"Gotham's time has come. Like Constantinople or Rome before it, the city has become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice. It is beyond saving and must be allowed to die. This is the most important function of the League of Shadows. It is one we've performed for centuries. Gotham must be destroyed."Perhaps society A is a Crapsack World, and the idea is to either destroy it or to get people out of it. Perhaps society A is actively falling apart, and the idea is to simply let it fall apart. Whatever the case, some would claim that society A is beyond saving. This could be said by a Well-Intentioned Extremist who genuinely feels this way, it could alternatively be used by some other variety of villain as a mere rationalization, or even a form of The Plan in which perhaps the intention isn't to destroy it/let it collapse/get people out of it after all, but to simply convince people that this is the idea. Also, it could be a heroic character using this justification, though that would probably tend to evoke moral ambiguity by its very nature. Occasionally used heroically to admit that their efforts will only win a little time — a stretched out Last Stand. In any case, the EXPRESSED idea is that the society is beyond saving, whatever the REAL idea may be. Needless to say, this is a fairly popular attitude in Real Life, no matter the facts. Compare Put Them All Out of My Misery and Soiled City on a Hill.
— Ra's al Ghul, Batman Begins
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Anime and Manga
- In Cross Ange, Ange decides that the Mana world, which oppressed her and the other Normas only to demand that she defend them when everything goes pear-shaped, is not her problem. She and the other Normas (and a few formerly-Mana-using sympathizers) can go to the DRAGON world, while everyone else deals with the collapse of civilization and the loss of Mana.
- This happens in the Batman Story Arc "No Man's Land," where an earthquake hits Gotham City and the US government decides to wall it off and make it no longer part of the US instead of trying to save those in Gotham who couldn't get out in time.
- The Question: Hub City, according to Charlie, who leaves at the end of the '80s series. Myra stays on as mayor, primarily to do what she can to protect the children of the city.
- In X-Men, the Sentinels were designed to hunt down and destroy mutants. They frequently develop self-awareness and decide that the best way to destroy mutants is to eliminate anything that may potentially become a mutant. In other words, anything with a genetic structure.
- As stated by the page quotation, this is the attitude towards Gotham expressed by the League of Shadows in Batman Begins, or at least by its leaders. Batman's disagreement with it drives much of the movie's story.
Bruce: Gotham isn't beyond saving. Give me more time; there are good people here.Ducard: You're defending a city so corrupt we have infiltrated every level of its infrastructure.
- The separatists from Attack of the Clones use this rationalization in a deleted scene. Arguably a subversion, as Dooku was secretly working for Chancellor Palpatine to create a conflict that would give Palpatine more power. No matter how accurate Dooku's statement about the Republic was, his goal was to replace it with something even worse...and he and his master had exploited and exacerbated the Republic's corruption rather than trying to thwart it.
Dooku: We don't recognize the Republic here, senator, but if Naboo were to join our alliance, I could easily hear your plea.Padme: And if I don't join your rebellion?Dooku: The Republic cannot be fixed, m'lady. It is time to start over.
- Ghostbusters (1984). Egon Spengler is explaining the Back Story.
Egon: Something terrible is about to enter our world and this building is obviously the door. The architect's name was Ivo Shandor. In 1920 he started a secret society (of Gozer worshippers)... After the First World War, Shandor decided society was too sick to survive. And he wasn't alone, he had close to a thousand followers when he died. They conducted rituals on the roof. Bizarre rituals intended to bring about the end of the world, and now it looks like it may actually happen.
- By the end of Escape from L.A., Snake Plissken decides the Day of the Jackboot Crapsack World that society has become deserves to be sent back to the iron age via the global EMP satellite control which he helped to retrieve.
- In Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Totenkopf's motive in creating his World of Tomorrow (and destroying the old one in the process).
- In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve declares SHIELD as this. Considering that HYDRA infiltrated the organization at its very inception, he's right — the organization is too far gone to bother saving.
- Noah's flood and the older Greek version uses this as well. Also, Sodom and Gomorrah. God wants to destroy the whole cities because "their sin is very grievous" but Abraham tries to talk him down, bartering down to sparing the city if at least ten righteous people lived within. The criterion is not met.
- In Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry series, set in the 31st century, during the waning days of the Terran Empire, Dominic Flandry of the Imperial Naval Intelligence Corps has noted that he's just doing his best to stave off the inevitable collapse of the Empire.
