%% Image selected per thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1463504084089121400
%% Do not change or remove without starting a new discussion.
[[quoteright:225:[[Webcomic/NerfNow http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tautological_templar.png]]]]

->'''The Emperor:''' It is my dream. An Imperium of Man that exists without recourse to gods and the supernatural. A united galaxy with Terra at its heart. [...] These warriors shall be my generals and they will lead my great crusade to the furthest corners of the galaxy.\\
'''Uriah:''' Didn't you just tell me of the bloody slaughters perpetrated by crusaders? Doesn't that make you no better than the holy men you were telling me about?\\
'''The Emperor:''' The difference is I know I am right.\\
'''Uriah:''' Spoken like a true autocrat.
-->-- "The Last Church," ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''

Considering all the [[KickTheDog puppy-kicking]] and {{Moral Event Horizon}}s the KnightTemplar gets into, sooner or later a(nother) good character is going to get the courage to ask them something. How on earth do they believe themselves to be "absolutely good", given just how [[EvilIsPetty spiteful]] and [[{{Jerkass}} needlessly cruel]][[note]][[DisproportionateRetribution often toward people who have only committed the most minor of crimes]][[/note]] they are?

The {{Knight Templar}}'s answer is simple. [[CircularReasoning They are good, and their every action is good because]] ''[[CircularReasoning they]]'' [[CircularReasoning are good]] .

That headache you're feeling right now is the mounting frustration most characters feel at the realization that they're dealing with a Tautological Templar, a character who has been radicalized to a cause for so long that they cannot comprehend the idea that they could be immoral. Alternatively, this could be an outright villain who is deluded enough that they can justify completely selfish behavior as being for the greater good, such as claiming that TheHero is the evil one because they keep foiling their plans which are, of course, going to make the world a better place, because they are the ones who will be running it.

Tautology is a term meaning that something is true in every possible interpretation; a Tautological Templar, then, is a character who can justify absolutely any sort of behavior to themselves because no matter what it was, they are arrogant, fanatical, or AxCrazy enough to interpret it as being the right thing.

This character may look like a {{Hypocrite}} (he probably is, but he's too stupid, self-righteous, deluded, or willfully ignorant to understand it), but in reality he's far more dangerous than that. Because he can't comprehend the concept of MoralDissonance, he will throw himself into any struggle with the same force, conviction, and resolve that TheHero shows against the BigBad. That's because in his worldview, every enemy he has is [[DastardlyWhiplash twirling a handlebar mustache, madly cackling while tying orphans to the railroad tracks]] -- [[YouRebelScum even if said enemy turns out to be]] TheHero himself.

Can often come about unintentionally as a result of a DesignatedHero, most often when a writer is trying to rationalize the character's action but is having trouble doing so. A WellIntentionedExtremist may also be one of these, provided he's genuinely oblivious to the suffering he's caused in the name of the greater good.

In general, if you feel inclined to put on a page "WellIntentionedExtremist: ''thinks'' he is this", then you are probably dealing with this trope.

Sometimes related to WhatIsEvil. People generally don't think of themselves as evil, but following the true way. In RealLife, this may result from cognitive dissonance, the psychological discomfort produced by holding beliefs that conflict with one's actions. In order to relieve this discomfort, people may subconsciously modify their beliefs to justify their actions.

A form of ItsAllAboutMe mixed with NeverMyFault and ObliviouslyEvil. Such characters are also prone to BelievingTheirOwnLies, and for their followers to do so with BlindObedience. If the DesignatedHero is called out for acting this way, it's WhatTheHellHero See also SuperDickery, ForGreatJustice!, LawfulStupid, HolierThanThou, and RonTheDeathEater for when the hero really is a hero, but fans see him this way.

If a character comes across this way despite the author's intentions, you might have a case of ProtagonistCenteredMorality. Compare HitlerAteSugar, an equally flawed argument that any given action is bad because the person doing that action is a bad guy.

A subset of MoralMyopia.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* [[spoiler:Ashe/Angela]] from ''Manga/BlackButler''. [[spoiler:S/he]] declares everyone impure and that they must be [[KillItWithFire Cleansed With Fire]], but doesn't see anything wrong with murdering children and banging demons and [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent Devil Dogs]].
* Tousen from ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' is revealed to be this, though not too surprising as he'd turned out to be TheMole and had long appeared to be a KnightTemplar anyway. It was known that he became obsessed with justice when a friend of his was murdered by her ''{{Shinigami}}'' husband who managed to get away with the crime; it transpires that the reason he turned against Soul Society was for revenge (he has previously implied it was because UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans, though this was still somewhat true), believing that forgiveness of any sort was a mockery of justice and feeling he was completely entitled to take revenge on Soul Society and all of its inhabitants, even if that means helping the BigBad become a god and not really worrying about the countless innocent lives he was killing or planning to kill along the way.
** Masque de Masculine's defining trait is that he is is quick to label anyone who stands against him and his comrades as a villain, fiercely loyal to the Quincy cause. In his eyes, he is a hero and a champion, and because he believes he's a hero, he also thinks he is undefeatable by anyone he calls a villain. That he himself could be a bad guy is so beyond his comprehension that he is killed off before coming even close to the realization.
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' has its share in the Holy Britannian Empire, but no more so than [[TheQuisling Suzaku Kururugi]] who argues that change by "the wrong means" is meaningless.
* [[SerialKillerKiller Light Yagami]] of ''Manga/DeathNote'' has the following to say on the subject: "Me? Evil? I am JUSTICE! Those who oppose me--''they're'' the evil ones!" Contrast L, who readily admits when he engages in DirtyBusiness. There's also Light/Kira's followers-when Misa is introduced [[EvenEvilHasStandards even Light thinks she goes too far]] when she kills innocent newscasters and police officers for just speaking out against Kira. That in itself is in an instance of templar tautology because Light did more or less the same thing when he killed FBI agents but naturally it's only okay when he does it. When Misa tries to defend her actions and dares to ask "isn't that what you did?" Light sends her a withering DeathGlare and seems angrier that [[WhatTheHellHero she called him on it]] than the fact that she killed people. Then there's Mikami--[[StartOfDarkness when Mikami's mother scolds him]] for [[BullyHunter fighting with the bullies at school]] Mikami decides she's an enemy of justice and when his mother and the bullies all die in a car accident he thinks that means that God is looking out for him. He takes the Kira mission even further than Light and Misa, killing reformed criminals and lazy people in the name of justice. Though when Light sees that in the news he mentions that he MIGHT eventually have gone on to kill lazy and unproductive people himself, just [[TheWorldIsNotReady not quite that soon]].
* In ''Manga/RosarioToVampire'', Gin gives a perfect definition of this trope in relation to Kuyou: "Kuyou is the kind of guy who mistakenly believes that, without a doubt, everything he does is for the sake of justice. Anyone who goes against him is going against justice and is an evildoer, and he believes that he can do anything for his own sake, because he is justice."
* ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'':
** Zamasu believes that he is righteous and correct about mortals being evil and it's his duty to promote the god's justice [[spoiler:by wiping them out. Even if this means murdering his fellow gods.]] When he is called out on this by Gowasu and Vegeta, he states that they could never understand him. Zamasu freely admits that what he's doing is evil, but is firmly convinced that [[NecessarilyEvil his actions will lead to a greater good]].
** [[EvilTwin Goku Black]], [[spoiler:being an AlternateSelf of Zamasu who [[GrandTheftMe stole Goku's body]]]], also qualifies. He acknowledges that Future Trunks may find his actions cruel, but nonetheless states that he's doing what must be done, and that it's his duty to wipe out all mortals and correct the gods' mistakes. [[spoiler: It takes a whole new level when it's revealed that he personally murdered his fellow gods to carry out his plan, which he justifies to Gowasu by claiming that the other gods would never understand his ideals and would try to stop him.]]

