Refuting Villain Logic:

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I dunno, seems like a simple refutation. Hiring a hit man still makes you guilty of murder. You have the intent, you acted on the intent, and you succeeded in your intent. The fact that your weapon of choice was another person and not a gun doesn't really make a difference.

So, something like...

Villain: The sinner is more responsible (blahblahblah) ...they decided to listen to me.

Hero: Yes, they decided to listen to YOU. It was YOUR will that was being carried out, and those people were your weapons. It's no different from having done it yourself.

Belief or disbelief rests with you.
27 TriggerLoaded20th Oct 2010 09:27:31 PM from Canada, eh? , Relationship Status: Healthy, deeply-felt respect for this here Shotgun
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28 FurikoMaru20th Oct 2010 09:58:05 PM from The Arrogant Wasteland , Relationship Status: He makes me feel like I have a heart
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^ Took every ounce of strength in me to not write that. XD

29 doorhandle20th Oct 2010 11:39:07 PM from Space Australia!
Well, in my opion, it is the villains fault to goading people into depavity, because it is arguable that they would not have fallen into evil if they had not listend to him.

also "well y'know, if you had not, say, pointed The Burtcher towards that Bus Full of Innocents, they might still be alive today. Your fault asshole."

and on top of that if they had Corrupted The Cutie, It's clear said Cutie would not had snapped if it wasn't for your infuence.

(and if he said What Is Evil? then you just need to say "I'm looking at it right now.")

edited 20th Oct '10 11:42:47 PM by doorhandle

Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Besides, intent is a freakin' huge thing in the field of law. It's why we have crimes like attempted murder, and why murder is punished more severely than manslaughter.
What's precedent ever done for us?
You know you could just have the hero point out that she picked easy marks. All those people she influenced and corrupted? They probably already wanted to do horrible stuff. You picked easy marks, people you knew would listen to you. You just egged them on. Congratulations lady, you're a dignified cheerleader for team psycho.

It doesn't really refute her point, but a smartass hero is likely to do something like that to undermine her ego. All she did was preach to the choir.
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Skimmed most of the thread, but:

"So they're responsible for the consequences of their actions...and you're not responsible for the consequences of yours?"
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"If your hero objects that the villain kept making the suggestion to lots of people until he succeeded in getting someone to do it... then it's morally wrong to convince other people of anything."

No, just wrong to convince them of bad things.
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I suppose some of it depends on how 'calvinist' you are about things.

Perhaps that's the wrong term to use, but the logic my villain is using is "If they were good people, they would never have listened to me to begin with, so blame them for allowing themselves to fall into temptation."

You have to admit, someone of a Knight Templar bent might well be swayed by such an argument.

As for media and influence, well...I'm not going to say that heavy metal stars should have to stop putting backwards messages in their albums, heaven forbid </sarcasm> but if it had no effect on us at all, if it was mere information and nothing more, why would we enjoy entertainment so much?

In a way, it's sort of connected to this whole debate. If I were to make a book espousing a sociopathic 'hurt whoever you want when you want' point of view, should I not be seen as responsible for it if people take it as a licence to do bad things?
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Thing is, that would only work if the people who failed the test only hurt themselves as a result. There, it could be seen as simple karma, a Secret Test of Character. As is, the villain has created a scenario where if someone fails, innocent people are going to die. Not only that, but she picks people who are likely to fail. That's just frakkin' irresponsible.

To use your book-writing example, you are creating a manual for irresponsible behaviour. A way for sociopaths to justify themselves and encourage borderlines to take that extra step. If the intended function is to promote sociopathic behaviour (and it works), why should you not be considered responsible?

Surely you don't believe that humans are incapable of being persuaded by others' arguments?
What's precedent ever done for us?
Exactly, and that is why it's so important to make a convincing refutation to the logic, lest I unwittingly do such a thing, i.e. make a manual for sociopaths to justify themselves.

You've all done good so far, but I'm going to do my level best to exhaust all lines of argumentation on the matter.

Let's see...

The Greater Good argument?

'I had to convince the person to cross the Moral Event Horizon to show you just how evil they truly were. If only you had believed that the La Résistance fighting him were more noble instead of morally equivalent, I would not have had to show you.'
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
That still doesn't enhance the greater good much. Now, instead of two morally-questionable factions fighting it out, we've got on e morally-questionable one and one utterly evil one. Somehow, I suspect that the collateral damage is going to start skyrocketing.

However, having someone cross the MEH in order to rally others against them, turning a long, drawn-out, and messy war into a clean, straightforward beatdown, is a bit more of a grey area. In fact, it's not an unknown tactic in international espionage - setting up one big atrocity in order to keep the bad guys from piling up lots of little atrocities under the radar.

There, the question is if what you're seeking to avoid is worse than what you're already letting happen, and if the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown everyone else is delivering to your Horizon-crosser might have some nasty spillover-effects as well. In some ways, it's a variant of the central dilemma in Watchmen.
What's precedent ever done for us?
The specific situation is basically that...the powers that be are a planet ruled by Corrupt Corporate Executive types that is pretty much a socialist's wet dream inasfar as their belief that Free Market Capitalism is itself a Moral Event Horizon.

