Utopia Justifies the Means
"I'll give you that. Killing off five billion people did
wonders for most of our social problems."
The first and least despicable trope in the unholy trinity of villainous objectives, Utopia Justifies the Means is where the goal of the Big Bad
is the creation of a Utopia
in the long run, a better world for everyone as a whole (or at least "better" in the villain's eyes), no matter what the cost.
It's a place built out of dreams and starlight; the name "Utopia
" is a somewhat poignant pun by its author, blending the Greek words for Good Place (eutopia) and "No Place" (outopia), and despite (or perhaps because of) its unattainable nature, it has endured in myth and dreams since. While dreaming about what it would be like is harmless (like how topless glamour model volleyball
would be the national sport, bureaucrats would work recycling paper
, there's No Poverty
and ice cream is just as delicious with none of the calories
...mmmm...), it's just a dream based on nothing more solid than wishful thinking.
For the Fallen Hero
, Knight Templar
, Dark Messiah
, Totalitarian Utilitarian
, Well-Intentioned Extremist
, and other visionary villains
, however, that's not the case. Obsession with the idea of Utopia
will convince them that it is
possible, and almost guarantees a Face-Heel Turn
as they become willing to do anything
to obtain their Ambition
They will plan to Take Over the World
, use the heart of an orphan
or an Artifact of Doom
, steal the Cosmic Keystone
, commit mass brainwashing
, sell himself to higher powers
or unleash the Apocalypse
so that they can destroy all resistance and usher in their own
ideals for Utopia. They will operate under the assumption that this wonderful new world has them at the top, free to exert a benevolent
or iron-fisted regime as they will. Using logic that would make Machiavelli blush, they reason that every sacrifice and atrocity is worth The Greater Good, putting the Well Intentioned
in Well-Intentioned Extremist
A great deal of drama can be derived from this — are they willing to kill a friend
for it? Will they put their vision
where their mouths are and kill themselves
if need be, or is there a line
even they will never cross?
Will they even admit that some of the things they do are Dirty Business
? Some are able to inspire incredible devotion
in their followers precisely because their vision and conviction includes that they know they won't live to see the paradise they plan to bring about
, or don't deserve to
. One final terrible sucker punch is for their vision to be revealed as a Tragic Dream
— even if it went off without a hitch, the resulting world is worse off, not better.
When it comes to different kinds of extremists, a Totalitarian Utilitarian
is far more likely to think this way, while a Principles Zealot
is more likely to believe that Utopia Justifies Nothing.
Heroes and the audience will be faced with the philosophical conundrum that maybe The Extremist Was Right
and the world is in truth a Crapsack World
that needs a total renovation like what the villain says, but is the renovation worth sacrificing billions? In more morally ambiguous situations, the "means" might not be catastrophically destructive, all it takes is a "small", inconsequential sacrifice
when The Needs of the Many
outweigh the needs of the few. Say, selling forsaken little girls to alien slavers in exchange for technological advancements for mankind as a whole, or the daily ritual slaughter of criminals to appease the gods and ensure prosperity, or the ever popular The Singularity Lotus-Eater Machine Assimilation Plot
where suffering does not exist. If his ideals guarantee the happiness, survival, civilization and/or progress of the human race, isn't it worth it? The Heroes may decide that total demolition is not the answer, and it's better to make the most out of what you have while allowing humanity to decide for itself.
Often utilizes some form of Aesoptinum
, generally with the message "Peace and harmony isn't worth getting rid of The Evils of Free Will
Curiously, the first example of a Utopia in recorded literature — Plato
's The Republic
— is an example of this trope (possibly) played absolutely straight and not
as means for the opposite Aesop
. Plato argues that the establishment and survival of the perfect state requires autocratic rule by philosopher-kings
bred from a system of eugenics
and there should be a "noble lie
" that the citizens must be taught to induce them to love the state unconditionally.
Contrast Dystopia Justifies the Means
, when the villain actively seeks to create a Crapsack World
. See also Despotism Justifies the Means
, where they will create or maintain either simply to remain in power.
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- Kaede Kunikida, Momiji's twin sister, from Blue Seed. Okay, returning the Japan to its natural -- green and unpolluted -- state sounds like a good idea. Getting rid of wars and hatred is even better. The way to achieve these goals? Turning people into plants. Thankfully, Momiji manages to convince Kaede that hope still exists in this world, and that it's something worth sacrificing one's life for.
- In a World where protagonists and antagonists alike are well intentioned, and the stakes are national or global-scale, Code Geass is all about this trope. Ultimately, each sought a noble cause and decided that it was worth the lives and deaths of many.
- First and foremost: the lying, backstabbing, mass murdering, terrorist bastard himself: Lelouch vi Britannia, the protagonist and "hero" of our story. His ultimate aim (at first) is to create a 'kinder world' for his little sister by toppling the Social Darwinistic Britannian Empire that wages wars for conquest as a matter of course.
- Second: Lelouch's best friend and primary antagonist, Suzaku Kururugi, who — in his quest to change the despotic and discriminatory Britannian Empire from within — earns the affectionate nicknames White Grim Reaper and 'The Knight of Betrayal', and also the title 'Kishin' for killing a lot of people as he helps his bosses Take Over the World on the side.
- Third, fourth and fifth: Emperor Charles, V.V., and Marianne turn out to have been working toward an Assimilation Plot, which is this trope all by itself, though there is so much more besides to justify...
- Sixth: Prince Schneizel el Britannia, who planned to bring about world peace by first thinning out the population on a global scale and nuking anyone who misbehaves.
- Seventh: Nunnally vi Britannia, who decided to save the world from tyrants and nuclear annihilation while bringing about world peace at the same time. We're not told much before Lelouch takes the matter out of her hands, but the plan was to provide a focus for the world's hatred that even sworn enemies would unite against. The focus in question was an Ominous Floating Castle full of nukes.
- Light Yagami, aka "Kira", in Death Note, who wants to create a world without crime or sin, with him as its god. Notable in that he's actually the main character.
- Except when it becomes clear that Light is becoming more and more and more unhinged. From murdering his 'girlfriend' in the worst way possible, to planning on killing people for being lazy, it becomes clear that he's, just as L's replacement Near said, a Crazy Serial Killer.
- You could make a drinking game out of how many times Lucemon from Digimon Frontier states that he wishes to create a utopia through the destruction of both the digital and the real worlds.
- Yggdrasil does that, too.
- Director Kakuzawa from Elfen Lied wants to destroy the human race and produce more Diclonii using Lucy, the only fertile female Diclonus, to replace them. He doesn't want to do this for any moral reason, though, but only so that in 100 or 200 years, he can be worshiped as the god of the new species.
- Ergo Proxy: in the beginning, it's the oppression of the AutoReivs, Vincent, and the people who live outside the dome. In the end, it's The Proxy Project: The Creators' plan to have the Proxies clean up Earth's atmosphere, kill the "humans" left on Earth, and destroy the domes, while they die in Earth's cleaned up atmosphere so The Creators can have a healthy Earth all to themselves.
- Raoh in Fist of the North Star goes by this trope, so much so that he and Kenshiro stop fighting when it looks like both of them will die, acknowledging that the world is better off if either of them live than both of them die. This doesn't stop them from fighting to the death later, though.
- Raoh is a special case though, as he is actually kinda liked by the people for the fact that he conquers, but doesn't destroy. The fact that he actually loves and protects subjects loyal to him like a father would his children really helps.
- Shin outright states that he plans to achieve utopia through slave labor and murderous henchmen.
- The Z-Master from GaoGaiGar wanted to save people from the despair and sadness of reality by mechanizing the universe, eliminating negative emotion (and every other emotion at the same time).
- The Ultimate Gundam from Mobile Fighter G Gundam wanted to kill all of humanity. It's ultimate goal? Fixing the damage caused to the Earth by all the Gundam Fights, which, incidentally, was caused by humans.
