’t ignore them or avoid them, because you’re never aware that you’re making them. They’re not something you wear, or something you choose to believe, they’re a part of how you think, and how things around you are. People who think that sexism is bad and men and women should be treated as equals don’t think they’re “assuming that sexism is bad”. They think that they live in a world where men and women are equals and it’s crazy not to acknowledge it. Same thing for sexist people, social justice people, ayn rand people, etc…

    Presumptions are a part of who you are. You can challenge them, you can (and should) update them, but you can’t “see things outside them”. Also, wow that was a long post.

    • chaosvii

      Heh. Yeah, that’s the joke.
      He had no choice in the matter, he merely has a potential to challenge his presumptions openly & honestly; just like the immigrant workers have a potential to negotiate.
      But in both cases it’s too exceptional of a choice to treat these potentials like it’s a straightforward thing that they should just go ahead & do and a lack of such a decision is therefore evidence that they knowingly eschew the alternative in favor of their current path.

  • Olivier Faure

    I think that Allison isn’t especially compassionate; rather, she’s been placed in a position (top USA superhero) where helping and rescuing people all the time is extremely easy for her, and now she’s interiorized helping people as what she does.

    She expects everyone to help everyone else all the time, because for her, helping people is as simple as bending down and lifting that pesky steel beam that’s crushing [innocent civilian], as opposed to “pick that black stone and probably fail a year that your parents can’t afford to pay again”.

    I was going to write that it doesn’t matter on an ethical level: helping people doesn’t somehow become “worse” because it’s easier for you or you get something out of it. But I’m thinking it does matter. If the little widow who gives all her money to charity is more virtuous than the rich people who give huge sums, then Allison is less virtuous than the non-powered firefighters who do the same jobs with much more danger.

    So, Allison is compassionate. She wouldn’t do what she does if it other people didn’t matter to her on a deep level. Just, you know. Not that compassionate.

    • chaosvii

      But what this all very weird is that Alison isn’t really in a meaningful position to endure risk on the level that others do. It’s only somewhat dissimilar to making ethical choices in a well crafted narrative-based video game. The choice carries far less internal strain than a non-virtual choice because the stakes are always low even if Alison is heavily invested in the outcome of her choices.

      Her compassion is easier to describe as a personal drive & habit than a carefully considered weighing of alternatives. Thinking back to the classroom, I’d imagine her position on most compassionate vs less compassionate choices amounts to The compassionate choice is just blatantly better, so why choose anything else?!

  • This Guy

    Somebody explain why this is a SICK!!! BURN!!! instead of a mildly amusing retort, because most of the people in-thread see it as the former instead of as the latter. Is it because it’s a vicarious stand-in for things you can’t say to people IRL?

    • JanetBird

      Because just two pages ago Max was going on about how it is his workers’ CHOICE to work late with no overtime. With that last comment about flying Alison is showing him that everyone’s ability to choose is NOT equal, just like Professor Gurwara taught in the beginning of this chapter. It’s a “sick burn” because she’s throwing his own ignorant ideas back in his face in the best way possible 🙂

      • This Guy

        Define “Best way.” This is clearly the most viscerally satisfying to the commentariat at large, but they already agree with Alison 95% of the time. Max is not going to change his behavior because of a blown date and a parting shot. Might be a conversation later, maybe that will have some impact, but this is effective like a clickbait video titled “Watch [political position x] get TOTALLY DESTROYED in 10 seconds!”

        • JanetBird

          I get your point, but I don’t think this conversation could have gone any better; as some people have already pointed out, it’s unrealistic to expect Alison to have a serious philosophical discussion with everyone she comes in contact with. Sometimes you just have to take your Parthinian shot and leave, especially when your date starts making idiot arguments about one of your best friends. Anyway, there doesn’t have to be a serious conversation for this to have an effect on Ali. She’s already starting to see that it’s hard to work together when other people don’t think the same way she does.

  • motorfirebox
  • weedgoku

    TBH this is how all libertarians look. Like stupid assholes.

    • Izo

      Because they’re against fascism, socialism and statism, and support individual rights and laissez faire economics more than the judgment of an often corrupt and hypocritical central government?

      • weedgoku

        Your comment right here is a great example, thank you.

        • Izo

          Wow. So your entire argument is to call other people stupid a-holes. Well gee whiz, I’m convinced. You should join the debate team at your school.

      • Giacomo Bandini


  • Danygalw

    I don’t think it’s social savvy he’s lacking (he has been, as noticed, very smooth) so much as lacking social experience outside the very tight bubble where such comments are OK.

  • Arthur Frayn

    There are thousands of real, clueless, entitled jerks who talk and behave just like that. He’s not a strawman any more than Donald Trump and his followers. They Live.

    • chaosvii

      That said, being a guy who hasn’t really carefully considered his position enough to make it sound better than something he’s parroting from others who live similar lives renders him a terrible representation of the philosophical positions he’s associated with.
      Less a strawman, and more of a horrible ideology diplomat. (Not that Objectivism is a fantastic position to argue from, mind, only that it can be presented sanely and criticized on it’s flaws rather than the flaws of those who think it sounds spiffy)

  • Violence wouldn’t solve anything in this situation.

  • Izo

    Objectivist but not necessarily a strict libertarian actually. Because a libertarian would support Feral doing what she wants with her body even if it’s harming herself in order to help others, and not question the motivations of that. Especially since she’s doing good for others and she always has a choice if she ever wants to stop doing the donations.

    • chaosvii

      Which puts into perspective why Alison has ideological reasons as well as practical considerations to render Feral’s choice redundant rather than support her & dedicate her life towards something that would make Feral’s choice easier to live with.
      Alison values coordination of humanity over liberty for humanity. Thus she cannot accept the liberty of Feral to do something which isn’t the perfect solution nor directly contributes to it.

  • Izo

    Until this page, it was more of a ‘Strawman has a Point’ then he just jumped the shark and went against what he was saying on the very previous page about choice.

  • Izo

    She didn’t really have much of an argument honestly. But I can totally understand Alison wanting to leave. Feral is one of her hot-buttons and she’s very sensitive about her, because Alison is emotionally hurting from what Feral has chosen to do to herself for the good of others with NO upside to herself except for the moral realization that she’s saving more people’s lives like that than she ever would as a superhero.

  • Izo

    Just checking a theory. Have you actually read any Ayn Rand books ever?

  • Izo

    Honestly, it’s quotes like this that make me concerned about people in real life. Part of what I love about Alison the character (and about how the authors portray her) is she has immense power and, even though she’s into ‘social justice,’ she doesnt get all abusive and tyrannical about her views, which would be Sooooo easy to do. Half the commenters though seem to think a good first step would be to kill or beat up the person who says things that they disagree with. It makes me wonder what they would do if they ever got even the slightest bit of power over another person or people – it seems to me like they’d be quick to abuse it, unlike Alison.

    • Lostman

      We hope she doesn’t become tyrannical, and as for the rest…

      • Izo

        I hope she doesn’t (since it’s what I love about the comic – Alison is just very inspirational), but I doubt she will be. It doesn’t seem to be in her character.

    • “even though she’s into ‘social justice,’ she doesnt get all abusive and tyrannical about her views,”

      Interesting construction. Have you considered that consistently attributing the worst possible motives to people who disagree with you may be equally disturbing to the rest of us?

      • Izo

        I’m just pointing out that the loudest and most visible ‘social justice warriors’ tend to be the most abusive and tyrannical about their views. I’m not saying it’s universal, but I could give about 100 different links on Youtube and articles to support the claim if you’d like.

        I’m pointing out, in fact, that Alison does NOT do that. I’m pointing out that Alison is an example of a POSITIVE social justice warrior.

        • I generally find these alleged examples are minority group members making perfectly reasonable, if occasionally subtle, points that the people opposing them refuse to acknowledge are reasonable because that would require them to admit their own views are problematical.

