Sociopaths are essentially the human version of AlwaysChaoticEvil in media. Since we consider morality to be good, they are naturally depicted as selfish and immoral.

While it is somewhat TruthInTelevision, sociopaths are still human, and it's not unnatural that sociopaths have a sense of right and wrong, [[BlueAndOrangeMorality even though it is completely different from what other people consider that to be]]. Many diagnosed sociopaths are known to have moral codes, usually [[{{Ubermensch}} unique to them]] but occasionally already set. Naturally, since these types of morality focus more on abstract concepts [[LackOfEmpathy rather than the people themselves]], expect some rather nasty [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans extremism]].

By definition, a sociopath is largely or totally incapable of guilt, compassion, empathy, or remorse -- thus, whenever they subscribe to a moral code, said code will either be reinterpreted or be amoral from the outset. They might feel "bad" about doing something they think is wrong, or that goes against their code, [[IgnoredEpiphany but they won't feel guilty and will shrug it off as just one of those things]], or [[IDidWhatIHadToDo justify what they did to themselves]] as being TheNeedsOfTheMany, no matter how much InsaneTrollLogic they have to employ to reach that conclusion. They can also like people without actually ''caring'' for them all that much.

The psychologist Andrzej M. Łobaczewski described something somewhat similar to this as a "schizoidal psychopath"[[note]]Not to be confused with schizoid personality disorder, which is a completely unrelated personality disorder.[[/note]]—they may have a conscience, but it's so heavily distorted that their moral codes end up demented and their attitude toward society becomes that of a KnightTemplar.

See also PrinciplesZealot, when one is completely obsessed with his/her moral code; some moral sociopaths are evil versions of these as well, as they care more about their moral code than people themselves. However, moral sociopaths need not to be always overwhelmed by extremism; a few can just be NominalHero, which while lacking empathy, still have a moral code to restrict them in some ways. Also compare/contrast BlackAndWhiteInsanity and SociopathicHero.

This is not to be confused with {{Ubermensch}}. Moral sociopaths can have their own unique moral codes, but they are just as likely to adhere to already established things like Christianity and Communism.

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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Solf J. Kimblee from ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' is one of the most evil examples. But while he is an AxCrazy MadBomber, it is well established that he does have a few standards, like always sticking by your principles (regardless of what those principles may be) and telling the truth. He highly respects people who stick to their guns through anything but he'll still blow up their house with a SlasherSmile.
* Elmer C. Albatross from ''LightNovel/{{Baccano}}''. Despite his cheerful AllLovingHero demeanor and selfless behavior, he is [[LackOfEmpathy completely devoid of empathy and concern for others.]] He just does what he does because GoodFeelsGood.
* Admiral Sakazuki/Akainu from ''Manga/OnePiece''. His code is of absolute justice untempered by mercy or restraint.
* ''BlackButler'' shows most 'supernaturals' having code, that by definition is immoral for humans
** [[spoiler:Ashe/Angela]] wants a world of purity and light. Burning cities, murdering children, [[BestialityIsDepraved screwing dogs]], whatever it takes. [[spoiler:Possibly a side-effect of being a FallenAngel, since [[OurAngelsAreDifferent angels shouldn't be on earth in the first place]].]]
** Ciel says that demons (including Sebastian, the Black Butler) do not have morality or attachments, but only aesthetics, that includes following orders. Which may be viewed as a sort of morality code. Even though Sebastian himself never shows any compassion or guilt, he does care about his assets, even if for only practical reasons (to get their loyalty).
* Lloyd Asplund of ''Anime/CodeGeass'', though more of a MadScientist, claims that he is a sociopath, caring only about science and engineering. An instance is when he decides to marry Milly Ashford, just so he could inherit the third generation Knightmare Frame in the family's possession. [[spoiler:When Milly breaks off the engagement to live her own life later, he isn't overly concerned and lets her go without a fuss.]]
