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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 12:16 pm 
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The Veidt Method wrote:
civilians will always be caught even in purely military crossfire. It's a cost of conflict.


Except in WWII when civilians in both theatre were specifically targetted for reasons of morale. By both sides. This wasn't colateral damage. Thousands died. The Allies deliberately firebombed residential areas in Germany and Japan. They were hoping to force a surrender or cause the populations of those countries to revolt. They underestimated the loyalty and/or fear of the those populations to those in power.


Vynson wrote:
If the citizens of Germany had done that, Hitler would not have risen to power.


I'll have to disagree with that somewhat. Even if we hold the citizens of 1930's Germany responsible for Hitler's acts (and they ultimately paid the price for that), his rise to power was equal parts opportunism and trickery. Like a fictional character currently under discussion, he used a false pretense and public fear to his advantage to push his agenda. He was elected as a minority party leader who then used manipulation (specifically, painting the burning of the Reichshag as a jewish/communist plot) and leverage to solidify his hold on power. Within months Deutschland was a goosestepping totalitarian state. Those who could, left. Those who coulnd't either got on the bandwagon or lived the next decade in fear. Not all who were firebombed out of their homes or killed could be characterized as guilty. One is not necessarily guilty of a neighbour's crimes.

Vynson wrote:
Y'know? Sane stuff.


Veidt shows some signs of sanity. He has the ability to think logically. In spades. That ability alone does not necessarily sanity make. He wants to save the world. So do I. That's not necessarily crazy either. Those who want to save the whales don't kill the whalers, though.

It's the means he uses that demonstrates he's loonier than Rorschach.

Not only does he kill three million innocents, he also kills anyone remotely associated with the plan (plus a few who have nothing to do with it). Those who thought they worked on a film set on the island... all imminent thinkers of one discipline or another... musicians, artists, writers, scientists. (Kind of a purge of intellectuals if you will, reminds me of... never mind) His servants. His secretary, for Christ's sake (and the more I think about it, the more I wonder whether the hit man was abysmally inept, or Adrian actually ordered the hit on her... :shock: ).

That kind behavior not only suggests CARELESS DISREGARD for human life but also PARANOIA. He doesn't trust ANYONE.

Hey Vynson, maybe we should take the Owlship to Karnak and check out this VM fellow??

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 2:04 pm 
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dandreiberg wrote:
maybe we should take the Owlship to Karnak and check out this VM fellow??


I don't think he'll be there. He left, like.......35 minutes ago.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 2:33 pm 
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dandreiberg wrote:
The Veidt Method wrote:
civilians will always be caught even in purely military crossfire. It's a cost of conflict.


Except in WWII when civilians in both theatre were specifically targetted for reasons of morale. By both sides. This wasn't colateral damage. Thousands died. The Allies deliberately firebombed residential areas in Germany and Japan. They were hoping to force a surrender or cause the populations of those countries to revolt. They underestimated the loyalty and/or fear of the those populations to those in power.

But that's not what I'm talking about. I know that stuff happens, but even if it didn't, civilians still die as the result of accidents.

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Vynson wrote:
Y'know? Sane stuff.
It's the means he uses that demonstrates he's loonier than Rorschach.

Not only does he kill three million innocents, he also kills anyone remotely associated with the plan (plus a few who have nothing to do with it). Those who thought they worked on a film set on the island... all imminent thinkers of one discipline or another... musicians, artists, writers, scientists. (Kind of a purge of intellectuals if you will, reminds me of... never mind) His servants. His secretary, for Christ's sake (and the more I think about it, the more I wonder whether the hit man was abysmally inept, or Adrian actually ordered the hit on her... :shock: ).

That kind behavior not only suggests CARELESS DISREGARD for human life but also PARANOIA. He doesn't trust ANYONE.

