Falcon and Winter Soldier Thanos Reassessment

Discussion in 'MCU Limited Series on Disney+' started by wwkirk, Apr 9, 2021.

  1. wwkirk Registered

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    The way many people describe the state of the world during The Blip, it actually sounds like it could have been better. More peaceful, worldwide cooperation, etc. So, was Thanos right, after all?

    Many (in the real world) have argued that the world would be better off with a drastically reduced population. With climate change in mind, the notion does seem plausible. So, what do you think, should we reassess Thanos? Yes, halving the population of the universe was extreme to the utmost degree, and was also done unilaterally. But does the possible positive result, along with his seemingly good intentions, mean that he wasn't all bad?
     
  2. GREEN =w= DAY Registered

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  3. metaphysician Not a Side-Kick

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    Short answer: no.

    Also, the fact that someone would consider for a second that "killing trillions of people" might be a good thing even *if* it made at least some of those who remain happy? Kind of horrifying, dude.
     
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  4. wwkirk Registered

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    I asked the question in a Facebook fan group and most said, No. But a significant number did agree with him, though they usually qualify it by saying, "He did the right thing in the wrong way." So far, no one has elaborated on what the right way would have been.

    Since the at least late 60s, there has been a school of thought and activism advocating population reduction. Originally focused on concerns about famine, concerns about climate change were later brought in to help justify it. On this theory reducing population would not just make a few people happy, it is supposed to improve the quality of life globally, as well as greatly improve the environment. [See Paul Ehrlich.] So, my guess as to what "doing it the right way" could mean would be for Thanos to (a) Call for volunteers, and (b) If not enough volunteers stepped forward, to then implement a short straw protocol. - That would still be tyrannical, but given the presumptions of these theories, it would be better for the world in the long run.

    Of course, in the MCU the whole idea is way over the top, as the halving was applied to the whole universe, without regard to whether shortages even existed in various regions. In addition, it included the halving of non-domesticated animal and plant populations, which wouldn't benefit any living being whatsoever.

    On top of the above, the ultimate refutation of Thanos has already been made by many online: Once he had all the stones, he could have used them to increase resources across the universe, instead of monomaniacally halving its population. (But hey, most supervillains are fanatics.)

    Personally, I'm not pro-Thanos, but this is a comic book forum, after all. ;)
     
  5. metaphysician Not a Side-Kick

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    Put bluntly, the answer is still "no". This isn't "I am trying to do a morally justifiable thing, and can't figure out a way to reduce all the collateral damage". This is 'the death is the point'. To put it simply, even if everyone really was enormously happier and better off afterwards, it would *still* not be justifiable, because they acquired that happiness by. . . murdering innocent people. You don't get to justify your murder by saying "But killing this random person made me happy".

    Or, phrased differently: [email protected]#$ Omelas. The correct answer to the Omelas situation is "burn the town to the ground". Ye all guilty.
     
  6. wwkirk Registered

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    Like I said, I don't agree with Thanos.
     
  7. PunyGod Astronomer

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    The world came together exactly because of how horrible Thanos' action was. And this wasn't really his intention either. He was only concerned about resources.

    People have been constantly bringing up Malthusianism ever since it was proposed but we are not even close to that. Most predictions show that the human population will stabilize sometime this century. And killing half the world isn't going to solve climate change if everybody is still using fossil fuels. It will just delay it.
     
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  8. wwkirk Registered

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    By itself, this seems like a random concern. Why did he care about resources?

    I'm open to the possibility that as a maniac he just liked resources for no reason, but I wonder if there was some philosophy driving him.
     
  9. MessiahDecoy123 Psychological Anarchist

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    Over distributing birth control is preferable to sterilization and far preferable to mass genocide.

    Keep in mind the monsters of world history always had a justification for genocide.
     
  10. Schlosser85 Registered

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    He believed he was saving the population from dwindling resources and overpopulation by wiping out half of them, thus freeing up the half that was left to have a better life with more resources. This was all made very clear in Infinity War.
     
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  11. wwkirk Registered

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    Okay, so as warped as his strategy was, in his own mind he thought he was doing good. Of course, that's no excuse. Many supervillains imagine themselves to be doing good (e.g., Lex Luthor). And in real life, some of the most heinous people conceive of themselves as somehow doing good.

