The Instigator
simpleguy
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
MyDinosaurHands
Con (against)
Winning
5 Points

In defense of history's worst: The Joker's actions in The Dark Knight were justified (Part 2)

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
MyDinosaurHands
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/10/2014 Category: People
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,813 times Debate No: 48708
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (16)
Votes (3)

 

simpleguy

Pro

This is Part 2 of My In Defense of history's worst series, as inspired by Wylted.

I defend Osama Bin Laden in the first part here:

http://www.debate.org...

Definitions:


Justified: having, done for, or marked by a good or legitimate reason.

Shared BoP

If you don't qualify for this debate leave a comment and I'll consider you.

Structure:

Round 1 - Con Arguments

Round 2 - Pro rebuttals and arguments, Con rebuttals and arguments

Round 3 - Same as above.

Round 4 - Con rebuttals, Pro may only say "Thank you for this debate" so there are an even number of rounds.
MyDinosaurHands

Con

For a guy who loves loves loves The Dark Knight, any excuse to talk about its characters is greatly welcomed. Thanks for setting this debate up.

For my opening arguments, I will begin by showcasing some of his bad deeds and then linking them back into what the Joker's real motivation is.

It should also be noted that a new definition for 'justified' is in the comments' section.

First I'd like to talk about the decision Batman is forced to make between Harvey and Rachel[1]. We know that the Joker switches the buildings and Rachel dies. Did Rachel deserve this? Is Rachel some kind of threat to society and the whole benefits with her dead? No, of course not! She's a para-legal who helps clean the streets of Gotham. Aside from the woman who dies, the two guys who loved her are crushed. Batman will go into a 7 year retirement, and Dent will go on a grief driven killing spree. It is hardly good for the people of Gotham to have Batman retire and have Dent kill people. You can't give good justification for this. All this does is hurt people.

Next there's the 'tryouts' scene[2]. He makes three guys who are probably friends fight to the death for survival.

Next, consider the ferry scene[3]. The Joker is trying to get one of the two boats to kill the other in order to survive. He's trying to make them act selfishly.

So what do all these have in common? The Joker is trying to bring people down to his level, because he hates himself. I'll get to the hates himself part later, but for now I'll show the similarities in these actions in regards to the Joker trying to bring people down to his level.

With all of these actions, the Joker is trying to make people act in an uncivilized an selfish way. He's trying to bring out the worst in people. The death of Rachel brings about selfish feelings in Batman and Dent. Batman goes off wallowing in his own sadness to leave Gotham alone, and Dent can't see past his own grievances to show any traces of empathy on his animalistic killing spree.

The Joker tosses the three bodyguards a broken pool cue and tells them to get to work because he wants them to forsake more civilized notions of honor and friendship and fight like animals for survival. He wants them to act purely in each of their own interests, so much so that they kill their friends.

With the boats, the Joker is trying to get one group to kill off the other boat in order to show that people are selfish and animal deep down. Again, he's trying to take away their civilized tendencies.

Now here's where I get to why the Joker is trying to get people to do this. The Joker is the least civilized of all of us. He acts purely for his own selfish desires. I presume that he doesn't like himself for this. Ordinarily I would reach a different conclusion: that he sees society as a bunch of animals pretending they're not what they are. And that is probably part of his outlook, but I believe that isn't all. When the Joker first talks to the gang bosses[4], he is interrupted by Gambol.
Joker: "You see a guy like me-"
Gambol: "A freak!"
At this the Joker looks visibly affected. He looks down, which I may add, is one of the facial expressions associated with shame[]. Not only does he do that, but he struggles to find his words for a moment, and once he does, he cuts right to the chase, perhaps a sign his confidence and willingness to monologue extensively has been extinguished. That's not all. Same video, someone cuts him off and says he's crazy. This seems to affect him too. From this scene I theorize that The Joker feels insecure about himself to a certain degree, and seeks to make others like himself in order to feel 'normal'.

But hey, you don't have to buy that to still think that The Joker has no acceptable reason to do what he does. Even if you don't think he's insecure, you should be able to see that he's on a mission to make others like him. And how is that a justified mission? To make a world full of Jokers would cause completely unacceptable suffering to others.

The only thing The Joker could accomplish was make the world a worse place. It doesn't matter if The Joker is right, and we really are all animals underneath. It doesn't matter because the world is a better place without animals for humans.

