->''"In my stories superior beings - truly superior beings - can do things that if a lesser being, like a human, were to do, it would indeed be evil."''
-->-- '''Jennifer Diane Reitz (Chatoyance)''' on ''Fanfic/TheConversionBureau''

Out in the reaches of space, an alien race exists that has developed far beyond any human civilization. Said aliens will believe they are justified in killing or enslaving humans due to their higher intelligence. They don't necessarily hate humans, they just believe that [[PunyEarthlings humans]] are so [[InsignificantLittleBluePlanet insignificant]] as to be unworthy of moral consideration. Bonus points if they draw parallels between the way they treat humans and the way humans treat other animals.

The purpose of this trope is often to question the attitudes that justify the exploitation of animals, the environment, and/or other cultures. Works that use this trope ask the question, "[[PersecutionFlip What if there was someone who treated you the way you treat those you have power over?]]" In particular, this trope often draws inspiration from the white supremacist attitudes that were used to justify slavery, the actions of European colonial empires, and America's [[UsefulNotes/ManifestDestiny westward expansion]], to say nothing of [[UsefulNotes/NaziGermany the Nazis]].

Not every alien species that victimizes humans fits this trope. As a guideline, please note that this trope applies if either:

* A character in the work articulates this trope, such as the aliens explicitly stating that their superiority frees them from moral considerations; or
* It is shown that the aliens [[MoralMyopia behave in a more honorable manner towards those whom they believe to be their equals or superiors.]] A race that treats everyone badly when they can get away with it may be simply evil.

Overlaps heavily with SocialDarwinist, type three. Contrast AlienNonInterferenceClause and BenevolentAlienInvasion. See also CantArgueWithElves. When these attitudes are applied to fellow members of one's species, then you're looking at a self-styled MasterRace. It can be argued that ''any'' species that practices this trope is probably '''not''' actually a SuperiorSpecies, but stories that use it heroically/unironically [[FridgeLogic never seem to touch upon this argument]].



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Anime/WickedCity'', Makie's ex-lover Jin tries to make her admit this by saying, "Human are lower-class creatures than us. They're only fit for slavery. ''That's'' their heritage."
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica''[==]'s [[CuteIsEvil Kyubey]] plays with this trope. He turned vulnerable teenage girls into magical girls in order to fight witches, but doesn't tell them that [[spoiler:he does so by essentially turning them into [[OurLichesAreDifferent Liches]]]]. Then the girls find out that if they don't keep their [[TransformationTrinket Soul Gem]] pure, they [[spoiler:become witches too]], and it ''then'' it turns out he's doing all this to [[spoiler:collect energy to fight the Heat Death of the universe]]. He justifies it by wanting to [[spoiler:prevent said heat death, and by the fact that his kind has been assisting humanity since the stone age]]. All this while subtly implying that his race regards humanity the way [[spoiler:humanity regards cattle]]. However, Kyubey doesn't have emotions, so he doesn't do this because he thinks he is superior to humanity (or at least that's not the most important reason). He does it because they need to [[spoiler:prevent the universe from dying, and this is the most efficient way he's found to do it.]]

* The comic book version of ''ComicBook/CowboysAndAliens'' gives the aliens this viewpoint (pretty much explicitly stated to be a metaphor for Manifest Destiny and the treatment of Native Americans).

* The TropeCodifier is Chatoyance and her TheConversionBureau stories, where she gives this excuse to justify the genocide of all humans (by [[BalefulPolymorph ponification]]). She [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/27678/ten-minutes-aftermath#comment/671772 firmly believes]] [[http://imgur.com/a/Aq2n7 (screenshotted)]] that a superior species justifiably can do things that would be considered evil if a "lesser" species (namely, humans) were to do them.
* The Lunarians in ''[[FanFic/IcedFairysANewWorld A New World]]'' use this excuse to justify their annihilation of humanity via faking a colossal nuclear exchange and letting them kill themselves by the billions with their own nukes. The universal answer to this act is [[ScrewYouElves "Screw You]], SpaceElves!"

* The film ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' runs on this trope, though it's a rare case of ''humans'' being the superior species while the "primitive" Na'vi have to deal with mankind strip-mining their planet.
* Similar to the ''Film/{{Avatar}}'' example, there's the animation ''WesternAnimation/BattleForTerra'', where the human race stages an invasion of an alien planet. They justify this by the right of their superior technology, their view that the aliens aren't sapient, and that Earth was destroyed and they need to repopulate the species somewhere.
* Megatron (and probably the other Decepticons) in ''Film/{{Transformers}}'', who says that "Humans don't deserve to live."