          For instance, having an SFF author known for his leadership of a group dedicated to opposing people fighting for social justice within the genre, insist to me that ‘disability is not an identity, it is an affliction’ and that ‘all disabled people want to be cured’, despite my having just pointed out multiple disability groups who don’t want cures and consider cure narratives in SFF to be erasure, and explicitly stating that I identify as disabled and hold the same belief.
          Me: Cure narratives erase disabled people
          Saddest Puppy: What do they know?

          And apparently making those points was sufficient for multiple people to declare they were furious with me daring to point them out.

          So forgive me if I can’t be bothered listening to your supposed evidence. BTDT.

  • Izo

    It’s a good thing that Alison doesn’t believe that there’s a moral equivalence of saying something thoughtless and committing an act of physical violence then. 🙂

    • On the other hand she was perfecty fine with verbally abusing her classmates (often more damaging than physical assault) for not agreeing with her in Gurwara’s thought experiment.

      • Izo

        Okay, seriously….

        Physical assault is WORSE than verbally arguing with someone else.
        Trying to make SPEECH worse than hurting other people physically is ridiculous, and it makes me concerned about you in particular. When you find someone who disagrees with you in real life, do you find yourself justified in attacking them physically?

        If not, you’ve just disproven your own statement. The two things (verbal arguing and physical assault) are NOT equivalent, and is what most fascists have traditionally used throughout history to silence dissenting opinions.

        This is something people learn in kindergarten.
        Sticks and stones may break my bones but NAMES will never hurt me.

        • I’ve faced both physical assault and verbal abuse for being disabled in public. The verbal abuse was far more damaging. In fact the non-physical element of the assault was more damaging than the assault itself, it’s still causing damage 15 years later. This is far from a unique viewpoint. It’s widely recognised that sustained non-physical abuse can be extremely damaging.

          And again your response to someone holding a different view to you is to attack them personally. ‘Have you stopped beating your wife yet?’ is not an appropriate form of debate. Nor is implying they’re a fascist.

          Anyone who has faced sustained systematic bullying will tell you that ‘sticks and stones’ is deeply, deeply wrong.

          If names will never hurt people, why are the N-Word and the R-word so reviled?

  • Izo

    Feral’s sort of the extreme example of an altruist though (and she IS an altruistic person with no benefit to herself beyond being able to feel that her life has a beneficial purpose to the world), while Max is an example of a realist. Honestly, do you know anyone who has done what Feral does? Obviously not. I mean there are people who will donate an organ to a total stranger with no benefit, but those people are very rare, and when you hear about it happening in the news, most people’s first thoughts are ‘…. why would someone do that for someone they don’t even know?’

    That’s Max, to an extreme.

    • “Honestly, do you know anyone who has done what Feral does? Obviously not.”

      In that specific format, no, but the trope of the hero throwing himself on a grenade to save his buddies is a trope because of how often it happens.

      • Izo

        Good response, and yes, and the trope of the hero throwing himself on a grenade does happen.
        And it is damned admirable of that hero. But it happens rarely. It happens a lot more in fiction than in real life for various reasons – often totally selfless, sometimes because they have a death wish(like in Forrest Gump with Colonel Dan and how he wanted to die in battle like his ancestors did) or because they care about their fellow soldiers lives more than their own and have a ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one’ mentality, or sometimes because of an ‘it’s either we all die or just I die’ gambit.

        That’s why it stands out when the trope happens in real life. That’s why soldiers who make the ultimate sacrifice for their fellow soldiers are so highly honored posthumously with medals and honorifics (hope that’s the right word). Because it shows an uncommon courage, atypical of most people. Because it’s not typical for the normal human instinct for survival.

  • Arkone Axon

    No… this is not like the Professor. The Professor was teaching, and doing a good job of it too – challenging his students, forcing them to think. This… this was sudden and shocking… I think you’d call it “flanderization.” He went from someone wealthy and privileged, with a healthy interest in freedom but also admiration for compassion and altruism, into a Randhead. This is just… wow. Oi… so disappointing… :/

    • Izo

      The professor was abusing his authority over Alison though. He wasnt a ‘good person’ nor was he making them think. He was making them want to NOT think. He was assuming that Alison would act like a lot of people on the forum EXPECT her to act like – a bully or a tyrant or using violence. Because that’s how a lot of the people who have posted would have acted if the had Alison’s powers – they’ve admitted as much in their posts quite often (distressingly enough). Alison doesnt abuse her powers, and doesnt react with violence to words. Alison has disproven Gurwara’s inept views.

      Meanwhile Max hasn’t abused his authority – he doesn’t HAVE any authority over Alison, obviously. He hasnt caused Alison any harm, whereas Gurwara did – academic harm.

      • You’re completely mischaracterizing those of us who think Gurwara is a huge positive for Allison. He demonstrated to Allison that she was not considering, or valuing, the constraints people other than her operate under. Allison was already doing exactly what you’re accusing us of being. Her behaviour in the class was bullying and didactic and Gurwara showed her that. That is the single most valuable lesson Allison will ever learn.

        • Izo

          I really don’t understand people who defend Gurwara but trash Max. Max and Gurwara are both cynical, but Gurwara is doing it from a position of power, while Max is not. Gurwara is doing it while LYING as part of his basic premise (the whole black stone white stone thing was predicated on a lie), while Max was completely honest about his stances.

          I think Alison has, with Max, DISPROVEN Gurwara. She did not act in a bullying manner to Max. She did not force him to take her opinion. She listened to his opinions, and only left and got angry when he attacked Feral’s selflessness, which is a very sore spot for Alison. And unlike a lot of people on the forum here wanting, Alison did not react with violence. She just left.

          She is not a dictator, even while being ‘socially aware’ (which does tend to lead to dictating ones views to others). Alison doesnt dictate her views. She asked, once, for him to have the workers go home. He shot her down on that. She didnt get bullying about it. Max explained his position, and they moved onto another topic.

    • Rich The Bluegeek

      I didn’t say that Max and the professor was one and the same. I said they were both cynical. They share that one attribute. Now the professor’s display of cynicism might have been an act — though I doubt it — but his words were definitely portraying a cynical mindset. So I assume that he is also cynical and distrusting of people’s motives. From what we saw, he’s teaching his students to think cynically as well. I don’t necessarily commend him for that. Wisdom and cynicism are not synonymous.

  • Izo

    I really don’t understand why the same people who hate Max (which is understandable given his massive levels of douchiness) love Patrick.

    Patrick is a literal murderer and supervillain – so he’s a lot worse than Max. Patrick literally is evil. Also pretty sure Patrick’s read Ayn Rand as well – Patrick seems to not trust statism either – but unlike Max, Patrick has broken the law in far worse ways than hiring undocumented workers for yard work.

    I mean… Daniel’s a mass murderer as well, but just feels bad about it after Alison beat him up to stop him from killing more people. But there’s sympathy for Daniel’s viewpoints, and Patrick’s viewpoints. I mean… technically speaking, Patrick is worse than ANYONE else – he’s even worse than Gurwara, who I hate, because Gurwara just uses words and abuses his authority. Max just uses words and doesnt abuse his authority. Words are not as bad as actually KILLING people. Even abusing authority is not as bad as killing people. Because …. killing people!

    It feels like how people are all into Che Guevara as being some sort of noble anti-capitalist revolutionary, when he was actually a racist, antisemitic, homophobic, mass-murdering, anti-intellectual psychopath propagandist. Che Guevara banned music, burned books, hated black people, was a massive anti-semite, oversaw execution squads, and imprisoned people just for being gay (well… gay MEN anyway). But he was against ‘the man’ and capitalism, so people love him. Which makes me wonder …. why do people like ‘evil’ people who just have good P.R.?

