Moral Myopia

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"God, I love the 'fine morality' of the wealthy and powerful. You'll spill tears over your own, in a heartbeat. And then never even look twice at people below you, whose lives are ground under every day, day after day, year after year. Such are beneath your contempt, aren't they?"
W.E.B. Du Havel, Crown of Slaves

The implicit or explicit code of conduct within a social group whereby the standards of morality stop applying past the fence of their back yard.

They may be royalty, a Proud Warrior Race Guy, The Beautiful Elite, Scary Dogmatic Aliens, Fire-Forged Friends and True Companions Villainous Friendship or not, a close family or fervent patriots, but the attitude is all the same: They are justified in taking anything and delivering Disproportionate Retribution upon anyone who would take anything from them. Lack of Empathy is on full display; everyone else is a nonperson, subhuman, fair game.

If you ever accuse them of being evil and demand that they justify their actions—if they even feel any need to justify something to an outsider—don't expect any remorse about their Dirty Business, or even admissions of villainy, whether regretful or gleeful. These are likely to spit at you that they do not subscribe to your idea of "evil". Particularly blind sorts may even throw in a Holier Than Thou Hannibal Lecture. After all, how many good men would speak against murder as the ultimate evil—but if they found out a loved one committed it, they would make excuses for them and let them get away with it, if they could? And on the other side of things, how many do-gooders actually take into account the lives of minor evil minions that will be necessarily lost on the way to saving the world?

Real Life has many examples of this trope. That is all we need to know. Hell, we've probably all done something like this at some point, to varying degrees.

See also Ape Shall Never Kill Ape, A Million Is a Statistic, Moral Dissonance, It's All About Me, and Would Be Rude to Say Genocide. Likely to be a "gray" in Black and Gray Morality, Gray and Gray Morality, or White and Gray Morality. When the writers seem to wholeheartedly privilege the protagonists this way, it's a case of Protagonist-Centered Morality. The Cannibal Tribe may employ this to avoid self-depopulation while also refusing to abandon cannibalism.

Examples of Moral Myopia include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • When Enya Geil from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure finds out that her son has been killed by the protagonists, she swears revenge and stops at nothing to try to kill them. Said son was a deranged psychopath who enjoyed raping and killing women.
  • In the various Gundam series, the pilots can be heard screaming their friend's names when they get blasted. One example includes Athrun of Gundam Seed getting all pissed off as his friend gets shot down, even though he and his friends were conducting a sneak attack against a civilian outpost of a neutral nation (granted it was supplying weapons to their enemies) which involved killing dozens if not hundreds of enemy personnel with large explosions, including non-combat ones.
    • He does it again in episode 29, in which Kira kills Nicol Amarfi, and Athrun flies into a rage because Kira slashed Nicol in self-defense, as he forgets that he's the one chasing after the Archangel and the Strike, and not the other way around.
    • Special mention goes to Shinn, who snaps because his family was killed during the Earth Alliance invasion of Orb. Two years later, his response is to lead a ZAFT invasion of the same country, the irony of the situation and the fact that he could be creating other children just like him, completely escapes his notice.
    • In S2 of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Nena Trinity seeks to avenge her brothers by killing Ali and those who employ him. An understandable objective, sure....but there's just one thing worth noting: earlier she strafed a wedding and killed an entire family of innocent people purely because she didn't like the idea of other people having a good time when she wasn't. So, she sees no problem in killing the families of innocent people for kicks, but if anyone kills her family, she sees them and everyone associated with them as monsters. What a Hypocrite!
    • In a case of a dramatic irony, the girl who survived that onslaught, Louise, goes on to target Nena and all associated with her for revenge, developing the exact same Moral Myopia in the process. Karma ends up hitting them both, as Nena dies at Louise's hands, and Louise suffers a complete mental breakdown that, as The Movie shows, she can never fully recover from.
    • Another example earlier in the series where an A-Laws pilot tries to get revenge on Setsuna for killing some of his comrades in battle. Nevermind the fact that he had just loosed a dozen killer robots in a space station full of unarmed prisoners.
    • In Zeta Gundam, Kamille and Jerid go back and forth with killing people important to the other, and both regularly accuse the other of being a cold-blooded murderer.
    • Kamille has a point. All he's doing is killing soldiers in times of war. Jerid? He killed Kamille's mother and several unarmed civilians.
      • He also gets this hilariously Narmful quote, directed at Blood Knight Yazan Gable: "How can you kill people so easily?! DIE!!"
        • Worth noting, Jerid didn't intentionally kill Kamille's mother; his superiors put her in a space capsule as a hostage and told him it was just a bomb he should blow up if the AEUG got too close. Jerid even attempts to apologize, but Kamille's too blinded by rage to listen.
    • Icelina Eisenbach of the original Gundam thinks that it's perfectly okay for her to betray her country to help pretty boy Garma impress his father, sister, and Complete Monster of a brother by taking over the world. When Garma's killed, she absolutely freaks out, declares the Earth Federation troops to be monsters, and leads a futile attack against them that gets her killed. It's sad, but not as sad as the creators want it to be, and it's entirely due to this trope being in full effect.
  • Happened in Fist of the North Star, most notably with Chief Fang/Kiba Daioh and the Fang Clan. Fang and his tribe would rape, murder, pillage, plunder, and destroy entire villages, but if even one of their own died, then the chief would cry Manly Tears and swear unending revenge.
  • Mayo Sasaki from Fushigi Yuugi Eikoden has a bad case of this. Why, she accuses Miaka of only caring about her happiness and not thinking about her duty as a priestess of Suzaku. Only, Mayo was at time trying to screw up the whole universe of the Book of the Seven Gods just because she wanted to steal Taka and his child away from Miaka. Hey, Mayo? Pot, kettle, black.
  • The second Slicer plays this very straight in Fullmetal Alchemist when fighting against Ed, saying "how dare you injure my brother!!, despite the fact that he was trying to violently and horribly kill Ed.
    • Envy often complains about others not fighting fair when they get the advantage over him in battle. Coming from a guy who throws around Shape Shifter Guilt Trips and dog kickings almost constantly, it rings a little hollow.
    • Pride angrily upbraids Greed for betraying his "family" but threatens to eat him and callously eats Gluttony- yeah it had a pragmatic purpose, but Pride licked his lips before doing it and was clearly very pleased with himself.
  • The Moral Myopia of the Phantom Troupe in Hunter X Hunter really pisses off Gon.

Gon: I thought you were just cold-blooded killers. But I see that you can shed tears for your friend. SO WHY COULDN'T YOU SPARE SOME OF THAT EMPATHY FOR THE PEOPLE YOU KILLED?!