The villain is disturbed that the hero wants to play moral equivalency between the powers that be, and the Bomb Throwing Anarchist group that opposes them.

So one plan she has is to 'show' him, by using her influence to get the Prime CEO to publically execute 250 'anarchists,' who are actually loyal and obedient citizens...all to send a message of 'If we do this to loyal citizens, think what we will do to actually dissidents.'

And then the villain will tell the hero that it's his fault for not believing in the moral righteousness of the Bomb Throwing Anarchist group.

Of course, it can be legitimately argued that this is an extremely over the top Villain Ball moment, that might come off unconvincing.

Any ideas how to be just as effective without being so over the top?

edited 21st Oct '10 4:53:22 PM by HaseoNatsume

Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Sorry - been busy.

Your villain would probably be much more effective if she didn't try to justify her own actions. She does this stuff for shits and goggles, and any justifications she comes up with for it are just going to fall through.

The thing is, that wouldn't stop her getting her job done. Rather than pretending it's not her fault that these people did horrible acts on her instruction, she can simply point out how ghastly they are for going along with the wishes of an insane, centuries-old monster just because it suited their purposes. And executing innocent civilians is some bad shit. Yes, he might not have known they were innocent, but did he even bother to check?

The obvious refutation for the hero, meanwhile, is to point out that the Bomb-Throwing Anarchists would probably do similarly nasty stuff with similarly minimal pushing, cite past atrocities of theirs as evidence, and then say 'sod it' and build his own movement in opposition to both.

edited 23rd Oct '10 2:57:48 AM by Iaculus

What's precedent ever done for us?
Hmm, I'll consider it, but part of the point is to win over the hero. She wants him to become a full on Well-Intentioned Extremist, but right now he's too good aligned for that sort of thing.

Also, as I said before, any thoughts as to doing something less over the top than publically executing loyal citizens just to scare the dissidents, yet just as effective?
Why not execute some (real) supporters of the Anarchists? 250 citizens that are suspected of helping the ararchists, and one can be sure that half of them are indeed guilty. It still gives a harsh message, and it's a lot less stupid.
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
Presumably, the idea is that they believe the 250 to be resistance supporters. It's just that our girl was feeding them misinformation.

If she wants to personally corrupt the hero, though, why the devil would she admit to helping plan the mass-execution? It just seems counterproductive.
What's precedent ever done for us?
Hmm, there seems to be a misunderstanding.

The girl will be influencing the Prime CEO to knowingly execute 250 innocent people.

First, the Prime CEO will be claiming them to be anarchists and then after the end of the public execution, reveal that they were innocent, and loyal, to send a message of fear to real dissidents.

It might seem to be a bit Egregious, so I'm considering alternatives.

And in her twisted mind, she thinks that everyone should accept "It's not my fault that the people chose to follow my ideas, plus you should have sided with the anarchists to begin with otherwise you wouldn't have to be shown just how evil the powers that be are."

edited 23rd Oct '10 7:56:57 PM by HaseoNatsume

45 Stranger23rd Oct 2010 09:33:14 PM from Nowhere in particular
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"Just the idea person, huh? The fact is, you got the result you wanted, and it wouldn't have happened without your intervention. Your argument boils down to a flimsy claim that you're only an accomplice, which doesn't make you any less guilty. That you refuse to dirty your own hands only proves that you're both a monster and a coward."

Just throwing stuff out. It might help if we knew more about the hero, too, since they're the one saying it.

The parallels with specific characters from other works doesn't make it easier to identify the nature of your character if I'm not familiar with them, though.
Killing 250 "anarchists" and then revealing (presumably to everyone, not just the hero) that they were in fact loyal citizens is not useful in any way. It doesn't really send a message to anarchists, it sends a message to the loyalists. "Your leader is crazy, he's going to kill you even if you are innocent and he knows it. Join the anarchists, it's your only hope."

That's why I say that it's better to execute people suspected of having connections with the anarchists. It sends the message "All your families, friends and allies will die if you continue." and will discourage the "neutral" ones from choosing the anarchist side.
Hmm...that idea has merit. Probably effective without being almost cartoonishly evil.
48 Gault24th Oct 2010 08:01:16 AM from somewhere far, far away , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
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Handed him a copy of The Book of Lord Shang, eh? Actually, your villain sounds like a spin doctor in this case; control someone's information and you control your actions.

Also, never forget the possibility the villain is just plain lying.

Although how does the hero know the villain is the villain? Detect Evil? The villain admitted it? Read the Cliff Notes?

And if all else fails; "The crime, Life; the sentence, Death!"
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50 KillerClowns7th Nov 2010 03:55:43 PM from MN House District 5 , Relationship Status: Healthy, deeply-felt respect for this here Shotgun
Well, there's always "burn." But if I wanted to spend some time on chit-chat, I'd go with "you sow the seeds of evil, water them with lies, and yet blame the soil when they sprout?" (Although "The Hague disagrees with you" was a great one as well.)

edited 7th Nov '10 4:09:58 PM by KillerClowns

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