->''"Me, I'm dishonest. And a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It's the ''honest'' ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they're going to do something incredibly...stupid."''
-->-- '''Captain Jack Sparrow''', ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanTheCurseOfTheBlackPearl''

Even in a series where the characters aren't traditionally good or evil, [[TokenGoodTeammate there will be one who is an idealist]]. Perhaps they seem to have a strange compulsion [[ChronicHeroSyndrome to help others even when it isn't convenient]], or perhaps they [[LawfulNeutral live by a set of principles]]. From the point of view of the others, that character will be completely untrustworthy; everyone else can be depended upon to act in their own self interest, but [[EvilCannotComprehendGood nobody can predict the idealist]], especially when they decide to [[HonorBeforeReason uphold their ideals over their own apparent self-preservation]].

This trope is a hallmark of LawfulNeutral characters of Type 2 and 3, as well as ChaoticGood characters, and is a major contributor to their frequent {{Flanderization}} into LawfulStupid.

Compare KnightTemplar and GoodIsDumb. Contrast ChronicBackstabbingDisorder.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Matsuda from ''Manga/DeathNote''. He's honest and idealistic to a fault, and more often than not makes a nuisance of himself. However, his attempt to infiltrate the Yotsuba Group provides vital information, even though it backfires, and [[spoiler: when Light Yagami reveals himself as Kira and starts gloating, [[BewareTheNiceOnes Matsuda is the first to whip out his gun and start shooting.]]]] This is, incidentally, something like the true inverse of BadGuysDoTheDirtyWork--the closest surviving thing to a good person does the shooting.
* Suzaku of ''Anime/CodeGeass'' - because of his idealism, he acquires a major case of ChronicBackstabbingDisorder.
** And Euphie, ultimately, but it's not her fault! This world was made for {{Magnificent Bastard}}s. To break themselves against, like Cuchulain fighting the sea, but at least they have a shot.
** Mao, as well, tries to be as honest as possible, and he can see through anyone's lies because he can read minds; but he's a very dangerous villain.
* Tenma from ''Manga/{{Monster}}'' is deemed untrustworthy by his director for choosing to operate on the patient who came first, as opposed to the patient off of whom he'd profit more.
* Nao Kanzaki starts the ''Manga/LiarGame'' described accurately as "Foolishly Honest," meaning she expects everyone else to be just as honest as she is by nature. As the Game progresses however, Nao begins to prove herself perfectly capable of deception, and manages several [[Awesome/AnimeAndManga Crowning Moments of Awesome]] through it. In fact, her lies have frequently ''relied'' on people being aware of her honest nature, since no one stops to think ''she'' might be lying.
* Tamiya attempts to wrest back control of the Manga/LitchiHikariClub from Zeera once the group approaches the MoralEventHorizon. Very fittingly, his epithet is "Bullet of Truth" and he is often shown as the most obviously upstanding member of the nine.
* [[spoiler:Hakuryuu]] from ''Manga/MagiLabyrinthOfMagic'' is very honorable, started the story as very naive and his Djinn describes him as "painfully honest". He's also a KnightTemplar with BlackAndWhiteInsanity who only cares for his last remaining sibling and it's unable to leave his hatred behind.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* [[spoiler:Ozymandias]] from ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}''. No one saw that coming.
* More than once, Franchise/{{Batman}} has had to keep facts from, and even ''lie'' to Superman or the other members of the Franchise/{{Justice League|OfAmerica}}, because he believes they are too idealistic to do what sometimes needs to be done. Notice that he never looks down on them for being that way (DependingOnTheWriter). More often than not, he values their idealism, but since he sees himself as already damaged goods, he combines SilentScapegoat, BadGuysDoTheDirtyWork, and IDidWhatIHadToDo.
** It's often implied that Superman knows this... and Batman knows Superman knows this. The lie is mostly to satisfy the rest of the league (Superman may dislike Batman's tactics, but he trusts Bruce knows what he's doing and where to draw the line, however, if this became public, it might give license to less careful heroes to imitate Batman). Superman not acknowledging Batman's less savory tactics means the disagreement never spills into more public setting. Similarly, Batman will make it plainfully clear to anyone who catches him in his lie and threatens to report him (thus making it an issue) that Superman probably already knows and hasn't done anything about it. If someone as honest as the Big Blue Boyscout is cool with it, than it's cool.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* Nico Robin in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11961369/13/Blood-Man-Luffy Blood Man Luffy]]'' is only mildly surprised when Luffy invites her to join his crew and she accepts on the basis that he's likely stronger than Crocodile whose protection will expire once he takes over Alabasta. However, she's completely blindsided when Luffy neither threatens her nor makes any sexual advances, especially when he brushes off her insistence he doesn't have to worry about her. She can still get hurt, so he's still gonna worry about her like he does for all his friends.