- Also, in Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, Gilbert Durandal's plan was to create a society completely ruled by genetic determinism, where everyone would be forced to the endeavors for which he/she was genetically apt at. And if someone has to be sacrificed and some countries have to be destroyed with a Wave Motion Gun...well, it's sad but necessary to create a world without war and without pain. Fan opinions remain divided on whether he was in the right or not.
- The Chairman's Dragon, Rey Za Burrel, has this same mindset, and follows the Chairman because he believes that he will usher in the utopia. In the end, Rey has second thoughts about this after Kira convinces him that he is his own man and not just a clone. Rey chooses Kira's hope for a future with freedom over the Destiny Plan and guns down Durandal to save Kira.
- Genetic determinism in a world where a good chunk of the population are genetically-enhanced humans really means that the Coordinators are genetically-inclined towards having the good jobs (i.e. those requiring advanced skills/reflexes/intelligence like mobile suit pilots or technicians) and normal humans are more genetically-inclined to manual labor. Some utopia.
- It was case of communistic/socialistic thinking. We determine what you can do by your genes, we educate you on how to use your talents, and we give you jobs that perfectly suit you, so the whole society can run perfectly, and that's better for you than the broken system where no one knows what they are supposed to do and waste their potential, or even doesn't have anything to do. In basic theory, it isn't evil, and is only wrong in practice because, as side effect, it would eliminate people's initiative to improve themselves and give opportunity to corruption by falsifying test results, which would, in the end, break the system.
- It's the "determine what you can do by your genes" part that's the whole problem; Coordinators by default are going to be better-suited for high-paying jobs that require advanced technical skills because their genetic enhancements make them better-suited for those positions than ordinary humans. The system is inherently skewed in favor of those with genetic enhancements.
- The writers probably wanted to show that the main flaw of such a society would be a loss of freedom, thus making a dilemma of freedom vs. peace.
- The point of the Destiny Plan is not to give anyone, even Coordinators, an unfair advantage and to make sure everyone was happy in their jobs. In fact, going by vague descriptions from Durandal and Rey, the idea is to end Natural/Coordinator conflict by determining what would fit them regardless of better genetics, since everyone would get a fair chance, thus making sure they are happy in theory. The idea that it can be used as such is clearly not what Durandal has in mind, but it does bring up a good flaw in how it can be used as such if it was implemented by the radicals of both sides. As for the main flaw concerning freedom, this really is the driving theme of the series. Should you be predestined to be something or have the freedom to do what you want?
- The ultimate goal of the Claw in GUN×SWORD is the "Time of Happiness", where he will use Saudade to overwrite the minds of all living creatures with copies of his own; with all of humanity in utter agreement, war and strife will vanish. The process will kill him, but as he's dying of a terminal disease anyway, he sees it as a Heroic Sacrifice.
- Jormungand's namesake plan, initiated by the main character. A feasible, unbelievable, genocidal plan that would "separate humans from war".
- This is Enrico Pucci's motivation in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Part 6, Stone Ocean. Once he achieves the Stairway to Heaven ability, he speeds up time to the point where the universe is destroyed and remade, and everyone who lived in the past universe would cross over to the new universe with their old memories intact — Pucci's theory being that, since all of mankind has experienced the entirety of history, there will no longer be any reason for war or suffering. While he succeeds in killing off the main heroes and retconning the entire series, he isn't quite able to fully realize his vision, as he stopped the universal cycle just short of a full revolution in order to try and finish off Emporio Alnino. He fails spectacularly.
- SEARRS in Mai Hi ME was willing to level down Fuka Academy and kill all the HiME to win the HiME carnival and achieve the "Golden Millennium". All right, it's one lousy school, who cares about that? (And Alyssa was "Valkyrie No. 143" and the only success in what was presumably a long series of People Jars. What happened to her failed predecessors is left to the viewers' imagination.)
- The villains of Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, Vagan, can have their motivation summed up as this. They seek to seize Earth for themselves and turn it into an Eden...by massacring the current Earth Federation.
- Subverted in Mobile Suit Gundam 00: the actions of Celestial Being result in the formation of a One World Order, just as they'd hoped... but the Earth Sphere Federations armed forces the A-Laws abuse their rule and are even more violent and oppressive than its predecessors. Plus they had support of the real Big Bad.
- In the Naruto movie Legend of the Stone of Gelel, Master Haido frequently speaks of creating a Utopia without war. In facts, he speaks of it frequently enough to make the audience suspicious; in the end, it turns out that Haido is a power hungry Big Bad, and his talk of peace was just a smokescreen.
- In the actual manga, Pain plans to end all war. He wants to achieve this by harnessing the power of the tailed beasts to make a weapon of mass destruction that could destroy a country. If a war was started with one side lacking ninja, they would turn to Akatsuki, who would wipe out the entire opposing nation. After this, most countries would be too scared to start a war.
- It's also a partial subversion: Pain knows that people will eventually forget about all that and just go back to fighting. Planning to leave it for future generations, Pain believes that the weapon will allow future civilizations to experience the terror of destruction themselves and revert to peace for short periods before doing it all over again.
- And played straight again with "The Moon's Eye Plan" and Mugen Tsukiyomi, a plan to trap everyone in the genjutsu of a perfect world. Subverted when it's revealed Tobi's only concern is creating a world where The Lost Lenore is alive.
- Itachi may or may not believe this. Considering what he went through to stop a war, it's more than likely.
- Not really. Itachi didn't believe that what he did would lead to any sort of utopia or permanent peace, he simply did it because he saw no other way to prevent the war that was about to happen. He did it for pragmatic rather than idealistic reasons.
- Danzo believes in peace through power and, in the interest of his ideal world, is willing to kill anyone who represents a threat to his goals, though he is unusually reasonable about who to kill, avoiding threatening major rivals to his power (the Third Hokage, Tsunade, Kakashi) if their deaths would turn the public against him.
- SEELE's ultimate goal in Neon Genesis Evangelion is the Instrumentality Project, which will destroy the distinction between individual humans, but leave humanity around, so no one will ever be hurt and alone again. And if some kids need to be tortured, a few cities destroyed, and a lot of soldiers die to make it happen, well it's just people's lives, not anything important.
- Subverted in One Piece, where Sir Crocodile stages a massive coup against the throne of Alabasta to seemingly create a utopia for him and Baroque Works; however, the only reason he wants anything to do with the sand kingdom is because of a massive battleship called Pluton with the power to wipe out an island, so he can establish the greatest military force the world has ever known, which could even rival the World Government.
- In the Yellow arc of Pokemon Special, Lance wants to Kill All Humans to create the perfect world for Pokemon.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica has Kyubey, who states that its goal is to prolong the lifespan of the universe by collecting the thermodynamic energy-defying power of emotions from humans. And by humans, it means young girls in their early to mid-teens (who are generally, as a group, the most dramatic little wellsprings of emotion the human race has to offer). This process collects excess energy, which is somehow contributed toward the entire universe in order to stave off its eventual heat death, allowing more time for different alien races to meet one another among the stars. (Actual thermodynamics theory makes this goal seem very poorly thought out, but then again, this is a show about Magical Girls so we weren't expecting a whole lot of realism anyway.)
- How does it do this, you ask? It fools girls into making a contract and becoming magical girls, ripping their souls out to place them into a Soul Gem for easy keeping. Kyubey actively encourages vulnerable girls to make stupid wishes they'll regret later, and once they're magical girls he continues to manipulate them into making choices that pull them further and further into despair, until their Soul Gems corrupt under the weight of all the grief and the magical girl becomes a Witch. Once another magical girl comes along, defeats the Witch and transfers her Soul Gem's corruption to it, he "disposes" of the Grief Seed, harvesting the concentrated despair inside and converting it into energy. Naturally, negative emotions are the most energy-efficient.
- The Rebellion movie presents this again, this time with Homura as the Well-Intentioned Extremist, remaking the universe again where she can personally care for Madoka's comfort, as well as everyone else's (except Kyubey). This at the cost of turning herself into the devil, hijacking Madoka's goddess powers, giving everyone Laser-Guided Amnesia, and setting herself up as the Final Boss, something which is suggested she seems resigned to the prospect of.