* ''Literature/TheWarOfTheWorlds'' by H.G. Wells. Unusual in that this is articulated by the human narrator at the beginning of the book. After reflecting on how much more advanced and intelligent the Martians are, he concludes:
-->And before we judge them too harshly, we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?
* In ''Auf zwei Planeten'' ("On Two Planets") by [[Creator/KurdLasswitz Kurd Laßwitz]], which was published a year earlier, a deep split evolves in Martian politics over the question of how to treat the Bate (the inhabitants of the planet Ba, or Earth). The faction led by Oß (known in-story as the Antibat party), which for a time gains the ascendanscy, is convinced that the Bate are basically incapable of what the Nume (Martians) consider rational thought and civilized behaviour and that therefore they are perfectly justified to rule and economically exploit them. When a rebellion on Earth throws off the Martian "protectorate", Oß seriously thinks of methods to retaliate by stopping the rotation of the Earth and introducing the Martian disease Gragra; but when these morally abhorrent genocidal plans become known to the Martian public he is resoundingly defeated in the crucial election and a peace treaty between the two planets is concluded.
* In ''Priest Kings of Literature/{{Gor}}'', Sarm justifies the Priest-King practice of [[FantasyGunControl smiting humans who experiment with firearm technology]] by claiming that Priest-Kings are superior to humans in the same way that humans are superior to the animals they kill for food.
* Harry Turtledove's ''Literature/{{Worldwar}}'' series. The reptilian Race considers themselves eminently justified in conquering Earth and making humanity a subject race because of what they view as their incomparably superior culture and technology, even though said technology turns out to be not quite ''that'' advanced over humankind's. Indeed, one of the "Lizard" characters pretty much lampshades this during a conversation with a human character, when the human points out all the rights and liberties that his people yearns for and the Lizard claims, in all seriousness, that humans would enjoy those freedoms under the rule of the Race.
** They also find the Nazi arguments for the latter's claims of being the Master Race lacking. Then again, they don't even try to explain why they think their culture is better. Any time someone asks, they simply say "The answer should be obvious". Many times they express their outrage that humans have a level of technology close to theirs. They have no ''right'' to have technology like this by all rules (of course, by their rules, even a small technological change should take centuries of careful integration into society in order not to upset the status quo).
* The Strong Races are this to the Weak ones in ''Literature/TheStarsAreColdToys'' duology. The galactic rules are like this: if your race is powerful enough to wipe out any other race except fellow Strong ones, you can do whatever you please. If it isn't, you better possess some unique talent useful to the Strong races, or be wiped out by them to make space for new strains of evolution.
* ''Literature/OutOfTheDark'' by Creator/DavidWeber, is about a race of aliens who usually do this successfully but get way more than they bargained for with humanity.
* In just about any story featuring vampires, the vampires consider themselves to be on top of the food chain, and consider humans their prey.
* In Creator/DarrenShan's vampire books, the Vampires avert this but the Vampaneze play it straight.
* The dragons from Robin Hobb's ''Literature/RealmOfTheElderlings'' are like this. Even after a long absence and teetering on the brink of extinction, they fully expect humanity to serve them.
* Creator/RobertWestall's ''Literature/UrnBurial'': Stated almost word for word by the Wawaka as the reasoning behind their disdain for and lack of concern over, humans. When Ralph accuses them of torturing humans, they respond that humans treat animals in exactly the same way.
* ''Literature/TheDeathGateCycle'': The Sartan and Patryns each believe that they are the superior species and the only one fit to rule the lesser races of humans, elves and dwarves. The lesser races are viewed as children to be protected by the Sartan and subjects to be ruled by the Patryns and pawns to be sacrificed by both. Inverted in one realm where the lesser races have achieved peace amongst each other and offer to mediate the conflict between the Sartan and the Patryns.
* ''Franchise/StarTrek'' novels:
** In ''Literature/StarTrekMillennium'', Leej Terrell considers the Bajorans little more than cattle, and refuses to accept that Cardassia was doing anything wrong in enslaving them. Indeed, she tells Sisko that humanity's biggest problem is its refusal to distinguish "truly sapient" races like the Vulcans from "stock" like the Bajorans.
*** Dukat made a similar argument in ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', though he wasn't quite so brutal in his description of the Bajorans.
** The Shedai in ''Literature/StarTrekVanguard'' believe they rule other species by right and generally have no issue with slaughtering those who resist them. Indeed, the Shedai word for peoples outside their hegemony often doubles as a synonym for "base criminals" or "uncivilized beings". Even the Apostate, who believes in benevolent rule and rejects the idea of conquest, seems to think the Shedai are natural leaders, above all other species.
** In the ''Literature/StarTrekDeepSpaceNineRelaunch'', the [[PuppeteerParasite Kurlans]] are completely unapologetic about their infestation of humanoid beings, insisting that humanoids are simply "meat". Whenever someone tries to reason with one of their number, it responds only with sneering contempt, mockingly explaining that humanoids "think with their glands" and know nothing of true intelligence.
** The superhumans from ''Literature/StarTrekTheEugenicsWars'' believe that they're inherently superior to the rest of humanity and that it's their natural place as rulers. They're not above [[spoiler: gassing a UN meeting to strike at a single person]], for example, because the others are only human.
* On the rare occasion that the Literature/{{Animorphs}} directly interact with [[PuppeteerParasite yeerk controllers]], the yeerks almost always pull out this argument. As far as they're concerned, all other species are to yeerks as cattle are to humans, so yeerks are fully justified in enslaving, {{Mind Rap|e}}ing, and killing human, hork-bajir, andalites, and so on. Of course, the yeerks the Animorphs can interact with are the ones who think this -- the ones who don't agree don't leave the yeerk pools in the first place, except a few who only changed their minds later.
* In Creator/WilliamRForstchen's ''Literature/TheLostRegiment'' series, the 9-foot-tall HumanAliens roaming the planet Valennia have no other word for humans than "cattle". Their people are the "chosen ones", while humans are there to serve them and fill their cookpots. Even horses (brought from Earth thousands of years ago and bred to carry the huge aliens) have a higher status than "cattle", since they enable their nomadic lifestyle. Other animals like pigs and cows are considered to be "lesser cattle", but the preferred meat of choice is "cattleflesh" (i.e. human meat). The aliens impose a MedievalStasis on the various human cultures that come over periodically through the [[LostTechnology Tunnels]] of [[TeleportersAndTransporters Light]] and have themselves maintained their level of technology for thousands of years, maintaining their way of life. Any new weapons that show up with newly-arrived humans are quickly destroyed or buried (last time, they tangled with some pirates and many Tugar warriors were lost to firearms before the pirates were killed).
** They themselves were once on the receiving end of such treatment by a race of technologically-advanced StarfishAliens, who had ended up on their planet via the same means as humans. They were conquered and treated as slaves, until they turned their masters against one another and slaughtered the survivors despite the heavy losses. They then took their advanced technology and threw it into the sea.
* The title character in ''Literature/OddJohn'' believes that mutants like himself are justified in doing whatever they feel like to humans, no matter how cruel, because they're smarter than humans. Disturbingly, the author seems to agree.
* The First-Born in ''[[Literature/JohnCarterOfMars The Gods of Mars]]'' regularly assaults the Thern gardens, taking their women as slaves and only the women to serve as chattel and food, invoking the right of being the very first race in Barsoom to achieve sentience to exploit the lesser races of Barsoom as they see fit. The Therns themselves qualify since they consider themselves closer to the primary deity of the planet and use it to enslave every other race on Mars. [[MoralMyopia The fact that they are guilty of the same crimes that they are in the receiving end by someone else is lost on them]].
* The Cetagandans of the ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'' constantly flirt with this trope both in their internal and external politics. The ''haut'' ruling caste are engaged in a centuries-long genetic experiment in what they consider the uplifting of the human species into something greater. The main point of internal debate on the matter is whether they've reached "superior species" status ''yet'' - as opposed to merely being a MasterRace - and much of the rest of galactic society is worrying about the day the Cetagandans decide they've transcended humanity and don't need the rest of the species anymore. Especially since the Cetas have tailor-made diseases that can literally melt bones.
* In the ''Literature/{{Dragaera}}'' series, this attitude crops up among powerful [[OurElvesAreBetter Dragaerans]] as regards humans, at least when they bother to really think about humans at all. The Dragaerans can make a case for it, as they live for millennia, are taller, stronger, and more magically gifted than humans, and have a variety of other advantages. Whenever the question comes up whether the Dragaeran Empire should invade its human neighbors, the argument against invasion is usually more "Is the army ready for it? No? How inconvenient. Bored now, let's do something else." And yet above the Dragaerans are the Jenoine, alien beings of fantastic power and BlueAndOrangeMorality who created the Dragaerans from human stock as an experiment, and mostly just want to get the lab rats back in their cages.