** This is something of a recurring theme that no one knows how to deal with a pirate who's a complete NiceGuy. It even forced Tashigi to have a HeroicBSOD when she started wondering how many pirates she threw in jail were good people like the Straw Hats.
* Tonks messes up one of Dumbledore's plans in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11574569/30/Dodging-Prison-and-Stealing-Witches-Revenge-is-Best-Served-Raw Dodging Prison and Stealing Witches]]'' because she refuses to give in to TheNeedsOfTheMany, stating that you should fight for what's best for everyone equally rather than sacrifice the one to save the many.

* ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'': Jack Sparrow [[LampshadeHanging hangs a lampshade]] on this in [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanTheCurseOfTheBlackPearl the first movie]]. In [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanAtWorldsEnd the third movie]], he pulls it off himself: Pirates can only be counted on to be greedy bastards, which is why there hasn't been a Pirate King in a while (the position is democratically-elected, and they all vote for themselves). So when the vote comes up, [[spoiler:Jack surprises everyone by voting for Elizabeth, making her win with two votes.]] He is definitely not an example himself, as he lies constantly and even the page quote is him being dishonest about his dishonesty.
** It comes back to bite him when she trades him for Will. When Barbossa objects because Jack is a Pirate Lord, she simply responds, "King".
** It is later implied that that may also have been part of his elaborate scheme in the long shot, since [[spoiler:he was the one to bring Beckett there by giving Will his compass and pushing him off.]] This being Jack Sparrow, it is hard to tell at first.
* Pointed out by the title character in ''Film/{{Hook}}'':
-->Me, lie? Never! The truth is much more fun.

* In ''Literature/AudreyWait'', the protagonist uses her national, live TV interview as a chance to spill the beans on everything leading up to this point, thus dispelling the gossip and rumours surrounding her (and helping out her friend Evan in the process by exposing their duplicitous label - on '''live television''').
* In ''Literature/DragonBones'', the nobleman Haverness is known for his honesty. He's the last one who would be told about a revolution against the king, as he takes his oaths so seriously that he'd be sure to betray all the plans immediately. However, the king is stupid enough to not take into account that he himself has accepted responsibility for the protection of the nobles who have sworn allegiance to him. And Haverness' loyalty is not only to the king, but also to the people under ''his'' protection. [[spoiler:A revolution takes place, with the justification of ScrewTheRulesTheyBrokeThemFirst]]
* Victor Cachat, the young spymaster for the New Republic of Haven in the ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' series, is an idealist. He puts himself through and into Hell over his moral issues. He is also [[TheDeterminator the most ruthless SOB in the entire setting]] when he needs to be.
** Several of Honor's own rivals have been left aghast at her willingness to drag some odious maneuver of theirs out into the open, when they had assumed that she would "play the game" the same way they would. It helps that her very refusal means they have no ammo for doing the same to her.
* In Creator/DanAbnett's ''Literature/GauntsGhosts'' novel ''Necropolis'', Sturm's attempt to make his plans without input from the other Imperial Guard officers is betrayed by Daur, who merely says, in his defense, that the officers had the appropriate security clearance.
* In Creator/KerryGreenwood's ''Literature/DangerDoNotEnter'', everyone hates Argent because she always tells the truth. When asked to clarify, Ben explains,
-->'''Ben:''' Jacinta asked if her new skirt made her bum look big and Argent said, "Yes." Her teacher asked her if she'd done her homework and Argent said, "No." When she was asked why, Argent said her stepmother and father had a big fight about sex and she was too angry to write about diatoms for her Biology homework."
-->'''Penny:''' Oh, I see. Ouch.
* Anaiya of the Blue Ajah in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' is described this way. Her lack of deceit continues to confuse the other plotters in the White Tower. Also, Cadsuane does this deliberately.
** Galad is probably the best example in the series of this trope. His step-sister says of him, "He always does the right thing, no matter who it hurts." He is introduced to the main characters and the reader when he calls the guards to deal with a peasant boy ([[TheChosenOne Rand]]) who has fallen over the wall of the royal palace and is being taken care of by the crown princess. She's apparently in no danger, and her brother is with them too, and no one wants Rand to be possibly thrown in jail over an innocent accident, but to Galad the rule about how to handle intruders doesn't allow for exceptions. Later, he joins the [[KnightTemplar Whitecloaks]] on the strength of their ascetic philosophy, even though his mother and sister are members of or at least connected to the Aes Sedai, who the Whitecloaks all see as Satanic witches. Still later, when he suspects that his superior officer in the Whitecloaks killed his stepmother, [[spoiler: he kills him]].