- The real Big Bad of ROD the TV - namely, Joker and the British Library.
- Which is kind of stupid when you consider that their plan is to resurrect their leader, who hadn't been able to (and can't even be proven to have seriously even tried to) create a peaceful world in his first lifetime, so why did they think he'd do better the second time around?
- In Saint Beast, Zeus intends for heaven to have no sin and he wants to be worshipped by humans and angels alike, so he uses murder and assassination to achieve this ideal.
- Knives, the Big Bad of Trigun, might as well be the textbook example of this. His motto in the anime was "kill the spiders to save the butterflies". Oh, and all human beings are spiders; only he and his brother count as butterflies. Lampshaded in his vociferations of "WE WILL HAVE. OUR. EDEN!".
- He gets much more backstory and Character Development in the manga and he has more interesting and 'altruistic' motivations - namely, freeing his whole species. It's just a bit unfortunate that he does so by attempting genocide on the whole human race, which makes him both a kind of Spartacus figure on steroids and a crystal-clear Hitler figure with much more Aryanism and sociopathy than the original...which serves to remind us that human conflicts get polarized more often than not and that one side's 'terrorists' are often the other side's 'freedom fighters'. In the anime, he doesn't seem to have second thoughts about getting the plant on Sensei's ship killed (by his human evil minions!!), while in the manga, he is tormented by guilt at killing many plants, as well in the Big Fall.
- UFO Robo Grendizer: Although King Vega started to conquer planets because the Vegan homeworld was dying and its inhabitants needed another world to settle on, some of his generals wanted to take over Earth because they thought that Earth people is uncapable to govern themselves peacefully and efficiently, and their lives would improve if a Vegan government ran the show.
- The Dragons in X1999.
- A few cult leaders in Yu-Gi-Oh!.
- First, there was Dartz in the original series: an immortal king from Atlantis powered by the Orichalcos God (Great Leviathan in the English dub), who required souls stolen in a children's card game in order to gain enough power to cleanse the world of evil. He gained his three primary followers by manipulating their lives in order to orchestrate tragedies that would drive them toward the same vengeful misanthropy as himself and sign up with his cause.
- Second, there was Takuma Saiou (Sartorius in the dub) in GX, a partial Expy of Dartz. Saiou was a psychic who was visited by an alien entity called the Light of Ruin (Light of Destruction in the dub), that caused his personality to split in two, one a Dark Messiah bent on creating a utopia by combining the Light's innate power with an orbital laser cannon in order to reshape the planet...the other, somehow, a remnant of the idealistic person he used to be before the Light of Ruin visited him and set him on the path of laser forged utopia. Saiou would recruit his followers either by himself or by a cultist defeating someone in a card game, which would cause them to "see the light" and sign up.
- Amon Garam also attempts this in GX, willingly sacrificing his girlfriend to wield the power of Exodia and to create a utopia. This doesn't work out.
- And Rex Godwin from 5D's has arguably achieved this goal already by forcing all uncouth individuals to live in a slum under Domino City.
- Up until the Grail War, Kiritsugu Emiya had made a life out of preserving the greatest number of lives at any cost. He saw the Grail as the means to put an end to all war forever, and any methods in obtaining it were justifiable. Knowing that his ethics would be at odds with Saber's, he left his wife Iris as Saber's de facto Master while he operated independently, but Saber did get an opportunity to witness and call him out on it.
- We are The Authority. Behave.
- Ra's Al-Ghul and the Order of St. Dumas in the various Batman series.
- The Myth Arc of Joe Kelly's Deadpool run involved the main character — a Screwy Squirrel Anti-Hero — finding out that he was the "Mithras", prophesised to protect a being called "The Messiah", who would bring peace and prosperity to the world, from "Tiamat", who would destroy it. However, when said Messiah showed up, it turned out to be a being that froze everyone in the world in blissful mindlessness. Deadpool had to decide whether or not to fulfill his destiny and prevent all suffering at the price of free will. In the end, he decided to Screw Destiny and destroy the Messiah himself.
- In The Nineties, The Defenders were cursed to come together to save the world when it needed saving, even though they didn't want to. So, naturally, they decided to Take Over the World and run it right so it wouldn't need saving.
- Some comics suggest (and, in at least one case, demonstrate) that allowing Doctor Doom to conquer the Earth will result in a utopia. Doom's a despot and a tyrant at the best of times, and another consequence of Dr. Doom taking over the Earth is the complete eradication of any kind of free will and immediate and total subservience to Doom's wishes, so this may not be as great as it seems.
- There's also the problem that he tends to get bored with utopia, as he's the sort that would rather be conquering than reigning over what he has.
- In Fables, the animals of the Farm overthrow the human administration in order to govern the farm themselves, the way that will be 'right' for them. Right in the middle and egging them on is Goldilocks. She doesn't care about how right or wrong the animals' grievances might be; what she sees is that by assisting, she'll be in a position to grab power, lots of it.
- Rasputin in Hellboy. Mike Mignola even said that, as a writer, he can't fathom writing someone inherently evil, so he gave Rasputin an ultimately good goal that would nonetheless bring about the end of the world.
- The Reality Warper Alfie O'Meagan from Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja uses this to justify his actions — which include stomping on a battalion of soldiers, casually tormenting or killing anyone who opposes him, and unleashing a mutagenic virus on the planet.
- In Runaways, the Knight Templar Parents are trying to achieve paradise for their children. Not children as in the entire next generation of humanity — they'll kill everyone to achieve paradise for the six children they have between them.
- The Squadron Supreme limited series was based on this trope. The heroes decide to use their powers to bring about utopia, and disregard minor inconveniences like civil rights and individual freedoms along the way.
- They were fully prepared to return those freedoms once they implemented their programs, but as former member Nighthawk told Hyperion during the climactic final battle, the whole system depended on people as powerful and moral as the Squadron to enforce it.
- Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Tarn, leader of the Decepticon Justice Division, believes in this whole-heartedly. Until the war is over, every Decepticon must do what is expected of them, and any who defy Megatron's will, or even just get captured, must be found, beaten, tortured and (eventually) violently killed, and so long as that terrifies even one Decepticon into line with Megatron's promised utopia, it's worth it.
- Subverted in V for Vendetta. V has no expectations of creating a Utopia, just to destroy the fascist regime, allowing the people to decide for themselves how the country will be run from then on.
- In Watchmen, Ozymandias averts a world-ending nuclear war by staging an "invasion from another dimension", frightening the nations into working together against this common foe. To that end, he manufactures a convincing otherworldly monster and teleports it into the middle of New York. It kills half the city's population, but he actually succeeds! However, whether it stays that way will depend on whether anyone reads and decides to seriously examine Rorschach's evidence against him...
- If you look at the former illustration of this page, Ozymandias is celebrating the beginning of the Utopia, the means are lampshaded by the picture of Alexander the Great 'solving' the Gordian Knot by destroying it with a spade. The genius of violence!
- A prime candidate for this trope: Magneto from the X-Men comics, animated series, and movies, who is sometimes willing to kill all "normals" to create a utopia for the mutants.
- A few X-Men villains have tried to resolve the humans vs. mutants debate once and for all by either forcibly removing mutant powers altogether and making everyone a baseline human, or by forcibly imbuing everyone with mutant powers and turning everyone into mutants. Neither the mutants nor the baseline humans who would be affected tend to be given any say in the matter.
- Also being used as the reasoning by the Phoenix Five in Avengers vs. X-Men, deciding that using their god-like power to eradicate war, hunger and strife is a perfect excuse to bring about peace to the world.
- In DC Comics's Zero Hour, ex-Green Lantern Hal Jordan (embarking upon his Dork Age) tried to remake all of space and time to his liking.