* In the ''Series/StargateSG1'' episode 'Pretense', a Goa'uld justifies the taking of human hosts by claiming superiority to humanity and comparing the practice to the hunting and fishing practiced by humans. When Daniel Jackson points out that nearly all Goa'uld technology has been stolen from other races, the Goa'uld merely shrugs and says it doesn't matter how it was acquired. The Goa'uld have the technology; the humans don't. It's as simple as that. What's better is that both sides are trying to convince a third party represented by a Nox, a race of [[PerfectPacifistPeople perfect pacifists]] that already considers itself to be superior to both humans and Goa'uld.
* The aliens in ''Series/{{V 1983}}'' don't really think of themselves as a superior race, but consider the humans they covertly conquered as a resource to be consumed. At one point, the original miniseries has aliens offhandedly discussing how it was inadvisable to sedate human captives before butchering them because the drug alters the taste of the flesh.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' adventure ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoS22E3TheMarkOfTheRani The Mark of the Rani]]'', the Rani compares the exploitation of lesser species with stepping on ants.
* In the RPGEpisode of ''Series/{{Community}}'', Britta tries to tell a Gnome waiter that he's just as good as they are. Abed (as dungeon-master) replies that according to the game rules, no, he's actually not, and the gang are justified in treating him however they want because of this trope.
* The Gua in ''Series/FirstWave'' view themselves as superior to humans because of the ease with which they are able to infiltrate and manipulate the human society. They kill without remorse and are determined to, eventually, take Earth for themselves. One episode features a Gua surgeon who explain to [[TheChosenOne Cade]] that he views his experiments on humans in the same light as humans experimenting on rats. The Gua believe they are superior because they have managed to throw off an invasion of their own planet by a hostile race and transformed from a race of peaceful philosophers into conquerors (they have already taken at least one other world). The name "Gua" literally means "power to overcome". Some of their experiments are aimed at determining if humans possess this quality and are disturbed to learn that one in 117 humans do.
** One female Gua even boasts how easily it is for their infiltrators to "sleep [their] way to the top". In another episode, a Gua cult leader reveals that Gua mating is painful and not at all pleasurable. Since all Gua on Earth inhabit human/Gua hybrids (called husks), they find human sex pleasurable and lack any sexual taboos present in most human cultures (likely another reason for the Gua to feel superior).
** [[DefectorFromDecadence Joshua]]'s opposition to his people's planned invasion of Earth primarily stems from the expected losses that will be sustained by the Gua during the invasion and the subsequent guerrilla warfare (assuming the Gua even get past the invasion stage). After all, if 1 out of every 117 humans has Cade's [[TheDeterminator determination]], then that means that there are about ''60 million people'' on Earth who will actively resist.
* The Observers from ''Series/{{Fringe}}'' see their [[spoiler:takeover of humanity]] as justified by their superior technology and intelligence. Windmark even thinks of humans as animals.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' John is split into three forms - his regular self, a caveman-like version, and a possibility of what humans could evolve into thousands of years into the future. When they find out they need to sacrifice a Crichton, many of the crew including regular John are quite prepared to sacrifice the primitive one. When that doesn't work, the advanced one reveals he views regular John as just as disposable.
* Both the Vorlons and the Shadows in ''BabylonFive'' see themselves as superior beings tasked with shaping the lesser races. If that means torturing people, provoking wars or all-out genocide, that's a minor issue.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''. This is Q's go-to argument for being a JerkassGod to Humanity in general and the crew of Enterprise in particular. This has led to more than one PatrickStewartSpeech in response.