Well, if you kill three million people, you're not going to leave any room for error in the plan. Leaving hundreds of people alive who worked on the alien he had just teleported into New York City would have been, like... a neighborhood for error.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:19 pm 
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The Veidt Method wrote:
Well, if you kill three million people, you're not going to leave any room for error in the plan. Leaving hundreds of people alive who worked on the alien he had just teleported into New York City would have been, like... a neighborhood for error.


No, but if the cause was true and just, don't you think he might have been able to trust people like you who agree with him??

I just had an epiphany of sorts. I'll give you credit for showing it to me. It's this little line:

Quote:
I swore to deny his kind their last black laugh at earth's expense


If you subscribe to the humanitarian Veidt, this is simply him telling us that he's going to save the world. But I suspect that, for such a nuanced character as he is, there is more here than meets the eye.

If you look at Adrian's face in II pg 11 panel 7, it's an angry face contrasting with the next panel. He's pissed because the Comedian has showed him up. That's right: EMOTION. One of the few times we actually see it on his face. The Eddie's just told him the world is doomed. And there's nothing anyone can do about it. Not even Adrian. He's humiliated. In front of everybody. End of meeting. Go home.

So, Veidt decides he's going to save it. Because, as the quote says, he wants to deny him and those like him. It sounds almost personal... but that seems controversial around here...

And then it hit me. The last three words of the sentence can take two meanings:

at earth's expense

The question you need to ask yourself is this:

...does the black laugh come at earth's expense...

...or does the denial of said bla(c)k(e) laugh.... come at earth's expense??




Think about it. Really hard.






I love it when Moore writes like that.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 3:37 pm 
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Why can't it be both? Either way, humanity gets hit pretty hard.

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No, but if the cause was true and just, don't you think he might have been able to trust people like you who agree with him??

Obviously not, with people like Rorschach running around. Even Dan and Laurie have a little trouble accepting it.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:35 pm 
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The Veidt Method wrote:
Why can't it be both? Either way, humanity gets hit pretty hard.


It could be, that's the beauty of double meanings. Either way, his motivation becomes denying Blake's last laugh. Then we only argue at whose expense the plan is.

The Veidt Method wrote:
dandreiberg wrote:
No, but if the cause was true and just, don't you think he might have been able to trust people like you who agree with him??

Obviously not, with people like Rorschach running around. Even Dan and Laurie have a little trouble accepting it.


Ah, but wouldn't a true humanitarian try to protect those most important to them?

He's simply discarded all those close to him. Just like taking out the trash. His servants were loyal to him, had been with him for many years. Their reward was a draught of red wine laced with drugs. Rev. Jim Jones would be proud.

Way to treat your employees. I guess the Veidt corporation doesn't have a retirement plan.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 4:44 pm 
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By distancing himself from everyone, everyone is 'most' important to him. That's the beauty of Veidt's logic. Everyone is equal to him, so he's able to assess things objectively, without emotional bias.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:27 pm 
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The Veidt Method wrote:
By distancing himself from everyone, everyone is 'most' important to him.


I disagree. Everyone is equally important to him. Which is to say not at all.

The Veidt Method wrote:
so he's able to assess things objectively, without emotional bias.


A psychopath assesses everything as it relates to him. That's about is subjective as things get.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:53 pm 
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dandreiberg wrote:
The Veidt Method wrote:
By distancing himself from everyone, everyone is 'most' important to him.


I disagree. Everyone is equally important to him. Which is to say not at all.

But if he places any value on anyone at all - he places value equally. Which is what he does with the NYC incident. He decides to value humanity.

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The Veidt Method wrote:
so he's able to assess things objectively, without emotional bias.

A psychopath assesses everything as it relates to him. That's about is subjective as things get.

Take a look at Rorschach if you want to see someone assessing things because of how they relate to him. Everything he believes is emotionally charged, and emotions are personal. What gives Rorschach the right to decide to destroy Veidt's plan?

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:46 pm 
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The Veidt Method wrote:
He decides to value humanity.


No, he DEVALUES humanity. People are things for him to use and discard as is convenient to him. They have no more meaning or value to him than a pen or pencil. They are instruments for use in furthering his plan.