- In most incarnations of The Conversion Bereau: You get to live in happy, peaceful Equestria, get magic, and come under the rule of a truly kind and benevolent monarch. The price: The potion that does it erases your human nature, and pretty much brainwashes you into being such a good citizen, and if you choose not to, then, well... There's a barrier around Equestria that's constantly advancing, and giving the humans less and less space, and within a few years, Celestia will release a barrage of magic that would heal the planet, but kill all humans. The ponies also fully believe in The Right of a Superior Species, and some will forcibly ponify you, and very few will actually see the genocide being committed as a bad thing. In the stories that sympathize with the ponies, any human resisting the loss of their free will, their home, and all things that are precious to them, will be portrayed as being in the wrong.
- Subverted in The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum. The "utopia" itself is in question, since the world has become much more violent, Equestria is clearly falling into disorder, and converted humans become little more than shallow robots, but the subversion is TCB Celestia doesn't really believe in her goals, and has been brainwashed into carrying out these heinous acts by the Bag of Tirek, in its quest to destroy humanity .
- In the Mass Effect fanfic story The Council Era, the defining motivation of the Villain Protagonist Tyrin Lieph to bring the galaxy closer to total sanctity and peace, but he also believes that the ends ultimately justify the means, resulting in many controversial actions on his part, notwithstanding the utter genocide of the dezban race, because he perceives them as a threat to the Citadel.
- Executing the falsely accused, genocide of the Seireitei, bloody war with the Gotei, raids into the human world, kidnapping Orihime. All nessisary to acheive a better world in Downfall. And Unohana just might be right, too.
- Red Eye of Fallout: Equestria believes ponies destroyed themselves in the apocalypse because they were cruel, venal and selfish, and that they have failed to build a new world because they are still cruel, venal and selfish. As a result he seeks to enslave the entire adult population of the wasteland and work them to death in his factories in order to build a new world for their children, recruiting a vast hoard of brutal raiders (who he will most likely all have killed at some point) to do so.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic crossover fanfiction 'The Fandom Wars', the world has fallen into universal war over what were trivial 'fandoms' before the Rifts opened. The My Little Pony faction originally intended to stay out of the fighting and act only to aid refugees, but poor communication between the dimensions allowed a small group of extremists to manipulate Equestria into winning the war.
- In With Strings Attached, Brox and Grunnel are perfectly willing to betray and enslave the four (whom Grunnel had befriended) in order to bring about the return of the skahs utopia, i.e., lots of monsters for the skahs to fight. All skahs would love this, and it really would result in skahs utopia. But the four strenuously object to the idea of creating monsters only to kill them, and they're not at all happy about being forced to provide part of the means to achieve this utopia.
- An unfortunately common portrayal of Sailors Uranus, Neptune and Pluto in a lot of Sailor Moon Fanfiction often makes them out as this in their motivations.
- The crossover No Chance For Fate brutally deconstructs this from Sailor Pluto's perspective in the first chapter.
- This plays a large role with Twilight Sparkle in Pages Of Harmony, as she extracts the essence of the Elements of Harmony from her friends by torturing, altering, and killing them, to preserve harmony and order. Her utopia? She intends to calculate the precise genetic signatures of all the Elements and commit genocide on any living thing that doesn't have that capacity, thus making sure no chaotic being can ever disrupt harmony again.
- Mercury of Phoenix-fire genuinely belives that taking over the world, killing, blackmailing, manipulating and otherwise coercing anyone that stands in his way, along with pitting his own forces against each other to prevent a Coup against his government, is justified as long as the ends are worth it. He also believes that there is no place in the new world for him, though it is left ambigious whether this was truly the case. In the end, the world did improve, but a lot of unforeseen consequences to his methods and choices proved that Dystopia is Hard.
- Callidus Dominus from Cynical Classicist's "Doctor Who" fanfics does a lot of morally ambiguous things to make sure the Malphan Empire takes control of the Eighth Galaxy, believing a benevolent dictatorship is the best form of government. This is lampshaded in "Devotee of Augustus".
Film — Animated
Don't you understand? It's for the good of the Colony! Z:
What are you saying? We are
- In Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Sephiroth claims that his new goal is to use the thoughts of those who died from geostigma to take control of the lifestream and send the planet on a journey through space to find a new planet, where he'll build a "bright and shining future". This gets streamlined in the videogame sequel Dirge of Cerberus, in which the main villain wishes to go off into space with the lifestream itself to rule over a restarted world.
Film — Live Action
- Franco Maccalusso in the Apocalypse film series claims that he is responsible for getting rid of those who were Caught Up in the Rapture because they were obstacles to the world achieving world peace. He later uses an Assimilation Plot consisting of the Day of Wonders virtual reality program to force the people of the world to either accept the Mark of the Beast or die.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe
- In Constantine, the Big Bad Gabriel plans to release Mammon (the son of the Devil) onto the Earth to bring pain and horror, in order to purify mankind and make it worthy of God's love.
- Dr. Cocteau in Demolition Man is a "mild" version of this. He actually helps rebuild a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles into a beautiful, prosperous, violence-neutered Utopia. Though he did work a miracle, he exiled thousands who refused to conform to his "Perfect Pearl" vision and wanted to live unhealthy, violent, free lives. Ultimately, his homogeneous city is exposed to violence and change due to his own stupidity. Simon Phoenix sums it up when he calls Cocteau an "evil Mr. Rogers"; he himself has much loftier ideals of the perfect society.
- More or less the idea in Dogtooth (Kynodontas): the parents isolate their three children from the outside world and give them a bizarrely warped idea of society and language in order to protect them from the evils of the world, except their life inside the house is disturbing and occasionally violent anyway, so it's not a very good plan.
- The setting of Equilibrium is a utopian future society created by suppressing all human emotion and anything that may stir it up — through propaganda, chemicals, and Gun Kata-practicing badass longcoats. This removes all hate, jealousy, and anger but also removes humanity's capacity for art and creativity. It all crumbles when one of the highest-ranking members of the Emotion Police stops taking his drugs and becomes disillusioned.
- This is the crux of Project Mayhem.
- The first Chinese emperor in the Wuxia movie Hero uses this as a motive to conquer China. One of the few movies where it is arguably shown as justified.
- The goal of the Neighbourhood Watch Alliance in Hot Fuzz on a small scale, in their quest to win the Best Village Award at all costs. For the greater good.
- Livia from I, Claudius murders her way through the show's cast, and in a candid moment with Claudius freely admits that she was a terrible criminal. She fully expects to suffer for her sins in the afterlife. Despite this, she considers it all worth it in the name of staving off another round of civil war.
- James Bond
- Darryl Revok of Scanners thinks that a scanner-run government would be the coolest thing ever. Played with in that he has no illusions that it would be anything but a supremacist society where the "utopia" is only for the powerful psychics and that all normal humans would be reduced to slaves. Reportedly, some of the characterization for Magneto was based on this.
"We'll create an empire so brilliant, so glorious, it'll be the envy of the world."
- The Operative in Serenity calmly commits atrocity after atrocity because he believes that he's helping to create "a better world". Perhaps a semi-subversion, in that he does not intend to be a leader in his new world — he knows that what he does is evil, and that there will be no place for him in the better world.
- Also, it is discovered that the Alliance government attempted to develop a drug to dampen people's violent impulses. It didn't work (most of the population they tested it on became apathetic and laid down and died; a few became the psychotic "Reavers"). Even if it had worked as desired, there would still be the issue of the Alliance's apparent plan to involuntarily dose people with the stuff....
- The Alliance has been kidnapping and Mind Raping children in order to turn them into psychic assassin soldiers, all in the name of their vision of a "better world."
- In Sherlock Holmes, Blackwood's ultimate goal is to seize control of the British Empire and rule it through fear. Lord Coward, one of the politicians who supports his coup, claims that Blackwood will be a strong shepherd for the weak masses.
- Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004). Dr Totenkopf gathers samples of every animal on Earth in order to seed life on another planet. The hero suggests just letting him go, until it's revealed that the engines of his rocket ship will incinerate the entire world.