  • In Code Geass, Suzaku has some moments which qualify for this. In the first episode, he chastises Lelouch (he didn't know it was Lelouch at the time, though), for causing violence. This is in the middle of an operation to cleanse the entire ghetto, and he knew perfectly well what they were doing. Once he gets the Lancelot, he puts a stop to the resistance under the impression that the violence will just go away when he wins. The future Black Knights are nearly liquidated by the suddenly unimpeded forces of Britannia moving in (Lelouch saves them indirectly).
  • Magic Knight Rayearth example: the young summoner Ascot repeatedly sent his monster friends against the three heroines, with clear orders to kill the girls (and by doing so, he indirectly caused Presea's death). When the Magic Knights killed the monsters in an act of legitimate self-defense and to defend their friends, Ascot would call that an atrocity and swear revenge. Happily ignoring the fact that it was he who sent them with intent to kill. In the end, Umi called him out on this, and managed to set him straight.
  • In Inuyasha Koga serves as an excellent example. His Establishing Character Moment is slaughtering an entire village because his pet wolves were hungry, but enters an Unstoppable Rage when his pack is killed. He's considered to be sympathetic.
  • This trope kept the feuding flames fueled in Basilisk. Cycle of Revenge, indeed.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima has the entire mage society condemning mind control, such as love potions, yet it is common practice to erase memories and put up wards to mentally command Muggles away from places that would be inconvenient.
  • In the Death Note anime, Light claims that L is evil because he used another human being as a scapegoat in Episode 2. This completely disregarding the fact that the man in question was a criminal scheduled for execution that day, the fact that Light himself killed him, and how many people Light had killed up to the point where he said that.
    • Light in general is a spectacular example of this trope, at least in the beginning, as he endeavors to kill all the criminals and bad people on the planet but sees nothing wrong with killing thousands upon thousands of people, because he's a good guy.
    • The amount Light objects to the morality of an act, apart from the part in which he loses his memories of the Death Note and is not acting as Kira, tends to depend on how much it affects his plans. Even his disliking Mikami killing people he didn't think necessarily deserved to die is largely based on how it makes Kira look.
      • It should probably also be mentioned that the people he didn't think Mikami should have killed were people Light didn't think should die yet.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, Nove swears revenge on Subaru for severely wounding Cinque during the Numbers Cyborgs' attack on the Ground Forces HQ while she held her off to allow Nove and the others to escape, despite the fact that Cinque, Nove and Wendi had attacked, wounded and abducted Subaru's older sister Ginga, triggering Subaru's Unstoppable Rage and resulting in Cinque's injuries.
    • Lampshaded in Relationships Series when Lindy (gently) reminds Nove that it all happened because she attacked on Scaglietti's orders, but that people can forgive her because in her heart, she now understands this and regrets it.
  • In S-Cry-ed, both lead characters border on this in terms of how badly they freak out when their friends are hurt or killed, despite the number of people on either side they have personally done serious harm to with out batting an eye.
  • Spandam in One Piece. The best example of this would probably be his calling Robin a selfish bitch for refusing to die so he can get a promotion. Not long before that he was ranting about how great and kind he was and what a bitch Robin was, apparently forgetting about condemning all the marines under his command to death and refusing to retract the command in order to save face. Damn pirates, always getting in the way of JUSTICE.
    • Also, Arlong. Fish people have been victims of Fantastic Racism from humans for a long time. So when Arlong comes into a position of power, what does he do? Enslave a town of people, kill a girl's surrogate mother before her eyes and then forces the girl to work for him, and basically go on and on about how fish people are "the superior species" and being a racist jerk. Because, y'know, humans started it, so a fish man being a racist monster is perfectly OK, right? Right?
      • Arlong's case has an interesting flavor to it. It is later revealed that Arlong based his operations and priorities (tyranny, slavery and hoarding wealth) on his knowledge on human society. Arlong didn't commit horrible crimes against humans because he wanted revenge on the mistreatment of his people, he was trying to obtain the freedom and power he couldn't get as a fishman on a dry land by trying to act like a human.
      • That he didn't bother to check his preconceptions against reality is the problem. It is a dreadful accident of geography that Fishman Island lies right at the foot of Shabondy Park, base of the tenryuubito.
  • The Buff Clan from Space Runaway Ideon are completely blind in this regard. You've agreed to an honorable duel with a Terran? It's okay to not play by the rules, because they sure won't! You invade their planet and they won't surrender? What a bunch of brutal savages! They get called out on their failures to live up to their "samurai" ideals several times.
  • In Chapter 44 of the Yu Yu Hakusho manga, while Yusuke and Kuwabara are recovering from their wounds sustained in the Maze Castle arc, two demon half-breeds impersonate them and attack some rival Delinquents at the Kasanegafuchi school. After expressing outrage over Yusuke and Kuwabara's dirty tactics, despite having been dishonorable in the past and knowing that Yusuke and Kuwabara never acted this way before, (lampshaded with "Thug logic! Gotta love it!" in the margins), the Kasanegafuchi delinquents beat up Kuwabara's friends and use threats to force two students to tell Yusuke and Kuwabara to meet them to settle the score.
  • Asagami Fujino of Kara no Kyoukai: accuses Shiki of being a clearly insane killer, and Shiki is quick to point out that Fujino herself has already brutally murdered almost half a dozen people by twisting their limbs off. Fujino (who is at this point utterly broken emotionally and in the middle of a profound psychotic break) refuses to accept that she's done anything immoral, citing that her stomach hurt.
    • Though it is interesting to note that Shiki didn't care that Fujino killed the men in the club who had been raping her every day for an entire year, because that was simply revenge and a sudden burst of killing impulse. It's when Fujino started actively tracking the guys who managed to escape that Shiki thought she went too far. Of course, Shiki has a unique concept of what it means to murder to begin with.
  • Uchiha Sasuke from Naruto suffers from a particularly bad case of Moral Myopia. It's to the point where he believes that his brother Itachi isn't to blame for his agreeing to slaughter the Uchiha clan to protect Konoha from the Uchihas' attempting a coup and bloody civil war. He also believes that the Uchiha clan was in the right to attempt said coup, and that his friends and everyone else in Konoha is to blame for prospering from the slaughter by not being involved in a bloody coup that would've resulted in the loss of many innocent lives.
    • The Lightning Village also commits this in the past. When Hiashi kills the ninja diplomat who tried to kidnap his daughter Hinata to steal the secret of the Byakugan, they are outraged and demand Hiashi's body (partly for the pretext of getting the Byakugan, which gets thwarted when Hizashi offers himself in Hiashi's place, preventing them from complaining about it). It's possible that they did not know the truth, but this is Egregious enough that Neji lampshades it when telling the story to Naruto, and Yamato later reminds the Raikage that the Leaf Village reluctantly accepted the Cloud Village's demand to avoid war when he proves dismissive of Naruto's request to save Sasuke.
      • The Raikage is also very proud of the fact that Kumogakure is the only major village to not produce any members of Akatsuki, as well as berate some of the other major villages for going so far as to hire Akatsuki for certain jobs. When the Tsuchikage points out that he hired Akatsuki to counter Kumo's continued military expansion during a time when every other village was in the process of disarmament, the Raikage responds with righteous indignation. It probably would have lead to a huge argument if Danzo (who is also an example of this) hadn't interrupted.
    • And speaking of Danzo, his idea of the right thing to do puts him second only to Orochimaru for trauma produced. If that. Danzo is the man behind the Uchiha massacre, and the waste and ruin of its only two survivors, particularly the elder. Danzo is the man behind the death of Yahiko and the concomitant transformation of Akatsuki from pacifists who wanted to save the world to a ring of evil mercenary nuke-nin, because in taking everything from Nagato he created Pein. He also has a standard policy of abusing and brainwashing small children into his minions. He is clearly in the top five evil people stakes for the series, but he doesn't think he's a bad person.
      • Oh, it's even worse than that. Danzo is strongly implied to have conspired with Orochimaru after he betrayed the village. He also stood by while Pain was attacking because he hoped that Tsunade would get killed, giving him a shot at becoming Hokage. Then during the meeting to select the next Hokage, he had the audacity to claim that it was Sarutobi's ideals that had led to the current situation and produced Pain, when it was his fault Nagato hated Konoha, something he conveniently neglects to mention. He's also responsible for Kabuto's Start of Darkness as well. Not only did he blackmail Kabuto and his mother figure into spying for Root, he set them up to kill each other when he felt that they knew too much and had become a liability. Consequently, Kabuto betrays Konoha. All the atrocities he has committed are supposedly "for the good of Konoha," but given how his actions seem to constantly create more enemies...
  • Ranma ½ is full of this, with "heroic" and "villainous" characters alike capable of deploring the antics of others... while seeing no problem with doing the same thing themselves. Tatewaki Kuno may perhaps be the best example of this in the characters; his statements about what makes a person moral (and he, naturally, is the most moral and honorable person in town if you listen to him) and his actual actions are pretty much exact opposites.
  • In Martian Successor Nadesico, the Jovians very much fit this. They have a "Heroes of Justice" attitude like someone who has watched too much Super Robot anime,[1] which means that they have very high standards and see the world in terms of Black and White Morality. Thus, while Jovians are often personally pleasant, they generally behave in a totally merciless way in attacking Earth (since they see humans as Exclusively Evil). There's a quote from one that really says it all- "If only the humans appreciated life as we do, I would not have to kill so many of them."
  • The cyborgs of Gunslinger Girl don't care about harming or being harmed by others, but regard any attack on their handler as an outrageous affront worthy of immediate vengeance. Justified in that this is part of what their conditioning is supposed to have them be.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • In Y: The Last Man, "Ring of Truth", 355's archenemy Anna Strong sends a couple of her lieutenants to kill her and she (355) quickly dispatches both of them. This triggers the mama-bear in the arch-villain. Who then proceeds to attack the heroine in full on moral outrage and revenge mode.
  • Batman villainess Poison Ivy frequently reacts this way to her beloved plants being pruned, Gaia save you if you use weed killer.
  • DC Comics had a hard-boiled detective series (forget the name, but it was set in the 20s or 30s and the art was done in pencil and colored pencil). In it, there was a tough criminal who flew into a rage when someone hurt his cats.
  • Many of the Fables are self centered, but Snow White is a special case. Her marriage to Prince Charming is primarily so she can learn fencing and avenge herself upon the dwarves (who abused her and effectively enslaved her). The wholesale slaughter of the dwarvess nearly causes a war between the Dwarf King and the prince; eventually he fakes a confession and has an innocent man put to death because she won't admit to any of the attacks. To this day she still considers herself to be the victim (though she may have some justification).
  • Lewis Prothero in V for Vendetta had worked in a death camp with no remorse, but was very protective of his dolls.
  • One of the Irish mercenaries in Sin City gets angry at Dwight for killing his fellow mercs... despite the fact they were trying to murder Dwight.
  • Example from Superman's rogues gallery - after Kryptionians destroyed Amalak's homeworld, he went on a centuries-spanning rampage, killing any and all Kryptionians he could find, even those who had nothing to do with the genocide of his people. He didn't mind innocents getting caught in the crossfire either.
  • The X-Men villains the Children of the Vault are pretty open about their ethical beliefs:

Rogue: So it's a crime to kill your people.
Cadena: Yes.
Rogue: But not to kill mutants or humans.
Cadena: That's just pest control.

  • The man who had Catman and Cheshire's son kidnapped in Secret Six calls Catman out on this. He bluntly states that their son could never have had a happy life growing up with Cheshire and/or Catman since both of them are murderous criminals. He also notes that neither of them have the right to play the victim card since Cheshire is a mass murderer who nuked a country and Catman doesn't care about that. Catman is forced to concede these points, and he decides to leave his son to his new life and tells Cheshire that he is dead so she won't try to look for him herself.
    • Speaking of Secret Six, Deadshot invokes this trope to Lady Vic, a fellow assassin who once threatened Deadshot's daughter in order to get him to stand down. "A job is a job. And I would have done the same thing. No, we ain't clear."

Film[edit | hide]

  • 28 Days Later: "You killed all of my boys." (Several of whom were preparing to rape Jim's girlfriend Selena and the other female in the party, a 14-year-old girl, which was disturbing even by West's standards.)
  • In Children of Men, Patric, one of the two men sent to kill Theo, takes it personally when Theo inadvertently kills the other assassin in the process of saving his own life. When they meet again near the end of the film, Patric even knees him in the groin, shouting about his fallen comrade: "He was nineteen!"
    • Possibly a Justified Trope here. Remember the collective level of trauma the society as a whole experienced when an eighteen year old was killed in the beginning of the movie. Their outrage may have had less to do with Theo killing him than with the fact that he was one of the youngest people on the planet at that point.
    • Why was the kid there then? They had plenty of older people that could have done the job equally well or better.
  • In The Mist, a supremely annoying hellfire-and-brimstone preacher lady is shot by a good guy after commanding her flock to sacrifice a young boy to the monsters that invaded. (Being cooped up in a Walmart for a week with monsters outside will make you try anything.) The response from the flock: "You murdered her!"
  • In Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, in the scene set during the Zulu wars. A trooper comes up to John Cleese's character to report on the extensive casualties in the horrific battle raging outside, but Cleese replies that "We've got a bit of a situation. One of the officers has been injured" (his leg disappeared in the middle of the night... long story). The trooper reacts with shock that one of the officers has been injured, and forgets all about the many soldiers killed or horribly maimed, as someone important has been hurt.
    • Later in the scene, a British soldier remarks that while killing more than a dozen Zulu would probably earn him a medal, killing Britons would earn him the death penalty.
      • That's a paraphrased quotation by Betrand Russell at the outbreak of World War I: "Two weeks ago if an Englishman killed a German he was hanged. Today if an Englishman kills a German he is a hero."
  • In Reservoir Dogs, Mr. Pink and Mr. White are having a conversation about the details of their escape from the failed heist. One of them mentions that he killed a few cops. The other says, very seriously, "No actual people, though?" and he replied just as nonchalantly, "Just cops."
  • "There's a little something called the law of reciprocity. You kill one of theirs, and they kill one of ours. Here's a piece of general advice: if you're going to kill one, make sure you bloody well kill them all."
    • "You're my brother, Charlie. You belong with me."
    • One of the main themes of the movie is civilization versus savagery, with Arthur Burns representing savagery. He thinks like a wild animal and only cares about his family. Everyone else is fair game to be raped and/or murdered.
  • In A Fish Called Wanda, Otto and Wanda double-cross George, the head of the group of robbers, and go to steal the profits of their heist. When they find that the locker the loot was supposed to be in is empty, a sign that George was Properly Paranoid, Otto starts furiously shouting about people never trusting him.
  • As shown in the Darths and Droids page image at the top of the page taken from this comic, Watto makes that comment about the Queen's ship in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.
  • In A.I.: Artificial Intelligence we see a group of humans that make a sport and spectacle of publicly destroying sentient robots in various ways. They are shown having great concern when the possibility that a child has gone missing on their grounds and that it may have been confused with a robot is presented to them. Meanwhile, the crowd who've gathered to see this show end up rioting when the MC tries to have the child-mecha David dissolved in acid, and it's clear that they did this mostly because the MC failed to prove that David was a robot.
  • In X-Men: First Class, the Big Bad tells Erik the justification for his plan to start a nuclear war that would probably kill hundreds of millions or billions of people. Erik then says, "I agree with everything you say. Unfortunately, you killed my mother." Erik then kills him in a Karmic Death.
  • In Apocalypto, the leader of the slavers, Zero Wolf, is perfectly content with leading his men (and among them his son) to Rape, Pillage and Burn the jungle villages, enslaving its dwellers and even killing their babies; however when one of those villagers, Jaguar Paw, kills his son in self-defense he starts an implacable chase to kill that man.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The Executioner: Mack Bolan notes this tendency in one novel. A team of Mafia hitmen is sent to murder undercover cop Leo Turrin, but instead find their advance team dead. Bolan listens to them ranting and raging about how Leo will die a slow and agonizing death for this "treachery", reflects on the hypocrisy involved, then proceeds to slaughter the lot of them.
  • Played for laughs in the Discworld novels: Nanny Ogg is proud to admit that one of her children was stealing lead off of the opera house roof because "It isn't a crime if an Ogg does it."
    • The same goes for the Ogg clan in general. While Nanny Ogg will stand for (and encourage) fighting, backstabbing and general competition within the family, the second anyone from outside the family tries this against them there'll be trouble.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunts Ghosts novels First & Only and Ghostmaker, the Jantine Patricians and Sturm and Gilbear, respectively, regard non-aristocratic troopers—such as the Ghosts—as cannon fodder and disgusting.
    • A Patrician general directs artillery fire where he knows Ghosts are, killing hundreds of them, after they captured in a day a fortress the Patricians had tried to storm for months.
      • And if Gaunt was a normal Commassar he would have shot them all (which he can, he can kill a Lord General, as long as he has a good reason).
  • In William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Space Wolf, the Grimskulls were deeply embittered that the Thunderskulls captured their settlement, enslaving their women and children. They went off, licking their wounds, and were lucky enough to find another settlement which they could overrun, killing all the men and enslaving the women and children, which they regard as a god rewarding their perseverance with a prize. They recovered there, and went back for Revenge on the Thunderskulls for their terrible crime.
  • In one Dark Tower book, witch Rhea sends her pet viper up a tree to drop down and kill Roland. It tries, but Roland's too quick and blasts it out of the air. Cue Rhea screaming with rage at him for killing her pet, while Roland quite rightly points out that she's the one who sent the snake to his death.
    • Repeated with marginally more sympathy in the last book, since Mordred is a sentient being and Roland's son, and dying of food poisoning. He's still a vampiric werespider trying to eat Roland on the Crimson King's orders, though.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Gods of Mars, the therns are horrified by the fate of thern women taken by black pirates (deduced by their never taking men alive).