The Veidt Method wrote:
Take a look at Rorschach if you want to see someone assessing things because of how they relate to him. Everything he believes is emotionally charged, and emotions are personal. What gives Rorschach the right to decide to destroy Veidt's plan?


I disagree. Rorschach may be psychotic, be he's an absolute moralist. How he "feels" about things relates as to whether he believes they are moral. There is good and there is evil and evil must be punished. Pretty cut and dried. It's his sense of morality that compels him to act against Veidt.

Like the Comedian, Veidt has no moral framework with which to frame his decisions. The difference is, Eddie doesn't give a damn about morality. Everything is tickety boo as long as he can do what he wants. Veidt has no morality, but BELEIVES he is moral. That's how he can commit atrocities while believing he is doing the right thing.

Listen. This has been fun. I (and others) believe that Veidt is a raging psychopath. You are obviously not interested in listening to this viewpoint as you wish to see him as some sort of Saint who has cold blooded murdered 3 million innocents for noble reasons. I'm OK with that as long as you understand that I believe you are dead wrong.

I don't see any point in discussing this any further.

I would urge you, however, to consult the works or Robert Hare if only for your own protection.

Good Luck.

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Last edited by dandreiberg on Sun Jan 27, 2008 11:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 10:56 pm 
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No, he DEVALUES humanity. People are things for him to use and discard as is convenient to him. They have no more meaning or value to him than a pen or pencil. They are instruments for use in furthering his plan.

Ok, let's take this as true - it amounts to the same thing. Veidt takes an interest in the preservation of the pen collection. He still remains unbiased and invested in the survival of humanity.

Quote:
I disagree. Rorschach may be psychotic, be he's an absolute moralist. How he "feels" about things relates as to whether he believes they are moral. There is good and there is evil and evil must be punished. Pretty cut and dried. It's his sense of morality that compels him to act against Veidt.

Yes, but let's take a look at where these morals come from. They're based on Rorschach's past experiences, and his resultant emotions. His aversion to sex/his opinion of its amorality stems from his memories of his mother. His decision to never tolerate 'immoral' acts (whether reasonable or not, the whole 'never compromise' deal) comes from his emotional reaction upon entering the kidnapper's house. Before that, you'll note, he supported Truman's decision to drop the atomic bomb (in his papers) - which Moore obviously intends as a parallel to Veidt's massacre, what with the Hiroshima lovers and all those other little hints. Oh, you'll also notice that that emotional reaction also caused his shift to killing most criminals. Because that's moral, right? Right?

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:37 am 
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I've been reading this debate with great interest, because I can see the arguments from both sides.

On the one hand I am appalled at Veidt's plan, the willful massacre of millions in service to a plan that he wasn't sure until the result would work. Hence the, "I DID IT!" Adrian wasn't sure it would even work until then.

I think part of the issue is the assumption that Veidt (or anyone else for that matter) could find a solution to the problem of mutually assured destruction by the two superpowers that didn't involve the mass murder of millions of people. If we accept the premise that Dr Manhattan would at some point leave the planet, and that some fairly brief time after Jon leaves then nuclear war would take place, then someone, somewhere HAD to do something to stop it.

Veidt is constantly refered to as "The smartest man in the world", and HIS solution is that of mass murder. I do not believe that Adrian set out to choose a plan that would involve mass slaughter, nor do I beleive that he would have chosen that plan if he could have thought of any other plan that would give the same chance of success.

There seems to be an assumption here that there is/was another plan that could be chosen that would achieve the same effect. There is no evidence of that in the GN, and whilst it is interesting to speculate on Adrian's motives and those of the characters around him, it is in the end irrelevant to what actually happened.

If I was put into the position of choosing between two evils (basically the same situation I seem to be in every time I vote), acting on an ethical basis demands that I choose the lesser of the two, even whilst that knowledge demeans me. Of course I have the choice not to vote, but that seems to be abrogating my responsibility for my own future, and in a way not choosing is worse, because in that case you are not actively fighting against the greater evil.