Totenkopf: "I have been witness to a world consumed by hatred and bent on self-destruction. Watched as we have taken what was to be a paradise and failed in our responsibilities as its steward. I know now that the course the human race has set for itself cannot be changed. I am the last, desperate chance for a doomed planet."
- Ultimately subverted when they find his body in his study in the heart of his secret base. And the note he left when he realized he was wrong, and found he could not stop what he had started. It turns out that he's been dead for years, and the machinery just kept on with the plan he couldn't stop before he died.
- Sneakers: Cosmo's motivation for acquiring the box by kidnapping and almost killing Marty.
- In Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Sith Lord Palpatine states that once he rules the galaxy, there will be peace.
- EU novel Outbound flight expands that Palpatine had actually foreseen the Yuuzhan Vong, and his entire purpose for the powergrab and superweapon production was so that there'd be a united galaxy able to deal with them when they come.
- Darth Vader's words to Luke on Bespin about bringing peace and order to the galaxy (as well as a similar exchange of words to Padme in Revenge of the Sith) suggests that he is following this trope.
- The Essential Guide to Warfare implies that most of the Imperial Navy's officers and personnel, with the notable exceptions of Grand Moff Tarkin and Admiral Motti (who were closer to Dystopia Justifies the Means), fought under the genuine belief that they were trying to bring peace and order to the galaxy.
- Played straight with Count Dooku of Attack of the Clones, who was so tired of what he felt was a corrupt Republic and an ineffective Jedi Order that he defected and joined the Sith. He is convinced that the best way to save the galaxy is to destroy the Republic and the Jedi by any means necessary, and then simply start over. That Dooku was willing to ally himself with Palpatine, fully aware that he was responsible for a lot of what he hated about the Republic (and that he trained the man that killed Dooku's beloved apprentice), is testament not only to Dooku's dedication but to Palpatine's persuasive abilities.
- World peace through dictatorship was Bison's motivation in Street Fighter.
"The pax Bisonica..."
- In TRON Legacy, CLU's goal is ridding the real world of its "imperfections," and ordering the genocide of the ISO programs was him just getting started.
- The Village is ostensibly a period drama about a primitive town's struggle with dark magical forces. In actuality, the town is on a modern nature preserve. Its adult inhabitants have fled there to set up a simple way of life which they hope will be free from senseless violence. Like most Utopian experiments, this one fails miserably (at least in principle) when one of the town's children tries to murder another in a fit of jealousy. One could reasonably argue that the fear-based "conditioning" the children were put through was more traumatizing to them than growing up in a modern society would have been. Also, most of the children, instead of being killed by criminals, end up dying of disease or lack of medical care.
- The World's End: The Network believes so. Almost all of the human characters beg to differ.
- Played for laughs in Ninotchka (see quotes page).
- In the Holocaust film Conspiracy, this is used by one villain to another villain when Heydrich has a personal talk with Major Lange about the duties of soldiering. Heydrich seems to view himself as some sort of impromptu mentor figure to Lange, as he tries to convince Lange that all the death they're causing (including annihilating an entire people) is for a "better future". Given Heydrich's sociopathic qualities it's doubtful that he actually believes it himself and was instead just turning up the charm, but Lange takes the message at face value.
- Jasmine in Angel used her godhood to engineer her return to Earth as a beatific, mind-numbingly beautiful goddess. Though she unified all who saw her (or heard her voice) and ended conflict, that much power required "volunteers" to be eaten by draining their life force on a daily basis. If successful, she would have essentially made everyone into peaceful, Jasmine-loving followers, destroying all evil in the world; but also have eaten thousands of people per year (but fewer people than would have died from wars and starvation she would have prevented). She was shown to be a very vain being, possibly more concerned with being worshiped than with helping people. We also get to see the last world Jasmine visited. It's...not a very nice place, since she had abandoned it. She said she "did all she could" for that world and abandoned it due to its limitations, although some interpret it as her just getting bored.
- The fifth season used this trope throughout the entire season, putting the heroes in charge of the villain's organisation and having them try to use it as a weapon for good. But what happens when that means getting villains acquitted in court, or playing murky demon politics, or playing nice to a Demon Lord? It was eventually revealed, by their nemesis Lindsey no less, that doing this was crippling their effectiveness against the malevolent Senior Partners. "What you've been doing here every day is learning to compromise and accept the world the way it is. Newsflash - heroes don't do that!" (paraphrased)
- The PsiCop Alfred Bester from Babylon 5, who grew up as a orphan baby in the Psi Corps and is willing to kill or mind-control any non-telepath in his way if it furthers his goal of saving human telepaths and other psychics from hate-crimes and discrimination, and ultimately achieving his dream of giving the telepathic "homo superior" dominance over the non-mutants. On the other hand, he is extremely hesitant to kill a telepath even if said telepath opposes him (instead, he tries to persuade them to change their views, or, if that doesn't work, tries to capture them and ship them to Psi Corps "re-education" camps). Considering that, during the series, telepaths are abused and enslaved both by the Psi Corps and the Shadows, and Garibaldi uncovers a conspiracy by an anti-mutant group to infect all human telepaths with a deadly virus so that they would either have to take daily injections of medication (also manufactured by the same corporation) and be easily controllable that way, or die in agony, Bester's paranoia can be seen as simple pre-emptive self-defense.
- Except for the gleeful delight he takes in tormenting Mundanes, and the casualness with which he kills them.
- The aforementioned conspiracy discovered by Garibaldi is also a case of this.
- The Shadows and Vorlons from the same series believe that their views of society create "perfection" and are well worth blowing up planets for. As these views are diametrically opposed, the rest of the galaxy is in trouble.
- The Avatars in Charmed wanted to create a world without conflict. It turned out that maintaining it involved the deletion of anyone whose violent tendencies survived their spell.
- The Scientific Reform Society in the Doctor Who story "Robot" planned to trigger a worldwide nuclear holocaust unless the nations agreed to yield power to them.
- The Cybermen. When they invaded this Earth through a parallel universe, they declared that they will take over and change society by removing fear, hatred, and classism...by converting the human race into them.
- Most notable of all is Tobias Vaughn, the CEO of an electronics company who sought to ally with and manipulate the Cybermen into taking over the world for him, so he could then doublecross them and create a utopia where all ideological disputes cease and unity is attained. Unfortunately for Vaughn, the Cybermen were one step ahead and doublecrossed him first, leading him to ally with the Doctor to take down the threat that he himself had led to the Earth in the first place.
- In Invasion of the Dinosaurs, a group of Well Intentioned Extremists, believing that the environment could not be saved, sent a shipload of volunteers on a Fauxtastic Voyage to "another world", to disembark after time had been reversed back to the Mesozoic and the rest of humanity (as well as all the Silurians) written out of history.
- In Tomb of the Cybermen, Klieg and the rest of the Brotherhood of Logicians intended to take over the world with the aid of the Cybermen. Bit of a logical fallacy there ...
- Of course, the Doctor eventually manages to goad Klieg into revealing that, for him, at least, logic and utopia are just excuses; at the end of it all, he's just a power-mad nutcase.
- In "The Savages" the Elders drain the Life Energy of the Savages who live outside their city to improve themselves.
- In Farscape, the Nebari are ruled by a force known as "The Establishment", who advocate a rigid system of order where the individual sacrifices his freedom and conforms for the greater good. Those who refuse are mentally modified into happy slaves, blissfully serving the order. Oh, and they also have a lovely plan to make the entire universe this way.
- They also claim not to have warships. They have transport ships, which have enough firepower to take out a legendary Peacekeeper command carrier which was thought to be indestructible.
- Linderman, on Heroes, wants to allow New York City to be destroyed by an atomic explosion, ostensibly to unite the world and grant it hope...however, it is never explained exactly why he expects this as an outcome. This may be a Shout-Out to Watchmen.