* In the ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' comic ''[[Comicbook/AvatarTheLastAirbenderThePromise The Promise]]'', Ozai thinks that the Fire Lord is always right just because he is the Fire Lord, therefore already given permission by the divine powers.
* ComicBook/NormanOsborn fell into this territory in ''ComicBook/DarkReign'', insisting that all of his actions were for the greater good and the heroes shouldn't be uniting against him and have no idea how much he has been doing to protect everyone. The fact that he started it by trying to kill all the heroes in the first place, that he tried to [[OffingTheOffspring murder his own son for ratings]], that he's been [[PoliceState killing or locking up everyone who has a bad thing to say about him]], that his own superhero teams [[EvilCounterpart comprised of supervillains]] he was allowing (and often ordering) to commit all sorts of murders and atrocities, and that the crisis in question he was referring to (ComicBook/TheSentry turning back into [[SuperpoweredEvilSide The Void]]) was all his fault in the first place, or the fact that his ''own'' SuperpoweredEvilSide was slowly taking over and he was starting to lose his mind and covering up the fact... Yeah, none of that really mattered.
* '''''[[SelfDemonstrating/DoctorDoom DOOM]] IS ALWAYS RIGHT!!!''''' This, in a nutshell, sums up everything about Doctor Doom's character; he sincerely believes he's the smartest man in the world, a veritable god, and that his brilliance means he deserves to rule over the world. DependingOnTheWriter, sometimes, the authors seem to ''[[RunningTheAsylum agree]]'' with him.
* [[Franchise/TheFlash Zoom (Hunter Zolomon)]] thinks he's performing a vital service by [[DespairEventHorizon putting heroes through utter hell]] under the belief that MiseryBuildsCharacter and will make them "stronger" heroes. Unfortunately, however, his beliefs absolutely do not match up with reality, he is [[AxCrazy profoundly]] [[TheMentallyDisturbed disturbed]], and his moral code is [[BlueAndOrangeMorality completely incomprehensible to others]]. Furthermore, he's probably up there with the Joker in terms of how dangerous he is to his own allies as he is to heroes, as he will ''brutally'' attack anyone who he thinks is impeding his progress with "improving" his current target.
* In ''Franchise/GreenLantern'', the Guardians of the Universe fall into this behavior on their worst days. It became worse and worse over Creator/GeoffJohns' run on the series until it came to a head in ''ComicBook/RiseOfTheThirdArmy'', wherein they decide that the problems of the universe are caused by [[spoiler:emotion itself, and thus EmotionSuppression and removal of TheEvilsOfFreeWill will remove the problems]]. This is in the face of the fact that the problems of the previous two armies were pretty much entirely their own fault. [[AIIsACrapshoot The Manhunters]] were created by them (and replaced by the extremely similar and also eventually evil [[InternalAffairs Alpha Lantern Corps]]), and [[SpacePolice the Green Lantern Corps]] were led by misinformation and factors completely beyond their control, with their last "problem" being that one of them managed to [[spoiler:kill a rogue Guardian]].
* DependingOnTheWriter, ''Comicbook/JudgeDredd'' is aware that sometimes strict adherence to the letter of the law results in injustice; whether he accepts it as IDidWhatIHadToDo or exercises LoopholeAbuse varies. There have been other Judges every so often who actually believed, "Because I'm a Judge, everything I do is right/legal." One of the ArcWords of the comic is [[WhoWatchesTheWatchmen "Who Judges the Judges"]]?
* ComicBook/{{Venom}} believes that he's the good guy and anything he does to [[Franchise/SpiderMan Spider-Man]] is justified because he "ruined his life." The fact that Spider-man [[UnknownRival hadn't even met the man before he got his powers]] does nothing to dissuade this view.
* ComicBook/LexLuthor sometimes has this attitude with Franchise/{{Superman}}, especially evident in ''ComicBook/LexLuthorManOfSteel''. He justifies his crusade to bring down the hero by proclaiming that Superman, as a godlike alien, is a menace to humanity who impedes our progress by dint of his existence, and more crudely that Luthor is capable of solving all the Earth's problems but he can't until Superman is dead, and to be more specific dead at his hands. Doesn't seem to have any problem teaming up with ''other'' aliens like ComicBook/{{Brainiac}}, even if those aliens really are out to enslave us all and make no secret of the fact. His supposed belief in the potential and value of humanity also doesn't seem to stop him from planning atrocities which, in attempting to destroy or 'expose' Superman, usually ratchet up a pretty hefty body count in human life in the process.
* ComicBook/{{Ras Al Ghul}} is going to make the world a better place, so in the meantime he should be treated like [[AGodAmI God]]. Notably, he is trying to murder billions of people so that ''his'' family can inherent the Earth, on his terms as well.
* [[spoiler: Chief Justice Tyrest]] is clearly this during the events of ''ComicBook/TransformersMoreThanMeetsTheEye'', declaring their actions perfectly valid, legal, and the right thing to do, guided by their beliefs but self-justified using their role in the justice system. Let's quickly point out that this is the same individual who believes ''indiscriminate genocide'' will somehow ''absolve'' him of his guilty conscience, and actually carries out that plan.
* Superboy Prime from ''ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis'' jumped pretty quickly from "[[UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks Dark Age]] heroes are too violent and amoral" to "Time for me to start killing them."
* ''ComicBook/ContestOfChampions:'' An alternate universe version of Tony Stark, who went through ComicBook/CivilWar but never got deposed by the Skrull Invasion insists he doesn't make mistakes "anymore".
* ComicBook/PoisonIvy is often depicted as this with her "eco-terrorist" depictions, being too obsessed with either making people go Green '''now''', too willing to sacrifice human lives in favor of the environment, or both. She completely fails to realize that this only hurts her position and that she has [[CutLexLuthorACheck more viable options in her arsenal thanks to her powers]] because she sincerely believes that she's protecting Mother Earth and so totally justified.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Dumbledore is this in ''{{Fanfic/Heir}}''. As far as Dumbledore is concerned, he's good and therefore all his actions are good by default (actions such as leaving an innocent child with his abusive relatives). [[BlackAndWhiteInsanity In his world-view, all the "light families" are inherently good and all "dark families" are the cause of all problems]], and if a member of a "dark family" happens to be a victim well [[{{UsefulNotes/VictimBlaming}} they must have deserved it]].
* Until he is defeated at the end, Titan, the BigBad of the ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Friendship Is Magic]]'' fanfic ''FanFic/TheImmortalGame'', never stops to think that maybe, '''JUST MAYBE''', he's the one being an overall self-righteous bastard. [[spoiler:All he really seems to care about is (A) what he claims to be the "natural order" and (B) all of ponykind acknowledging that he is their '''''GOD''''' simply because he says he is]].
** In fact, [[spoiler:he is defeated '''by''' getting called out on this. When [[BreakThemByTalking Twilight makes him realize that he runs on circular logic]] by automatically associating himself with order, while in reality he doesn't have a place in the world that he created, [[VillainousBreakdown his sword goes out and he proceeds to have a massive BSOD]].]]
--> '''Twilight Sparkle''': [[spoiler:''You're a god because you're a god because you're a god. You let your mind fall into the same grooves you've carved for yourself over millennia of thought. It's a circular argument, and one you've used to justify the slaughter of numberless innocents, all of them no less endowed with a mind and soul than you.'']]
* In ''FanFic/SexNote'' Souichiro Yagami believes that it's impossible that any of his men are raping people because they are the police, the good guys, so of course they'd never abuse their authority like that! [[ShootTheMessenger So he decides it all must somehow be]] [[HeroWithBadPublicity Kougoukan's]] [[NeverMyFault fault]], [[IRejectYourReality that no rapes actually happened, and it's all a plot to embarrass the police.]]
* In ''[[FanFic/ThreeSlytherinMarauders 3 Slytherin Marauders]]'', Neville gains this twisted worldview as a result of both nature ([[LamarckWasRight his mother]], Alice was a KnightTemplar) and nurture (he grew up [[TheResenter resenting]] Harry Potter and living in constant fear of his life from his EvilUncle Algie.) No matter what he does, he is justified in his own mind, and no matter what anyone says or does, he believes that Harry is evil.
* In many ''Fanfic/TheConversionBureau'' stories, especially those written by Chatoyance, Celestia and the ponies completely fail to see anything wrong with [[BalefulPolymorph forced]] [[MindRape con]][[GettingSmiliesPaintedOnYourSoul version]] and why the human race is so pissed off at them and fighting so hard against them.
* ''FanFic/{{Fade}}'': L. His logic for using the Death Note and becoming as bad as Kira in the story that came with it amounts to this. In his mind, he is Justice, and thus, if he were to die, there would be no more Justice in the world. Hence, every life he takes to subvert fate and save his own, be it that of a criminal or an innocent, is for Justice.