    Why not just say, if Alison needs to be shipped with someone (not sure why she needs to be honestly) – why not have it be with Clevin, the one nice normal guy who seems like he’s not a jerk, not a supervillain, and not always cruising to debate philosophy in some way that will make Alison cringe?

    • Misty

      I don’t think it has anything to do with liking Patrick more as a PERSON, it’s more about liking Patrick more as a character in the comic, who keeps things interesting and predictable, and has a bit more development about him than Max.

      • Izo

        That’s true. Patrick HAS been more fully developed, but he also had a lot more pages about his history with Alison. Good point.

    • The position of the gardeners is an ongoing abuse of Max’s authority. Offered the chance to change that, he demeaned them instead (‘they chose this, their kids are stupid’).

      What I find fascinating about Patrick is that even amid the horror of what he’s done, there’s a solid chance he may be doing it for ‘the greater good’. We know he’s identified biodynamic kids who were killed in childhood who would have ‘saved the world’, and that there was a shadowy conspiracy behind their killing; we know he amassed power as a supervillain to enable himself to reach a dominant economic position in ‘legitimate’ research and development and to enable him to investigate the conspiracy; and we know that he’s researching time travel. It seems overwhelmingly likely to me that his endgame is taking out the conspiracy before it kills the kids in order to let them get on with saving the world.

      In strict most lives saved terms, Patrick may actually be taking the more ethical course. I personally don’t think that excuses your actions – the end may occasionally require the means, but does not excuse them – but it does create a truly fascinating ethical dilemma to wrap a character and a story around.

      • Izo


        Patrick. Has. Killed. People.
        Max. Talks.

        There is no rational comparison between the two, and it’s scary when people try to create a false equivalency because it’s a way to say that speech which one does not agree with can be responded to with violence to make them stop speaking, no matter how non-violent they are.

        This stance would say that the person who shot Martin Luther King Jr was as justified as MLK Jr was in speaking. You’d be saying the two things are equivalent forms of debate. It isnt. One person is a pacificist trying to get equal rights. The other is a murderer.

        • (You do realise that when you repeatedly accuse people who disagree with you of advocating violence it’s a form of violence intended to silence them?)

          I’m saying Patrick is a murderer.

          I’m also saying Patrick may have become a murderer in order to save the world. (In fact Patrick has pretty much stated this).

          Max is not a murderer, he’s just shallow. Patrick is a murderer, and his depths are fascinating.

          Max and Patrick are not morally equivalent and nothing I have said implies they are. But that very moral inequivalence makes Patrick a more interesting character than Max.

          It’s the same reason there are more stories about Hiter than about Albert Speer (armaments minister under Hitler), or about Stalin rather than Mikhail Suslov (Stalin’s party idealogue).

          OTOH if we look at number of lives murdered vs number of lives saved
          Max : 0 vs 0
          Patrick (currently): lots vs ? (not many)
          But potentially…
          Patrick (post end-game): lots vs 7.4 billion (if we take his statement some of the assassinated biodynamic kids will save the world literally)

    • Jon

      I actually have more sympathy for Patrick’s viewpoint of ‘It’s funny how when I do exactly what the government does to brown people for oil to white people, I become the villain.’ then I do to Max’s shitty objectivism.

      And Patrick is at least now attempting to atone for his bullshit, has admitted that it is bullshit, and is doing what is necessary to unravel some kind of global Illuminati conspiracy which is murdering people to prevent human advancement and the cures for global suffering for their own selfish reasons – an evil which in my moral code is quite literally off the charts to the point that anything Patrick could do to stop that would almost automatically be justified.

      This is a ‘shut up and multiply’ scenario – somebody who kills a biokinetic who could have cured cancer has just by that action directly caused millions upon millions of deaths.

      Killing that person, if they are unapologetic and plan to continue doing it, before they can do something of that magnitude again is not only justified, it’s a moral imperative.

      Also, Allison herself has mentioned that killing is not exactly something the average person can chime in effectively on. “Ohh, such a great moral choice! You’ve never killed anyone because you’re scared shitless of dying or going to jail!”

      And she’s killed a mess of people herself. If you consider that automatically evil, I’ve got some bad news for you.

      I also think Che Guevara was a douche. I prefer Toussaint L’Ouverture when we’re talking about honorableish revolutionaries.

      • Izo

        The main difference between Alison causing people to die in collateral damage and Patrick is Patrick causing the fight, while Alison was trying to counter and stop them. The only time I’ve seen Alison actually kill someone was the person who had just killed 3 people and she punched him.

        And no, I didnt say that killing automatically means evil. Soldiers kill other soldiers and there’s also collateral damage. It doesnt make the soldiers evil.

        However, the intent does. Patrick didn’t care that innocent people die because of his machinations. Alison does care. Alison didn’t even KNOW of the people who died, in fact. And when she found out about Professor Cohen’s life partner, for example, she was horrified with HERSELF and had a nervous breakdown about it. Patrick wouldnt. Patrick IS a sociopath (a word that has been incorrectly thrown around to inaccurately describe Max). Alison isn’t.

  • Izo

    What does BNF mean?

    • JohnTomato

      Big Name Fan. SciFi conventions, the World SciFi Convention, etc.

  • Izo

    Feral is Alison’s tender spot. It’s the thing which stresses her out more than anything else, it seems. Making light of Feral’s sacrifice is a sure way to get on Alison’s bad side. Although even on her bad side, she just chooses to leave, she doesnt do anything worse than that.

  • Izo

    And it shows that Gurwara is WRONG about Alison! YAY!

    • No, it shows she listened and learned.

      • Izo

        No, she still thinks he’s a jerk. He made assumptions about her. The fact that she didn’t live up to his assumptions doesnt mean that she learned from him. It means his assumptions were inaccurate to begin with.

        • The only assumption Gurwara made was that Allison wasn’t seeing the viewpoints of others (which in someone in her position is inevitably equivalent to a form of tyranny). Allison then demonstrated he was perfectly correct.

  • Izo

    What was the Ayn Rand quote? Just wondering since I’ve only ever read one book by Ayn Rand (Anthem) – although I did like the book. But I don’t remember any notable quotes from it. Anthem seemed a lot like Divergeant meets The Giver meets The Island meets Hunger Games (and I remember when I read it in high school, all I thought was ‘this could be a movie with Bruce Willis or Brad Pitt or Liam Neeson or something’)

    • ∫Clémens×ds

      Nothing specific, but any discourse leaning toward “anything you do is self-serving and there is nothing wrong with that” owes a lot to her disgusting Objectivism.

      • Izo

        Well that sort of is the basis of capitalism actually. And it works, at least economically. To apply it to everything and dismiss the possibility that anyone is EVER altruistic seems extreme though and sort of depressing.

        Then again, she was brought up in post-revolution, massively statist Russia. That could color a person’s opinions deeply to go waaay in the other direction.

        • ∫Clémens×ds

          An interesting and entertaining presentation of Ayn Rand and why her Objectivism is all of capitalism’s ills amped up to eleven: http://activatecomix.com/162.comic

          Or if you’re just interested in why Objectivism is terrible and absolutely doesn’t work other than to entertain the narrow-minded thought experiment of rich people who idiotically think they only have themselves to thank to their success:
          Play BioShock.

  • Izo

    Gurwara isnt right though – Alison didn’t react as a tyrant would (or as a lot of people on this forum wanted her to act – ie, with violence and force.

    Alison has NOT shown signs of acting like a tyrant at all – she removed herself from the date, and it’s not like Max knows that Feral has killed people (since then he could say her selflessness is actually trying to achieve redemption, which is not as ‘selfless’ anymore). But he didnt know that.

    • Alison hasn’t developed into a tyrant, but she had unconsciously started down that route, until Gurwara confronted her with the reality that her aims and needs were not everyone else’s aims and needs, and that by ignoring them, even in pursuit of what she felt was an ideal solution, she was subjugating other people to her will alone.

