The Instigator
IngeniousFool
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
The_Scapegoat_bleats
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

If the Holmes brothers were to become criminal masterminds, Sherlock would be the superior one.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
The_Scapegoat_bleats
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/13/2014 Category: Movies
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 847 times Debate No: 45914
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (3)

 

IngeniousFool

Con

You are welcome to use the Sherlock of any series and Mycroft of any series of Sherlock as you like but I will be basing the fundamental differences in the capabilities of the brothers based on what reviews of the books wrote.

My opening argument

In all series, Mycroft is the duller brother with little motivation to do anything at all but an inescapable aura of dominance that all seem to submit to. He has the higher IQ but less emotional resilience to pull through his ideas to the end and explain the reasoning for his conclusions to the masses. He is inferior to Sherlock in making actual friends but superior at superficially charming people and appearing 'normal' or conformist at the very least.

He has disadvantages and advantages over Sherlock. In some series he is presented to work out and do exercise, even the books say so, but if he lazy why is this so? In my opinion, there is an underlying aspect to Mycroft that will fundamentally make him a superior criminal.

He can learn languages in a matter of 2 hours and can literally change his entirety of persona and morals within the blink of an eye. Sherlock cannot do this nearly as well, he can physically make disguises better but the actual acting is something Mycroft is a God at. Mycroft is with the secret services and has oftentimes infiltrated opposing armies and other operations himself, working his way to the top. Whilst Sherlock will probably be able to do the same, the pace of his chameleon-ability is only half as good as Mycroft's.

On top of this, when it comes to knowledge of actual law and how to deal with people of authority Mycroft has literally more expertise than any human being to ever exist. He knows every single aspect of how politics and human nature work and can deduce who to charm and who to make enemies within a work place within seconds of arriving there. Sherlock reads people, Mycroft reads groups of people. Mycroft is simply at a level that Sherlock cannot compete with.

There are, nevertheless, aspects of Mycroft which my opponent will no doubt raise as disadvantages. Sherlock can completely divulge all self-respect to blend in, he can allows himself to be tainted, cut, tattooed, drugged and pretty much anything that will get him further into groups and then manipulate them with his wit, a level of wit superior to Mycroft and all other humans, and then use his social glib to make people literally die for him. He is more capable than Mycroft at creating cults and that sort of blind sheep mentality amongst people as he can create artificial constructs of logic with flaws that only he can see (he, in other words can convert people to Satanism and convince them that he himself is Satan in a way that Mycroft would never be able to) but Mycroft can work within the current religion and bend it to his advantage in ways Sherlock can't. Mycroft understands human nature much better and knows that instead of convincing the Christian that his religion is wrong, one merely has to convince him that serving you is worth ignoring his religion for; Sherlock has too much respect of people's beliefs and likes to play the 'game of deduction' for the sake of it and would go through extra efforts to get people on his side just to know he was capable of doing it.

Sherlock would end up wasting most of his time making sure all his minions were doing what he wanted them to whereas Mycroft would leave them to fight amongst themselves and not care how things turned out as even if everyone grassed each other up, he'd find ways to end up on top. Sherlock would, instead, intentionally go to prison with them and work within prison to get revenge one them one by one because that's just his nature.
The_Scapegoat_bleats

Pro

I will gladly accept this challenge.
Your premise is both brothers turn to crime at some point in their respective careers, because you state the become criminal masterminds. So we are not discussing a parallel universe wherein both were raised to commit crimes, rather they started into their careers and then changed their mind.

Based on this premise, Sherlock Holmes would indeed be the better criminal.

The only one reason I will present is obvious. Mycroft Holmes doesn't understand crime the way his brother Sherlock does. That's why in the original source material, he consults Sherlock, instead of solving the crimes himself in a far shorter time. This happens in any and all incarnations of Sherlock Holmes. It's Sherlock who advises Mycroft and cracks the problems Mycroft has no understanding for.
This means that despite his higher intelligence, Mycroft lacks the basic understanding of the criminal mind. He would hence make a great planner for another criminal, but a mastermind he would never be.