    (There were some though, like Genghis Khan, who just seemed to want to conquer, kill, and plunder.)

    In Thanos' case, even though he imagined he was doing something good, his overall mentality was warped. If someone gets locked into an ends-justifies-the means approach to a cause, they can wind up doing such horrible things to accomplish it, that it completely nullifies any possible good of the outcome.

    The Flag Smashers are not really ruthless, and so are not comparable to Thanos, but at one point they crossed the line and started killing innocent people. But probably it was the serum that made them lose control.
     
  12. wwkirk Registered

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    I don't like to bring this up, but the ultra-focused quality of Thanos' fanaticism seems to derive from the need to add drama to the story. I say that because he was so even-handed in the way he accomplished the Snap. A evil human would focus on killing his specific enemies, on taking revenge, and on destroying particular categories of people that they hated or considered inferior.

    I"m presently listening to "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" audiobook. As everyone knows, Hitler hated the Jews, so he wanted to annihilate them. By contrast, he liked certain races and ethnicities, including the English, who he didn't want to destroy. He also hated Slavs and had a specific plan to drive them out and/or kill them, and turn over their lands to the Germans to settle. In short, he played favorites, in spite of being a genocidal monster. Thanos didn't appear to play favorites, unless there are plot details I missed.

    Also, despite his high intelligence, he never even considered expanding resources in general, or following either of your suggestions. In addition, space is vast, with very different conditions existing in different regions. So, it makes no sense to halve the population in regions where things are in balance.

    Finally, if half of the animals and plants are eliminated that will wind up diminishing resources for the"higher" creatures who remain. Not very smart for someone who is trying to benefit the universe.
     
  13. metaphysician Not a Side-Kick

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    Though I got the sense that he saw it as much more than just about resource availability, but a lesson for those who survived. They wouldn't just have more resources and less demand, but that they would fundamentally rethink their lives and come to a newer and better way of viewing themselves, each other, and the world around them.

    Needless to say, whether this *actually* happens in any substantial or lasting sense is dubious. But then, Thanos is a villain. His plans not working is not a flaw.
     
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  14. djsunyc Registered

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    any plan eliminating 1/2 of humanity resulting in unity/happiness would only be short lived. eventually, there are people that crave power at the expense of others and they will eventually work their way back into control and then history will repeat itself.

    the plan should've be to eliminate people who have characteristics of greed, power and ambition. unity only works when everyone is willing to sacrifice and show empathy to others.
     
  15. Bren Forevernoob

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    Some might call that an extinction level event hahaha
     
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  16. PunyGod Astronomer

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    He was driven by the fact that his own planet fell to ruin because of overpopulation. His flaw was thinking that the same thing would happen to every planet. And even if that were the case he became obsessed with the idea of culling rather than a more practical solution.
     
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  17. Brian Braddock R.I.P. '96 Y.N.W.A.

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    There perhaps is something in this; as you say what we're being told is that a lot of the worlds problems were cured by the snap, as intended. It's therefore not unreasonable to conclude that Thanos was right in a practical sense (ethically is another matter) and that were he really dropped the ball was allowing those that remained to remember (and grieve) those that were erased from existence.
     
  18. Zarex Registered

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    Though Thanos spouted an altruistic reason for wiping out half of all sentient life in the universe, I am not buying it. I think he REALLY wanted to commit a genocide, starting at the planetary level. When he was prevented from doing so, and in his mind eventually proven to have been right all along, he expanded his goal to the nth power.

    Thanos showed his true colors when he visited upstate New York. He's a mass murdering monster who, as in the comics, believed his destiny to be God of the Marvel Universe. He believed himself worthy of holding every being's existence in the palm of his hand, and was actually able to accomplish that goal. Thanos Was Wrong!
     
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  19. Brian Braddock R.I.P. '96 Y.N.W.A.

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    I'd agree about his motivation being simply to commit genocide if they had brought his love for Mistress Death and desire to lay tribute to her over from the comics. But they didn't and all I can really go on is what was actually done/said - in that Thanos implicitly laid out his motivation, which I see no reason not to accept.
     