[[folder:Films -- Live Action]]
* The Jedi in the ''Franchise/StarWars'' prequel trilogy sometimes come off like this, especially Obi Wan's line of [[{{Hypocrite}} "Only a Sith deals in absolutes."]]
** Explored in the {{novelization}} of ''Literature/RevengeOfTheSith''. While debating Palpatine in the balcony seats of the Mon Calamari Ballet on Sith vs. Jedi philosophy, Anakin's only answer to why the Sith are wrong is eventually "Jedi are GOOD. That's the difference!" and can't point to any specific reasons supporting his assertion, in spite of the fact that historically, Jedi have historically served as protectors of the innocent and keepers of the peace for centuries, to the point they de-fanged themselves to regain the trust of the galaxy after a particularly nasty war wrecked their reputations, while Sith, without any real exceptions, always seek to rule and dominate others through their powers, have traditionally been slavers, and have a propensity towards racism.
* Subverted in ''Film/{{Serenity}}''. The Operative readily admits that he's a monster, and that there won't be a place for him in the "better world" for which he's killed so many.
* ''Film/LockUp'': The Warden is [[WardensAreEvil determined to destroy Frank's life]]. He'll go to any means to assure this, because he seems to think that as the Warden, he's always the hero and as the prisoner, Frank is always the bad guy. This goes to the point of justifying [[spoiler:murder of Frank's friends]] as another means to provoke Frank into getting himself "the punishment he deserves".