"Is it not a just retribution?" I could not help but ask.
"What do you mean?"
"Do not the therns themselves do likewise with the poor creatures who take the voluntary pilgrimage down the River of Mystery? Was not Thuvia for fifteen years a plaything and a slave? Is it less than just that you should suffer as you have caused others to suffer?"
"You do not understand," she replied. "We therns are a holy race. It is an honour to a lesser creature to be a slave among us. Did we not occasionally save a few of the lower orders that stupidly float down an unknown river to an unknown end all would become the prey of the plant men and the apes."

  • Extremely common, and explicitly acknowledged, in The Sword of Truth. According to the heroes (and therefore by extension Terry Goodkind himself), as long as the other guy started the fight, then everything you do to put him down is justified. In fact, they claim, it would be immoral of you not to be completely merciless in utterly destroying someone who's attacked you. If you leave them alive, they'll just go off and attack someone else, and then it'll be your fault. It also gives you free reign to destroy everyone connected to them, because it's their job to defend those people, and by attacking you they've made them targets.
    • It bears mentioning that this is said specifically about facing a conquering army whose stated goal is to, well, conquer everything, rather than applying to any fight you might ever get into.
    • On the other hand, as in the author's (eventual) philosophy the word 'morality' is defined to mean "the degree to which one's actions ensure one's continued survival", this trope is pretty much guaranteed to show up everywhere.
  • Discussed in the Mario Puzo novel Omerta. A mob boss and his daughter are arguing over whether the death penalty is right or not. While she takes the typical view that no one has the right to kill anyone else, he fires back that they don't have the right to grant mercy either if they haven't been affected by the offender's crimes.
  • Tigana: Brandin comes down with an epic-scale case of this. Punishing a person for killing his son? Would have been relatively OK. Punishing the country that was on the other side in the battle where his son fell? Not so much. Erasing the country's name from history and exiling or enslaving its population, for killing his son, in a battle that only happened because he was invading? Welcome to this trope.
    • It's also noteworthy that Brandin's favoured son was leading an army to kill the people that happened to kill him. And that he does get revenge against the man who killed his son. He just keeps going!
  • Harry Turtledove's World War series has The Race, a race of lizard-like aliens who come to Earth during World War II to add the planet to their empire. Because their kind are so slow to change, they think everyone and everything should fall within their own standards. For example, they refer to Earthly religions as superstitions, but believe in their own version of Heaven as fervently as any fundamentalist. Later in the series, they pitch a fit when some mice accidentally get set loose on their homeworld and start causing ecological damage; when a human points out that they intentionally brought their plants and animals to Earth which are causing quite a bit of damage themselves, their response is "That's okay, because we're the ones who did it."
    • This is actually a frequent theme in all of Turtledove's work. You'll often have a character revile the actions of the others side when his side is doing the exact same thing.
  • Despite generally portraying the bad guys as acceptable targets, there is a moment in The Lord of the Rings (just before he first sees an "Oliphaunt") when Sam witnesses an enemy soldier from the south being killed in battle by Faramir's men. For a moment he wonders whether the man was truly evil or was he forced or fooled into the war, and whether he had a family and what his name was. Sam is glad that he couldn't see the dead man's face. This different attitude probably comes from the soldier being a human rather than an orc.
    • Averted much earlier in the book, when Gandalf and Frodo discuss Gollum:

Frodo: He is at least as bad as an orc, and deserves death.
Gandalf: Deserves death? I daresay he does. And many that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be so quick to hand out death in judgement.

