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We Won! Now What? • Superhero Ethics • Episode 302

We Won! Now What?

We love to see the heroes overthrow the evil king/ruler/government/corporation. But what happens next? Riki and Matthew dive into those questions. From Avatar: The Last Airbender to Star Wars, they examine the challenges and moral dilemmas that arise when it’s time to rebuild society and create a new order.

Key Points:

  • How do we deal with the defeated villains and their supporters? Is punishment always the answer, or should reconciliation be the goal?
  • Can heroes avoid becoming the very thing they fought against once they’re in power?
  • How important is it for victorious rebels to have a clear vision of what they stand for, beyond simply opposing tyranny?

Matthew and Riki grapple with these weighty questions, drawing on examples from popular franchises and real-world history. They discuss the nuances of holding war criminals accountable while also acknowledging the role of propaganda and societal pressure in shaping individuals’ actions. The conversation also touches on the danger of creating messianic leaders who can lead rebellions but then become oppressive rulers themselves.

Other topics covered in this episode include:

  • The role of coalitions in rebellions and the challenges of uniting different factions post-victory
  • The importance of trials and understanding individual culpability in the aftermath of war
  • Examples of stories that explore the difficulties of rebuilding, from Dune to Star Trek
  • The potential pitfalls of seeking revenge versus focusing on creating a better future

Throughout the discussion, Matthew and Riki emphasize the need for more stories that grapple with these complex issues. They argue that by exploring what happens after the victory celebration ends, we can gain valuable insights into the real-world challenges of building a just and stable society.

So join us for this fascinating journey into the messy aftermath of heroic uprisings. Whether you’re a fan of science fiction, fantasy, or political dramas, this episode of Superhero Ethics will leave you with plenty to ponder long after the credits roll.

Riki Hayashi and Matthew Fox explore the ethical questions from the stories geeks love—superheroes, sci-fi, anime, fantasy, video games, and so much more.