The argument as to whether or not Veidt is sociopathic is informative, but not entirely relevant to the issue. Veidt decides to act, from whatever motives we ascribe him, he has the "moral courage" to take decisions and change things when he sees the world end in mutually assured destruction. He is seen as the smartest man on the planet, and therefore if anyone is qualified to act in such a unilateral way, it can easily be argued that he is the best choice.

What would be worse? Everyone standing around wringing their hands, refusing to take the decision to end those lives as the greater good, which will inevitably lead to mutually assured destruction, or someone biting the bullet and taking that decision despite the fact it is a morally reprehensible one?

A better analogy that the ones chosen so far would be the standard procedure given to deal with a highly infectious deadly epidemic disease like Marburg or Ebola. If the contagion cannot be stopped by medical means, then the contagion is localized to an area, in which some non-infected, innocent people may still be, and then the area is sanitized, usually by a fuel-air bomb which will scorch an entire area, destroying everything in the blast radius.

In those circumstances a few people are sacrificed to stop the spread of a highly contagious and deadly disease which would potentially threaten all of humanity. In those circumstances, if you were one of the unlucky people in the quarantine area not infected then most would hardly make the choice to die, even if it mean the spread of the disease. Would that mean its still the right decision? No.

In those circumstances someone looks at the situation in a dispassionate logical manner, and either institutes quarantine and sanitization, quarantine and trying to cure the populace, and then sanitizing the area if it fails. Either way the area gerts sanitized if teh disease cannot be prevented from spreading any other way. In this scenario there is no way of KNOWING 100% if they hadn't sanitized the area whether or not the disease would 100% have spread, given enough time it might just die out however unlikely a scenario that is, they take the decision and risk being called murderers for killing that small number of people for what they see as the greater good.

In the mid 1980's, both in Watchmen's world and ours, if there was a nuclear war, nothing would survive. The US along at the height of its nuclear weapons stockpiling had enough destructive power to destroy the world 140 times over. Think about that, the US ALONE had enough bombs to wipe out the planet and every living organism 140 times. If there was a WWIII, nothing would survive, the earth would be a cinder.

3 million people is less that 0.01% of the total populace of the planet. By the same analogy as stopping the spread of the disease, Veidt argues that he choose the lesser evil.

I do not believe that Moore was saying Adrian was right or wrong, because he sets up Rorschach as his philosophical opposite, and gives the reader the chance to debate the issue. He leaves the reader to draw his own conclusions. He simply gives us each of the other characters reactions to what Veidt has done, and leaves the reader to make up their own mind.

In these circumstances motives are irrelevant, its actions that will be judged. As the phrase goes, "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions." Its your actions that will be judged. On that basis the choice for me is black and white. If another way could be found to achieve the same effect as Adrian's exploding squidgina, then Adrian was wrong, if it was a simple choice between squidgina vs Mutually Assured Destruction, then Adrian was right.

So far as I can tell, nothing in the GN points to there being another solution. In the end Veidt is shown to be a mass-murderer, but one that saves humanity from itself. How do you judge that if the simple choice was between annihilation and the deaths of less that 0.01% of humanity as a sacrifice to save the other 99.9%?

Btw, I've noticed most of my posts seem to turn into essays, so apologises to you lot for having to wade your way through them :)

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:22 am 
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Veidt is often referred to as "the smartest man in the world" in quotes. I always liked that.

There wasn't any alternative plan because Veidt didn't work on one.

Veidt's spiffing idea involved certain post mollusc long-term planning. Totally cut off from any immediate feelings of concerna as to "Am I doing the right thing??" he concocts a mind-bending shock on a scale worthy of Ray Harryhausen or Toho.

He steps over bodies to reach his aims... (bodies he put there)

... selling more stuff.





As to selling the Veidt line of toys. I was thinking about the way he rejects all other heroes/villains except himself. Choosing to invent new ones due to "copyright problems". Shades of Charlton, what?