      • Izo

        I don’t think she ever went down that road, actually, except when she threatened the crowd after the pyromaniac killer killed 3 doctors and she killed him, then got the anger of the crowd against her and she snapped and yelled at them.

        Alison was brought up by her parents to realize that what she can do and what she expects people to do is not going to be the same as what other people do. Remember the softball game? When her powers first manifested?

    • Lostman

      This speaks volumes of about us: between those who analyse her actions, those who cheer for her actoin (want her to take a little bit farther), and everyone in between. We are made up of vaires political/social views, the commantors who agree Alison action share her view points, and belifs. Some stonger then others, there may or may not come a time that Alison morally questionable. It will be very interseting to see very one stands on that day.

      As for Max, I think a lot of disappointment comes from us expecting something more then a strawman. Everyone has there bias, even the creators of this webcomic.

  • Arkone Axon

    You make a very good point there. That’s the bit about Superman that the likes of Zack Snyder just don’t… get.But Alison isn’t looking to rule the world, obviously. She just wants to fix it. And… I can definitely see her doing what classic Superman is said to have done whenever someone from the future shows up and refers to him as a messianic figure. The future is always beautiful and better and wonderful, because humanity increasingly chose to emulate Superman (who is himself a nonhuman emulating the best of humanity… his parents, the Kents).

    Which of course also reminds me of “Lois and Clark,” and that awesome scene where Tempus tells Lois the truth about how she’s regarded in the future… oh, that was priceless…

    • Lostman

      Well she isn’t think about taking over the world… yet. As you pointed out that Superman is viewed as a messianic figure both in, and out of universe as he was created as a power fantasy. Someone who goes after corrupt authority figures that have targented poor inconnect people, this has caused some people to superman as a socialist as well as a altruist. This may of changed over time, but if we did a side by side comparison of Mega Girl, and Superman. As much as they have similarities there are between the two, there major differents.

      Clark is a alien raised by a human couple, Alison is human. Clark grow up with his powers, Alison got her when she was in her teens. The can go on for a while, but I’m trying to get at here is that Alison is a human being with super power, put the wegiht of the world on her shoulders, and trying to deal with all the things life throws at her. Here the thing, human beings break. They change, sometimes times for the better… others for the worse.

      Alison doesn’t want to rule the world, but she really want’s fix it very badly. Somewhere down the line she be face with a choice or, a question; how far are you willing to go to fix thw world?

  • Izo

    Maybe it’ll lead to Alison finally taking Clevin up on his movie date offer

  • Izo

    Um….I’m pretty sure the landscapers would rather get paid for the day’s flat rate wage than get a couple of free coffees.

  • Izo

    I think Feral IS selfless, but it could also be that she thinks what she’s doing will redeem her for any murders that she’s committed. Although I don’t really recall who she’s killed or of those people were supervillains. But then it could be argued that she is doing her selfless deed for redemption.

    Personally I don’t think that’s why she’s doing it, and Feral IS a genuinely totally selfless person (they DO exist, but are rare). Plus Max doesnt know about Feral’s past anyway. He’s just making an assumption based on how HE’D act in Feral’s place. Max isnt a hypocrite or anything – he knows he wouldnt be selfless, but because of that, he assumes no one else can be either.

    • Vaporware

      Feral /is/ selfless. This is not a thing that can really be meaningfully disputed, both from the objective realities of her sacrifice and her stated reasons for making the choice to be a perpetual organ farm.

      Part of her motivation /for/ that selflessness is trying to live up to an ideal presented by someone she grew to respect (and fell at least somewhat in love with), and how that changed how she viewed the world. The fact that Feral is satisfying both her new world-view and assuaging any guilt she may have held for her formerly relatively self/ish/ lifestyle doesn’t make her choice to sacrifice her life on a daily basis to give hundreds of other people a chance to live they likely wouldn’t otherwise get any less selfless. It does not make /her/ any selfless to feel respite from guilt and satisfaction in doing something good.

      Max’s problem here is that, in his understanding and projection of ‘enlightened self interest’, he assumes that everyone will be going for obviously equitable exchanges, that all sacrifices are equal and/or that no-one would sacrifice anything they couldn’t live without. Wealth tends to skew people’s sense of sacrifice: a thousand dollars to charity is far less a sacrifice to someone with millions than it is to someone with hundreds.

      For most of Max’s life, whatever sacrifices he’s made that made him feel good about helping others probably haven’t really /cost/ him anything. I wouldn’t expect him to have much concept of what Feral is going through: by raw accounting her organs don’t ‘cost’ her anything since she can regrow them infinitely. He’s surviving being in a burning building, but what does Max know about pain? About /not having enough?/ About giving up a part of your life so thoroughly you don’t even live it, so that someone else gets to live theirs?

      It doesn’t seem like something he’s faced or has real context for, so his evaluation of her sacrifice is founded in functionally complete ignorance. I don’t think it’s possible to say whether or not he would make the same choice /in the same circumstances/, because his circumstances are so completely, fundamentally different.

      It’d be interesting to see how he’d react if someone exposed him to the full reality of Feral’s situation and choice…how that would or wouldn’t affect his perspective and understanding of the world.

      As it is, he tried and failed to be vaguely clever about a complex social concept that unfortunately makes a handy excuse to feel satisfied about doing the least one can do, and made himself look like a complete jackass in the process.

      • Izo

        Anything can be disputed (how accurately it can be is another matter), but I completely agree with you about your assessment of Feral. She is completely selfless. She’s rare and special and to be admired in that respect, and I think Max may have been speaking more out of arguments sake without having any knowledge of just what Feral is going through voluntarily. I don’t understand why someone who’s supposed to be all about individual choice would be so jerky about another person making a choice when it wasnt hurting anyone (other than themselves), and was in fact a net benefit for mankind.

        Maybe Max will eventually realize his mistake. Who knows. I do think he was trying to be clever and failed completely and utterly and wound up being a jerk instead.

  • Stephanie Gertsch

    “You gotta go and get angry at all of my honesty”
    “Is it too late now to say sorrrrry?
    Cuz I’m missing….um…hmmm
    (Not your body cuz that’s sexist)

    …MORE than just your body!”

  • spriteless

    I would argue that some Libertarians are dumb, due in part to how appealing it is to young people, some of whom are dumb. Someone like the axiology professor has heard everything before, but young people haven’t. Patrick is a dumb utilitarian. Moonshadow is a dumb radfem. Furnace was a dumb right-winger. Everything that can be summed up simply is dumb. Lisa picked a philosophy with no clear end-goals, so she is adaptive
    enough I suppose she actually thinks about stuff as it happens and so
    isn’t dumb. Most possible ideas are dumb. I can come up with dumb extrapolations of moderation and tolerance, too, but they aren’t being shown.

    New theory, the professor of axiology wants Allison to fail the class so she takes it again and is exposed to even more ideas.

  • She lasted about one page longer than i would have.

  • Ontogenesis

    Honestly, I think real Liberatarians have been doing a great job of looking dumb on all their own these past few years — for a party that is supposedly about individual freedoms, they seem to be happy to back anti-gay and anti-abortion candidates like Rand Paul.

    Anecdotally, all of the people I’ve met who described themselves as Libertarian are similar to Max: privileged, smug white men who are perfectly happy to throw women and minorities under the bus if it suits them.

    • Olivier Faure

      You do realize there are people who are libertarian and don’t live in USA, right? I’m French, I identify as a libertarian, I don’t give a crap about American politics, and I still feel annoyed at how libertarianism is portrayed both in story and in the comment sections.

      • Mechwarrior

        But this story is set in America, written by an American, and has American Libertarians. Failing to match French Libertarianism (which is a completely different belief set) is irrelevant.