- It's more or less spelled out that he intended Nathan to become a leader of men, to unite people and guide a world horrified by the destruction (with Linderman as the power behind the throne). Sylar, DL, and Nikki, and Nathan himself, proved more unpredictable than Linderman thought.
- Adam Monroe wants to "fix" the world by releasing a virus that will kill over 90% of the population. Apparently, he thinks this will end wars and discrimination and...well, anything. When the dust settles and the survivors look around, he, the immortal Adam Monroe, will be there to lead them and become emperor over all. Or something.
- There's an obvious shout out to Ras Al Ghul/Apocalypse in that he believes that only the strongest and smartest will be able to survive the virus (possibly through his intervention) with those he deems unworthy being eradicated.
- In season 3 of Kyle XY, the upper echelons of the Latnok Society appear to be like this.
- Cyrus's speech to defend himself is full of this, which makes him either a Manipulative Bastard, either Obliviously Evil in acts.
- Billy Chambers has his girlfriend sleep with the president and follows it up with blackmail and murder so the 'right' person can become president.
- Star Trek: The Original Series
- In the backstory of "The Return of the Archons" and "The Apple", mind control/brainwashing was used to make the population docile and happy.
- ''I, Mudd": a group of androids decided to conquer the galaxy and impose peace on everyone by force.
- They were simply applying Asimov's Zeroth Law of Robotics. One of the first applications shown.
- ''What Are Little Girls Made Of": an android decided to Kill and Replace all humans with androids in order to eliminate negative emotions like jealousy, greed, and hate. It would also get rid of positive emotions like love and tenderness.
- Also, consider the concept of genetic augmentation. The scientific breakthroughs that would make humanity stronger, faster, and smarter also bred egomaniacs like Khan Noonien Singh. This so traumatized the Earth that genetic engineering was banned into the 24th century.
- Colonel Green strongly believed this. After the Third World War, he organised the forced sterilisation and euthanasia of all those suffering radiation damage, in order to prevent them from passing on their mutations, deformities and health problems to the next generation. According to Enterprise, the morality and ramifications of what he did are still being heavily debated well into the 22nd century, with some considering him simply a despotic murderer, while others view him as an Well-Intentioned Extremist who's actions ultimately spared future generations from undue suffering.
- On Star Trek, the Borg wish to understand all life forms and establish peace by linking everyone and everything into their Hive Mind, but everyone they meet would rather die than be assimilated. The Borg have expressed genuine confusion over that point many times.
- At the end of the fourth season of Supernatural, Zachariah reveals that the senior angels (he claimed the 'grunts' would have revolted had they known beforehand) allowed most of the seals to be broken, and they want Sam to kill Lilith and break the final seal, so Lucifer will walk free. Why? Because after the Apocalypse, which they are sure they will win, there will be paradise on Earth. And if billions of humans have to die to ensure this paradise? Well, they aren't particularly concerned about that.
- Another character even comments that while yes many good/innocent people will die during this ordeal, they will just go to heaven when they do. So is it really that bad?
- The aptly-named Utopia is a Conspiracy Thriller detailing a clandestine plot to sterilise 90% of the UK and, eventually, the world in order to avert societal breakdown, war, famine and genocide.
- The third season of The Wire features a notable example that's both wholly realistic and morally ambiguous enough that it could be considered justified. When faced with a skyrocketing murder rate in Baltimore in the months before a mayoral election, a police major named Howard "Bunny" Colvin is tasked with bringing down the number of murders due to drug-related crimes, and essentially given carte blanche to lower the murder rate and save the mayor's public safety record. His answer? He goes behind his superiors' backs and designates a small area of the city as a "free zone" where drug dealers can peddle their product under police supervision without punishment. The plan succeeds in drastically improving public safety, but it relies on police looking the other way while heroin addicts buy drugs in broad daylight, as well as brutally punishing dealers who refuse to move (we see police macing handcuffed dealers, stealing their shoes at gunpoint, and even driving them off in paddy wagons and leaving them stranded in the woods). In the end, Colvin's superiors find out about it, and he's demoted and forced to retire in disgrace.
- In the later seasons of The 4400, the faction led by Jordan Collier has a plan to inject every human being on Earth with promycin, the drug that has a 50/50 chance of giving a person a supernatural ability or killing them. Collier's goal is to create a new paradise of super-humans, despite the fact that this also means roughly 50% of the world's population will die. The future humans who sent back the original 4400 (with all the death and chaos many of them led to) and did everything in their power to keep Collier around and, presumably, devise his plan, also apply given their stated goal of saving the world, no matter the bastardy things they have to do to achieve it. According to them, the alternative is worse than 50% dead, but it depends whether you believe them or not.
- The song "Bloody Revolutions" by Crass criticizes this attitude, as part of a deconstruction of armed revolutions:"That's the kind of self-deception that killed ten million Jews, just the same false logic that all powermongers use."
- Ska band Five Iron Frenzy mocked this attitude in their song "My Evil Plan to Save the World."
- In the storyline mothy's Evillious Chronicles songs, the awakened Sin Vessels believe that if all the Vessels are gathered and awoken, utopia will be created. To achieve their goal, they're perfectly willing to kill anybody that interferes (or accidentally stumbles near their hideout, for that matter). It's also implied that the "utopia" they'd create would result in The End of the World as We Know It.
- BattleTech gives us both the Crusader faction of the Clans, who want to conquer the Inner Sphere their ancestors left behind to recreate the golden age of the Star League — with themselves as the overlords, never mind the fact that their warrior culture has diverged wildly from even their rose-colored view of the past — and (pre-schism) ComStar, an ostensibly neutral, pseudo-religious organization hoarding technological knowledge, also has an eye towards one day creating an utopia under their benevolent rule...after watching and, if necessarily, helping the Successor States, whose interstellar communications they're incidentally in charge of, bomb each other back into the Stone Age, that is.
- The Jammers from Feng Shui, that madcap band of Bomb-Throwing Anarchists, Maniac Monkeys, and Mad Bombers, are doing it all for the sake of the dream of their leader, Battlechimp Potemkin. The Battlechimp's dream is a world without chi, a world where humanity can finally be free to make their own decisions without being influenced by whoever has the most feng shui at his or her command. In order to do this, Potemkin wants every Feng Shui site in all the major junctures and the Netherworld blown sky high, no matter what form the site takes or how many innocent people will be killed in the process, or, indeed, what the long term consequences will be if he should actually succeed in destroying the world's chi.
- Ironically, the world of 2056 - where Potemkin and the Jammers have their roots - is itself an example of this trope. Well-Intentioned Extremist Johann Bonengel, the "Buropresident," originally entered politics with the dream of creating a world free of "war, ethnic crimes, and personal violence." He achieved these things by creating a worldwide police state whose citizens have few rights and all dissent is ruthlessly suppressed, and he willingly allied himself with the Architects of the Flesh to do it.
- In Mage: The Ascension, some parts of the Technocracy fill this role. The individual Technocrats are generally no better or worse than other mages, and often work towards what they see as a better, brighter future. If that requires crushing anything in their path, stifling dissension, and purging the world of wonder and the supernatural...Well, you can't make an omelette without breaking a few heads.
- Cynically speaking, the Traditions could be the same. They had control once. It was called the Dark Ages.
- You can even make the argument that the Traditions were far worse than the Technocracy. The Technocracy's main goal is to have all magic be repeatable and safe for the Masses to use (ie, science and technology), rather than limiting its use to a few tyrants wielding godlike power. Sure, they need to exterminate reality warpers who decide that the Dark Age realities should take precedence over what the Masses have decided they want through their collective consciousness, but at least they keep the horrors from beyond at bay, sometimes to great sacrifice of their own. They even took out the Ravnos Antediluvian, with significant cost to themselves, with neutron bombs when all the other groups failed (though they did weaken it enough for the Technocracy to do so).
- This was what Yawgmoth in Magic: The Gathering thought he was doing when he created Phyrexia. The net result was much, much worse. Or, if you are a Phyrexian, it was a success.
