Hi I'm Lost
And I was trying to make the point that unless somehow your a paragon of virtue the somebody is going to see you as a villain. If that same Unknown Soldier started using his powers to shield both Americans and Viet Cong troops from each others attacks, and thus prevent killing he'd still be seen as a villain for interfering in the War. I'm not sure there is anyway to force Peace on waring factions without dirty.Well, let's compare him to an Empowered who is reaching down into the planet and bringing water back to Eastern Africa. One is using "Ends Justify the Means" to achieve a goal. One is hurting nobody, helping millions of humans and animals.
This probably isn't the place to get into a big deep philosophical discussion, but any time that "Ends Justify the Means" gets trotted out, someone is going to see you as a villain. And rightfully so.
I think Gaming Poet's point is that there are genuinely good people whose lives and actions don't trod upon moral grey-areas, who can't be seen as villains from a different angle. The Irrigator, Soup-Kitchen Man, and The Veterinarian could form a team that aren't ever going to be battling down the streets of (insert city here) because violence is repulsive, and contrary to their goals.
Your soldier is a villain ... to Americans who have had their Head of State taken, or to anyone who thinks taking hostages to achieve a goal is unacceptable.
When the Irrigator restores water to the Sahara, he's going to make the region a target. And even if he and his super team make sure it doesn't remain a target, some organization is likely going to libel him for not restoring water to say the South West USA or for promoting Communism or for helping the wrong people. Still to most he's likely to be seen as a hero, until they find out he's gay.
Its hard to shine when your in the public eye. Heroes & Villains are a matter of public opinion. I can't imagine someone seriously calling themselves a super villain. Their actions no matter how poorly thought out are going to be in the greater good, at least to them.
Soup-Kitchen Man is likely to be okay as a long as he can keep himself in check, though some people may wonder why he isn't out there saving lives. There are unEmpowered people that can watch over the shelter while he does, so why does he need to man the kitchen? Considering that his very presence seems to attract the unwanted attention of the other Empowered such as the Weatherman, a known terrorist currently being hunted down by the FBI and CIA, who is always trying to convince him to take a stand against the Man.
Robin Hood was a villain to the rich, but hero to the poor. But I agree that their must be some actions that are universally held to be good. I'm trying very ineffectively I'd guess to say that the news media regulates popular opinion, and if you control the media you can label someone a hero or a villain no matter the truth, and the label is going to stick with at least some of the population.
Ultimately it is history that decides where the label should stick.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't help your fellow man, or that you should spend all your time gaming and let the world go to hell. I volunteer my spare time with Western Service Workers Association, and occasionally the National Organization of Women, not so much at the moment though. I try to encourage my friends to help out in their community too. Cczernia the GM for the supers game I'm going to start playing in on Monday runs D&D for a libraries after school program, its a interesting way to keep them out of trouble.