** [[spoiler:In a [[SugarWiki/MomentOfAwesome perfectly legal ritual duel]], no less, and [[YouKillItYouBoughtIt gets Valda's rank and Blademaster status afterwards]].]]
* Adviser Arfarra from Yulia Latynina's ''Literature/WeiEmpire'' cycle might fit - while almost the entire Weian establishment is either corrupt or negligent, Arfarra is neither, but is instead a truly ruthless (but consistently, if not obviously idealistic) KnightTemplar who has been described as being "capable of ''anything'' in matters that ''didn't'' affect his own interests" (as opposed to the character that described him thusly, who is capable of anything in matters that ''did'').
* Carrot from the Literature/{{Discworld}} Watch novels frequently triumphs because he is so honest and straightforward that the scheming, backstabbing people of Ankh-Morpork don't know how to deal with him. (Being strong enough to knock out a troll in a bar fight helps too...) Later on he acquires a good dose of cunning but [[ObfuscatingStupidity maintains the image]] and scrupulous honesty - in ''Discworld/MenAtArms'' he's trying to get some information out of a Guild leader, and tells him, with a very serious air, that if the guildmaster doesn't do what he wants, he will, unfortunately and very much against his will, be forced to "carry out the order I was given just before entering." Said order? To leave quietly if the guildmaster refused to help. However, the guildmaster assumes it to be more along the lines of "break a few arms" and, in a panic, relents.
** Cohen the Barbarian. Not because of his own honesty, but because he assumes everyone else is just as honest as he is. Thus in ''Discworld/InterestingTimes'', when a soldier says, "I would rather die than betray my emperor", Cohen kills him. It doesn't take long for people to stop saying this unless they mean it.
** Sam Vimes, (Carrot's superior) also gets treated like this on some occasions. Notably, the city's MagnificentBastard lord, Vetinari, has said that someone [[TheLastDJ who is too honest to play the game makes those who are playing (like the city's nobility) nervous]], and Vetinari finds that to be quite useful. Also, when Vimes goes back in time in Discworld/NightWatch, Vetinari's aunt makes a similar observation.
** [[IntrepidReporter William de Worde]] in ''Discworld/TheTruth'' not only WillNotTellALie himself (it was almost literally beaten into him) but is scrupulously dedicated to the truth and to making sure everyone gets the chance to hear it. Even when [[WorstNewsJudgmentEver they're more interested in stupid stories]]. This makes him a dangerous monkey wrench in the works of the latest plan to unseat Vetinari, because he doesn't gloss over what happened and take the visible facts to be the truth, he goes looking for ''the actual truth''. And he's fond of using ExactWords to persuade people of things without actually lying.
* From ''Literature/HarryPotter'', Snape doesn't really lie to Harry. He hates him, [[IdenticalGrandson his father]], his [[MessyHair untameable hair]]. He doesn't really lie to Dumbledore. He was a Death Eater because he wanted to be one. He doesn't dislike the cause. He detests Muggles and his lineage. It's nigh impossible to lie to Voldemort. [[spoiler: He even '''told''' him he fancied Lily Potter, Voldemort just wouldn't hear of it.]] Fans spent years debating whether his attitude yet conflicting behavior meant he was on the good side, on the bad side or on his own, but he was never that much of a MagnificentBastard and his goal was never ''that'' complex. [[spoiler:He was just a Death Eater who made a HeelFaceTurn because he '''really''' loved Lily Potter.]]
* Meursault in ''Literature/TheStranger''. It never occurs to him to lie, even to save his own life. Why would his life need saving? Oh, because he's facing the death penalty for having shot a man. For no reason. Unless "the sun was bright" counts as a reason.
* In Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/TimeEnoughForLove'' Lazarus Long comments that "business" politicians are usually honest (in the sense that they stay bought) whereas "reform" politicians tend to be ''stupidly'' dishonest, [[KnightTemplar because they are capable of doing literally anything that they believe is in the best interests of the "People."]]
* Subverted in the works of Creator/AynRand where the characters who serve their self-interest ''are'' the idealistic ones. The untrustworthy villains are those who claim they want nothing for themselves, and will steal anything for the "common good".
