Is it ok to cheer for the bad guy if he has a really great plan?

Anyone who has read the first few books in the Artemis Fowl series has asked themself, "Am I really hoping that he he the good guy or the bad guy?"  In fact, Artemis is such a conniving little genius, whose plans are so inherently deceptive and wrong, yet so brilliantly clever, that we want him to succeed just because he has had such a great idea. 

Now, I am not recommending that we all head out and find a few fairies to hunt down and kidnap; but I am wondering, at what point do we want the bad guys to win because their plan is so great?   Let me provide a few examples...How about Robin Hood?  Is stealing money from the rich not really "bad stealing" if you are giving it to the poor?  How about the movie Ocean's Eleven?  Herein lies a movie where they are stealing, lying, and cheating; and yet, when it is over, the "Ocean Eleven" are all staring at the water fountain, and you are just so happy that they were able to steal, lie, and cheat and NOT GET CAUGHT!  After all, the bad guy deserved it because he stole first, right?  Finally, how about the classic adventure The Count of Monte Cristo.  Is the Count really a good guy, considering his desire to hurt so many, including his only love, in the name of revenge and deceit?

Who am I to judge whether Robin Hood was really stealing, or just performing random acts of charity?  Or whether the Count was justified in his actions because of his past experiences?   I am just wondering as a parent, how we can present this double standard to our kids? 

Maybe, it has something to do with "living in the world, but not of the world" or maybe it is just one of life's little ironies.   But it is something I wonder...and hope that when my kids ask me, I will know the right thing to say.

What do you think?

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