      • Sergi Díaz

        “Libertarian” in Europe and “libertarian” in the US tend to be very different ideologies. The same happens with the word “Liberal”, which are actually opposite ideologies.
        To us in Europe “libertarian” comes from the anarchist ideology, which is libertarian socialism, against the State-Nation but not against any form of collective governance (actually it’s a very collectivist point of view). And very anti-capitalist. In the US it’s anarchocapitalism (an oxymoron in my opinion and an insult to anarchists).
        I don’t know if that’s where you’re at but it can help some people understand what’s going on here.

    • Izo

      Wow. I’m a minority and yet I haven’t been thrown under the bus. Also, Libertarians have supported gay marriage since for FAR longer than either of the major parties have even considered it. I have no idea what Libertarians you’ve met, if any at all.

    • Markus

      Nah, there’s also poor, underprivileged white men and men of color who’re Libertarian because they get off on the idea of murdering anyone who steps on their land and because they think they’re smart enough to survive in a world where companies are legally allowed to put mercury in your food.

      • Rumble in the Tumble

        “Okay boss, so here’s the idea…”
        “We take some Pepsi…”
        “And we put mercury in it.”
        “And that’s it.”
        “… and what’s it gonna do?”
        “It’s gonna kill our customers.”
        “… and that’s it?”
        “That’s it.”

        • The_Rippy_One

          And we just wandered into Poe’s Law XD

          See, putting mercury in pepsi is a suitable hyperbole, but the basic scenario of “let’s do something that is potentially lethal to our customers” seems ludicrous…until you remember that things like “gutter oil” exist, and are actively being sold, with potentially lethal consequences to it’s consumers/customers, with little to no concern for anything except it’s higher profitability.

  • Walter

    That’s not exactly objectivism. Like, I’m no objectivist, but that’s not their deal.

    The whole “there is no such thing as selfishness because you are only doing what you want to do, same as everyone else” isn’t really an argument, it is just semantics. No one disagrees that everyone’s body is controlled by their brain.

    Some folks do things that most people have agreed are ‘selfless’. Like give money away to the less fortunate. Or donate organs at the cost of extreme pain. Yes, they ‘chose’ to do that, but we have, more or less unanimously, agreed that people who donate their resources to others get a certain descriptor.

    Quibbling about the descriptor isn’t interesting or useful. It is a “tree falls in the forest” kind of deal. An argument from definition. If you replaced ‘selfish’ with “blurn” when it meant “brings more resources under your control”, and “blagh” when it meant “is what you have concluded is the thing you wish to do”, it would be obvious that Feral’s actions are blagh and not blurn.

    Max is sniping at the ambiguity, it is just wordplay.

    By contrast, objectivism is an actual thing. It is more than wordplay. They have strong beliefs about what is good, what is bad, etc. Maxx isn’t really saying anything that they believe here.

    • DocPhineas

      “Maxx isn’t really saying anything that they believe here.” That is, with all due respect, nonsense. Max is absolutely spouting boilerplate objectivist dogma, which is that the right way to act is by considering only what gain you get out of your actions and that it is ultimately immoral to act for others. That’s why he started his argument the way he did, by focusing on what Feral is getting out of the organ donation. He didn’t get all the way through the line of “reasoning” because Alison left, but that’s where he was going. So, yes, Max was absolutely holding to the kind of crib notes objectivism that is so lamentably popular with many conservatives in America.

      Feel free, if you can stomach it, to listen to Ayn Rand herself talking about objectivism vs altruism in this clip, starting at about 3 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viGkAZR-x8s

      I have really no idea what you’re trying to say other than that Max was quibbling about semantics, which I don’t think is true. When Alison says “Feral is the most selfless person I know” and Max says “Is she really?”, that’s not quibbling about semantics, that is Max taking a contrary position. That’s hardly parsing wordplay.

      Regardless, yes, objectivism is a thing. It is a 5th rate attempt at philosophy that describes no social system ever in the history of the world and is based on several profoundly wrong suppositions, but is a thing.

  • Kyle Heidtman

    Huh. I only realized just now that I don’t actually believe that Feral is acting out of compassion or kindness or a similarly “good” emotion.

    This whole time, I’ve been assuming she’s giving the donations out of guilt, shame, or self-hatred. To me, those emotions seem like the only ones strong enough to drive a person to undergo such agony.

    What are other people’s thoughts and/or intuitions?

    • She’s trying to live up to Alison’s example in the only way she can see. Being in love with Alison is a major complicating factor. You could even argue it’s an act of love towards Alison.

    • Guest

      Huh, interesting.

      My thoughts: I was under the impression Feral had thought about her life and about a lot of things and about doing good in the world. She had lots of experiences, and motivations, and was spurred to think about things for a variety of reasons. I was under the impression she came to her decision because she thought it was the best thing she could do, and something she was in a unique position to be able to do. She really did want to do the best she could with her life, and it was ultimately motivated from that because she thought it was the right thing to do. Or something like that. That seems to be how she presented it, anyway, and it didn’t seem like she was looking for some sort of validation or rescue or acknowledgement of redemption from Alison. I know it sounds weird to say it after reading this page, but it seemed like she was doing it for her own reasons, and not because of how she hoped people would treat her because of it. (But, not, like, in a way that I think would be described as “selfish”.)

      But, I don’t know, I hadn’t really been thinking about how much Feral felt she had to be redeemed from. I do kindof remember (and I haven’t re-read) that Feral might be undervaluing her mind. (Or, maybe, in honesty, most people over-value their mind compared to how much a replacement organ would mean in someone’s life.) It seemed like there was some degree of thinking she wasn’t good enough or smart enough, but her body was valuable, and her friends sortof objected to that.

      I think maybe I get where you’re coming from — it’s not … (and I think I remember people commenting about this earlier) … it’s not from a place of serene, calm, enlightened compassion, exactly, the way it might be if Feral was a perfectly virtuous little girl who had always had everything she needed in life and wanted only to do the best she could with her life, and had the support and love of everyone around her, and was always happy. But it didn’t really seem like she made the choice out of feeling bad about herself, either.

      Heh, this got a bit long, I guess I found the question interesting. Those are some thoughts/intuition for the moment, since you asked. 🙂

  • RainWall

    Can we go back to the Dynamorph workshop? That was way more interesting than this rather boring interaction.

  • Olivier Faure

    You do remember “his best” included rounding up and murdering a dozen people for funzies, though?

  • Columbine

    And are these views common there?

    • Libertarianism is a major US political movement, there’s a Libertarian party with a candidate for president (ex Republican Governor Gary Johnson), but Libertarian politics are also a major driver of Republican party policies.

    • Mechwarrior

      Common enough that we can get successful politicians who run on them.

  • Columbine

    I really love your icon.

    • *squints at my current icon* Oh yeah! Thank you! I have an OC who looks very much like this.

  • Izo

    Correct. This isn’t how lots of actual people are.

  • Markus

    What’s sad is that it’s really easy to just straight up destroy the best-possible version of a Libertarian or Objectivist argument, but the author didn’t want to bother making that argument.

  • Psile

    So… how long until Max is on the cover of Rolling Stone talking about his date with mega girl in obviously less than flattering light? I say 20 pages.

    • Rumble in the Tumble

      What, as in “I was raped by Megagirl”?

      • Psile

        Nothing so extreme. More just alleging that she said a lot of stuff that she didn’t say and generally trying to paint her as aloof. Something along those lines. Max doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who handles rejection well.

  • chaosvii

    Yeah, I’m hoping that he serves as a stepping stone on her way to argue much heavier points, the stuff that she’s going to have to face in Axiology Class.
    Perhaps she’s going to be annoyed by Max and rather than tell him to go to hell, present him with a challenge to his presumptions (probably won’t be discussing the nature of selfishness at first) ask him to really think things through, and then structure an argument that is designed to convince somebody that doesn’t already agree with him. And he could be all like “Why?!” and she’d be all “Because it’s the only way to know if your ideas work for people that live entirely different lives. Look at it this way, people that don’t even try to have an argument to win aren’t called assholes, but they are called preachers. At least you can learn from an asshole.”