* In the ''Literature/MorgaineCycle'', Morgaine [[InvokedTrope invokes]] this trope with her memorable statement, "With devils, there is dealing. Sometimes far easier than with an honest man." She has learned this by [[HeroAntagonist bitter experience]].
* In ''Literature/AConfederacyOfDunces'', Ignatius is not necessarily evil, but his convictions and rigidity drive the entire plot. At the very outset, his obstinance almost gets him arrested, and [[IdiotPlot things spiral from there]].
* Ned Stark from ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''. He puts HonorBeforeReason and inadvertently furthers [[spoiler:Petyr Baelish]]'s [[ThePlan plan ]] purely because he insists on being honest and giving his treasonous opponents a fair chance. Indeed, it is precisely the fact that he puts HonorBeforeReason [[spoiler:that leads Baelish to regard him as expendable; he is too unpredictable and incapable of being negotiated with.]]
* In ''The Resurrection of Literature/FatherBrown'', the titular priest immediately and repeteadly denies that there was anything miraculous about his seeming resurrection from the dead. It later turns out that [[spoiler: his mock death and resurrection had been arranged by his enemies, who were planning to later denounce him as a fraud. They couldn't imagine that Father Brown would be too honest and humble to claim a miracle for his God and Church.]]
* ''Literature/{{Illuminatus}}'' references "Celine's Laws", #3 of which is, "An honest politician is a national calamity." Meaning that while ordinary dishonest politicians are usually content to line their pockets and preserve the status quo, the true believers who try to change society only end up passing more restrictive laws.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': Stannis is feared by schemers like Varys and Littlefinger because his sense of righteousness and refusal to compromise make him much less amenable to their unhindered scheming. Cersei also says it when she declares that her first defence after losing the battle would be to seduce the victor but this would be useless against Stannis.
* Michael in ''Series/PrisonBreak''. Linc knows he is going to be executed but at least he has the satisfaction of knowing that Michael went to college and will have a good life. Except not because Michael cannot let Linc die for a crime he didn't commit so he gets himself sent to prison on purpose to rescue him.
** Michael's idealism is a source of conflict throughout the show. It takes place in a CrapsackWorld so they should probably run far away but Michael wants to take down the company.
* [[TheHero Shinji Kido]] of ''Series/KamenRiderRyuki'' fits this trope to a T. The other riders consider him somewhat of a WildCard [[spoiler:( an outlook mostly enforced in the TV special - 13 Riders, where they gang up on him]], because his fumbling is threatening the status quo. He is also a SpannerInTheWorks of nearly cosmic degree.
** This applies to other first riders to a lesser extent given their usual NiceGuy tendencies. Kouta and Emu are good examples, both being IncorruptiblePurePureness characters caught up in CrapsackWorld story against decisively more amoral people, who despise them for this.
* Isabelle's mother says this about [[CannotTellALie the Seelies]] in the ''Series/{{Shadowhunters}}'' episode "Of Men and Angels":
-->'''Maryse:''' Never trust a people who can't lie. They find much more inventive ways to stab you in the back.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. [[RobotBuddy Data]] doesn't lie. Supposedly ever. Which makes it all the more devastating when he ''does'' because nobody believes he can possibly be telling an untruth. An entire episode revolved around this concept with Data forced into lying by an order from his captain - who didn't [[LaserGuidedAmnesia know he'd made the order]]. It even helped him get away with attempted murder when he uses ExactWords to ''imply'' he had not fired a weapon intentionally just as they beamed him out ("perhaps something happened during transport")
** See ''Film/StarTrekFirstContact'' for the coolest HeelFaceTurn ever.
* ''Series/{{Survivor}}''. After Phillip got stuck on the wrong side of an alliance war, he was asked about what was going down. And promptly told the entire plan, despite his fellow alliance members trying to use him as a scapegoat. This distanced himself from the losing side, and proved his honesty, enough to sucessfully join in Boston Rob's alliance. It has to be seen to be believed, and was one hell of a way to start ''Redemption Island''.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/DeusExHumanRevolution'', David Sarif is an idealist who believes that augmentation can uplift humanity. He's willing to do shady things to fulfill this ideal [[spoiler:like augmenting a comatose man above and beyond what was needed to save his life, circumventing the law to get information, compromise his own company's network to run secret background checks, and even frame an anti-augmentation organization for biological warfare based terrorism.]] Compare him with the other two guys Adam can help at the end of the game: [[spoiler:Hugh Darrow]], a guy willing to cause global chaos and mass murder out of a bitter jealousy of augmented people which he hides behind ostensibly noble reasons, and [[spoiler:Taggart]], an Illuminati stooge who is just trying to maintain the Illuminati's power over the world. The Illuminati initially wanted to recruit Sarif, but gave up when they realized that he was too idealistic to go along with their agenda.
