Quote Originally Posted by EndelNurk View Post
The Western genre is steeped in the ideas of rebellion against the state. I have never enjoyed the genre, in part for that reason. Firefly and Serenity is the first time I have ever enjoyed a Western and the reason is because the Alliance are horrifying and the Firefly crew are not. A pair of them are hiding from abuses by the Alliance, the rest are there for travel, survival, or getting rich but even then they do not take from those that have more need than they do. As Mal says: "May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."
I think you may be reading Mal's statement wrong. It's not really a defense of being a generally nice guy (as Mal points out several times in the series, he's not a nice guy). Since Firefly (and Serenity) are heavily based on the American Old West (and Western genre), you need to look at it in light of that. A lot of American frontier people felt very similarly to Mal after the American Civil War. For example, compare Mal to the outlaw Jesse James. Jesse James fought as a Confederate guerrilla who committed hit and run attacks against Union soldiers. After the war, he became one of the most famous robbers and murderers of the American West. The statement "May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one." might as well have been said by James himself.

See also American Old West.