* In ''TabletopGame/EmpireOfThePetalThrone'', humans are the ones who did this when they invaded planet Tekumel. The native species (Ssu and Hluss) were clearly sapient and living together in peace, and had about the kind of technology that we have now in RealLife. Humans had developed far a more advanced starfaring civilization, so "obviously" the Tekumelani species were inferior. Humans had no problem allying peacefully with other advanced starfaring species, but they terraformed the hell out of Tekumel, rearranged its orbit and even gravity, and tried their best to genocide the "primitive" natives. [[HumansAreBastards It's even noted that most other starfaring races wouldn't have invaded at all.]]
* The Eldar in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' have this attitude. They are ancient, wise and (most importantly) a DyingRace. Humanity is young and stupid and there are already a lot of them around (humanity may also count as a DyingRace, but if they are they're dying a ''lot'' slower). Therefore, the Eldar feel completely justified in scouring a human planet clean of life (or changing the present so that this will happen to humanity in the future) to save a single Eldar life. The Dark Eldar do this to extremes, though the fact that they think nothing of doing it to themselves if they can means they probably go out the other end into AlwaysChaoticEvil.
-->'''Gideon:''' The torture, the terror, the raiding, the killing, maiming, stealing. Everything. ''Why?''
-->'''Asdrubael Vect:''' Why should I not? You are of no consequence. If you had not been captured by my servants and did not fall foul of some illness or mishap, you would still die within another twenty of your planet's short years. Why should I not use such a pointless creature for my amusement and sustenance? You are prey-species, nothing more.
** The Eldar do have some semblance of an excuse- they were once a great empire who became the victims of AndManGrewProud when they fell into such decadence and depravity that they ended up creating a new [[GodOfEvil Chaos God, Slaanesh]]. Because of this, every last Eldar soul is damned to eternal torment at the hands of Slaanesh after they die, so they will do anything to prevent the death of an Eldar. Indeed, Slaanesh's birth outright killed most of the empire- the current Eldar are the ones who [[OnlySaneMan saw what was happening]] and [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere got the heck out]].
*** Also, [[HumansAreBastards it's not like the Imperium wouldn't do the same thing to them if given a chance]].
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' has had several species that like to pull this out:
** The [[{{Cthulhumanoid}} illithids]] ''need'' to eat brains to survive, and so consider every other horror they inflict upon the cattle they enslave to be barely worth considering. For bonus trope points, the illithids have been depicted as originally coming from the D&D universe equivalent of deep space (or even beyond space and time) to enforce their will upon their conquered slaves.
** The githyanki, who were once enslaved by the illithids, have learned that you're either a Superior Species or an Inferior Species just waiting to be stepped on. They were once humans, changed by the illithids to make stronger servants, but then threw off their masters' rule. The githyanki then turned around and began their own empire on the right of their strength as the ones who threw down the illithids, but were stopped by internal dissent from a faction who split off to become the githzerai. The 'yanki do show at least a modicum of respect toward anyone else strong enough to avoid getting stepped on, but they still aren't too fond of outsiders even so.
** The 3rd Edition ''Fiend Folio'' introduced the [[HumanoidAbomination ethergaunts]] who came from the depths of the Ethereal Plane with strange and advanced technologies, ready to reclaim an ancient empire from before their self-imposed exile. Little is known of them except they hate divine magic and the gods, have a rigid caste system, and consider all other races inferior and subject to their whims.