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  20. Fosterson Registered

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    I do think that IW Thanos genuinely believed that his plan would be beneficial to the wider universe. He believed that once "balance" had been achieved, the universe's inhabitants would recognise that the Snap had been necessary and be "grateful" to him for it. That's why he says "You should be grateful" when the Avengers attack him on his farm.

    That doesn't change the fact that Thanos was callous, cruel and absolutely ruthless in his single-minded pursuit of that goal. He showed no remorse for any of the deaths he inflicted (well, except Gamora). But he nevertheless did think that what he was doing would serve the greater good. When he tells Gamora about how life has improved on her home world since he "balanced" it, he comes across as totally sincere. And we know that Thanos doesn't lie.

    What changes in EG is that 2014 Thanos sees that the people of the universe (and in particular those "unruly wretches" the Avengers) weren't grateful for being "saved". Instead, they worked to undo it and this is what leads him down the road of wiping out everything and starting over. His arrogance blinds him to the possibility that the problem might lie with him and so instead he assumes that EVERYONE ELSE is the problem and if they are removed and replaced with beings that will only know his way, his vision will be fulfilled.

    So yes, Thanos was undoubtedly a monster. But he did also think that he was serving a higher purpose, and those two things aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.

    If you take someone like Stalin, for example, he absolutely believed in the necessity of the communist system he was building, and he also believed that any amount of atrocities and mass death incurred along the road to build it were justifiable on the grounds of "You can't make an omelette..." argument. Its much the same with Thanos. Dogmatic belief in any ideology can be dangerous.
     
    #20 Fosterson, Apr 15, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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  21. Zarex Registered

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    As a great philosopher once said, "It's not a lie if you believe it." I absolutely think Thanos is convinced what he is doing is for the greater good. But I also think he is full of crap and deep down actually wants to create a universal extinction level event. And while Thanos claims to be honest, I am not so sure. The story of Gamora's beautifully balanced home world came before he secured the Soul Stone, and I wouldn't be surprised if he was fibbing to try to get her on the genocide train.
     
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  22. Fosterson Registered

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    Except Nebula says that Thanos isn't a liar, and she doesn't exactly have any reason to portray him favourably. Also, in the scene where Thanos is torturing the Collector on Knowhere, the Collector asks why he would lie and Thanos disdainfully responds "I imagine its like breathing for you", showing that he doesn't respect liars.

    Perhaps, but I still don't think Thanos was lying here. We've never seen him lie and I think Nebula's definitive statement that he isn't a liar is pretty strong evidence to the contrary. Not to mention that Gamora doesn't actually challenge him on the idea that life has gotten better on her world, only on his broader plans for the universe.

    Not to mention that in spite of his cruelty, Thanos does have a sense of integrity and honour to him. The fact that he doesn't use the power of the Stones to just incinerate all the heroes in IW shows that he will avoid killing where it isn't (in his eyes) strictly necessary. And the fact that he honours his promise to Strange to not kill Tony if he gives him the Time Stone also shows him to be honourable. Once he got the Time Stone he could have easily back-stabbed Strange and blasted Tony out of existence. But he didn't (thus ironically leading to his own ultimate demise).

    That Thanos has some positive traits while also being incredibly cruel and egomaniacal is a large part of why he's such a great villain IMO.
     
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  23. Schlosser85 Registered

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    Absolutely.
     
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  24. metaphysician Not a Side-Kick

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    As I've said elsewhere, the issue is people assuming that villains must be hypocrites. Thanos is 100% sincere, he really genuinely believes in what he practices. This does not make him even 1% less evil, because what he believes *is* evil. People just really like to use hypocrisy as a shortcut for measuring villainy, because its easier and more comforting to believe that wrongdoing only ever arises from vice and weakness.
     
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  25. Brian Braddock R.I.P. '96 Y.N.W.A.

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    I remember years ago someone (I can't remember who exactly) saying that some of the best bad guys don't think that they are bad or what they are doing is wrong - they think they are in the right and are doing what they are doing for the greater good which makes them ever so more compelling than your typical movie madman or moustache twirling panto villain.

    I'd like to think that applies to Thanos as depicted.
     
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