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Post 20

Sunday, January 23, 2005 - 11:24amSanction this postReply
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Marcus,

(Although this statement only refers to the popular mistaken interpretation of Nietzschean ideas).
Indeed, so I guess those of us who know better should really stop using it in the sense I did. My bad.

 

Anyway, this topic, probably deserves an entire article. And Linz is having a fit about slackers today :-)

 

Ok, I await with interest :-)

 

MH




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Post 21

Sunday, January 23, 2005 - 12:34pmSanction this postReply
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Marcus, I think you’re taking things out of context a little. “Ooh! Ooh! The scientist is a bad guy. Denounce! Denounce!” Newsflash: Not all scientists and businessmen are good guys. Not all bad guys have to be politicians, or whatever you think is an appropriate profession for a villain.

 

Not all values are achieved through merit. Not all men are created equal. Not everyone is capable of becoming Albert Einstein or Michael Jordan. People are born with varying degrees and types of “gifts.” Francisco D’Anconia in Atlas Shrugged was fortunate to inherit a great fortune. Now, it’s true that he increased it tenfold or whatever, but he was born with an advantage not shared by everyone else.

 

Now, with The Incredibles, we just have to suspend disbelief for a second and take it as given that some people have super powers. Now, I know that’s really hard for all our grounded-in-reality Objectivist minds, but hey, that’s fiction for you. When Mr. Incredible makes that one statement that you highlight, it’s merely a statement of fact in the context of the film. Super powers are in his blood.

 

When you say, “the only Objectivist-friendly aspect of the film is the evil villain. He wants, through the development of new technology to make everyone into a super hero. Quite an objectivist ideal if you ask me.” Are you just stirring the pot? Or do you really not get that Syndrome is the most Toohey-like villain since … Toohey?

 

Syndrome wants egalitarianism. The true defining line in the movie is when he says, “Soon everyone will be a superhero. Then nobody will be.” Uh-huh. That’s a real Objectivist ideal. He wants to artificially elevate the mediocre to destroy values, just like Toohey. Remember that super-powers are merely a metaphor for natural gifts I refer to above, and his technological-substitute ultimately proves faulty. Syndrome is not an “honest scientist, trying to make a buck.” He’s a classic mua-ha-ha villain, with a heavy dose of Toohey egalitarianism, trying to take over the world.




Post 22

Sunday, January 23, 2005 - 3:47pmSanction this postReply
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Matthew, Marcus...I think you both make valid observations. I think the problem here is not in the observations, but what constitutes the full role of heroism in Objectivism.
Marcus, your points about the heroes being born with powers...I find it somewhat odd that an Objectivist would have a problem with that. There was a something Rand wrote, that even if one is born with a special ability, whether a strong mind, strong body, etc., that there is no justification for for others to be resentful. Her concern was not what people was born with, but how they used their abilities.
But as to your points about the Nietzschean aspects...I think the controversy is summed up by a quote from Ron Merill...
"Emotionally, Rand never quite lost her respect for aristocratic bloodlines; consciously and rationally, she emphatically rejected it." Which is why I believe that Matt and others (including myself; see my article THE INCREDIBLE REVOLUTION) can find THE INCREDIBLES as an Objectivist morality tales, and Marcus can legitimately argue that their is an element of the Ubermensch mentality. Whether or not it was Rand's intention, I believe that she absorbed a negative side effect of American hero tales, which involves a subtle form of fascism that is a secular version of the Judeo Christian apocalyptic myth (I present the full case here at http://jungianobjectivism.tripod.com/id9.html.)



Post 23

Sunday, January 23, 2005 - 5:50pmSanction this postReply
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Glenn said:
Syndrome wants egalitarianism. The true defining line in the movie is when he says, “Soon everyone will be a superhero. Then nobody will be.” Uh-huh. That’s a real Objectivist ideal. He wants to artificially elevate the mediocre to destroy values, just like Toohey. Remember that super-powers are merely a metaphor for natural gifts I refer to above, and his technological-substitute ultimately proves faulty. Syndrome is not an “honest scientist, trying to make a buck.” He’s a classic mua-ha-ha villain, with a heavy dose of Toohey egalitarianism, trying to take over the world.

I say:
I agree completely with this. What's really interesting is if Syndrome made his products available to the whole world to use, the Supers would be able to buy them as well and use them to supplement or even enhance there own powers. So in other words, due to the free market alone, Syndrome could not achieve his warped egalitarianism. That is why he has to destroy the actual superheroes first.

Adam



Post 24

Sunday, January 23, 2005 - 8:10pmSanction this postReply
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Very thought-provoking review. I had not thought of Edna as a philosphically important character nor had I thought of contrasting her with Syndrome.

Marcus, you say that "The super-powers of the “incredibles” are inherited through blood, not earned through merit." But let's face it: Francisco D'Anconia's intelligence and abilities were . . . well, in another context I might say God-given. Rand makes it pretty clear that although Eddie Willers is a completely moral person, he will never achieve what Dagny, Galt, etc. can achieve.

The Objectivist position is that not everyone can be Marilyn Monroe, but you should not envy her beauty but rather admire it. Not everyone can be Thomas Edison but we should be grateful for his achievements and admire them.

I also think the review makes a good point that Mr. Incredible is NOT a self-sacrificing altruist, although his life work is rescuing and helping people. He is virtually indestructible so no sacrifice is involved, and his primary motivation is sheer enjoyment of the exercise of his powers.





Post 25

Monday, January 24, 2005 - 1:02amSanction this postReply
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Thanks for the feedback guys.

I don't want to say too much at the moment as I have submitted an article on the subject.



Adam,

 

If you are correct, then all inventors that make things to improve mankind are Toohey villains.

 

Glenn and Jared,

 

If you are correct, then all Francisco D’Anconia and Marilyn Monroe needed to do in order to be successful was to exist.







Post 26

Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - 12:26pmSanction this postReply
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Marcus, you cannot assume from my post that just because I pointed out Syndrome's evil and also happens to be an inventor that I think all inventors are evil. John Galt and Floyd Ferris are inventors in Atlas Shrugged, but clearly they are not morally equivalent. Syndrome is a Floyd Ferris, as evidenced by his agenda to rid the world of heroism by destroying actual superheroes, and then making everyone a superhero. I was just pointing out that his means do not fit his ends.

Adam




Post 27

Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 12:35pmSanction this postReply
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Yes, Marcus, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Wow, you expose all my faulty premises in one crisp sentence.

 

No, you’re confusing value and success. What I’m saying is that Francisco was lucky enough to inherit a fortune (a value) that most people would consider themselves successful to earn. He then multiplied that fortune through hard work - a measure of his own success. If he had done nothing with it, he couldn’t be considered successful.

 

The point is that not all values are earned through merit. That’s just the way it is. To denounce The Incredibles as failing to reflect Objectivist principles because the heroes are born with advantages not shared by others is … stretching.




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