Sources:
[1] https://www.youtube.com...
[2] https://www.youtube.com...
[3] https://www.youtube.com...
[4] https://www.youtube.com...
Debate Round No. 1
simpleguy

Pro

I would like to thank my opponent for his argument, but I have noticed two big flaws in the structure I laid out in round 1. The first is that I said there would be 4 rounds, when I have actually set it to 3. As a result, assume Round 3 is gone and Round 4 = Round 3. That leads us to the second mistake; it should read "Pro rebuttals, Con may only say "Thank you for this debate" so there are an even number of rounds." I have discussed these with my opponent and he has kindly agreed.

I will now move on to my rebuttals.

Let's first summarise Con's arguments in round 1. He makes three contentions:

1) Joker does lots of things we would perceive to be bad.

2) Joker sees humans as animals and wants to make everyone like him.

3) It doesn't matter if The Joker is right because it makes the world a worse place.

I agree with contention 1, it is all factual. This has nothing to do with the debate however, we are arguing whether his actions were justified, not whether they resulted in good things or bad things.

I kind of agree with contention 2, but I will elaborate a lot further than Con has on The Joker's motivations, as that is the crux of this debate.

Contention 3, the conclusion Con draws is the major flaw in his argument. Whether The Joker has left the world in a better or worse place in your opinion than it was before him is irrelevant, the key idea is whether there was an "acceptable reason for the action taken". Now as 'acceptable' is a highly subjective word, I urge voters to step into Joker's purple suit for a moment and see why he did the things he did. His actions do not have to have had a good result, it doesn't matter if there could've been a better alternative The Joker could've taken. What matters is simply whether or not he had a good reason for doing the things he did.

My argument

In order to understand The Joker, we must first look at the idea of 'nihilism'.

Defintion:


Nihilism: the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.


The Joker is neither good nor evil. He kills both drug dealers[1] and police[2]. He isn't after money either[3].


So what is The Joker really after?


My thesis is that The Joker wants to enlighten everyone in Gotham city, and by extension, mankind. The rest of this argument will be an attempt to prove that thesis.

As I have shown earlier, The Joker is not attached to anything. He is not governed by the structures of society. Does this remind you of any belief system? That's right; buddhism.

The Joker is a hero in his own way. Batman fights to rid the world of what he perceives as 'evil'; that is, drug dealers, murders, rapists, etc. The Joker fights to rid the world of what he perceives as 'evil': social structures. Why are the structures we have built our society on 'evil'?

Because our world was never meant to fit into these moral structures and values. We try to fit this wonderfully chaotic world into what we deem as 'good' and 'bad', but then we make exceptions. We always make exceptions; inconsistency is an inherent trait in the human condition. Although some people follow the rules set by society, there are those that will defy them. They profit from them and can easily manipulate the people who blindly follow these social structures and values of 'right' and 'wrong'. The Joker is trying to free us from these artificial mores and values.

If we lose an inherent sense of 'good' and 'evil', there ceases to be conflict. This is the core of nihilism. Life is inherently meaningless, and the acceptance of this is to be enlightened. "The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules." No one will be able to manipulate another based on these grandiose ideas of 'good'. By introducing the world (Gotham City) to conflict, The Joker highlights the hypocrisies of social values in an attempt for humanity to understand its own nature and thus live a better life. His actions are for the greater good.

The Joker is not only the antithesis of 'good', he kills drug dealers too. He is the antithesis of structure, he takes everyone's plans and 'turns them upside down'. Gotham is a world where everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others, just like the allegory of the pigs in Animal Farm - George Orwell. "If I tell the press that tomorrow a gangbanger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will get blown up, nobody panics. But when I say one little old mayor will die, everyone loses their minds!" The only true equality is a world void of values, of the pretentious morality us humans have conjured up.

Obviously, the reader may now think of the ferry experiment and say that the people of Gotham have proved themselves to be better than that, simply because neither boat blew up. But consider what actually happened - the "good people" couldn't even reach a decision to make a vote, and when they finally voted to blow up the other ship, no one had the guts to do it. Their morality has made them sick, they chose these superficial values of morality over basic survival instinct. The Joker tried to teach them a lesson - to put them back in touch with their true animalistic nature. The people on the 'good' boat obviously wanted to blow up the other ship, but only when no one was watching. When people didn't have to reveal what they voted for. But when someone has to come up and press the button, no one could, because other people were watching.