- In The Dresden Files book Summer Knight The Summer Lady plans to use powerful magic to end the cycle of life and death, thus ending the pain that comes with death. Of course, in the short term this plan will kill off most everything currently living. From what little we've seen of his motivations, Cowl seems to feel this way about the White Council. He might have a point there.
- Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy. By the time Hari Seldon created the science of psychohistory it was too late to save the Galactic Empire - at that point it was so decadent that its fall was inevitable. All he could do was to try to arrange conditions so a new Empire could rise in 1,000 years instead of 30,000.
- In famous French writer Julien Gracq's book Le Rivage Des Syrtes, in the end, the highest ranked government officials, depressed by the decadent and apathetic country of Orsenna they live in, decide not to prevent the on-going war with the military highly superior country of Farghestan (a war that would certainly lead to utter defeat and destruction), just so they can put an end to Orsenna as they know it.
- In Atlas Shrugged, John Galt and his followers feel this way about America. He is headhunting as many talented and intelligent people as possible with the intention of convincing them to not to join an enterprise, but rather a "strike" where skilled workers withdraw their skills from the market and engage only in unskilled labour. The intent is to destabilise the economy and government and for Galt and his followers to eventually fill the power vacuum and remake society in line with their ideals. Opinions are divided as to the morality of his plan.
- In H. Beam Piper's The Cosmic Computer, the existence of the titular supercomputer was covered up because it had predicted that the Terran Federation was inexorably declining, and that the decline would accelerate into a rapid collapse if the prediction became generally known.
Live Action TV
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- In the episode "Our Man Bashir", Dr. Julian Bashir was playing a James Bond expy in a holo-deck program, which became unpleasantly real when the DS9 crew were caught in a freak transporter accident and became characters in his program. Captain Sisko took on the role of the main villain, Hippocrates Noah, who planned to wipe out most of humanity except for a small enclave in his secret base on the summit of Mount Everest, claiming that humanity had grown too corrupt to continue existing.
- By the seventh season, the Klingon Empire has had more than its share of corrupt and insane leaders, in spite of the stated Klingon beliefs regarding honor and courage. Ezri Dax's solution is to let the Klingon Empire, as it is then, die off instead of trying to fix things from within, reasoning that the Empire's governing system would just create more corruption in time anyway. This is a strong contrast to the previous Dax, Jadzia, who had a very romantic view of Klingon culture.
- Warehouse 13: This is H.G. Wells's opinion on humanity and her motive for trying to bring about a new ice age using an artifact known as “the world’s first weapon of mass destruction.” H.G. was brought out of a hundred year stasis encased in bronze, which she had asked to be placed in due to her becoming mad with grief and hate following her daughter’s murder. H.G. had hoped to wake up in a better world but soon comes to the conclusion that things have only gotten worse and declares the only way to save the world is by “destroying the parasites eating it alive.”
- In Arrow, part of the reason why Malcolm Merlyn wants to level the Glades and kill everyone in it was that his organization, Tempest, had tried and failed many times to gentrify the area, which came to a head when Merlyn's wife was murdered in the Glades. As a result, Merlyn is opposed to every current effort to improve the Glades in favor of just destroying the place with earthquake machines.
- The Season Four Big Bad Damien Darhk believes that Star City itself is beyond saving, and he's actually amused that people are still trying to save it. It ultimately turns out that Darhk and his allies in HIVE feel this way about the whole planet, and plan on nuking it so that they and the select survivors they've gathered can rebuild a better world afterwards; when Merlyn finds out about this, he's quick to hop aboard.
- Amy's Baking Company in Kitchen Nightmares was declared unsalvageable by Gordon Ramsay by the beginning of the second day: When the co-owners realized Gordon would not be playing into their power fantasies by singing praise of their food, they stonewalled everything Gordon tried to do to improve the restaurant with Amy's temper escalating the more Gordon attempted. On the second day's morning, it became clear they had no concern for labor laws and safety regulations and that Amy refused to allow Gordon to speak for more than five seconds before ranting at him, so Gordon up and walked right out.