    • The difference between attitudes towards orcs and humans rises several times during the books. In the aftermath of each great battle the surviving humans who fought on Sauron or Saruman's side are taken captive, treated with respect and eventually sent back home unharmed, and their dead are given decent burial, while the orcs are killed to the last man and burned in pyres.
      • To be fair, orcs are always portrayed as creatures of pure evil. Humans and most other races are shown with the possibility of being more varied and complex.
      • Also, the humans are taken prisoner because they're actually willing to surrender. The orcs, if prevented from escaping, invariably choose to fight to the last orc.
    • A couple of orcs actively engage in a case of it in The Two Towers. The orcs from two different strongholds come to check the path through Shelob's lair after Frodo and Sam fight her, and Frodo is apparently killed by her sting. When the leaders get together and talk things over, one scornfully condemns Sam leaving Frodo behind as "A regular Elvish trick." However, a few minutes later that same orc tells about how one of his men was stung by Shelob and they came across him still alive and captive in her webs sometime later... but didn't even try to rescue him because it wasn't worth the time, effort, or the risk of earning Shelob's wrath. Both orcs get a good laugh out of the story without ever drawing a connection between the two incidents.
  • In a story from The Case-Book Of Sherlock Holmes, a man conceals his sister's natural death so he won't lose access to her fortune until after he cleans up at the horse races. He defends his actions to Holmes, insisting that he did nothing that was disrespectful of the dead, even keeping his sister's body safe within the family crypt. Nobody points out that he'd first had his servant drag a body that was already in the tomb from its rightful resting place, burn it in the stove piece by piece, and then throw the ashes out with the trash.
  • In Robert E. Howard's "The Phoenix on the Sword", Conan is shocked that the ghost of Epemitreus comes to him when he is an outlander and a barbarian; he helps Aquilonia. Epemitreus explains that Aquilonia's fate is tied to Conan. OTOH, what Epemitreus is doing is helping, so arguably isn't something an outside could demand by right.
    • In "Shadows in Zamboula", the locals hide when their cannibalistic slaves rove for prey and don't care about the foreigners who get caught.
  • The Ilse Witch in The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara wants revenge on the Druid, Walker, for supposedly killing her family (her Evil Mentor actually did it). She can't understand how anyone could want to help a murderer like Walker. And is totally oblivious to the number of orphans she is creating in her quest for revenge.
  • Explicitly spelled out for Senna of Everworld. She sees no problem with selling out the main four characters to Hel, but when her mother sells her out to Merlin, she...doesn't take it well.
  • Pretty much the stock in trade of the Yuuzhan Vong. Jedi kills one of your family? Foul, heretical murder that demands vengeance in the name of the gods, usually in the form of slaughtering their friends, family and everyone they ever met. This is a direct result of their psychopathic religious teachings, and they get better. Eventually.
  • The Chinese and Russians in Dale Brown books. If the Americans remotely try to stand up for themselves they eagerly mouth off about imperialist aggression, not caring that they're frequently guilty of actual atrocity, and if Pat McLanahan shows them the error of their ways they whine like babies throwing a tantrum.
  • Done various times in Honor Harrington books. For example, in Echoes of Honor, a State Sec general eagerly anticipates a deadly vengeance on Hades's prison-breakers for killing his comrade and friend, wilfully ignorant of the atrocities the wardens have committed.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: This definitely happened in the book Payback. When three men wearing presidential gold shields give Jack Emery a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, Jack goes to his girlfriend Nicole Quinn and gives her a What the Hell, Hero? speech. He basically accuses her of bringing this on him just because he snooped around on her business and tells her to go to hell. She in turn gives Charles Martin the same type of speech for calling in those men on Jack. Charles responds by pointing out that she only cares because they beat up her boyfriend, and that she wouldn't care if they did that to someone she didn't know. She ends up admitting that he has a point.
  • Vlad Tepes in Count and Countess. As a kid, he was fairly ethical, but as an adult, he seems to live by a bizarre code of standards that changes to fit whatever mood he's in.
  • In S.M. Stirling's The Draka, Draka officer Yolande Ingolffson goes absolutely apeshit over the death of her lover Myfwany to the point where she literally destroys most of Western civilization as part of her vengeance. The part where Myfwany died on a battlefield, while serving as a military officer, during a war that the Draka had started unprovoked, is something that never enters her thoughts for a moment.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer the Mayor, normally too upbeat to be overly concerned about the deaths of others, goes into a rage when Buffy critically wounds Faith.
    • Who, for that matter, thinks killing humans is wrong. Unless it's someone who's tried to kill Angel, then she'll go through said boy toy if that's the only option she has left. Then tell Willow that killing a multiple murderer Complete Monster is wrong.
  • Captain Crais of Farscape swore a blood oath to kill John Crichton for "intentionally" killing his younger brother. The circumstances were such that his younger brother accidentally collided his ship into Crichton's shuttle as the latter was expelled from a wormhole; the collision itself was harmless, but caused Crais' brother to hit a nearby asteroid while spinning out of control. Interestingly, despite Crichton, Aeryn, his XO, and numerous other people telling him Crichton is at worst guilty of involuntarily causing his brother's death, Crais has said he doesn't care. In the first Season Finale, he admits he was mostly concerned for his rapidly waning career.
  • This is how the Cardassians viewed the Bajorans (and likely everyone else) in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Gul Dukat in particular claims that it was obvious that the Bajorans were inferior technologically, culturally and socially, and that their biggest problem is that they would not just accept their role. He also seemed to be very shocked and angry when Cardassians were killed by Bajoran terrorists, but was significantly less concerned with the lives of the Bajoran slaves on Terok Nor. Admittedly he claims (and it's likely he is telling the truth, given his Pet the Dog moments) to have improved conditions for the slaves, but he seemed pretty clear on the whole "Bajorans need to learn their place, they only bring suffering on themselves by not acquiescing" mentality.
    • His one-time subordinate Damar gets called on this near the end of the series. After learning the Dominion has killed his wife and son, neither of whom were part of his rebellion, to punish him, he is outraged that they could be so cruel, bemoaning "What kind of people would murder innocent women and children?" Kira simply parrots back "Yeah, Damar. What kind of people WOULD DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT?". The look of guilt and shame on Damar's face as he recognizes the parallels to the occupation of Bajor is enough to almost make her apologize for reminding him of the truth.
  • Supernatural: Dean's attitude towards the possibility of Sam turning into a monster or otherwise being abnormal: he's perfectly willing to kill strangers who might go darkside, but simply refuses to do so with his brother even when presented with clear indications of this happening, because he (pretty literally) couldn't bear to live without him.
    • In season seven, a Kitsune who saved Sam in the past had managed for years to get by without killing humans by working at the morgue. When her son gets sick gets sick, she is forced to go vigilante on the lowest scum of society to tap their brains and nurse him back to health, but when he's healthy again she stops instantly. Dean still kills her under the logic 'You killed once, you'll do it again'. No one, not even Bobby points out about all the times they had to kill monsters to save a loved one. Hell, to kill the Queen of the Monsters, Dean had to kill a Phoenix for its ashes. Unsurprisingly, Sam, barely holding on with Lucifer (or at least a convincing hallucination) messing with his head, eventually tries to make Dean feel better by agreeing he did what he had to.
  • In the Battlestar Galactica Reimagined episode "Resurrection Ship Part II", Chip-Six is enraged that the Colonials will "murder" thousands of inert spare Cylon bodies when they destroy the eponymous Resurrection Ship. "God will never forgive this sin." She of course doesn't seem to care that the Cylons had murdered billions of living, breathing humans when they nuked the Colonies.
    • Caprica-Six's Baltar hallucination actually calls her out on this: That Cylons are awfully fast at glossing over the genocide they committed and accuse humans of horrible crimes while preaching their god's love.
    • Later, in the beginning of season 3, Cavil whines like a bitch that, after being left to die slowly by the people he had rounded up en masse to be shot to death in cold blood, he had to crawl over to a piece of shrapnel and sever an artery so he could resurrect, which caused him to suffer a migraine. Never mind the fact that, as a Cylon, he's directly responsible for the deaths of several billion people, none of whom have the luxury of resurrection, migraines or no.
    • Despite some improvement in this area, the Cylons display this trope a lot. Cavil saying they were even and 'No harm done' after granting the fleet a temporary reprieve (Adama's replying being You completely annihilated our race and destroyed our civilization), D'Anna saying how humans don't 'respect life the way we do', Cylons complaining about torture by humans despite horrific medical experiments among mundane torture they have committed, and on and on and on.
    • And meanwhile humans torture, murder and rape Cylons (admittedly in a lot smaller scale, being the underdogs and all), justifying it with the belief that they're just soulless machines. In short, both sides are pretty blind to each other's sufferings for most of the series.
    • Cavil (again) takes the cake when his motivations are all laid out late in Season Four. Cavil believes he can convince the Final Five of the righteousness of his desire for revenge, painting it as a human versus Cylon conflict, despite: 1) The Five created Cavil and the other humanoid Cylons because they wanted peace with the humans. 2) The Thirteenth Tribe is many centuries and generations removed from Kobol, and the Five don't have the emotional baggage that Cavil does. 3) The humanoid Cylons of the Thirteenth Tribe enslaved their Centurions, and thus are guilty of the same crimes Cavil won't forgive the humans for. Cavil is incapable of noticing any of this, and is only 20% successful in his attempts at conversion. To top it all off, he enslaves the Centurions as well.
      • In conclusion, both sides have their fair share of hypocrisy.
  • The Minbari of Babylon 5 were very bitter at John Sheridan for nuking the Black Star, calling it cowardly. Granted, using a distress signal to lure the Blackstar within nuking range could be considered dishonorable, but it's kind of hard to feel badly about the Minbari's one major defeat of the war for a few reasons. A: Sheridan actually was trying to call for help, the minefield was a precaution in case the Black Star got there first. B: The Minbari had technology way above what Earth could muster allowing them to make turkey shoots out of any space battle. C: The Minbari did not take prisoners and the Black Star was only closing in specifically to finish Sheridan off. D: The two species were engaged in a genocidal war caused by a diplomatic incident which highlighted both sides crummy First Contact protocols. All in all the Minbari don't have much of a case for Sheridan being anything other than a good commander.
    • This is actually invoked near the end of the movie, but it's easy to miss because of the Minbari's tendency for slightly flowery dialect; Delenn openly discusses with the ridiculousness of claiming to be undertaking a "holy" war as the Minbari grow very close to Earth. The other council member she's talking to, who has previously been incredibly war-mongering about the entire situation, is visibly tired and dejected with it by this point, but can't bring himself to admit it. Later, Delenn tells the Vorlons that everyone is so tired of the killing that even he would stop if there was just some reason to give everyone for doing so; meaning, Moral Myopia is, indeed, a hard thing to overcome even when you're aware of it, and having an excuse to do so is far easier than admitting you're suffering from it.
    • The Vorlons and Shadows also have a pretty dim view of anyone who isn't like them.
    • Bester definitely qualifies. In Season Five, he seems to take "The Corps is Mother, The Corps is Father" seriously, and (at least seems) to show fellow teeps genuine fatherly tenderness. When mundanes are involved, however...
    • Interestingly the Centauri seem to be less guilty of this then some. Mainly because they don't try to be virtuous in the first place.
  • In the fourth Blackadder series, General Melchett is utterly enraged when Blackadder cooks and eats his pet pigeon, and sentences Blackadder to death in a comically ridiculous Kangaroo Court. However, in another episode, it's revealed that he ran over Lt. George's pet rabbit when George was a child and is completely callous about it, both when it happened, and when he talks about it in the present.
    • And, of course, there's the obvious Moral Myopia involved regarding Melchett being driven to self-righteous fury over the death of a pigeon while callously sending hundreds of thousands of men to their deaths in the mud and trenches every day.
  • One that stands out in Noah's Arc is based on Ricky's protectiveness of Noah. Ricky makes it clear that if Wade so much as looks at another guy, he'll have Ricky to answer to. Yet when Noah cheats on Wade, not only does Ricky not call Noah out on it, he actually is upset with Wade over leaving Noah for that.
  • Jeff accuses Duncan of this in the pilot of Community. See quote page. Since Jeff himself is also a near-perfect example of Moral Myopia at this point, he's also being more than a little hypocritical.
  • Smallville: Lex Luthor. If it happens to him it's unforgiveable. If he does it to someone else, it's business as usual.
  • David Brent of The Office loves making fun of people, but can't stand when anyone does the same to him. He tries to make up reasons why what he's doing is okay, but what other people are doing is hateful and mean.
  • Mossad Director Eli David on NCIS is a prime example of this. Send agents on illegal missions to spy on his allies, murder their civilians and government agents, and try to kill their law enforcement officers when caught? He's just doing what he has to do. Kill one of his agents in self-defense when they resist lawful arrest? It's an outrage that must be paid for in blood!
  • In the miniseries War and Remembrance the Nazis refer to "swindling Jews". Of course they are telling Jews all over Europe that Auschwitz is just another company town, and when they arrive they are told that the gas chambers are for washing up and being disinfected. The Sonderkommandos(Jewish collaborators)are told they will be spared if they herd other Jews around only to be gassed themselves and replaced by another bunch of Sonderkommandos who are told the same thing. A whole chain of swindles to keep the operation going and avoid the inconvenience of having their important work disturbed by a prison riot. And yes, this is Truth in Television.