Hopefully, this argument has led you to believe that Joker's actions were not only justified - his worldview is actually a little bit appealing. Perhaps, just perhaps, you start to see the world a little clearer through his eyes. The artificialness of it, the pretentiousness. Either way, I have sufficiently demonstrated that The Joker's actions were not only justified, it was his only option as one of the few people 'ahead of the curve', one of the few people who saw the world for what it was. He had to awaken the world to its own contradictions.


[1] ;
[2]
[3]
MyDinosaurHands

Con

First I need to add something I left out of my previous round: the link for facial expressions of shame[1].

Anyhow, I'll start with some rebuttals to quotes from my opponent's argument that I feel are major points.

"Whether The Joker has left the world in a better or worse place in your opinion than it was before him is irrelevant, the key idea is whether there was an "acceptable reason for the action taken"."
Yes but the opinion of the outcome is the basis for rendering judgment on his actions' acceptability. Hitler had his reasons too, but the majority of the world doesn't consider him justified in his actions. So it should be with The Joker. We need to look at what would've happened if The Joker had been successful, and judge the acceptability of his actions on that. Which my opponent does later in his arguments, arguments which I will get to rebutting later in mine.

"The Joker is neither good nor evil. He kills both drug dealers[1] and police[2]. He isn't after money either[3]."
Assuming this debate won't become one about the possibility of moral subjectivity, I think it's safe to say that The Joker is evil, at least by majority standards. Just because he kills drug dealers and burns money from the mob doesn't mean he 'evens out' or anything like that. Killing drug dealers denies them the possibility of rehabilitation in jail, and it renders judgment upon them without knowing their reasons for why they're in that business. My point is that this isn't black and white, and killing a drug dealer isn't necessarily 'white'.

"If we lose an inherent sense of 'good' and 'evil', there ceases to be conflict. This is the core of nihilism. Life is inherently meaningless, and the acceptance of this is to be enlightened. "The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules." No one will be able to manipulate another based on these grandiose ideas of 'good'."
This seems nice on paper. In a world without ideas of good and bad nobody will have power over anybody, right? No, wrong. In a world without moral code, the animal instincts take over. Survival, and at the core of survival, selfishness. Just because nobody holds any concepts of right and wrong does not mean there will cease to be conflict. Look at the animal kingdom. There is no concept of right and wrong present there, and there's plenty of death. And even though there will be no moral code, there will still be manipulation. The strong versus the weak. That will be the replacement for today's moral code. The strong will control the weak, and manipulation will be present. People, no longer held back by their sometimes contradictory moral code, will act however they want. There will be chaos.

"The people on the 'good' boat obviously wanted to blow up the other ship, but only when no one was watching. When people didn't have to reveal what they voted for. But when someone has to come up and press the button, no one could, because other people were watching."
Even if that's the case, that doesn't mean The Joker is right for trying. If this is the kind of world he wants, where one boat blows up the other, then we're better off with this one, even if some of our rules are stupid or at times contradictory. My opponent has said a couple times that The Joker is justified because he's working for the greater good. What The Joker wanted for those two ferries is an extension of what he wants for the whole world. Think about how much pain and death that would bring about. Compared to our current world, that is not in the interests of the greater good.

"He had to awaken the world to its own contradictions."
Here is, in my opinion, my opponent's thesis statement. I believe I've already sufficiently shown what a nihilistic world would actually be like(the animal kingdom). Therefore, The Joker did not have to awaken the world to its own contradictions.

Thanks for reading.

Source:
[1] http://www.reading-body-language.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 2
simpleguy

Pro

Clarification

As previously agreed to, Con will simply say "Thank you for this debate" next round so that we have the same number of arguments.

Summary of previous rounds

Other than the five quotes he highlighted, Con seems to have agreed with everything else.

Rebuttals

I will address the points that my opponent has quoted one by one.

My argument: "Whether The Joker has left the world in a better or worse place in your opinion than it was before him is irrelevant, the key idea is whether there was an "acceptable reason for the action taken."