- In Restaurant Stakeout, The Red Room's workplace environment was one of total freedom due to an owner who assumed a restaurant would run itself. What resulted was everybody treating the place like a second home, serving patrons only if they felt like it, and a chef who openly told his customers he wanted to quit. The staff got so comfortable at work that, unlike all other staffs Willie Degel intervened with before, they verbally attacked Willie every time he tried to propose something or call attention to something—the more Willie yelled at them, the harder they yelled back. Willie eventually walked out, for the first (and so far only) time in the series, when he realized the crew would never accept any workplace changes and that they displayed not an ounce of fear of him or anybody else. The owner soon felt the same way too and fired the entire staff.
- This is the position the Craftworld Eldar held about the collapsing eldar empire in Warhammer 40,000 right before the fall of the eldar. They promptly decided to leave their homeplanets, leaving the debauched majority of their kind behind. Soon after leaving, the fall occured, which literally squicked Slaanesh into existence, claiming the majority of the eldar empire with it. The few eldar who remained who survived did so only by taking shelter in the webway, where they became the Dark Eldar while the ones who escaped on the craftworlds barely managed to escape in time to survive the whole ordeal.
- The Imperium has had this attitude towards many, many cultures. The typical response involves killing them. To the last man, if possible. With orbital strikes. When the Imperium thinks a culture is too corrupt to save, it does not mess around.
- Some sources claim that Nurgle is a firm believer in this principle, and his ultimate goal is to wipe the entire slate clean.
- By its very definition, the Cut List is a tool to doom articles beyond saving.
- Lucian, the villain of Fable II, plans to use The Spire to wipe most of the world out and start fresh, creating a world where death and despair won't exist.
- Half-Life: After 2 days of fighting, the US Military, after heavy losses, decide to pull back and commence air strikes. Once they're finished retreating, they send special forces to detonate a thermonuclear warhead at the center of the base.
- America at large in the mind of the self-proclaimed prophet Zachary Comstock in BioShock Infinite, so much that he's grooming his successor, his daughter Elizabeth, to carry out his "prophecy" that "the seed of the Prophet shall sit the throne and drown in flame the mountains of man". In a future timeline that Booker DeWitt enters into to save Elizabeth when she is taken to Comstock House, he sees an elderly version of her already fulfilling this "prophecy" in 1984 with an attack upon New York City.
- There's a definite possibility to write all of Creation, the entire Multiverse, as this, in the Shin Megami Tensei series. Lucifer attempts to convince you to destroy the entire process of creation and reconstruction in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, and the White in Shin Megami Tensei IV try to invoke this to convince you to reduce all that exists to Nothing. Most often, though, any faction will invoke this against their enemies to convince you the world as is is broken, and that by joining up with them, you can get it back on its feet again. Think about the price of doing so for any given allegiance, though.
- Strange Journey gives us the Schwarzwald itself, which is reality declaring this of human civilization.
- This is Lysandre's motivation in Pokémon X and Y - he's convinced that the world will only become more and more corrupt due to terrible people and soon there will be not enough resources to go around, so the only way to save at least some people is to torch the earth and most of the population with it.
- The reason that Neku was brought into the Reaper's Game in The World Ends with You was that the Composer considered Shibuya beyond saving, but agreed to one last game against his Conductor to decide whether he would destroy it or not. He ultimately wins the game, but decides it's worth keeping around after all.
- This is the mantra of the primary antagonists, Munna and her gang, in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity. To them, having the Bittercold completely destroy the world is a better alternative than trying to fight for a better future.
- At the beginning of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Hope explains that the chaos has devoured too much for there to be any possibility of saving the world. The only thing Lightning can do is try to save as many souls as she can to be brought to the next world.
- The Onion has a video where an FDA commissioner gives up on Americans as a whole.
- In the season finale for season 3 of ReBoot, the city of Mainframe has been trashed so heavily by MegaByte's rule that even Bob finds it hopeless to actually save the city. His solution is to intentionally lose a Game, corrupting the system past the brink and causing a total systems failure, gambling that the User reboots the system from backup, restoring things to the way they were, instead of reformatting, which would annihilate everything completely. It works.
- By the time of Justice League, Superman seems to have this idea about Apokalips. Darkseid kidnapping him and brainwashing him into a leader of Darkseid's armies has a lot to do with it, but seeing Darkseid's subjects rally to help their God Emperor after Superman defeated him and declared the Apokaliptians free probably didn't help.