* ''Literature/CatchTwentyTwo'' has Sgt. Milo Minderbinder, who believes Capitalism is the ultimate expression of good, and as such will do anything up to and including getting his own squadmates killed to promulgate it. It's BlueAndOrangeMorality enough (as far as we know, he's completely honest in this belief) that it's still possible to like him somewhat, unlike other antagonists such as [[spoiler: serial rapist Captain Aardvark]].
* Creator/CSLewis, though a devout Christian, wrote that theocracy is his least favorite form of government due to this trope. As Lewis described, a secular dictator has a chance, even if an infinitesimal one, of [[HeelRealization realizing he's wrong]], whereas a theocrat wholeheartedly believes God is on his side, and thus, how could he be anything other than right? After all, God would stop him if he were to do anything wrong!
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}''
** Lady Lilith in ''Discworld/WitchesAbroad''. She runs a police state and feeds people to stories to increase her personal power. But her understanding of her own story is that she's the fairy godmother, and Granny Weatherwax is the wicked witch, and therefore everything she does is okay.
** This is discussed a number of other times in the ''Discworld'' series, mostly by Vimes but also by Granny Weatherwax and the wizards. Some character will suggest an action and justify it 'because we're the good guys', only to have it pointed out that being the good guys depends on not doing certain things.
** Vetinari nails it in ''Discworld/TheLastHero'' when he concludes that Cohen the Barbarian is supposedly "[[TheHero heroic]]" when he commits theft or arson ''because'' it's Cohen the Barbarian doing it.
** The [[SarcasmMode cunning]] [[InsaneTrollLogic argument]] for why the Unseen University's Department of Post-Mortem Communications is absolutely not necromancy is that only bad wizards do necromancy. One of the determining features of whether a wizard is bad or not is... whether they do necromancy. Because they're not bad wizards, what they're doing cannot be necromancy.
** Inverted by Lord Vetinari. To him, everyone is evil (or at least bad), it's just that some people are less evil than others. He also deliberately sets up Ankh-Morporkian society to be a series of counterbalancing forces, to prevent anyone (including himself to a certain degree) to go power-mad without someone to oppose them
** In ''Discworld/NightWatch'', Vimes acknowledges that how he justifies bending the rules is that it's him doing it -- and that this isn't a good reason, because people like [[PsychoForHire Carcer]] use the same reasoning. Vimes, at least, watches himself very carefully to make sure he doesn't truly cross the line.
* ''Literature/TheFirstLaw'':
** Black Dow, a CardCarryingVillain, accuses BarbarianHero Logen Ninefingers, the "Bloody Nine", of being this, and says it makes him even worse than him because Logen is capable of absolutely anything while Dow can show that EvenEvilHasStandards, such as [[spoiler:when Logen slaughters a couple of kids and his own allies in the middle of a siege after the enemy breaks through, and thinks nobody noticed]]. [[SubvertedTrope Subverted]] though, since in fact Logen is just a JerkWithAHeartOfGold who happens to have a SuperpoweredEvilSide that is the ''real'' source of his wicked reputation and (most of) his evil deeds, including the above, and he just doesn't want anyone to know that both out of fear that his allies would turn on him because he's too dangerous, and conversely because even his allies are nearly all [[DefeatMeansFriendship former enemies]] and he worries that, even though he is a formidable warrior in his own right, they might turn on him because he's not as dangerous as they all thought he was.
** Played utterly straight with [[spoiler:Bayaz]], however, who justifies centuries of ChronicBackstabbingDisorder and [[ManipulativeBastard callous manipluation]] as being for the betterment of mankind, in spite of his paradoxical [[MisanthropeSupreme utter contempt for humanity in the first place]]. He seems to see himself as a DarkMessiah, though a lot of his actions seem to be entirely selfish, and though he can accurately claim that he is protecting the world from a KnightTemplar EvilSorceror and his CorruptChurch of [[ImAHumanitarian cannibalistic]] [[NinjaZombiePirateRobot ninja wizard clerics]], he neglects to mention that it really all started as a private blood feud between two powerful mages, and that he is actually guilty of ''everything'' the other guy accuses him of and more, including all of the BlackMagic that supposedly makes the latter the bad guy. By the end of the story, you'll be wondering who the real villain was.
** [[spoiler: "I am First of the Magi. I am the last authority and I say…I am righteous. Power makes all things right. That is my first law, and my last. That is the only law that I acknowledge."]]
* In ''Literature/TheRedemptionOfAlthalus'', at one point a priest is burning local girls for witchcraft, since they use it to put shameful and lusty thoughts and urges in his head. He's convinced that they must be using wicked magic for this, since he's too pure to experience those things -- the idea that he's just having the normal male reaction to pretty girls doesn't even occur to him. It's rather frightening when you realize how long he's been doing it without anyone stopping him. It's even more frightening when you realize that after the heroes have rescued his latest victim (because they needed her for their group) and she gives him a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech, they leave without stopping him permanently. Wait, what?
* The BigBad of the ''Literature/{{Safehold}}'' series, Zahspahr Clyntahn, is the Grand Inquisitor of the Church, so in his mind anyone who opposes him must be evil. He comes up with all kinds of propaganda about his enemies to justify his atrocities, and he actually [[BelievingTheirOwnLies believes the lies he himself invents]], which the other characters (including most of his allies) find incredibly disturbing.
* Doctor Impossible, the VillainProtagonist of ''Literature/SoonIWillBeInvincible'', [[DiscussedTrope discusses]] how [[PayEvilUntoEvil petty and mean]] the "heroes" act and suggests that the [[NotSoDifferent only real difference]] between heroes and villains is that villains [[WrittenByTheWinners are on the losing side]].
* [[DiscussedTrope Discussed]] in the first book of ''Literature/TheSwordOfTruth'', in which the villain is described as having this mindset. (Unfortunately, in some of the later books, the author eventually starts using the same kinds of logic to justify the [[DesignatedHero actions of the protagonists]].)
* [[BigBad Big Jim Rennie]] in Creator/StephenKing's ''Literature/UnderTheDome''. He is afflicted with a particularly bad case of MoralMyopia. God intends for him to lead and protect the town... no matter how many townspeople need to die to make it happen. As far as he's concerned, the town of Chester's Mill is his by divine mandate, anything that threatens his absolute control of the town threatens the town itself, and any action up to and including murder and inciting a riot is justified if it helps him stay in control. To wit: it doesn't matter how bad for the town it is, if it's good for Jim Rennie, it's good for the town.
* In ''Literature/VillainsByNecessity'', the side of Good is actually pretty damned evil. Not only is the world becoming "mystically unbalanced" by their actions, but they've turned it into a horrible theocratic dictatorship and most of them ''still'' insist that they are Good and all who oppose them are Evil. The so-called "heroes" are also pretty blasé about rape--at least when they're the one's doing it.
%%* The [[LightIsNotGood Children of the Light]] from ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime''.
* AlFranken's ''Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" describes Republicans' viewpoint towards the US as this.
-->[Republicans] love America like a 4-year-old loves his mommy... To a 4-year-old, everything Mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad.
* It is possible that [[BigBad Sauron]] from ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' started out as this, wanting to bring order to a chaotic world. He was the only one who knew what was the most appropriate course of action according to him, after all. Then he underwent severe MotiveDecay and ends up as one of the most evil villains in Literature.
* In ''Literature/TheTraitorSonCycle'', the Archbishop of Alba justifies making use of a hermeticist (something he otherwise condemns and being of the Devil) by stating that because he's an agent of God, everything he does must be for God's cause.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheColbertReport'': Creator/StephenColbert is this trope PlayedForLaughs. "[[MemeticMutation Great X or the Greatest X?]]"