This guy can think of copyright law over a subsequent toy line at the same time as contemplating the eradication of millions. /shudders


And don't worry about the essays, DW. They are fun to read.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:55 am 
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Just to address your points mate,

Soupdragon wrote:
There wasn't any alternative plan because Veidt didn't work on one.


How do you know? How do any of us know? You are assuming that this is the ONLY plan he came up with, rather than coming up with lots of plans and rejecting them all except the exploding squidgina as unworkable and/or with a lower chance of success

Soupdragon wrote:
Veidt's spiffing idea involved certain post mollusc long-term planning. Totally cut off from any immediate feelings of concerna as to "Am I doing the right thing??" he concocts a mind-bending shock on a scale worthy of Ray Harryhausen or Toho.


Again we simply do not know if this was his only idea, or whether or not he rejected a lot of other plans and settled on this plan as the least of all evils.....

Soupdragon wrote:
He steps over bodies to reach his aims... (bodies he put there)
... selling more stuff.

As to selling the Veidt line of toys. I was thinking about the way he rejects all other heroes/villains except himself. Choosing to invent new ones due to "copyright problems". Shades of Charlton, what?


The same thought struck me when I read that bit too, perhaps a sly dig by Moore at DC :)

Soupdragon wrote:
This guy can think of copyright law over a subsequent toy line at the same time as contemplating the eradication of millions. /shudders


Like I said, I am not going to discuss his clinical pyschopathology except to say that if he isn't a pure sociopath, then he exhibits several classic characteristics. However, it is entirely possible to argue that if he has managed to convince himself that he is pursuing the only course of action that saves the human race, then it is quite possible to act in an unconscionable fashion without being a sociopath or pyschopath. A good example of this are the Nazis who worked in the concentration camps. Either they had managed to convince themselves that the Jews they were slaughtering were somehow sub-human and therefore acted as nothing more than abbatoir attendants, or that they subsumed their moral compass in the name of orders and duty to the Reich.

In such cases they are neither sociopathic nor inherently evil from their point of view, nor could they be diagnosed as socipathic. I think Adrian falls into this kind of category rather than as a true sociopath. He has convinced himself of the moral/ethical correctness of his actions and therefore spends no more time thinking about his victims than the man with the bolt gun in a slaughterhouse.

Soupdragon wrote:
And don't worry about the essays, DW. They are fun to read.


OKey dokey :)

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:08 am 
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DW wrote:
How do you know? How do any of us know?


I don't! But if he did, I'm sure Uncle Alan would have told us about it, through Veidt, during Ozy's proud "soliloquy".

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:27 am 
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Soupdragon wrote:
I don't! But if he did, I'm sure Uncle Alan would have told us about it, through Veidt, during Ozy's proud "soliloquy".


Adrian doesn't strike me as the type to dwell on any failures he might have, nor to mention them, but then that is just my reading of the character. He is proudly telling them of his masterstroke, you don't get the Bond villian telling Bond that he thought of 16 ways to steal a space shuttle/destroy the world/irradiate the world's gold etc....they only focus on the plan at hand, the one that succeeded...........

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:42 am 
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True.

But if he's so damned "smart" he wouldn't contemplate a dud. :)



But, of course, you are right. He might well have had other plans, and rejected them. For me, that's unimportant. What is important is the way he calculates. Creepy.


And if he was really anguished about what had happened he would have been over to NY with a mop and a bucket. But he's not looking for popularity points any more. He already has those bagged.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:43 am 
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Soupdragon wrote:
What is important is the way he calculates. Creepy


Actually I can relate to the thought processes, I played tournament level chess in my youth, and so I can see the calculation and rejection of variations and variables, what I find creepy is his lack of empathy. Although he says he makes himself feel all those deaths personally I find that unlikely if its at all possible.

Soupdragon wrote:
And if he was really anguished about what had happened he would have been over to NY with a mop and a bucket. But he's not looking for popularity points any more. He already has those bagged.