My opponent's rebuttal: Yes but the opinion of the outcome is the basis for rendering judgment on his actions' acceptability. Hitler had his reasons too, but the majority of the world doesn't consider him justified in his actions. So it should be with The Joker. We need to look at what would've happened if The Joker had been successful, and judge the acceptability of his actions on that. Which my opponent does later in his arguments, arguments which I will get to rebutting later in mine.

My rebuttal: My opponent seems to have misunderstood what I had said. "outcome is the basis for rendering judgement on his actions' acceptability." I'm sorry, but we are not rendering judgement on his actions themselves, we are rendering judgement on the reasons for said actions. Furthermore, the Hitler analogy does not apply as I also believe Hitler was justified in his actions; something I will prove in the next debate in the series.

My argument: "The Joker is neither good nor evil. He kills both drug dealers[1] and police[2]. He isn't after money either[3]."

My opponent's rebuttal: Assuming this debate won't become one about the possibility of moral subjectivity, I think it's safe to say that The Joker is evil, at least by majority standards. Just because he kills drug dealers and burns money from the mob doesn't mean he 'evens out' or anything like that. Killing drug dealers denies them the possibility of rehabilitation in jail, and it renders judgment upon them without knowing their reasons for why they're in that business. My point is that this isn't black and white, and killing a drug dealer isn't necessarily 'white'.

My rebuttal: Although that line was simply an introduction into my nihilism argument, I would like to clarify what I mean. I am not claiming that The Joker is a good guy for killing drug dealers, I am simply saying that The Joker belongs in a completely different category - he neither belongs to the good (police) or the bad (drug dealers). He's in a separate league of his own. He is the embodiment of chaos.

My argument: "If we lose an inherent sense of 'good' and 'evil', there ceases to be conflict. This is the core of nihilism. Life is inherently meaningless, and the acceptance of this is to be enlightened. "The only sensible way to live in this world is without rules." No one will be able to manipulate another based on these grandiose ideas of 'good'."

My opponent's rebuttal: This seems nice on paper. In a world without ideas of good and bad nobody will have power over anybody, right? No, wrong. In a world without moral code, the animal instincts take over. Survival, and at the core of survival, selfishness. Just because nobody holds any concepts of right and wrong does not mean there will cease to be conflict. Look at the animal kingdom. There is no concept of right and wrong present there, and there's plenty of death. And even though there will be no moral code, there will still be manipulation. The strong versus the weak. That will be the replacement for today's moral code. The strong will control the weak, and manipulation will be present. People, no longer held back by their sometimes contradictory moral code, will act however they want. There will be chaos.

My rebuttal: Firstly, I recognise that I made the mistake of not explaining what I meant by "there ceases to be conflict". In this regard I was talking about the conflict between good and evil. Conflict over these moral structures and values that we adhere to more dearly than life itself - as seen in the ferry scene. The rest of my opponent's argument is actually quite spot on in its description of nihilism. "Survival, and at the core of survival, selfishness." Exactly - those are the things that are ingrained in our condition, we are simply restricting ourselves with moral values needlessly. What is wrong with acting selfishly in order to survive? That is the key to the existence of any animal - survival instinct. The Joker was trying to help us return to our roots and recognise what we truly are - animals. Yes, humans are part of the animal kingdom as well, an expression Con loves to use. In terms of the "Strong versus the weak", this will only happen when resources run out on Earth, as there is no reason to kill "cops" because they won't stop you from doing whatever you're doing. Sure, the weak may die out relatively quickly, but that was how it was meant to be all along. That is how animal species have survived for so long - how humans, until recently, have survived for so long.

My argument: "The people on the 'good' boat obviously wanted to blow up the other ship, but only when no one was watching. When people didn't have to reveal what they voted for. But when someone has to come up and press the button, no one could, because other people were watching."

My opponent's rebuttal: Even if that's the case, that doesn't mean The Joker is right for trying. If this is the kind of world he wants, where one boat blows up the other, then we're better off with this one, even if some of our rules are stupid or at times contradictory. My opponent has said a couple times that The Joker is justified because he's working for the greater good. What The Joker wanted for those two ferries is an extension of what he wants for the whole world. Think about how much pain and death that would bring about. Compared to our current world, that is not in the interests of the greater good.