* Light Yagami, VillainProtagonist of ''Manga/DeathNote'', has a moral code based upon perfectionism. He gets perfect grades in school? That's good. He's athletic, intelligent and charismatic? That's good. He just ''murdered a man'' using an ArtifactOfDoom? That's... it's... It is good. It ''has'' to be good. ''HE'' has to be good. He has to be ''perfect'', and if the only way to ensure that he is perfect is to [[AGodAmI establish himself as God]] by forcing his brand of justice upon the world, in the process murdering everyone who is imperfect and bad according to him, [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope then so be it]]. When one of his followers starts killing people for the "crime" of being unproductive to society, Light's reaction is that it is wrong. Why? Because there are are still criminals to take care of; it's still ''too early'' to kill off people just for being unproductive.
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica:'' [[spoiler: Kyubey]] is [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation debatably]] this. The character views emotions as a mental disorder, and simply does not understand human morality. At the same time, [[spoiler: he's trying to prevent the heat death of the universe.]] What makes the character debatable is that [[spoiler: it's not clear if he [[WellIntentionedExtremist genuinely believes his actions are for the greater good]], or if he is selfishly trying to preserve the lives of his race.]]
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[[folder:Comicbooks]]
* Doctor Doom subscribes to a personal code of honour that concerns [[IGaveMyWord always keeping his word]], repaying any debt he owes to another, [[TheGoodKing looking after the welfare of the people of Latveria]], [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans working to eradicate poverty, famine, disease, and war]] via WorldDomination, and [[BreadEggsMilkSquick ruthlessly avenging any and every insult to his character, real or imagined]]. Depending on his mood (and, thus, DependingOnTheWriter), he can abuse the hell out of all of these -- ExactWords, RevengeBeforeReason, DisproportionateRetribution, EvilIsPetty, UngratefulBastard, ItsAllAboutMe, and a serious LackOfEmpathy are all characteristics of the man that his code doesn't get in the way of, and Latveria is sometimes depicted as a brutally efficient PoliceState. As his worst, ColdBloodedTorture, WouldHurtAChild, and mass-murder are all fair game.
* [[spoiler:Gepetto]] in {{ComicBook/Fables}}, combining the worst of an EvilOverlord and a KnightTemplar, much to the detriment of everyone else.
* In ''Comicbook/{{Lucifer}}'', the title character is an arrogant sociopath who does whatever it takes to get his way (and who, being nearly omnipotent in most circumstances, usually gets away with it). Nonetheless, he scrupulously observes a personal moral code of always keeping his word and always telling the [[VillainsNeverLie unvarnished truth]].
* The Guardians in Franchise/GreenLantern, they believe in upholding order in the galaxy, but they also suppress any form of emotion that they believe would hamper their own judgement. They even went as far as creating the Third Army to replace the Green Lanterns and wipe out all emotions in the universe to end future conflict.
* Mindfuck from ''Comicbook/{{Empowered}}'' is an odd case, as she used her mental powers to ''prevent'' herself from being the sociopath she sensed she would become (and that her brother already was), leading to her becoming one of the most empathetic characters in the series. [[spoiler:This also means that when she and Empowered are in a situation where only one of them can escape, she mind controls Empowered to force her to do so, reasoning that Empowered was more purely heroic than her given that she had to MindRape herself to not be a sociopath]]
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[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'': Frollo is selfish in his lust for Esmeralda, but otherwise he sincerely believes half of the things he does genuinely are what God intended (albeit because [[TautologicalTemplar he, Frollo, couldn't possibly do anything God didn't want him to do)]]. A pretty big break from the literary version, who was a much nicer AntiVillain and probably not a sociopath at all.
* According to the creator's commentary, in ''WesternAnimation/KungFuPanda2'', Lord Shen exhibits traits of this. He knows how [[MoralEventHorizon utterly horrendous]] his actions were, but he refuses to admit how wrong he was about his parents because it's the only way he can justify the genocide of the pandas. As far as he is concerned, it's too late for his redemption and rendering everything as accidents is unthinkable.