Poetry[edit | hide]

First they came for the communists,
And I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
And I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me,
And there was no one left to speak out for me.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Pretty much every race in Warhammer 40,000 but special mention must go to the Eldar. One of the most common ways their ability to see the future is used... is to ensure billions of humans, Tau, and pretty much any other race, die instead of risking the lives of a handful of fellow Eldar. The War for Armageddon, multiple novels, and one recent video game were all the result of Eldar manipulations.
    • Not that Humans are any better, regularly decrying Eldar for viewing other species as inferior and irrelevant and their policies of casual genocide despite doing the exact same things themselves. This is entirely intentional.
      • Made even more jarring in the Eldar's case when you consider that they know just how futile their efforts are.
  • A recurring issue of traditionalist Clan warriors in the BattleTech universe, who readily consider their Inner Sphere opponents 'barbarians' for using actual tactics and concentrating fire instead of engaging in 'honorable' duels against foes with vastly superior war machines. Which of course only reinforces their conviction that these people need to be conquered for their own good.
  • When combined with Dunbar's Number (see above), this really helps explain the horrors of Exalted's First Age. An ever shrinking group of people whom they view as "people" combined with ever worsening insanity are not the best things to give someone who has god-like power.
    • Then there's Kimbery. Did she hurt you? It was For Your Own Good. Did you hurt her, even by something as minor as failing to live up to her ridiculously high expectations? You're a horrible monster and deserve her hate.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • In Mother Courage and Her Children, Eilif kills a few enemy peasants, steals their cattle to feed his regiment, and is lauded as a hero. He does it again during peacetime and is hanged as a bandit.
  • William Shakespeare did this several times. In Henry VI, the Yorkists kill Queen Margaret's son (after she'd killed the Duke of York and let one of her allies kill his son); in the next play (Richard III), she considers the deaths of Queen Elizabeth's husband and both her sons to just barely match her loss. Similarly, in Titus Andronicus, Titus kills one of Tamara's sons, and she... goes quite a bit farther in avenging him.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In Trauma Center, the Big Bad Nietzsche Wannabe Adam believes that medicine goes against the "right order" of the world and unnaturally prolongs human life. Yeah, sure. This coming from the guy who made himself immortal through his own man-made viruses. Nothing unnatural about that, right? He justifies this by claiming he has placed himself outside the cycle of nature, not giving and not taking anything from the world...
  • In ADOM, one of the toughest opponents towards the end is the Cat Lord, who will attack you if you've ever killed so much as a single feline during the entire game so far. If you're not a druid, you'll have been attacked by hundreds of wild cats and cave tigers and whatnot by this point. (This is effectively a bonus challenge to not to kill any felines, since if you don't, the Cat Lord will give you an awesome ring. It's still actually better to kill and eat him for stat boosts, provided you have a way of getting rid of bad karma. And provided the corpse drops.)
  • In Half-Life 1, you overhear a couple of soldiers complaining about the dozen or so scientists they slaughtered not putting up a fight (despite them not being trained and likely thinking the soldiers are there to rescue them). Later the soldiers express their outrage at Freeman for having killed so many of them (despite them trying to kill him and his coworkers).
  • Intentionally used by the Eldar in Dawn of War, especially in the sequel. They actively sabotage and kill Imperial troops, but will whine like unholy mothers if you defend yourself - screeching about how you could have spent the time fighting Tyranids. Bastards.
  • Niko Bellic in Grand Theft Auto IV, who has a small circle of people he considers family. These people are sacred; harm any of them, and you can expect to die very painfully. Anyone else is fair game, casually killed in the cause of "I need money". When he finds the man who betrayed eleven of his friends to their deaths for a thousand dollars, he gets called out on this.
  • Conrad Marburg in Alpha Protocol. In Rome, circumstances can lead to him shooting an unarmed woman -- your friend and possible love interest -- in the back, right in front of you. His attitude could be described as flippant if the guy emoted very much. In the subsequent boss battle, if you kill one of his men, he'll go completely berserk, leave cover, and try to beat you into the ground with his fists.
    • In fact you can call him out on his double standards, and depending on your previous relationship with him he'll either flee to kill/recruit you at a later date, or have a total breakdown and abandon his escape plan to have a second shot at you.
  • In Sam and Max Hit The Road, the following exchange occurs during the intro, after the Freelance Police realize they forgot to get rid of a time bomb:

Sam: Max, where should I put this so it doesn't hurt anyone we know or care about?
Max: Out the window, Sam. There's nothing but strangers out there!
(Sam chucks the bomb out the window, whereupon it explodes)
Sam: I hope there was nobody on that bus.
Max: Nobody we know, at least.

  • In City of Heroes, it is not uncommon for crazy cultists who are in the process of sacrificing random people they kidnapped to shout "Intruder! How dare you disturb us?!" when a hero arrives in their underground temple to save the civilians.
  • This trope is endemic to Touhou, and rather perplexing considering Gensoukyou is regularly portrayed as a paradise. It ranges from small, rather insignificant details (for example Sakuya being annoyed that Reimu and Marisa are invading Koumakan, her home and place of employment, but sees nothing wrong with herself invading Eientei) to massive, potentially horrifying things (for example youkai eating the human residents of Gensoukyou is abhorred, but abducting humans from outside of Gensoukyou and eating them is perfectly fine).
    • Reimu is a bit- uhh, lives this trope. In the PC-98 days, it took youkai driving her out of house and home to make her get up and do something about any incidents. In Lotus Land Story she hunts down and apparently kills a relatively harmless youkai that was hiding from her and which ends the battle begging for her life. In Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, she tells Rumia to help herself to any humans out after dark (which Rumia promptly addresses), proving that her insensitivity survived to the Windows games. This is our heroine.
  • In World of Warcraft, D.E.H.T.A. is horrified at the cruel treatment that the wildlife of Northrend suffers at the hands of Nesingwary's hunters, and respond by sending the players to kill the hunters. They seem fairly reluctant about having to kill Ned's pet rhino Lunchbox along with him, but show no qualms about killing the rest of the hunters, and will attack any player who approaches their camp covered in animal blood, even if the player killed the animal in self-defense.
  • This applies to multiplayer games in general, when the other guy kills you with a certain weapon or tactic it is "cheap", or "noobish", but when you use it somehow it is now okay. Logical fallacies abound.
    • The term for this behavior is Scrub.
  • Anders in Dragon Age II never misses a moment to admonish Merrill for the use of blood magic and consorting with demons, certain that she would end up causing harm to herself and others. He's right, more or less, but also completely blind to the fact that he himself has for all thoughts and purposes become an Abomination in absorbing Justice in his body and corrupting him to Vengeance, something Merrill has avoided since she treats all spirits as dangerous without dividing them into good and bad ones. And what Anders ultimately does makes everything that Merrill did pale in comparison; Merrill endangered her own life and soul, causing the death of her mentor who tried to protect her, while Anders kills dozens of innocents in deliberate and succesful attempt to incite a continent-wide war between templars and mages.
    • Even worse in that every death surrounding Merrill was caused by other people reacting badly (and in unwise fashion) to what she was doing; Merrill's experiments never directly cause harm to anyone. She actually did know what she was doing. Anders did not.
    • Averted even harder when Merrill's experiment reaches the stage where she actually has a nontrivial risk of becoming an abomination. Her response is to deliberately invite the player character along to the experiment site... for the specific purpose of having them kill her on the spot if things go wrong.
  • Portal has the inimitable (we hope) GLaDOS, who in the sequel is very upset that she was killed in the first game... after spending at least half of it trying to kill you.
    • Granted, you did (albeit unintentionally) force her to relive the last 2 minutes of her death for a good few hundred years, so her retribution is disproportionally small by comparison.
  • In Tales of the Abyss, we have Arietta the Wild. "You shot fire... at my friend! I'm really going to make you pay now!" Um, sweetie, your friend tried to snatch him off a roof, presumably to be killed. The fire was self-defense. Granted, she at least has an excuse, having been raised by monsters, and so not really having a chance to develop much empathy for other people.
    • She also holds it against you for killing the liger matriarch and her cubs, despite the fact that the first things the cubs would do (and this was explicitly stated) is raid the nearby village and eat every human in sight.
      • Then again, the whole incident was Mieu's fault in the first place: the young Cheagle accidentally caused a fire in the forest where the ligers lived and forced them to recuperate at the Cheagle Forest. Luke even lampshades in a skit that if Mieu hadn't done that, they wouldn't have been forced to kill the liger matriarch, and later get Arietta to bear a revenge grudge on the group in the next dungeon.
  • Forcystus from Tales of Symphonia once put a bloody end to an army of humans responsible for genocide against Half-Elves. By the time we see him, he is a Desian Grand Cardinal and he punishes the death of a few of his soldiers by burning down the hero's hometown and turning a helpless old woman into a monster and forcing two of the protagonists to kill her in a boss fight.
    • This could apply to the Desians as a whole. They're allegedly inspired to join because of the persecution half-elves suffer at the hands of humans, but treat the humans in their custody as little more than cattle, slinging around "inferior being" as a synonym for "human."
  • Dhaos from Tales of Phantasia does not approve of humans building a mana cannon (and for a good reason), but that doesn't stop him from blasting people to smithereens with laser beams, or possessing and controlling them.
  • Chrono Cross tries to be Anvilicious about a Humans Are the Real Monsters moral, but this falls flat on its face when the Dwarves start preaching how humans are ruining the environment and treating demi-humans like second-class citizens, when they use steampunk tanks and you find them commiting genocide on the pixies, the fact no-one calls them out on this has caused a good bit of annoyance.
  • Played brutally straight in so many ways in Final Fantasy Tactics with Algus (along with many others), who while not evil, is plays the Blue Blood to a "T" and has a very low opinion of commoners.
  • Septerra Core: The Chosen suffer from this trope. Azziz said it best to Maya about the Chosen's attitude towards other people, "No, my dear. They hardly notice us at all. We are like ants to them."