* "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMxP7W1Kd1M Dirty Window]]" by {{Music/Metallica}}.
-->''I see my reflection in the window\\
It looks different, so different than what you see\\
Projecting judgement on the world\\
This house is clean babe\\
This house is clean''
* In "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Us6CEufX6E Overburdened]]" by {{Music/Disturbed}}, {{Hell}} is [[TitleDrop overburdened]] with {{Knight Templar}}s [[ObliviouslyEvil who don't understand why they are being sent there]]. {{Subverted}} when the narrator seems to make a HeelRealization mid verse:
-->''[[KnightTemplar I was fighting for a reason / Holy blessed]] [[HeelRealization homicide]]''


[[folder:Mythology and Religion]]
* TheFundamentalist interpretation of God falls under this trope.
** Some interpretations go further, suggesting that morality (and even truth) itself can only come from God, making any opposition to their views irrational and wrong by definition.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* This is a trait of heel commentators throughout wrestling, excusing or justifying almost anything wrong a heel does. The inverse is also true, as some face commentators will justify the actions of the face wrestlers, even if they do something morally ambiguous.[[/folder]]

* ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'': Just about every Radical Inquisitor is in danger of (eventually) becoming this. The important distinction between Radicals and Puritans (who will happily nuke a planet if the slightest whiff of heresy is found) is that the Radicals are willing to tread the thin line between heresy and non-heresy (as dictated by the Imperial Creed), as well as turn the tools of the enemy against it, e.g. Chaos against Chaos (daemonically possessed weapon and hosts, etc). Of course, many such Radicals are overconfident enough to always think they can control it, fall under the Daemon's control without realizing it, and then get surprised/outraged when another Inquisitor comes to investigate and/or assassinate them. Of the different types of radicals, Xanthians may risk becoming this while Oblationists already are ones. Others such as the Seculous Attendos and Xeno Hybris completely dive into heresy because they believe that the Imperial Creed is actually holding humanity back and therefore aren't an example. The main reason these two forms aren't is because they don't try to use chaos. Seculous Attendos want the Imperium to become secular while Xeno Hybris think that humanity is better off trying to cooperate with Xenos (who don't have the corrupting abilities of Chaos).
* This is the path to damnation for several darklords in ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'', most notably Elena Faith-hold. She routinely slaughters entire villages, convinced that she is "cleansing evil from the world."
* ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' has the Immaculate Order, a religion which says that enlightenment leads to a better reincarnation, ultimately resulting in being reincarnated as a Dragon-Blooded; therefore, anything the Dragon-Blooded do is for your own good and it is right and proper that the Dragon-Blooded rule over you as cruel overlords, enslave you, beat you, burn down your house for kicks, etc. Also, the "Anathema" (actually celestial exalted, and they have a mandate straight from heaven saying that they should rule) are all utterly selfish and evil, so anything they do is part of an evil plan, even curing horrible diseases and saving small children. Yeah.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'':
** When they are not just in it for the power, the Templars are literally this. Why are Templars' Creed good? Because they strong-arm the world from falling into chaos, but ''only'' if it's them who gets to exercise being heavy-handed. [[{{Hypocrite}} If it's by anyone else, it will breed chaos!]] Best exemplified by [[MadScientist Dr. Warren Vidic]], who believes that his actions are not only pardonable, but righteous all along -- unlike "those Assassins, who only take and take."
** The Assassins can also fall under this, believing that killing a Templar is justified no matter what. This is what caused Shay to join the Templars in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedRogue''. Of course, considering that the Templars seek to remove free will from everyone else in the world, it's understandable why the Assassins fell into the mindset as well.
* ''VideoGame/BioShock''
** ''Videogame/BioShock2'': Sofia Lamb just wants [[EvilutionaryBiologist to push mankind into its next evolutionary stage]]. [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans It's for the Greater Good]], and [[FelonyMisdemeanor nothing could be more evil than trying to stop this noble goal]]. [[spoiler:[[CatchPhrase Ask yourself]]: are [[AfterTheEnd Rapture]], [[TheEvilsOfFreeWill human consciousness]], [[AssimilationPlot individuality itself]], and [[OffingTheOffspring Eleanor's mind]] ''really'' such high prices to pay for paradise?]]
** Comstock of ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'' takes this mindset to a whole other level. Unlike the Christian concept of divine forgiveness which boils down to "go and sin no more," his own interpretation translates to "since I am forgiven, nothing I do from now on is considered sin."
* Since the demons in ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'' [[NobleDemon insist they're evil no matter how much good they do]], multiple villains have served as their {{foil}} by insisting in their goodness no matter how much evil they do. [[spoiler:Aurum]] in the third game is a particularly spectacular example: [[spoiler:having killed the last and most powerful demon overlord, he's spent two hundred years molding a young demon into the "perfect overlord" for him to fight and defeat. He thinks he has to do this, because without villains, heroes are no longer relevant. Not until the very end does he realize that, since he's trying to create a threat to humanity, he's now a villain]].
* Knight-Commander Meredith of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' gets worse as the game progresses [[spoiler:partially due to the influence of her red lyrium sword]], but believes she is ''always'' in the right because she is keeping people safe from blood mages and demons. By Act III, she's decided that anyone who disagrees with her at all is a mind-controlled blood mage puppet. Every decent Templar still alive has realized what she is, but they're all too afraid of her to speak out. [[spoiler:Thrask tries to form a mage-templar alliance to depose her, but picks exactly the wrong person to be his right hand. When Meredith goes completely off the deep end, the entire Templar Order (except Cullen, and possibly Carver) runs out of sight and lets Hawke's group do all the work.]]