    • Olivier Faure

      “Structure an arguments designed to convince someone who doesn’t agree with me” isn’t really a solid test of a position’s validity. Making compelling arguments for bad ideologies is easy, especially if, like you suggest, the only requirement is to design the argument to be convincing (instead of “keep trying until you actually convince someone).

      I think that systematically testing your position by making arguments doesn’t really work. I mean, arguing with people can be useful and enlightening, but you can’t “prove” an ideology (right or wrong) that way.

      On the other hand, testing your *understanding* of your position and competing positions is always a good idea. For any position X you openly disagree with, you should pass the Ideological Turing Test, that is, argue that X is true in a way that’s compelling enough to persuade real X supporters that you’re one of them. (a benchmark this chapter fails to pass, by the way)

      Of course passing the Test is way harder than “being able to pass it”, since we all believe we understand our opponents’ positions better than we do.

  • David

    All you people leaving comments below…

    ISSUE-3 Page-39 to Page-43

    Read it, then come back and comment.

    This was no “SICK BURN!!” from Alison…this hit closer to home.

  • Santiago Tórtora

    Allison can date plenty of uninteresting assholes if she wants. It would even be realistic. It would be better for the audience if it was off-screen, though.

  • KevlarNinja

    Well, I guess that’s the only logical response to someone trying to go Ayn Rand on your ass.

  • spriteless

    The only reason she has to attend is if she wants to learn.

  • Mechwarrior

    If that’s the case, why are so many prominant American Libertarians obvious bigots?

  • Dartangn

    “Each of whom insisted that their ability to speak THE TRUTH (according to them, which is of course, is the only real objective truth) entitled them to respect and any dissent or appeal to common courtesy/digity/empathy or just plain boundaries”
    Unfortunately you don’t have to have this guys views or even field of views to act exactly like him. Arrogance and dunning kruger are very universal, politically.

  • masterofbones

    And that’s what should be the point of arguing that nobody is altruistic. That altruism is irrelevant when trying to determine the goodness of a person.

  • masterofbones

    He is unsure what he did wrong, and is asking her for clarification. If you find this offensive. you would find literally anything he said at this point to be offensive.

    • Arthur Frayn

      Max is clueless and proudly selfish. Alison’s parting words are a minimal attempt to show him the error of his reasoning. And just about anything that comes out of his mouth at this point is bound to be offensive.

  • Christophe2314

    Do you honestly still believe he actually failed Alison? Or gave anyone a default passing grade? It’s a test. He wants to see who’s going to show up to class the next week and who won’t, because that’s how he’ll find out who genuinely wants to learn.

    • Nightsbridge

      Does he have tenure?

      Because either way, he still deserves to be fired.

  • Burke

    It seems like there might be a few too many variables in a plan like that. First, he needs to know she’s on a fire crew, and which crew she’s on, and whether she’s on-call 24/7 or something, then he needs to be in a building her crew would get called in on and torch it, and then he needs to make sure he’s somewhere that the only person who could save him is her–without dying before she gets there. Oh, and what if she’s sick, or handling some other emergency somewhere else, or some other firefighter manages to get up to him in time? What’s he going to do, just start another fire next week, and become a perpetual asterisk-in-distress until the rescue goes right?

    That’s a lot to pull together intentionally, is what I’m thinking, especially for someone who seems to put so little thought into what he says and does.

    Which isn’t to say I don’t believe he could have set that fire–I’m just thinking it was, if his doing, an accident of negligence or incompetence. I figure that their meeting was pure chance, and he chalked it up to just another plum in the low-hanging-orchard that has been his life up to this point.

  • Burke

    First, will he keep his word about failing her, or is it a test of her resolve–to see whether or not she’ll keep coming in when there’s no passing grade in it for her, only learning?

    Second, will he keep his word about failing her, knowing that any reasonable review board would take one look at his day-one pass/fail game and throw it out the window? A student determined to fight him that far could do actual damage to his career, and Mega-Girl certainly doesn’t have a history of shying away from confrontation.

    In the end, I doubt he’ll actually fail her, he just wanted to make her feel like he could, whether as motivation or to feel a sense of power I won’t guess.

  • conan

    A strawman doesn’t have to be an exaggerated version of a real argument, it just has to be one who’s only purpose is to BE knocked down. There are politics and reasoning behind Max’s stance, and I could sit here all day and play Devil’s Advocate.

    (Example argument points:
    -It’s better to employ them at all than to let them starve
    -All parties in the contract knew what their rights and responsibilities were at the time of signing
    -Alison was effectively asking him to have them violate their contract, effectively:
    —leaving the job half-done and the yard messy
    —wasting his family’s money
    —putting the worker’s job at risk if their ACTUAL employer didn’t agree with Max’s decision to send them home)

    Please not those points are there for actual argument here(I only agree with a few of them myself), just more solid bases for forming an actual “Max’s Argument” than the super-weak “they made a choice to not negotiate better working conditions/hours/pay/etc”. His argument is flat and easily knocked down, and that was the only leg it was even trying to stand on. He brought up the subject and (for some insane reason) decided to immediately bring up that these guys were effectively illegal wageslaves. He opened the floor and immediately set up the weakest possible argument for no other narrative reason than to be shot down. And when he inevitably loses the argument, he attacks her instead of her idea. This is the essence of Strawmanning, if not the definition. (Unless the author has something else in mind for him, something I am hoping very much.)

    He then brings up Feral, which solidifies his character as a complete dick with no understanding of the issues or generally how people work. Do people like this exist? Yes. Does that make him any less of a Strawman? No.

    For the record, the 2nd Amendment thing you pointed out is an argument a Strawman may use(and is often used by real people, btw), but by itself is just known as the Counterfactual Fallacy.

  • Rumble in the Tumble

    I don’t know much about realism in superhero webcomics, but I’d like to recommend you “The Peasants” by Władysław Reymont. It’s a nice, realistic novel about a year in the life of the peasants from a small Polish village in the early 20th century. Each character is believably portrayed, Reymont presents some old Polish traditions, some of which are still practiced here and there, there’s no deep, philosophical arguments, and [i]nothing interesting ever happens[/i], because it’s a small village in the early 20th century.
    Just thought you’d enjoy that.

    • Izo

      It’s a book where nothing interesing happens, no philosophical arguments, and no difference from real life?

      Um… I’ll read it (always on the lookout for new books to read to give different views) but it sounds pretty dull and not very thought-provoking to me from your description.

      • Rumble in the Tumble

        Well, at best there’s some seasons-of-the-year, cycle-of-life undertones, and a lot of actual ye olde rural traditions, but that’s pretty much it. Sure, some people get married, some people die, and some people have problems (who doesn’t?), but the whole thing is basically ~750 pages of slice-of-life.

        And that’s why I recommended it to Brosano, because they seem to like their entertainment “pretty dull and not very thought-provoking”.

        *the joke has been explained*

  • Guancyto

    On the one hand, people with incredibly dumb positions are usually pretty decent at justifying themselves (because no one wants to think their positions are dumb). On the other hand, someone just straight-up not having a justification for his dumb position (that she could conceivably argue with) _is_ something new to Alision. I’m not saying it’s unrealistic, it’s just… really, REALLY dissatisfying.

  • Mechwarrior


  • Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We (1921) definitely inspired Rand’s Anthem (1937), and probably also inspired both Orwell’s 1984 (1949) and Huxley’s Brave New World (1932).

    • Izo

      I actually liked 1984 and Brave New World as well. never read We though, but now I will. Thanks!

  • John Smith

    Of course it doesn’t count less. It doesn’t diminish the fact that she is helping tons of people. However, I feel like this brings up a problem that I feel every time I donate or watch others do so.