* In ''VideoGame/BatenKaitos'' this thought is enforced by the government schools of Alfard ("TheEmpire of the flame"). Lyude, the one heroic character from the country, is revealed to have been homeschooled by a nanny.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy'':
** The fal'Cie from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' are all over this trope like flies over jam. At one point, Lightning realizes that to them, humans are nothing but pets whom they keep for amusement and some housekeeping chores they don't care to do themselves. [[spoiler:It is eventually revealed that humans and fal'Cie are related species in the sense that both were created by the same creator deity. Fal'Cie were made infinitely stronger but without the capacity for free will, so when the creator has left the building, things went south for the humans as the fal'Cie hijacked that free will to turn them into weapons.]]
** The Occuria to a lesser extent in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII''. They aren't ''evil'' persay, but they like to give the equivalent of a nuke to someone every few centuries to let them cause enough destruction to wipe the world's slate clean. Why they do it is never 100% explained, but they seem to think that without empires and controlling forces to rule over humanity, we'll destroy ourselves, or worse them, in no time. Their justification being that the last race they were in control of (The Espers), all but one of them rose up against the Occuria, and the last was so powerful that they sealed it away out of fear.
* Baron Alexander from ''VideoGame/AmnesiaTheDarkDescent'' justifies the meticulous, brutal torture of thousands of human beings, optimized for maximum terror and pain, with the fact that [[spoiler:he's an immortal being from another dimension, and torture of sapient beings is the only way to gather ''vitae'' that allows him to work towards getting back home.]] To his dubious credit, there isn't a hint of sadism in his actions; all the torment is carefully calculated and purpose driven without any kind of emotional dimension. However, at one point when examining one of his memory things [[spoiler: he admits that he's a monster who's done unforgivable things, but he just wants to get home too badly to stop.]]
* Part of the game mechanics in ''VideoGame/{{Stellaris}}'', interstellar empires cannot engage in normal diplomatic relations with pre-FTL species. They can just research them like animals, uplift them as a protectorate, or simply [[AlienInvasion invade]]. And fighting other empires requires a formal declaration of war, you can bombard or invade a pre-FTL planet at any time.

* The High Breed in the ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'' verse breathe this trope.
* The Marcabians in ''WesternAnimation/BlakeAndMortimer'', they see all other species as inferior and treat them like vermin, including humans.

* Humans have this trope with our treatment of animals. [[PlayingWithATrope Played with]] in that as far as we can tell, most animals genuinely ''aren't'' sapient.
** Not just animals. Human civilizations have done this to each other as well. [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgement That is all we will say on the matter]].