* Komaeda in "VideoGame/SuperDanganRonpa2". He's chaotic, unpredictable, suicidal, and is absolutely obsessed with his vision of hope. But he's honest.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Saxony Canterbury of ''Webcomic/{{Thunderstruck}}'', who forms uneasy alliances with a KnightTemplar organization willing to kill for sex in a chapel, a witch who killed his sister for a HumanSacrifice and ''{{Satan}} himself''...all for the sake of two teenage girls.
* The fact that Fighter is ''not'' a sociopath is often an obstacle the Light Warriors of ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'' must overcome, such as [[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2007/04/26/episode-838-no-air-down-there/ here]].
* In ''Webcomic/TalesOfTheQuestor'', Quentyn [[HeroicSacrifice agrees to take a high risk quest he has little chance of returning from]] to fulfill an ancient contract. It is revealed that the bad guys overlooked this simple possibility, and consequently have no contingency plan.
* In ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' Jones warns Antimony about Coyote, stating that "Coyote is no liar, therein lies the danger."

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The Reverend Darren Englund, in the Literature/WhateleyUniverse stories. He's so idealistic and so concerned about protecting the planet from demonic threats that he hires assassins to kill a ''schoolgirl'', which leads to an invasion of the SuperheroSchool Whateley Academy. On the other hand, the girl in question ''is'' prophesied to become The Kellith, whose spawn will wipe humans from the earth. Interestingly enough, before the incident, she had already killed her own future self, theoretically negating that possibility. Also, if anything would make Kellith go evil, the stuff this guy does would. Considering his 'hate-filled sermons', he might just be a straight-out KnightTemplar. Him helping to rescue Kerry in "Angel in Father John's Basement" helps.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'', [[spoiler:Dreadwing]] loses faith in the Decepticon cause and betrays Megatron [[spoiler:by giving the Autobots the Forge of Solus Prime, giving them a fighting chance,]] when he realizes that Megatron doesn't really appreciate honor and loyalty.
** Earlier in ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'', Dinobot has no problem with Megatron's plan of [[spoiler: going to prehistoric earth to kill the original Optimus Prime while he was in his 4 million year stasis.]] His initial problem with Megatron was he got them stranded on the [[spoiler: incorrectly assumed]] wrong planet and Megatron's cowardice in the face of a challenge to honorable combat when called out on his incompetence. Later, when Megatron is proven right, Dinobot temporarily switches sides back to Megatron until Megatron proves to be the liar once again. Through out his time with the Maximals, Dinobot makes no secret that he still views himself as a Predicon and will return to them once they get back to Cybertron.
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'', Grunkle Stan wears a set of [[ItMakesSenseInContext magic dentures]] that force him to always tell the truth. Things quickly take a turn for the worst as Stan blurts out every truth that comes to his head.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The Business Plot, a reported conspiracy that intended to overthrow the American government in 1933 and install a fascist dictatorship, supposedly fell victim to this when the conspirators chose Marine Major General [[EmbarrassingFirstName Smedley]] Darlington Butler to lead the coup. Butler instead chose to reveal the plot to the government, which fairly quickly brought an end to the conspiracy. They probably picked him because he was the commanding officer of the force that was ordered to crack down on the Bonus Army, a group of impoverished UsefulNotes/WW1 veterans who were rendered homeless and jobless by the Great Depression, camped out on the national mall in Washington DC to request that the government pay them their support bonuses a bit earlier than initially agreed to, citing the hardship of the Great Depression as the reason they needed help more immediately. The particularly ''brutal'' crackdown against the bonus army was cited as a major factor sealing the fate of Herbert Hoover's reputation, but was part of what '''endeared''' Hoover to the conspirators of the Business Plot. They probably figured since Butler led that crackdown, he would be a natural choice for their plans. Fortunately for the nation, they figured wrongly. Then again, maybe Butler was just smart enough to realize he wouldn't get away with it. Everyone [[IncrediblyLamePun already knows]] that TheButlerDidIt. Of course, the idea also had the rather serious flaw that Butler was an outspoken critic of Fascism who had actively campaigned for the president they expected him to overthrow.
* Any whistle-blower in a RealLife case of corruption in any organization. Most of them prove to be truly honest people stuck in a bad situation, trying to reveal criminal misdeeds in order to save people and bring the corrupt figures to justice. The problem is, most whistle-blowers end up suffering afterward - even with whistle-blower protection laws in place - because most people are biased against "snitches".