This is what for me seperates Veidt from your rebulic serial villian, he is not looking for recognition, if Rorschach and Dan hadn't figured it out, he almost certainly wouldn't have told them post-squidgina, he isn't interested in the glory or the publicity, he is solely interested in saving humanity from itself, by any means necessary.

We can, (and have) debated the morality of his actions ad nauseum, but in the end, as he himself says, "I did it!". He has succeeded.

For me Jon's cryptic comments at the end, are more just comments on the human condition than specifically Veidt's plan. He is saying for me that humanity will never change, and will get abck to the same situation in the end....

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:01 am 
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Veidt's whole plan hinges around the inevitability of nuclear war, of which he was informed by Eddie Blake. Armageddon by nuclear fissionable material was at best arguable. At the beginning of the GN, the USSR and the USA are at a stalemate with the US having the upper hand due to Doc Manhattan. The nuclear clock is at 5 to midnight, the same place it's been since the 1950's.

As Veidt's plan develops, it BECOMES inevitable by virtue of his own machinations. Make no mistake about this. It is soon after that the Russians start to rattle their sabres, agitating as they are because of being cowed by the United States for so long.

It has been argued that Jon was going to leave anyway. This is not proven. He was becoming increasingly emotionally distant, but had no immediate reason to leave the earth. Would he leave because Laurie walked out on him? Perhaps. Laurie may have had a change of mind... in fact she was on her way back when she discovered Jon had left for Mars - after the cancer accusations. Could they have patched things up? Unknowable, and therefore irrelevant to the discussion. Fact: it was Veidt who made Jon leave and helped the nuclear clock move forward.

With regard to alternate plans? Here I think Veidt's psychopathy is very much the issue. Remember, he was CONVINCED nuclear war was inevitable. (Actually, he was pretty much dared by the Comedian to prevent it) This idea of reference is in itself a sign of insanity. He was consumed by this concept with a monomania of epic proportions. It influenced all of his decisions.

He had twenty years to plan (and manipulate public opinion and politicians). A more sane person would have looked at other alternatives and consulted others...

Politics? Veidt wouldn't touch it with a 20 foot pole. His psychopathy (specifically his paranoia and narcissism) wouldn't permit the kind personal scrutiny that public office demands, despite the fact that he's publicly admired.

Bill Gates type philantropy? With his personal fortune it was doable. Other than a display of gymnastics, there's no evidence of any whatsoever. In fact, I suspect most of his assets were tied up in his little science project called Saving The World or advertising the Veidt trademark worldwide.

No.. He was insanely stuck on this. He could have done good if that was what really important to him. He chose to put all his sociopathic energies in a huge sham of a project that was his biggest lie of all.

Just thought I'd add this...

From a historical perpective, is anyone aware of a case/leader who exterminated millions for the greater good and wasn't later reviled??

All the mass murderers of history tried to couch their atrocities in noble terms. The Great Leap Forward. Lebensraum. Racial Purity. Stalin's purges, while being characterized as a fight against enemies of the state, mostly involved minorities. Pol Pot exterminated "intellectuals" (defined as anyone with an education) to protect his doctrine.

One more thing. Forgive me if this seems arrogant. It's not in any way meant that way. I lived half my life under the threat of nuclear war. I was almost thirty when Watchmen came out. As a child, I was in fear of of the bomb. Probably as most children nowadays fear global warming. I was so sure it was going to happen in my lifetime, as did many of my friends.

Perhaps this explains my somewhat cavalier attitude towards the end of the world. I suspect that should it ever really happen, it's really out of our hands. In the meantime, the sane amongst us must assume that life goes on. Nothing ever really ends.

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 Post subject: Re: Adrian Veidt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:48 pm 
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dandreiberg wrote:
From a historical perpective, is anyone aware of a case/leader who exterminated millions for the greater good and wasn't later reviled??

Harry Truman? OK, it wasn't millions, but 220,000 from the a-bombs ain't chump change. If you consider total Japanese civilian deaths, it probably does reach a million.

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