* In ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'', Jolee Bindo argues that the Jedi believe that since they follow the Light Side of the Force, that they can do no wrong. In the sequel, [[spoiler:Atris unknowingly falls to the Dark Side because of the extreme methods she used to lure out the Sith]].
* Samara in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2''. Her philosophy as a Justicar is that so long as she follows her Code, all of her actions are just, even when that action happens to be killing a helpless enemy simply for refusing to give her information or potentially killing a police officer for being ordered to take Samara into custody.
* [[AnimalWrongsGroup Team Plasma]] from ''VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite'' is against people owning Pokemon, but one of the grunts stated that it is perfectly okay if Team Plasma has Pokemon. [[spoiler:In the end, subverted; Team Plasma, or at least its higher ups, want people to release their Pokemon so that Team Plasma are the only ones with Pokemon, which [[FantasyGunControl in that setting]] would make them the most powerful people in the world]]. By the end, some of the grunts have turned against this idea. [[VideoGame/PokemonBlackAndWhite2 The sequel]] averts this altogether with [[spoiler:most of New Team Plasma, who are more overt about their aims]].
* ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'': The Law faction invariably has a few of these. YHVH, in His worst moments, dives straight into this. In many games YHVH feels that he has the right to do whatever he pleases to Earth by virtue of having created it.
* ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'' features a CharacterArc that seems to be about a character waffling between ''being'' a Tautological Templar and being ''afraid'' of becoming one. [[PlayerPunch "Do you feel like a hero yet?"]]
* The Pope from ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' believes that all half elves deserve to be executed or be slaves because he's The Pope, he never gives any further explanation than he's the Pope; he doesn't even care that The Chosen, a centerpoint of the religion, disagrees, because HE'S RIGHT. Essentially, he bases his racism entirely on being The Pope. [[spoiler:His DAUGHTER is a half-elf, and that didn't stop him from putting her in a chamber because that's just how things are! His daughter IS the reason he hates half-elves. He started out on the half-elves' side until his daughter was born, and after she grew up, then stopped aging, he "realized" how different half-elves really were from humans, and it terrified him]]. [[FantasticRacism Xenophobia]] at it's worst.
* In ''VideoGame/MegaManZero'', Copy-X believes that he is a "perfect copy" of the legendary hero X, and ''because'' he's perfect, all of his decisions are perfectly correct and beyond reproach.
* Handsome Jack in ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}''. In his own mind, he's the hero of the story, doing whatever it takes to bring about a better future for Pandora. Therefore any action he takes, no matter how horrific, is just and righteous.
* The Reapers in ''Videogame/DiabloIII'', a renegade faction of angels led by Malthael, the Angel of Death. They believe that angels are inherently good, demons are inherently evil, and humans (who are {{Half Breed}}s of the other two races) have free will to choose between the two, [[TheEvilsOfFreeWill a choice they are not worthy of making]]. Therefore, when The Reapers decide to commit genocide against humans, it must be a course of action that will ultimately benefit the universe.
* This is Megatron's entire schtick in ''VideoGame/TransformersFallOfCybertron''. Despite the fact he's forced Cybertron to go into a coma-like state that's resulted in the loss of the entire planet's supply of Energon, effectively killing his own world, forced millions of Cybertronians to evacuate for the millions of years it will take for Cybertron to recover, and murdered countless millions more in the war that ''he'' started, he's still absolutely convinced that he's the hero and the savior of Cybertron. Throughout the game, he can be heard ranting and raving about he will save Cybertron and how Optimus' resistance to his tyranny is the true evil.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Siegfried in ''Webcomic/DominicDeegan'', "Oracle for Hire", starts as one of these.
** Not just him, either. This seems to be the modus operandi for all of the Knights of Callan.
* Heavily implied in ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}'' with Kore, who murders innocent and villain alike if he perceives them as a force for evil in the world. Although why no higher power has intervened and robbed him of his powers is [[EpilepticTrees one of the comic's biggest mysteries]], one which [[LampshadeHanging several characters have acknowledged]].
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
** Paladin Miko Miyazaki ends up being one of these, though at first this impression appears to have been wrought from circumstance. Time and again, she is portrayed as believing ViolenceReallyIsTheAnswer in regards to even minor crimes, shows hypocrisy about lawfulness in battle, and must be given multiple commands by her legitimate lord, Shojo, to even consider taking a less extreme course of action. This finally reaches its head when she [[spoiler:kills Lord Shojo, believing him to be the head of some nefarious anti-good conspiracy. Even when stripped of her paladin powers by good-aligned Gods, she ''still'' refuses to believe she's crossed the line, instead concluding that she's facing an even more elaborate conspiracy and the stripping of her powers is some sort of trial]].
** ArcVillain General Tarquin is an inversion; instead of believing he can only be good, he refuses to accept that he could be anything less than ''the villain'', the BigBad, and that the Story is [[ItsAllAboutMe all about him]] and his heroic son, Elan. That Elan refuses to go along with this narrative, and insists on deferring to party leader Roy and acting as if there are other things much more important than defeating Tarquin, drives him to rage. [[spoiler: It eventually culminates in Elan just completely abandoning Tarquin, rather than engaging him in some form of final battle like Tarquin wanted.]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Paranatural}}'' gives us Isaac's spirit, some kind of weather elemental with an interesting definition of moral righteousness.
-->'''[[FanNickname Montezeusma]]:''' "GOOD" is what EVIL FEARS--and JUSTICE is when YOU MAKE THOSE FEARS A ''REALITY!''