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[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Mr. Blonde from ''Film/ReservoirDogs'' cuts a man's ear off for fun, has no sense of professionalism, guns down innocent bystanders, and clearly has no regard for his fellow robbers or their well-being. On the flip side, he appears to have a great deal of personal loyalty to his employer Joe and is shown (in a flashback) to have refused a plea bargain and instead serving a jail sentence when he could have walked by implicating Joe in a smuggling operation he was caught in.
* In ''Franchise/StarWars'', the Jedi aspire to be this, as they value morality but their whole purpose is to forsake emotion. The [[StarWarsExpandedUniverse EU]] occasionally explores this in greater detail, sometimes to [[KnightTemplar horrific detail]]. This is implied to be the FatalFlaw that led to the fall of the Order, and something that Luke Skywalker is careful not to repeat in the New Order.
** The EU also portrays Darth Vader as this, in his absolute devotion to TheEmpire and TheEmperor. It's ultimately subverted in that BeneathTheMask Vader hates himself for what he does, and the very act of [[BeingEvilSucks being Darth Vader]] is the man's own [[IAmAMonster self-inflicted punishment]] for killing his wife.
* The Warden in ''Film/{{Marmoulak}}'' wants to get all of his prisoners to heaven - even if he has to drag them there kicking and screaming.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* In the ''Literature/NightWatch'' series, the worse members of the [[LightIsNotGood Light Ones]] [[NotSoDifferent and]] the better members of [[DarkIsNotEvil Dark Ones]] are this.
* Subverted with Hrathen in ''{{Elantris}}'', who seems like a religious fanatic at first, but turns out to be one of the more reasonable antagonists and goes through crippling guilt for his actions -- he supports his theocratic religion because he believes it is too logical and well-organized to be wrong [[spoiler:and turns against it when it ''stops'' behaving logically]]. [[spoiler:Played straight with Dilaf, who is such a fanatic and has such a serious case of FantasticRacism for the Elantrians that he can justify any atrocity]].
* Ambiguously, [[SociopathicHero Peter Wiggin]] in ''EndersGame'', whose goal is to TakeOverTheWorld and unite it under a hegemony before [[WorldWarIII the Russian-aligned Second Warsaw Pact creates a new conflict]] after the "buggers" are defeated.
* In Creator/DanWells' John Cleaver trilogy (''Literature/IAmNotASerialKiller'', ''Literature/MrMonster'', and ''Literature/IDontWantToKillYou''), the protagonist, diagnosed at 15 with conduct disorder (which he calls "just a nice way of telling parents their kids have antisocial personality disorder"), does not want to become a serial killer but recognizes his potential to become one, so he lives by a strict set of rules to prevent himself from SlowlySlippingIntoEvil, "[[HeroicWillpower practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation]]". His rules include: Not watching one person for too long (and ignoring them for a whole week if he does) to prevent stalking behaviour; not interacting with animals at all, period (animal cruelty); and giving someone a compliment if they make him so angry he wants to hurt them — he'll do this even to a boy at school who bullies him. John is ''so'' dependent on these rules, that in the wake of local serial killings, he wrestles for a ''week'' with the idea of breaking a rule to simply ''follow'' a suspicious drifter, purely because he's afraid of the slippery slope.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'': Bronn. He makes no bones about it: He does [[PrivateMilitaryContractors his job]] to the best of his abilities, whatever it might [[PunchClockVillain currently]] [[PunchClockHero entail]] as part of the agreed package. All while maintaining a professional and personable demeanour. But outside the job? [[ItsAllAboutMe He comes first]]. [[NothingPersonal Always]]. He seems to find it somewhat disagreeable when people mistreat those he regards as having some worth (as he sees it). But [[LackOfEmpathy he won't actually step in]] unless there is something for him to gain by it. There is very little he is unwilling to do for the right price, but the more distasteful (or dangerous) he finds the act, the more money or concessions you'll have to pony up.
-->'''Tyrion:''' If someone asked you to kill someone's baby, would you do it, without question?\\
'''Bronn:''' Without question? No. ''[beat]'' [[BaitAndSwitchComment I'd ask how much.]]