A criminal mastermind is full of criminal ambition and genius. As you stated yourself, this is what Mycroft is lacking on all counts: ambition.

Sherlock Holmes' intention is to always prove himself the cleverest person. If we take his strong morals away and have him turn to crime, he will stop at nothing to make his sinister schemes work, based on your own description.
A crime planned by Mycroft would be a theoretical masterpiece, but in the end he would stumble over practical issues. Surely, he would be ready to sacrifice any of his men in cold blood, and eliminate anyone who might betray him, as he's a master at eliminating possible risks, as you describe. But this would leave him without a crew to execute his plans. Mycroft does not understand the criminal mind. Sherlock Holmes plays with the emotions and greed of simple folk, whenever he goes undercover.
Mycroft's missions prior to his turn to the dark side were, as you state, directed against military, espionage organizations and such. This means he never had to deal with people desperate for food or money. He assumes people to act logically, and that would be his downfall. In the military, if you catch a thief, he will be court-martialed. This would be Mycroft's way of dealing with people inside his own organization who steal from him, too.
Sherlock Holmes has repeatedly shown in the short stories that he understands that greedy people can be easily bribed, and thus be very reliable, if they are rewarded rather than punished. This way, Holmes in the stories has gained some notoriety and respect among simple folk, like his Baker Street irregulars.
Mycroft would choose accomplices for his crimes based on their capabilities. Sherlock picked his troop of street orphans out of a different approach: inconspicuousness. He doesn't need particularly skilled people. He needs a few of them, but mostly he knows how to use simple persons to greater ends.

A criminal mastermind must also know how to work with notoriety.
Mycroft would keep his organization completely secret. But that would be a fatal mistake. There will always be people who have seen something, without knowing what it means. If later asked by the police (or their consultant detective), they will always tell what they saw, and someday, someone ill get the larger picture. That is how Sherlock Holmes managed to bring down Moriarty's network in "The Final Problem": picking up information and putting them together in his brilliant mind.
But nobody ever rats out Sherlock Holmes, because of his reputation. Holmes would know that he had to hold the entire city in a grip of fear, having his street orphans spread the word that anyone who tells the police about Sherlock and his organization won't live to see the sun set. He would make sure that all persons who could spoil his plans would be fully aware of the consequences.

Sherlock Holmes' return in "The Adventure of the Empty House" shows that he understand that concept, as he plays hide and seek with Moriarty's henchman Moran for three years, knowing full well that the man is out to kill him. Now if a Sherlock Holmes is afraid of one man wit a rifle, this threat must mean something. But Holmes was never openly threatened by the man. He knew Moran was out for revenge and would stop at nothing. He would let London's simple population know that speaking his name alone could result in sudden death, poisoned or stabbed by an orphan in the street.

A secret service operative like Mycroft would never do this and would eventually be caught, because someone saw something he deemed unimportant at the time. Mycroft cannot eliminate every simple man on the street - he would end up killing most of London, thus attracting unwanted attention.

So, this is my case. I'm ready for your rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 1
IngeniousFool

Con

IngeniousFool forfeited this round.
The_Scapegoat_bleats

Pro

This is a real pity. I was so looking forward to this.
Well, all I can say now is: argument extended.
Debate Round No. 2
IngeniousFool

Con

IngeniousFool forfeited this round.
The_Scapegoat_bleats

Pro

Well, further extended.
Debate Round No. 3
IngeniousFool

Con

IngeniousFool forfeited this round.
The_Scapegoat_bleats

Pro

Sadly, I have nothing else to do but extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
IngeniousFool

Con

IngeniousFool forfeited this round.
The_Scapegoat_bleats

Pro

My argument stands undisputed.

I think my point is made.

Please vote!
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Actionsspeak 3 years ago
Actionsspeak
IngeniousFoolThe_Scapegoat_bleatsTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
Ragnar
IngeniousFoolThe_Scapegoat_bleatsTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit. Funny I was going to take this one, until I noticed that the instigator was con.
Vote Placed by Mikal 3 years ago
Mikal
IngeniousFoolThe_Scapegoat_bleatsTied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Due to con being rational mad man and being insta banned from the site pro takes the win due to a ff