* ''WebComic/BrunoTheBandit'': In the satirical story "The Good Guy", there's a character actually called the Good Guy who's the main villain. That is pretty telling. He insists that he's supremely rational and plainly states that he has irrefutable proof that he is the good guy and therefore must be in the right, the irrefutable proof being that his sword has "Good Guy" written on it.
* ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'': When asked what's the difference between his and Florence's viewpoints, Blunt answers that he's right.
* [[LightIsNotGood Ken and most of the Zedi]] from ''[[http://space-blood.thecomicseries.com/comics/first/ Space Blood]]'' are at worst killing people who they considered as "sinners" like people of the Blood Side, transsexuals and people who are homosexual and the Zedi think of it as "Good" for doing such killing that [[DarkIsNotEvil Zalda]] [[DarthVaderClone Len]] [[http://space-blood.thecomicseries.com/comics/10/ when she was Rei Skykiller called Ken out on it]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AeonFlux'': Trevor Goodchild honestly believes that he can transform ''InkCity'' into a better place -- a New Bregna -- if he can just eliminate TheEvilsOfFreeWill. He is so convinced that his cause is just that when [[WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}} Wakko Warner]] and [[WesternAnimation/RegularShow Don]] crash in and find him about to [[AndIMustScream do horrible things]] to their brothers, he actually tries to convince them it's for the best. Needless to say, neither one buys it.
* Captain Hammer, the [[{{Narcissist}} Narcissistic]] JerkAss [[TheBully Bully]] of ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'', is a Hero, or so he believes. He also believes that all {{Nerd}}s and {{Goth}} kids are supervillains and should be reported to the police.
* ''{{WebOriginal/Worm}}'' discusses this quite a bit. The protagonist is a "villain", but is a much better person than many of the self-professed heroes, who range from narcissistic jerks to [[spoiler:one of the very bullies who made her life miserable, unlocking her powers in the first place]]. Meanwhile, other "villains" fell into their situations by happenstance or just generally being victims of someone else, or were offered a job by another villain, and many are agreeable, polite and kind in their own ways.
* In ''WebAnimation/IfTheEmperorHadATextToSpeechDevice'', Lord Inquisitor Karamazov states that [[spoiler: charging the Eternity Gate]] would be heresy -- the very thing Inquisition is supposed to fight -- but it won't be when he does it, because it's him who'll do this.
* Website/{{Cracked}}: [=Luke McKinney=] has a reputation for writing articles that come across as excessively, illogically feminist (Such as making a list of obscure, boring superheroines that should get movies before ''Film/FantasticFour2015'', [[PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad simply because they're female]]), getting criticised for trying too hard to look progressive, then writing a follow-up article about how everyone who disagrees with him is evil. Some of his most ardent critics are [[UnwantedAssistance self-identified Feminists...]]
** Also, J.F. Sargent, a writer so reviled in the ''Cracked'' community as to become something of a legend. In recent years Sargent's writing style has degenerated to the point where he feels the need to talk down to his audience regarding social justice issues, completely oblivious to the fact that ''Cracked's'' readership is largely progressive and thus his writing is an insult to their intelligence. One of his social justice articles revealed that he ''condoned'' violent protests [[PoliticalCorrectnessGoneMad as long as they're for the sake of PC]].
** It seems to be managerial: Editor in Chiefs David Wong and Jack O'Brien both have written numerous articles speaking out against censoring or shouting down differing opinions, including (for one notable example) banning people for holding different opinions. Go to any comment section on a Sargent or [=McKinney=] article and count how many people remark that they had to get new accounts because their old one was locked due to differing with the article's opinion. There will be many.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Stan Smith from ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'' is always confident that his way (which is often shockingly bigoted, even by his own family's standards) is the good, righteous, and just way, by simple virtue of being ''his'' way. He often comes around by the end of an episode, but the show actually lampshades how [[AesopAmnesia the lesson never sticks]]. As a gung-ho CIA agent, he also feels this way about [[{{Eagleland}} the United States]] itself -- he doesn't believe that America can do no wrong so much as he believes that anything it does is justified by being America. Although ironically, despite his AesopAmnesia, Stan ''has'' undergone more CharacterDevelopment (along with CharacterizationMarchesOn) than anyone else on the show; in later seasons, this aspect of his character is less habitual and more a series of [[CompressedVice Compressed Vices]].
* Demona from ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' wants to KillAllHumans because she blames them for enslaving and wiping out her species, specifically the eponymous clan she used to belong to, and for all the persecution she personally has suffered. ''All of that'' was [[NeverMyFault entirely her fault]], though it transpires that there actually are other Gargoyles in hiding around the world anyway. In truth, Demona [[FantasticRacism has always hated humans]], deeming them inferior and resenting how her clan was serving them (when in fact it was much more like a mutually beneficial alliance), and her poorly thought-out plan to "free" them is what got most of them killed in the first place. Her problems stem from a serious case of MoralMyopia combined with EvilCannotComprehendGood, and she can't (or rather, refuses to) fathom why her old clan keeps trying to defeat her.