* ''Literature/{{Timeline 191}}'''s Boris Lavochkin is a SociopathicSoldier who will kill anybody who even looks at him funny. He still finds the CSA's FinalSolution horrifying and deserving of punishment, meaning that for all his disregard of morality, he has a conception of it.
* In Creator/DavidDrake's ''Literature/{{RCN}}'' series, Adele Mundy's personal bodyguard is said to be a SociopathicSoldier who acts moral not because of any personal code, but because of the legal consequences of doing otherwise.
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[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* If we are to take him at his word, Sherlock Holmes is a more-or-less-heroic example of this trope in ''Series/{{Sherlock}}''. He solves difficult crimes for the intellectual challenge rather than any particular desire to right wrongs or help people.
-->'''Sherlock''': I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath.
** On the other hand, he feels a deep kinship with [[LonersAreFreaks anyone who doesn who don't "fit" into society at large]]. That is, he tends to treat them like he does his brother Mycroft; constant needling in their day-to-day lives, mostly out of boredom. And he's an outright brutal ''bastard'' to anyone who preys upon them.
* Series/{{House}}, being heavily modeled on Holmes, also falls into this trope. He doesn't particularly care about the patients, or people in general, but he loves the puzzle. If he has a suicidal patient, he refuses to let them die until he finds out what's wrong with them. If they're terminal, then they can die. On the rare occasions that they die ''despite'' his actions, he can be pretty shaken up about it, which can be either remorse for them or despair at failing the puzzle. He expresses empathy at times, but again, it's ambiguous which one it is.
* Patrick Jane on ''Series/TheMentalist'' once ''pretended'' to have become an example of this trope. To trick a killer into a revealing admission, he pretended that an experimental device had switched off his conscience, and began threatening to shoot a group of suspects on the grounds that it was his job to identify criminals and they weren't cooperating.
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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'':
** The Phyrexians have a very well structured religious system and many of them [[KnightTemplar hang neurotically to their philosophy]], but they have very little empathy. New Phyrexia indeed has two factions that fit this bill perfectly: the [[MachineWorship Machine Orthodoxy]], composed of [[LightIsNotGood white-aligned]] Phyrexians that formed a [[ReligionOfEvil nightmarish faith]] which they cling to obsessively, and the [[MadScientist Progress Engine]], composed of blue-aligned Phyrexians whose view of "progress" would make Josef Mengele proud.
** The [[VastBureaucracy Azorius Senate]] from [[CityPlanet Ravnica]] also count, being obsessed with order and making laws, while not caring for the population, and sometimes even acting fascistic. Being the enemy colors of Red, the color of emotions and empathy, White and Blue loves this trope.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' and ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
** The servants of Chaos, particularly Khorne and Slaanesh. Khorne is a WarGod who demands sacrifice and bloodshed, while Slaanesh is a LoveGod(dess) whose followers practice every form of hedonism and excess. So while Khornates will kill everyone including noncombatants (after killing those who can fight), they won't torture for eternity like the Slaaneshi (and often fight each other for those reasons).
** Likewise, Tzeentch and Nurgle can each claim moral superiority over each other. Tzeentch is the god of mutation, sorcerers and backstabbers, and his followers are prone to getting the wrong end of deals like being mutated into a gibbering Chaos Spawn, a mindless, gibbering creature who exists only to kill and suffer... or become superpowered wizards. Nurgle, on the other hand, wants nothing more than for the entirety of the universe to decay away, and so his followers are blessed with loathsome diseases and hideous cancers... but as a side effect, their nerves are rotten away so they can't feel pain. Yay!
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[[folder:Videogames]]
* Jade Curtiss in ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' is a [[SociopathicHero heroic]] version. He has no empathy whatsoever, but is troubled by this, and always tries to do the right thing even though his concept of right and wrong can be a little skewed. Far, far less so in his backstory, where he was a CreepyChild.