- Among the five Praetors, Elesh Norn and Jin-Gitaxias are those who endorse this concept most, but taking two different paths: Elesh Norn sees Utopia realized in principles, Jin-Gitaxias in the Great Synthesis. However, the two get along well.
- Planescape has the Harmonium faction. All factions qualify to some degree, but the Harmonium are the most clear-cut ones: they seek to create Harmony...by bashing the heads of anyone who disagrees. The standard tactics (brainwashing, executions, etc.) are used. Their plans tend to backfire spectacularly, like their idea of sticking anyone not Lawful or Good enough into re-education camps...that caused the entire layer of a plane to slide into the Lawful Neutral plane of Mechanus...
- Warhammer 40,000: Once Upon a Time, The Imperium of Man believed that humanity's manifest destiny was to rule over the entire galaxy and to exterminate any xenos or humans that stood in their way. They came close under the leadership of the God Emperor, but then the Horus Heresy occurred and the Imperium degenerated into what it is now.
- Warhammer Fantasy has much the same. Archaon believes that the triumph of Chaos will save the world from corruption, and some of The Undead commanders are trying to turn the entire world into undead because Chaos can't feed off of them like they do the living. And the Lizardmen want to restore the world to the layout of the Old Ones, regardless of the population migration that's occurred since they disappeared.
- In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, the Big Bad Kerghan, first of the necromancers, in a variation of this trope, has found definitve proof that the afterlife is eternal bliss, whereas life is pain and misery. He then concludes that everyone would be much happier there and would gladly die if they had seen what he's seen. Because of this he plans to kill every living thing in Arcanum, after which he will kill himself so everyone can enjoy the afterlife for the rest of eternity. One of your party members, who you, potentially, brought back from the dead, can even confirm that Kerghan's description of the afterlife is indeed accurate, but he still thinks that life is worth living.
- Note: This is one of the few games where siding with the Big Bad is concerted a legitimate choice.
- The Big Bad of Ar tonelico, Mir, is after a utopia in which Reyvateils, artificially-created magical song maidens, will live free from slavery and mistreatment. In order to achieve this, she seeks to destroy all humans, having pegged them pretty firmly as irredeemable monsters due to her own traumatic history as a Tykebomb. The fact that she names this utopia "Reyvateilia" goes some way towards exemplifying the fact that she's just a terrified, idealistic child inside.
- In the sequel, she's still at it. Oh, and this time, she's one of your party members. Everyone in your party is a Well-Intentioned Extremist at best.
- The Knights Templar in Assassin's Creed I and Assassins Creed III plan to control the world using Lost Technology from Those Who Came Before. Vidic, lamenting how people in 1191 are no different in manner from the people of 2012, says that the world needs a sense of order, even if it means giving up freedom.
- To a degree, this is the belief of the Assassins as well. They kill those who would suppress free will in order to obtain utopia, so that the world can reach utopia on its own terms.
- In BioShock, the player learns that Andrew Ryan, creator of the pseudo-Objectivist undersea utopia Rapture, wound up Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and turning into a totalitarian ruler in his efforts to eliminate his ruthless rival, Frank Fontaine.
- BioShock 2's villain, Sophia Lamb, has a more explicitly utopian scheme in mind: using a combination of genetic engineering and psychological conditioning to create people with no sense of self-interest whatsoever...starting with her own daughter.
- Bioshock Infinite had Father Comstock, who had created The flying city of Columbia to be an American utopia (at least if you were rich and white). Unfortunately, he had a very violent plan to deal with "The Sodom below".
- One of Lord Recluse's right hand men in City of Villains, Scirocco, falls under this in a lategame arc.
- The goal of the Order of the Sword in Devil May Cry 4 is to use the denizens of the Demon World to destroy the Human World so that they can bring about Sanctus' version of Utopia.
- Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2 is a prime example of this. As the CEO of the Hyperion corporation and the dictator of the border planet of Pandora, his primary goal is to wipe every bandit off the face of the planet. The problem here is that he is just as insane, if not more so, as the "bandit hordes" that populate the planet, and he has a very broad definition of the word "Bandit." Jack was willing to do anything in order to accomplish this goal, including enslaving his own daughter and forcing her to use her Siren powers to charge the Vault Key, which is able to release an ancient alien Warrior, and trick two sets of Vault Hunters into doing his will. All the while, he insists that he is the "good guy," at one point telling a story about plucking out a man's eyes with a spoon in front of his children to illustrate the fact that he's the good guy and the Vault Hunters are the bad guys.
- Sakaki of .hack//G.U tried using AIDA to make a world where everyone would get along.
- In Emerald City Confidential, Queen Ozma gives up Petra's baby brother in a peace treaty between the Ozians and the Phanfasms in order to end the war. This is deconstructed when Petra points out that instead of restoring balance to Oz, this has created a corrupt Crapsack World.
- Lord Lucian from Fable II very much planned for this. While in the Spire, he gave a speech saying that "The world outside is a corrupt, rotting husk. I plan to change all that. All I require of you is complete obedience."
- Fallout 3 features John Henry Eden, who wants to nobly rebuild America to its status pre-nuclear apocalypse. To do this, he plans on introducing a horrifically virulent bioweapon into the water, leading to the death of anyone who has mutations of any sort. Given that it's a nuclear wasteland, that means he's effectively planning on killing everyone except his own troops.
- So far, all of the series' main antagonists have shared this philosophy. Fallout 2 introduced the Enclave, whose mission statement is outlined above. By the Enclave's standards, all Wastelanders are mutants. In Fallout 1, we have The Master, whose (not unjustified) belief that Humans Are the Real Monsters brings about the only logical conclusion: the Unity. If all humans achieve perfection as Super Mutants, there would be no more wars. These would be the very rare, very intelligent Super Mutants, by the way.
- There's also Caesar of Caesar's Legion in Fallout: New Vegas. He plans to rebuild the world on ancient values, limit the influence of technology so his citizens won't be "corrupted", destroy tribal affiliations so there won't be any more wars, and unite everyone under his banner. Women have no rights and most people conquered just end up as slaves. Even with all this, Legion controlled territory is implied to be among the most stable in the West, specifically Arizona. Crime is stamped out quickly. Trade is well protected. And it faces none of ineffectual bureaucracy of the NCR. It just so happens that this stability comes through extremely draconian and vicious measures.
- Couriers of all alignments will veer into this in the Independent Path. For example, while New Vegas transitions into an independent city-state relatively peacefully, the local Brotherhood of Steel chapter will attempt to take advantage of the lack of NCR presence to retake HELIOS ONE, as well as begin attacking caravans on the highway. The only way to avoid this ending is to wipe out the entire Brotherhood.
- The nation of Galbadia is taking over other nations in order to spread its prosperity...until Sorceress Edea scooches in and says "You're all fucked."
- In Final Fantasy XI, we have Kam'lanaut and Eald'narche, who are attempting to manipulate the crystal line to reform the five mothercrystals into the one crystal it used to be and restore the world to the Paradise it once was. Sounds nice right? Until you realize that splitting the crystal was what made life in the world possible and remaking Paradise would kill all life on the planet.
- In Final Fantasy XII, to wrest the reins of History from the manipulative Occuria and back into the hands of Man is Vayne's goal, with support from a Well-Intentioned Extremist Mad Scientist and their divine mentor. Naturally, the Man to lead Ivalice's new History can be none other than the new Dynast-King, Vayne himself.
- There is also a minor instance of this in Vossler, to whom the freedom of his homeland (even as a puppet state under Archadian rule) is so far above any other concern, he's willing to sell out his own Princess for it.
- Alvis from Fire Emblem: Geneaology of the Holy War explicitly states this as his reason for treating Sigurd as a villain and killing him with his bare hands. And shockingly, the first few years of his rule are pretty idyllic. Then Manfroy comes along with the book of Loptyr...