* [[DesignatedHero Coop]] from ''WesternAnimation/MegasXLR'' just assumes he's always the good guy, regardless of what he actually does. This isn't out of arrogance or insanity though, mostly he's just [[ObliviouslyEvil too dumb]] to realize what the consequences of his actions are.
-->''"I'll prove I'm a [[TheHero good guy]] even if I have to [[DestructiveSaviour destroy this entire city]] and [[BloodKnight beat you to a pulp]]!"''
* In one ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' two-parter, [[TheSociopath Eric]] [[FatBastard Cartman]], in the guise of his "superhero" SecretIdentity The Coon, manipulated Cthulhu (yes, [[Creator/HPLovecraft that Cthulhu]]) into working for him and used it to kill and destroy everyone and everything he didn't like (and then got mad when Cthulhu was getting all the media credit), justifying it by saying that he was making the world a better place. When Kenny, [[spoiler:as the superhero Mysterion]], confronts him and angrily tells him that he's only making a better world for himself, Cartman simply and in all honesty just says "[[EvilCannotComprehendGood Yes, that's what heroes do]]", and didn't really get Kenny's point. He seriously thought Kenny and the other boys were only trying to stop him out of jealousy.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The ''Literature/MalleusMaleficarum'' uses such "[[InsaneTrollLogic reasoning]]" as a proof that the witches do actually fly on broomsticks and cast evil spells, rather than it happening in their imagination, as per some more reasonable claims. It goes like this: "If they didn't do those things in reality, there'd be no reasons for us to burn them. But we couldn't possibly be wrong on this accord, hence they do fly on broomsticks in reality. BurnTheWitch!"
** One such example is tying up a suspected witch and throwing her into a lake or pond. If she floats and survives, she's a witch and must be killed. If she sinks and drowns, it's sad that she died, but her soul was pure and is in heaven now.
* MyCountryRightOrWrong sometimes leads to this: acts by 'our' country and/or its friends are condoned, even encouraged, when the exact same actions done by 'them' or their allies get roundly condemned. [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement Let's not get too specific about examples]].
* UsefulNotes/RichardNixon in his famous interview with David Frost:
-->'''Frost:''' So what in a sense, you're saying is that there are certain situations... where the President can decide that it's in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal.
-->'''Nixon:''' [[ScrewTheRulesIMakeThem Well, when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal]].
-->'''Frost:''' By definition.
-->'''Nixon:''' Exactly. Exactly.
** That script ''specifically'' is more a self-assumed (by the president) case of ToBeLawfulOrGood, since ''illegal'' doesn't necessarily mean ''evil''.
** For most of history, a fundamental legal principle was that "the king can do no wrong." This lives on today as the doctrine of "sovereign immunity" - whatever a government does is legal, except to the extent that the government itself has said otherwise.
** Signing Statements are a key mechanism that permits this. Bills passed by Congress must be signed into law by the President (or have his/her veto overridden), and it's common to add a statement describing what the President considers the law to mean and how it will be implemented. Congress often passes extremely vague laws, so clarification from the executive is useful... but recent Presidents have begun to take rather ''unusual'' views of what laws mean and how they should be implemented. Like that laws don't affect members of the Executive Branch when they don't want them to. Nowadays this happens depressingly often.
* A video store customer quoted on Website/NotAlwaysRight who believed she should have her late fees waived [[http://notalwaysright.com/the-customer-is-not-always-righteous/23370 because she was "righteous"]].
* Noble Cause Corruption, often used to refer to acts of police brutality or misconduct, but also used by James Ball in the example mentioned below, is where someone views their goal as being inherently noble, so it doesn't matter that the actions taken to achieve that goal are immoral
* James Ball, one of Julian Assange's former Wikileaks collaborators, gives this as an interpretation of Assange's actions in the documentary ''We Steal Secrets'': everything that he did was for the greater good of revealing information to the world, even if it meant [[{{Hypocrite}} forcing the people he works with to sign non-disclosure agreements]], charging exorbitant sums to interview him, or encouraging his supporters to raise money to fight against his extradition to Sweden... on a charge unrelated to his Wikileaks activism (Assange maintains it's a ploy to get him extradited to face charges in the US, but the film also mentions several flaws with that theory). This sort of behavior led to Ball's disillusionment with Assange, as well as that of several other Wikileaks employees and journalist collaborators. He details his interpretations further [[http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/30/exclusive-former-wikileaks-employee-james-ball-describes-working-with-julian-assange.html here]]
** The film also mentions the hypocrisy of Assange asking for sanctuary in the embassy of Ecuador, a country known to have curtailed press freedoms, and the article details Assange's troubling relationship with a man named Israel Shamir, who himself has problematic ties to both Russian state security and the dictator of Belarus (neither respecting freedom of the press).
* Conservapedia seems to have a case of this, as well as its inverse. Anything or anyone the site's creator thinks is good will be labeled as "conservative", while anything he doesn't like will be labeled as "liberal", as if they were synonyms for good and bad.
* Martin Luther (the German Reformator, not the American civil rights activist Martin Luther King). The central statement of his theology was that one couldn't become any better of a person by doing good things and acting morally (or, as was the case in his heyday, pay money to the church). So then why does a good person do good things? A good person does those things ''because'' they are good, not the other way around. Luther himself called this the "freedom of a Christian man."