Only My Might Makes Right
A Might Makes Right character thinks that defeating him is cheating.


(permanent link) added: 2012-07-17 17:45:52 sponsor: Goldfritha (last reply: 2013-01-09 18:57:46)

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A Complete Monster has done whatever pleased him: murder, rape, kidnapping, leading a horde of barbarians to rampage over civilization. Might Makes Right, after all. And anything goes for tactics: ambushes, slaughtering men who came for parley, murdering hostages once you got what you were claiming them for, Blatant Lies. Anyone who objects to these tactics is weak and deserves to lose.

When he's been defeated -- by an ambush, by magic, by distance weapons, by someone deducing his strategy and compensating -- he's not only a Sore Loser. He's in a rage, because that's cheating. Winning by such trickery is not real might and therefore does not entitle you to win. Sometimes this complaint is about something he could not have done, but it can as easily be something that he feels free to do himself.

This does not include failure to conform to the The Laws and Customs of War or local equivalent, unless the character himself has not obeyed them. A Subtrope of Hypocrite. Usually It's All About Me, but sometimes (only!) Moral Myopia.

The Pragmatic Hero may be as unscruplous in his tactics, but doesn't whine about losing. An occasional Hero will, after a long stint of reliable problems, object to something new as "cheating", but that's just surprise, and perhaps, for a Na´ve Newcomer, a need to be told that this is Not a Game.

Examples

Comic Books
  • There was an Archie comic in which Reggie pretty much beats up Archie to win the right to date Veronica that night. Reggie then goes over to Veronica's and professes that it's survival of the fittest in this world, blah blah blah... Veronica then introduces Reggie to a member of the school wrestling team -- aptly named "Charles Bicep" -- who also expressed an interest in dating Ronnie. At the end, Reggie is spouting the likes of "What are we, barbarians?" "Why can't we be civilized!"
Literature
  • In Michael Flynn's The January Dancer, a pirate led a brutal rampage on a planet, but was ambushed on the way back, losing his loot. He spoke contemptuously of them -- they had ambushed him, he could have taken them in a fair fight.
  • Also, staple of Sword and Sorcery -- there warriors proclaim that a fair fight is when it's done without magic, or wizards get offended at being knocked out mid-spell, or both.
  • Von Roon the German Staff officer in The Winds of War who writes a metafictional history is very much like this.

Newspaper Comics Newspaper Comics
  • This Calvin and Hobbes strip.: Calvin explains might makes right, and Hobbes pushes him out of the way, to his outrage.

Video Games
  • Piston in the Borderlands2 DLC Mr Torgue's Campaign of Carnage goes through some ridiculous lengths to rig fights in his favor, trampling the rules underfoot. Not only does he constantly deny being a cheater despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, once you actually kill him, he has a chance of accusing the player of cheating.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • In one of the Looney Tunes cartoons that has Sylvester the cat fighting the baby kangaroo (which he thinks is a giant mouse), a losing Sylvester says something like "How can I clobber you if you don't fight fair?!

Real Life
  • Interpretations of evolution that call it "devolution" when a creature loses (unneeded or costly) faculties, or lament on evolutionary ground that a larger, more able, stronger, or smarter creature is being supplanted by a smaller, less able, etc. creature. By definition, the most evolutionarily fit are those that survive.
  • Spartans surrendered to Athenians early in the Pelopossian War -- to the shock and horror of Sparta -- and justified it on the grounds that the Athenians had used arrows, which no warrior could be expected to fight.

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