Webcomics[edit | hide]

Cherry: Rabble just killed the viking guy. She's understandably pissed.
Diane: Well, yeah, but she's a bad guy.
Dragobo: (holds up a sign) And that's all that matters to our "Greatest Hero Ever".

  • In one arc of Rip and Teri, an assassin is after Rip. He poisons Teri (and Rip doesn't know if it's going to kill her or not) and then, as Rip is rushing Teri to a hospital, the assassin and his burka-clad wives attack the pair. In trying to survive, Rip takes one wife hostage, claiming "A wife for a wife!" and apparently hoping this could make the assassin stand down. But the wife bites a false tooth, unleashing a virus that would kill anyone in a ten-yard radius (including her). After Rip and Teri get away, the assassin bids his dying wife good-bye, then tells his other wives that they'll mourn later - they have to finish the job. And, for added menace: "A wife for a wife." Because, y'know, it wasn't like you accepted a contract against Rip and he was only trying to defend himself and your wife killed herself during the battle - it's all his fault!
  • Subverted Trope by Belkar in The Order of the Stick, who in spite of only caring about himself (and his cat) finds the idea of acting like this nothing but ridiculous ("I almost got through that with a straight face!"). See here.
    • Redcloak from the same comic is a straight example: As the "good" races in the world kill his kind (goblinoids) freely for experience, he feels at a liberty to treat them the same way while fighting for the liberty and rights of his own people.
      • The elves fighting Redcloak's occupying force are little better; the commander casually pushes a captive hobgoblin to his death while remarking the only good goblin is a dead one and his subordinates kill a civilian goblin couple, but when the commander encounters Redcloak personally he flies into a rage and charges him, swearing vengeance for every elf that was slain. Redcloak kills him and the majority of his team almost instantly, considering saying anything to them a waste of time.
  • In Thistil Mistil Kistil, one of her master's sons is annoyed that Hedda is running away from a nasty form of Human Sacrifice.
  • Living with hipstergirl and gamergirl #295 illustrates.

(Pie hits one guy in the face)
Clara: Ha!
(Another pie hits the other guy)
Clara: Ha ha!
(Pie hits Clara who was standing between them)
Clara: (writes a blog post) When the comedy becomes offensive and disrespectful

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Yeah, Ode To Minions is a touching song, but considering these minions are trying to kill the player, and are usually an invading force or trying to repel a counter-attack after they had invaded at the behest of a power-hungry/sexually deviant dictator, it kinda loses its touch because they wouldn't be there if not for the VG bosses.
    • Well, it is being sung by Bowser.
    • Brawl in the Family toyed with the idea in another series of strips with the same setup but different punchlines. The setup: Mario stomps a Goomba, and his distraught family rushes over to grieve. In one punchline, Mario realizes what he's done and has to get therapy; in another, he gleefully mows them down for the 1-Up. And in the third, the smashed Goomba turns out to be fine, and he and his family are shown laughing gleefully over the prank they just pulled on the guilt-ridden Mario.
    • It's also worth noting that, in the case of Mario at least, the Paper Mario games reveal that Bowser's minions don't represent the species as a whole, so not only are they trying to off Mario, they chose to do so, as well.
  • Encyclopedia Dramatica tends to do this with 4chan. To be honest they are almost the same except for the fact that one is a wiki and the other is an imageboard.
  • This article from Cracked, which was linked to in the description, calls the phenomenon "The Monkeysphere". The more you know about a person, the more of a person they are to you, and the human brain doesn't allow you to empathise fully with more than about 150 people at a time. The result is that if you know nothing or almost nothing about an individual person, in your mind they're basically either an appliance (if they do something that benefits you, like getting rid of your garbage) or animate scenery (if they don't). This applies most strongly to people who you know are present in your life, but whose faces you don't really see, like the aforementioned garbage collector. If you know a little about them, they're upgraded from an automaton to a one- or two-dimensional stereotype. This is what underpins the Rule of Empathy.
  • Played for laughs in College Humor Original Troopers Space Improv, Lord Sinister threatens to destroy the Princesses planet that has the insurgents base in it, yet she apathetically confessed that she lied about it. He considers that she is cold for just letting him kill billions of people, just as he is about to kill the gunner for missing the planets moon.
  • Dilandau's penchant for slapping his men is exaggerated in Vision Of Escaflowne Abrdiged, to the point where one forgets what he's doing and desperately tries to defect when someone DOESN'T bitchslap him. But so help you if he catches someone else treating his Dragonslayers like dirt.

Dilandau: "No one bitchslaps my men but me!"


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • "You killed Captain Clown. YOU KILLED CAPTAIN CLOWN!!!"
  • In Popeye Meets Ali Baba, when Wimpy is stealing food behind his back, Ali Baba remarks "Must be thieves around here."
  • Averted in Invader Zim - the Irkens as a whole think of non-Irkens as nonpersons, but the Tallest at least have no problem throwing their own kind out of an airlock when it pleases them. Come to think of it, Zim seems to think anyone who isn't him is expendable for the sake of his mission, as shown in Hobo 13 where he sacrifices his entire training squad (including fellow Irken Skoodge) in order to complete his training.
  • In the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Padawan Lost arc, a Trandoshan hunter gets righteously pissed when his son is killed during a hunt of kidnapped Jedi younglings.
  • In The Simpsons April Fools' Day episode, "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show", Bart, in retaliation for a series of mean spirited April Fools pranks pulled by Homer, finally pulls one over on him, only to accidentally send him into a coma. After Bart confesses to the prank, Homer wakes up and strangles him. This is just plain wrong, because Homer pulled some harmful if not potentially deadly pranks, including duct-taping Bart's eyes shut, and putting milk in the fridge that had been next to a furnace for six weeks, yet never apologized. Father of the year material he ain't, that's for sure.
    • Similarly in "Fear Of Flying", the patrons of Moe's bar play a sequence of increasingly brutal practical jokes on their publican, all of which he takes in good humor (Including HIDING A COBRA in the cash register which repeatedly bites him). Lastly Homer plays the innocuous "Loose Salt Shaker Lid" gag on Moe and immediately gets chewed out by his friends and barred from entry.
  • In the American Dad episode "A Jones for a Smith", a crack-addicted Stan ends up ruining Steve's family-to-family dinner date with the family of the latter's new girlfriend, and ultimately spoiling the latter's chances. After kicking the habit, Stan insists that Steve, who is still without the girl and livid over it, will forgive him for it. Consider that just earlier in the season, Stan said that it would take time to forgive Steve for piloting a drone without his permission. Then again, this isn't too surprising considering that Stan tends to be an arrogant Jerkass.
  • Discord from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic is a Reality Warper who turns Equestria into a World Gone Mad, brutally breaks and brainwashes the mane cast, drives everypony insane, and generally does whatever the heck he wants to For the Evulz with no remorse or sense of morality... And yet he calls Princess Celestia out for turning HIM to stone for doing the previously mentioned things.
  • As much of a complete and total Jerkass Mr. Krabs has become, including the infamous "drive Plankton to suicide" incident, fans tend to forget that Plankton was even worse in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
  • Regular Show: "Under The Hood", Rigby is painting Park Avenue’s tv room:

Park Avenue: No, no no, don’t. What’s the matter with you?
Rigby: You painted all over our whole park.
Park Avenue: Yes, but its different, you know? It’s what I do! My stuff is good, you’re only making a mess!

  1. they have, which is how they got this attitude