    The material conditions of this world are getting worse and worse, and I’ve realized that the 5 dollars I give to a homeless man will not cover even 1% that he needs to live a normal and healthy life. I think to myself that surely other people see this as well, which leads me to wonder if I and others give what we give as way to stave off the guilt, to stave off the thought that we are part of the problem.

    To allow us to forget about the underlying issues that caused that homeless man to be this way under the shield of “give now, don’t think about it”.

    Feral is doing this. She’s sacrificing probably the entirety of her life to improve the lives of other people without cutting the source of said suffering.

  • Charles

    Whereas Somalia, which is utterly free of the evils of statism, is a literal paradise on earth.

    • Izo

      You’re making a false equivalency. Libertarianism is not Anarchism (although both ARE on the spectrum of ‘less government control’ – anarchy just is the extreme), and Anarchism is not a viable permanent government in the first place. It’s more of a transition from one state to another. Usually, anarchism will lead to statism as soon as a strongman authority figure takes control. Wait a few years – Somalia will come under the grip of some statist warlord. I guarantee it.

      Libertarianism actually REQUIRES a certain amount of government, because as the Greeks said ‘Without law, there can be no justice.’ It just very staunchly defines the role of government and limits it. It doesnt mean NO government – it means LIMITED government. Very limited government, with specific oversight by the people and keeping individual rights the priority.

      The problem with ANARCHY is that it lets people limit OTHER people’s choices, just like statism does. That’s the primary role of a proper government – making sure that one individual doesn’t trample another individual’s rights.

      • Charles

        Ah, I see, so Libertarianism is only possible thanks to the evil of a state. Except not really, because there are exactly zero actual Libertarian countries in the world. Somalia is as close as it gets.

  • Santiago Tórtora

    Keyword ‘presumably’. Even if that was really the case (and it probably was), my point is that the authors took the easy way out by making that the case. Max could have been an interesting bad guy, but instead they chose to make him a clueless, selfish idiot.

    As an aside, if I were a gardener for a rich guy with a huge mansion, I would try to charge by the square meter. That way my compensation won’t go down if I become faster and more efficient as I gain more experience or better tools.

  • Santiago Tórtora

    Cue the “we are not so different” speech.

    • Izo

      That WOULD be an appropriate trope for the psychological supervillain to make.

  • chaosvii

    Patrick: Shhh. Be vewy vewy quiet, I’m hunting conspwahcies! huh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-uh 😀

  • Christophe2314

    And until proven otherwise, I am going to assume that he is not actually giving anyone an automatic failing or passing grade because that would be ridiculous and unprofessional. Not only that, it would serve no purpose, which seems incredibly out of character for Gurwara. He seems to love social experiments, and he’s just created the setup for a really good one. Right now, only one guy in his entire class has any reason to show up again. Everyone else has been told that their grade is set in stone, regardless of whether or not they keep attending class. This means that the only people who show up will be those who are genuinely interested in Gurwara’s class and want to learn from him. It’s pretty obvious that what’s going on here.

  • Christophe2314

    Yeah, that’s the thing about Libertarians: at least they’re consistent. I personally believe that complete laissez-faire is not sustainable: when left alone, the wealth gap just increases until the economy collapses. I can’t agree with Libertarians because of that, but at the very least I understand the idea and can see why someone would take that position.

    Now look at conservatives. Their “ideology” is polluted by religious nonsense and is full of contradictions. They’re pro-life and pro death sentence. They claim they believe in freedom, yet seek to impose their values on everyone. Convervatism is the ideology of those who blindly accept everything they’re told and won’t accept that others don’t.

    Then look at what modern liberals have turned into. They claim they want to create a world where everyone is equal, yet they keep reinforcing race, gender and sexuality as a core part of people’s identity, as a divide between us, all in the name of “empowerment.” Whether they have good intentions is irrelevant: their methods create a fertile breeding ground for bigotry. I can’t be the only one who finds it weird that we’re trying to create a world where gender, race and sexuality don’t matter by making everything about gender, race and sexuality.

    I’m more left wing when it comes to economics and I’m in favor of gun control, but for pretty much everything else Libertarians have got it figured out.

  • Christophe2314

    I didn’t say I agreed with Libertarians on everything. I believe that their economic policies are unsustainable and that the state needs to compensate for handicaps of various kinds that could get in the way of someone achieving success. I’m actually more left wing when it comes to economics. That said, I don’t believe Libertarian ideology to be completely worthless. In a world where everyone is constantly trying to impose their values on everyone else, I find the Libertarian ideal of individual freedom to be admirable.

  • BMPDynamite

    While I recognize your bickering as meant mostly to nitpick and you being aware of that, I feel the need to respond in a long-winded way. Because why not. 😛

    I think with the first comment Max made, about the workers being there by choice, Alison realized Max was fixed on this opinion and couldn’t be brought out of it. She then assumed that just because he had THAT shitty ideology, didn’t mean he couldn’t have other better ideas. (She’s the sort who looks for good in otherwise objectionable people, a skill that she learned from Tara, tried unsuccessfully with Patrick, and used correctly with Daniel.) She also probably decided not to wreck what had started as a lovely evening by pursuing a fight she obviously couldn’t win.

    THEN Max decided to put that same shitty ideology to work on someone whom Alison had just stated she cared about very deeply. You can have a difference of opinion with someone and that’s fine, but badmouthing their friends to their face is usually gonna get you a minimum reaction of “I’m gonna gtfo before I do something bad to you”. Which in Alison’s case is kind of getting off easy. Hell, in the case of ANY superhero, former or otherwise. (Also see One Piece for further notes.)

    There’s been a small list of red flags about Max for a while; he definitely had my creep-senses tingling. But they were all pretty minor, so like most readers (I suspect) I chose to ignore them, thinking “well, Alison’s a good judge of character, if she notices anything REALLY wrong she’ll do something.” So good job, Alison, you’re more forgiving than I’d be of this asshole.

    tl;dr: Having a difference of opinion is one thing. Dissing someone’s friends is another.

  • pleasechangemymind

    Extremist reactions to extremist situations are understandable. That does not make them right, or morally acceptable. Similarly, Rand’s experience in Soviet Russia (which was not actually a communist state, since their more fascistic policies far overrode their communist ideology near the beginning of Stalin’s takeover) makes her beliefs *understandable,* but not morally acceptable to me or others with Alison’s more collectivist mentality. Read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and ‘The Fountainhead’ to see how genuinely messed up objectivist philosophy is. **It’s not about all rich people being evil, it’s about what happens when people in general think they only have to look out for themselves and disregard the rest of society.**

    Altruism isn’t rare, and feeling good about doing something good doesn’t negate the altruism of the act. Regular people do genuinely good, kind things for each other (even strangers) at their own expense every day. It just doesn’t get a lot of attention.

    • Izo

      Um… Soviet Russia WAS a communist state. It was one of the most textbook cases of communism in history, in fact. Saying it was fascist is a misnomer. Communism, socialism, and fascism are very close to each other on the political spectrum of government control vs individual rights. Fascism just happens to be the most extreme, while communism and socialism are SLIGHTLY less government control (only over industry, not everything). Socialism invariably devolves into communism, which then quickly becomes indistinguishable from fascism.

      If you’ve never lived under a communist or socialist regime, you’re talking more out of belief than experience. Rand’s opinions were formed from actual experience, not from what someone told her that another person told them about their experience. That gives it some validity, even if objectivism might be a more extreme viewpoint. It’s not an ‘unreasonable’ viewpoint, given her experiences.

      Also, altruism IS rare. I’m sorry, I wish it wasn’t. I wish people were always naturally giving and wonderful and sacrificing to one another with no benefit for themselves, but that doesnt happen as often as people acting for their own interests. And it’s not even a bad thing for people to act in their own interests, even if one would say it’s more noble to act in an altruistic manner.