My rebuttal: My opponent seems to completely misunderstand The Joker's motive - which is precisely why we need this kind of hero in the real world. If he was able to complete the "social experiment/demonstration", both boats would've blown up and everyone would've died. If the whole human race acted like this in every situation, we would go extinct. It goes against our fundamental survival instincts to persevere as a race. If The Joker has to blow up one or two boats to save the world, he'll do it. The ultimate good is the survival and growth of the human race - and that cannot happen while we are clouded by these so called social constructs and moral values.

My argument:"He had to awaken the world to its own contradictions."

My opponent's argument: Here is, in my opinion, my opponent's thesis statement. I believe I've already sufficiently shown what a nihilistic world would actually be like(the animal kingdom). Therefore, The Joker did not have to awaken the world to its own contradictions.

My argument: As I have alluded to in my rebuttals above, people clearly don't know what a nihilistic world would actually be like. My opponent keeps trying to separate humans from animals, but what really differentiates us apart from the fact that we have a higher intellect? As long as we fail to acknowledge this point and delude ourselves in saying we are some how better than other animals, there will continue to be manipulation and abuse of these moral values that we hold is such high esteem.

Conclusion

As I have effectively demonstrated in my arguments, The Joker is more than justified in his actions. In fact, I would say that he was not only justified - he was a hero. You do not have to recognise nihilism as a correct worldview, you do not have to acknowledge that his actions were the only way for him to get his message across - you simply need to acknowledge they had their merits.

I would like to thank voters for reading this and my opponent for a fascinating debate. The makers of the film must all have been philosophers.
MyDinosaurHands

Con

Thanks.
http://youtu.be...
And if anybody knows why the video isn't popping up in my arguments, please let me know, it's really irritating me because it never used to do this.
Debate Round No. 3
16 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by simpleguy 3 years ago
simpleguy
I'm also confused as to how Con got the source point when the only difference between our sources was a body language page, I mean, seriously...?
Posted by simpleguy 3 years ago
simpleguy
@bubba, I'm not arguing whether the Joker was right or wrong, I'm simply saying that his actions were justified.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 3 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
Ok.. so.. vote for meh?
Posted by bubbatheclown 3 years ago
bubbatheclown
There is a fundamental flaw with Pro's "he's teaching humanity a lesson" argument: there have been countless of terror attacks and mass murders throughout our history, and none of them "taught" anyone anything. In fact, whenever 9/11 happened, many Americans realized, "That Was Wrong." So how can one more time "teach" us anything? All the Joker really did was kill people, which is wrong.
If you're going to argue that there is no right and wrong, then how can you say that the Joker was right either?
Posted by simpleguy 3 years ago
simpleguy
I'm planning on Hitler next.
Posted by Magic8000 3 years ago
Magic8000
Simpleguy should defend Hitler or Genghis Khan next. That would be a good read.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 3 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
Can anybody tell me why the videos I linked don't automatically appear in the debate? They usually do, here the link is just sitting there.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 3 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
Well all it cuts out is my rebuttal, I can deal with it. I don't want to wait for someone to swoop this thing up.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 3 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
Uh, you have your debate structure set-up for 4 rounds but there's only three.
Posted by MyDinosaurHands 3 years ago
MyDinosaurHands
That's fine I'll just point everyone to the comments section when I accept. Thanks!
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by iamanatheistandthisiswhy 3 years ago
iamanatheistandthisiswhy
simpleguyMyDinosaurHandsTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:00 
Reasons for voting decision: I feel bad doing this, but I can decide a winner. I think both arguments had merits but none was stronger than the other to warrant an outright win on arguments. I think Pro's argument for justification were valid, however Con said justification meant with good reason. So what is good reason? This is where Pro seemed to do better, but not well enough. I think if the argument did go more into good and evil, Con would have had an upper hand. All in all a good debate and I will be following more of these debates Pro they are interesting.
Vote Placed by RebelRebelDixieDixie01 3 years ago
RebelRebelDixieDixie01
simpleguyMyDinosaurHandsTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had better arguments and used better sources.
Vote Placed by Wylted 3 years ago
Wylted
simpleguyMyDinosaurHandsTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro showed the Joker's actions to be justified. Pro backed up their conclusion with a sound philosophy. Con's arguments were simplistic and not backed by a coherent world view or by a sound philosophy or even any at all.