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  •  nonsense (2+ / 0-)
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    Erevann, pfiore8

    I am sure plenty of Dems would like to be like Ender. It's a non-denominational nick.

    SwordsCrossed "To discuss evil in a manner implying neutrality, is to sanction it." AR

    by EnderRS on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 11:58:18 AM PDT

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    •  If you don't know why Ender is a non Democratic (1+ / 0-)
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      nick, you either aren't a Democrat, or haven't read the book, or haven't thought about the book's appeal.

      Ender is, of course, the prototypical "Compassionate Conservative".   Which means he intends to do well, he just kills people.  It makes him feel bad, which means (according to the ethos of the book) he must be good.

      It's a superb book, of course, but so is Atlas Shrugged.  But a Democrat (at least an adult one) is not likely to fantasize about being Ender, any more than they're going to fantasize about being John Galt.

      I've lost my faith in nihilism

      by grumpynerd on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:08:03 PM PDT

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      •  hmmm (0+ / 0-)

        I disagree with your characterization of Ender. Most democrats are not pacifists and have fought wars where they intended to do well, but people died.

        I like Ender because I like his character and strong will and aspire to being more like him. And I am not big on "compassionate conservatism".

        SwordsCrossed "To discuss evil in a manner implying neutrality, is to sanction it." AR

        by EnderRS on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 12:43:49 PM PDT

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        •  I was being snarky, but there's a point here (1+ / 0-)
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          What makes  literature fun is that it is open to criticism. What makes a character like Ender interesting is he is subject to wildly different interpretations.

          Pacifism is not the best question to ask about this character.  I always like to start with the internal world of the book before I start looking for subtext.  

          Card goes to great lengths to make a character who is innocent, and yet performs acts which under normal circumstances would be shockingly violent, if not depraved, from maiming and killing in a schoolboy fistfight up to and including racial genocide.

          What makes this possible is that within the world of the book, Ender is, despite appearances, actually completely powerless.  What he intends to do doesn't matter at all, because his entire life is an elaborate ruse set up by others who use and exploit him. I think later stories in the series bear out this interpretation.  Ender has zero agency in the first book.

          Now, what does this say about the real world?  The philosophical point is that intent matters in moral culpability in a critical way.  No evil intent equals no evil.

          The problem with this is that it's proven in an entirely artificial scenario. In the real world, there can be evil because of a failure of due diligence, or of willful blindness.  Moral failings almost always involve pursing some good but ignoring the side effects.   The Nuremberg defense hinges on this: we didn't want any of these horrible things to happen, we were just doing what good soldiers do: follow orders.

          If Ender were a real person, and he were as superior in so many ways as he was supposed to be, wouldn't he ... shouldn't he question the things that happen to him?  Wouldn't he or shouldn't he put things together and realize he's being manipulated?

          Ignorance, if it is an excuse, is a limited excuse.  At some point we have a duty find out what our actions are actually doing.  That's a profoundly Democratic idea.  

          The fantasy of being, like James Bond, licensed to kill has a certain seductiveness.  But Card is trying to have it both ways with Ender; if you are powerful, you have a moral obligation to understand that power, not not be the tool of others.

          I've lost my faith in nihilism

          by grumpynerd on Wed Jul 11, 2007 at 01:18:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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