      This is not to say that there are not altruistic people. This is not to say that acts of kindness do not happen. But in all the choices of people on a daily basis, acts of self interest, even from people who most would consider good and just, will far outweigh acts of selflessness. That’s why those acts of pure selflessness gets so much attention when they do happen. Because they’re rare. People always wonder ‘What’s the angle here? Why are they doing this?’ Fewer people actually say it out loud though, like Max did.

      Again – it doesnt mean you can’t use people’s natural inclination to act in their own self-interest for the betterment of mankind. Companies giving to charity in order to get a better public relations to customers, or to get a tax incentive help far more people than the far fewer companies who give for totally selfless reasons. Individuals might do something charitable to another for no reason but because it’s ‘the right thing to do’ – but then might do 9 or 10 more things which are clearly in their self interest or at another’s expense.

      But that does mean when you find someone who gives for a truly selfless reason, especially if they do so CONSTANTLY, that person should be commended, not looked at with suspicion like Max did with Feral.

      • GaryFarber

        “Um… Soviet Russia WAS a communist state. It was one of the most textbook cases of communism in history, in fact.”

        Respectfully, you clearly know nothing of Marxist-Leninist thinking, in which the Soviet Union was never anything more than a transitionary state while communism was a goal to be worked towards eventually achieving decades, possibly centuries, in the future.

        To quote Wikipedia: “The socialist state, representing a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ (as opposed to that of the bourgeoisie) is governed by the party of the revolutionary vanguard through the process of democratic centralism, which Vladimir Lenin described as ‘diversity in discussion, unity in action.'[1] It seeks the development of socialism into the full realisation of communism, a classless social system with common ownership of the means of production and with full social equality of all members of society.”

        The USSR wasn’t, in their view, a communist state; it was a an authoritarian socialist state led by a self-appointed “revolutionary vanguard” that they hoped to eventually transform into a communist state. In reality it turned into a stagnant oligarchy with few remaining true believers in the theoretical ideology and then collapsed because the reality became ever more detached from an ever-more fantastic ideology.

        If they were actually communists, all property would have been held in common and all labour would be purely voluntary. There would be no state; it would have “withered away” as the masses made decisions by consensus.


  • pleasechangemymind

    Because objectivism doesn’t function in real life. Because they all know – whether they admit it or not – that saying something like that would be completely socially unacceptable and shitty.

  • Izo

    Not really. The libertarian was simply not dealing with extremes. He or she was being logically consistent – he or she just didn’t know HOW to respond, but realized there were solutions. Because there are. There CAN be social programs put in place as long as it’s based on voluntary charitable donations, or incentive programs, rather than punishment for not giving (in the form of higher taxation). Libertarians (and conservatives for that matter) actually tend to be very charitable – especially in terms of actual money being donated to charities – especially compared to ‘socialist’ minded people, because saying ‘I will be giving with other people’s money’ does not mean you’re being charitable. It means you’re being a thief. Being giving with your own money, of your own volition, on the other hand, is charitable.

    Not sure how a disabled person is ’empowered’ by the government forcing one person to pay for another, as opposed to charity. That person is still begging for the service – in the form of votes for the politician who promises to give the person free stuff (by taking it from someone else under force-based threat). Oh god I’m channeling Gurwara again, I hate this….

    Anyway… True charity is when it’s not forced at the point of a gun, and in the end, most governmental action is enforced by violence or threat. That’s not a good way to create a charitable society.

  • Izo

    Take that, Gurwara!

  • Izo

    This is the funniest comment I’ve seen this particular strip 🙂

  • Izo

    Plus he’s rich and good looking in his underwear. That’s often enough, for some reason.

  • Izo

    I’d have to agree with you on that. Although I think it’s also just a matter of semantics. When you commit yourself to eternal torture just to help others with no benefit to yourself other than ‘I want to do something beneficial for mankind’ – that’s pretty much as close to ‘truly altruistic’ as I can possibly imagine.

    I do understand why Max might be a skeptic though, because what Feral does and what she is capable of doing is not realistic (it’s an extreme version of altruism, like you said), and Max seems to be using ‘real world realistic’ logic.

    Still doesnt change that he shouldnt have said that because it was jerky and tactless and not at all like he’s been originally introduced.

  • Zia

    Even if you consider doing selfless things because they feel good to be selfish, Feral is very selfless. Eternal organ harvesting with no anesthesia for the rest of your life kind of outweighs the happy feeling you get when you help someone, and she decided to do that.

  • Arthur Frayn

    Read Atlas Shrugged and get back to us.

    • Izo

      I will read it and get back to you :), although even though from what I’m reading about objectivism seems to be extreme and unwieldy and overly pessimistic about the human condition, I don’t think making the government the big bad taker of people’s individual freedom is a bad thing – government can make a good antagonist (as it does in the Marvel 616 universe and in Frank Miller’s DC universe). Also even after I read Atlas Shrugged (going to get it on eBook I think) and IF I don’t like it, I wouldn’t dismiss all Ayn Rand books since I’ve read at least one other Ayn Rand book which I thought was phenomenally good (Anthem). It would be like my not reading any Hemingway books simply because the author was sexist in real life, or not reading any Mark Twain because he USED to be antisemitic before he changed his opinion in his later years (his words – in his ‘In Defense of the Jews’ in Harper’s Magazine in 1899).

      My point is that people seem to be using Rand as a slur where I don’t think they’ve even bothered to READ the books for which they’re criticizing. I’d say that it’s almost like arguing out of ignorance unless the person has actually read the book.

  • Arthur Frayn

    The movie Clevin describes in Deliverance’s example is imaginary. It’s very easy to reject an author’s work if one’s been exposed to enough examples to know that one doesn’t like it. A person who has seen excerpts from almost anything by the Marquis de Sade can know if they want to see any more, or avoid it. Nothing political involved. And yes, people can reasonably know what they will and will not accept from people who they will date or hang out with; it’s called having standards.

  • Olivier Faure

    Well, you have to draw a line somewhere, whether it’s a mentally disabled people, smart animals, animals with a simple brain, insects, or bacteria.

    Mental complexity seems like an obvious way to draw that line.

  • Arkone Axon

    I tried reading some of “Atlas Shrugged.” I wanted to quote a bit from the famous scene where the hero is strapped into a torture machine that breaks down and the only one who can fix it is… him. And… it was just so very, very badly written. Every character was two dimensional – and there were only three of them, because the rest of the people in that scene weren’t even one dimensional, they were glorified props. The way the mechanic is shown as being completely and utterly incapable of doing his own job is just beyond irrational, and then when the hero stared at the guy in charge of the torture and instantly and completely analyzed him, understanding him 100% beyond any possibility of error as… a complete and utter subhuman parasite who was as miserable as he was pathetic…

    …There are fanfictions about mary sue superhumans that aren’t as badly written.

  • Christophe2314

    Well, I’m actually in agreement with you there. I believe the ideal of complete individual freedom only holds up if you first create an environment where everyone has the same starting point and no one can get screwed over by “act of god”. That means a lot of government oversight and investment when it comes to education, healthcare and the like, as well as compensating and assisting those with disabilities to level the playing field as much as possible. Most Libertarians would disagree vehemently with me on that, but like I already said a few times, I’m not a Libertarian.

  • Rose

    I agree with your first paragraph but I’m not sure about the second. There must be thousands of free webcomics out there. We choose which ones we want to invest our time in, and btw might also be donating to some of them or buying their books/merchandise. It also doesn’t mean these comics we’ve invested time/thought/money in are above criticism.

    To be sure, I’m not disappointed like some of the other readers here by this turn of events. So I have no issue and I’m definitely still going to follow the comic. But I have dropped other comics before when I felt there was no payoff for me anymore.

  • agurk