* [[VideoGame/BioShock2 Sofia Lamb]] is a curious case in that she probably did not begin as this, being originally driven by her altruistic goals (though arguably, she was enamored with the concept rather than the people themselves), but by the time of the game, she became a TotalitarianUtilitarian obsessed with removing individuality and curing humanity's genetic fatalism.
* The Reapers of the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' series turn out to be this. Yes, they come in every 50,000 years and eradicate all the technologically advanced species and convert them into raw material for a new Reaper... but they do it so the galaxy won't descend into an endless war of organics vs. synthetics, and besides, the civilizations they harvest live on within the minds of the Reapers. Thus, they rationalize genocide as being part of the "greater good", and ultimately what's best for everyone.
-->'''The Rannoch Reaper:''' '''''"YOU REPRESENT CHAOS, WE REPRESENT ORDER. EVERY ORGANIC CIVILIZATION MUST BE HARVESTED IN ORDER TO BRING ORDER TO CHAOS. IT IS INEVITABLE. WITHOUT OUR INTERVENTION, ORGANICS ARE DOOMED.. WE ARE YOUR SALVATION."'''''
* ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'''s leader of the Human Hive, Chairman Yang. He disregards the individual, in pursuit of a totalitarian collectivism, because he believes that [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans unfettered self-interest is ultimately harmful to the cause of human progress]].
* Racter from ''VideoGame/ShadowrunReturns: Hong Kong'' is a clinical sociopath, but learned from a young age that it was in his rational self-interest to pretend to adhere to 'normal' human morality even if he feels no emotional connection to it. He understands things such as friendships on an intellectual level, and will consider the PlayerCharacter one if you continue to engage him in interesting talks without blowing him off. He also has a near-religious interest in {{Transhumanism}} and therefore feels moral outrage, or the closest he can get to it, about people who jeopardise the future of the human race's evolution for personal gain, like two of his former research companions did when they stole his experimental drone data and sold it to [[MegaCorp ARES]] in return for employment.
* BigBad Maximilian from ValkyriaChronicles is a classic sociopath in many ways (shallow effect, relating to others only in terms of their worth to him, ItsAllAboutMe mentality) but possesses a very strong code of ethics that often makes him very sympathetic. He's one of the least racist people in a game where even the good guys display strong prejudice, abhors disloyalty, executes his own men for war crimes and rescued a young Selvaria from the laboratory where she had been imprisoned (mostly because he knew it would ensure her loyalty, but still).
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[[folder: Visual novels]]
* Priest Kirei Kotomine from ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight''. His religious beliefs and personal circumstances make him state firmly that there's no sin in an unborn baby and everyone has the right to be born. He is willing to put his life on the line and sacrifice everything without blinking an eye to witness certain baby's birth. What makes it a case of BlueAndOrangeMorality is that he will literally sacrifice everything, including humanity, for "the baby" that is an [[OmnicidalManiac omnicidal]] SealedEvilInACan. [[spoiler:Of course, he turns out to be an actual [[TheSociopath sociopath]] trying desperately to ape normal morals, so it's a justified trope-he doesn't actually get why people would be a little more nuanced about this than he is.]]
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[[folder:Webcomics]]
* [[LightIsNotGood Kore]] from ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}''. He does sincerely believe he is doing the right thing by mercilessly slaughtering everyone that has been in contact with "evil races", even children of his own species that were with said "evil races". His utter conviction that he is doing good is probably what allows him to keep his paladin powers. This is either due to a houserule that lets paladins be this without falling, or just Herbert the Gamemaster being out of it or [[KillerGameMaster sadistic.]] Or both.
** [[spoiler: Or not...considering Kore isn't even human (such as it is for dwarves)...or mortal, anymore.]]
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'': Temple Fugate, aka the Clock King--he was a productive member of society with his own efficiency company, but was also a BadBoss with NoSocialSkills and LackOfEmpathy who ends up becoming a villain. Fugate doesn't seem to realize why his LackOfEmpathy plays against him; In his introductory episode, he ''knows'' he will lose an important appeal for his company, but it's sincerely unaware why nobody seems to ''like'' him.
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