- Guild Wars: Beyond includes the Winds of Change storyline where the Ministry of Purity sets out to cleanse Cantha of Shiro's plague. As it progresses, they expand their focus to include the Am Fah and then the Jade Brotherhood. When you learn the Ministry is using a manifest of every Brotherhood member to hunt them down, you realize how far the Ministry is willing to go.
- The bonus material for Halo 3 describe the Flood as a theoretical utopia, where, if everybody joined the Flood, there would be no more violence, war, poverty, hatred, etc. Unfortunately, the means by which it does this is by assimilating all life and rendering them into zombie-like creatures.
- Injustice: Gods Among Us has alternate universe Superman wield the trope hard; after he accidentally killed Lois, his unborn child, and getting the entire city of Metropolis wiped out with a nuke, Superman kills the Joker (he was the one behind the manipulation) and declares that the only way to maintain peace is to kill or jail all criminals and suppress anyone that may become one. On top of this, Superman also does things like having Aquaman agree to merging Atlantis with Superman's regime to ensure safety. Sure, the world has peace, but it comes at the price of the people having little to no personal freedoms.
- Darth Revan in Knights of the Old Republic — it's revealed in the second game that Revan became a Sith Lord at least partly for the best interests of justice and order in the galaxy. Then again, this seems to be a common self-justification and/or recruiting gimmick among Sith Lords. Revan is simply one of the very few who actually tried.
- Actually, Kreia mentions in the sequel that Revan was attempting to unify and solidify the galaxy to prepare for a colossal war with an extra-galactic, outside the Force threat, which just reeks powerfully of the Yuuzhan Vong.
- Later clarified in Star Wars: The Old Republic, that the threat Revan was trying to unite the galaxy against was the True Sith Empire, who had been biding their time and consolidating their power in the Unknown Regions. The Emperor leading them is so evil and powerful, everything Revan was doing was actually very, very justified.
- Ditto, Darth Traya/Kreia (if that's even a spoiler) in the sequel. She wants to destroy the Force so everyone can have free will, but to do that, she tries to destroy a planet and make the entire galaxy feel its pain. She also uses this to justify the whole revenge spree thing.
- Big Bad Noir in La Pucelle is sympathetic for much of the game, seeking to create his "Utopia" where half-demons such as himself can be accepted. However, when you find out what his "Utopia" actually consists of, there is only one appropriate response remaining.
- In the Mass Effect series, this is the motivation behind at least a couple characters. The Illusive Man wants to control the Reapers to realize his ideal vision for the galaxy. According to the Catalyst, this is the reason why the Reapers exist in the first place: they prevent advanced organic life from creating synthetics that will ultimately wipe out all life in the galaxy; the Reapers cycle of destruction continues until someone (Shepard) is able to bring synthetic and organic life together into one unified form, creating true peace and the next stage of evolution.
- A theme of the Metal Gear series is "Outer Heaven", Big Boss' ideal of a world where soldiers would always have a place free from political manipulation; played almost straight in Metal Gear Solid (where Liquid Snake takes up the mantle), reworked in Metal Gear Solid 2 (where Solidus' ideal is not soldiers but rather America/liberty), conceived in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (Army's Heaven was a less-than-sincere idea but had the basic concept down), and then nastily subverted in Metal Gear Solid 4, where war has become a business, the world a place where soldiers will 'always' be needed, but with none of the ideals behind Big Boss' vision.
- By the end of 4, Big Boss shows up and accepts that his idea was wrong and the pursuit of it only led to more problems.
- Modern Warfare 2: Shepard instigates a war between Russia and the United States (and possibly World War III) in order to usher in a new era of American supremacy and patriotism.
- In Persona 2: Eternal Punishment, Philemon may be the ultimate incarnation of all benevolence in humanity and the mortal enemy of Nyarlathotep, the embodiment of all evil, but he's still a major dick and creates a terrible mess of everything, leading to many deaths, innocent and guilty alike, the creation of an Ill Girl, and the creation of a new, clean, parallel timeline just to one-up Nyarlathotep in their contest to see who's the strongest. And then Earth blows up. Then he takes the limelight, gloats about how he's won against Nyarlathotep, and graciously offers to hit the Reset Button. There's a reason why decking him upon hearing of what he has done is very much an option.
- Pokemon Diamond And Pearl has Cyrus, who's convinced that we are all screwing up the world beyond repair and the only way to form a better world is to simply destroy and rebuild it all. And, this being a Pokemon character and plot, you get three guesses as to what he's going to manipulate into doing it.
- His goal was expanded in Platinum to specifically creating a world without spirit, which, by looking through Pokemon mythology, would amount to no willpower, wisdom, or emotion.
- This turns out to be the main villain's motivation in the first Shadow Hearts. Notably, he actually only decided to take extreme measures after his less extreme attempt failed catastrophically, leading to him being tried and imprisoned as a heretic several centuries prior to the game.
- The premise of the Messian Church in the Shin Megami Tensei series, and of their patron deity Himself. It only becomes more prominent as the series goes on, from Shin Megami Tensei to SMT II to SMT: Nocturne.
- Claudia Wolf in Silent Hill 3 is a member of the Silent Hill cult that wishes to birth their god into the mortal world so it may bring paradise. Since she believes that a god that is born through suffering would be more likely to be benevolent than one that isn't, Claudia makes Heather suffer by murdering her father, Harry Mason. But although Claudia desperately wishes for paradise due to her abusive childhood, she's aware that her actions will deny her a place in the utopia she's seeking to create.
- Count Bleck from Super Paper Mario would fit this trope perfectly if it didn't turn out that he was just a Straw Nihilist instead, just wanting to destroy everything without recreating it and LYING about it by telling his minions that he was going to recreate the universe as a utopia. Dimentio from the same game, on the other hand, fits this perfectly, even betraying Count Bleck to destroy the world and remake it himself when he finds out that Bleck is lying.
- Lord Yggdrasil in Tales of Symphonia wants to create a world where everyone is a soulless shell, so there would be no more discrimination, but mainly, he just wants to resurrect his dead sister.
- This is a common theme in the Tales Series games. This pops up again in Tales of the Abyss, in which the Big Bad seeks to kill everyone on the planet and replace them with clones in an attempt to Screw Destiny. It makes sense in context. The whole world was living a predetermined existence, consulting a prophecy even for things such as what to eat for dinner.
- What makes the Tales of The Abyss example weird is that the guy was willing use many of the clones created as pawns, cast them aside, and tell them they were just mere tools to add insult to injury.
- It's also Fridge Brilliance when you think about it. The clone in question was a clone of The Chosen One and so, by definition, was connected in some way to the world that he wanted to destroy.
- In World of Warcraft, there is a scene where a rebellious citizen, delivering some inflammatory speeches in Silvermoon, is mind controlled by the authorities into saying something very different. The same city always has a "harassed citizen" by the main gate, arrested and kneeling down. Arcane (robot) guardians of the city proclaim "Happiness is mandatory" once in a while.
- It should be noted that the "Utopia" in this instance is less an actual utopia and more a stable society that isn't on the brink of total collapse. Lor'themar is aware of the moral ramifications of his actions and accepts them without question. His faction leader short story, In the Shadow of the Sun, revolves around him tackling the morality of his actions and how far he is willing to compromise his personal ideals to justify his actions.
- The Thunder King and his closest companions believed that the true glory of his empire was uniting all the people of Pandaria and giving them all a role to play. The fact that their slaves suffered was merely due to their weakness as beings of flesh and blood, and so unavoidable.
- Garrosh Hellscream desires what he repeatedly calls "MY WORLD." Due to his Fantastic Racism, this basically amounts to "orcs and orcs only."
- The Titans show hints of this at a universal level. They believe bringing order to the universe is the best way to prevent evil, but their idea of order equates to what is basically 'everything must work the way we expect it to or we destroy it.' Algalon the Observer threatens to send a message to the Titans telling them Azeroth has become too corrupted by the influence of the Old Gods, so they'll come back and commence a 'planetary re-originiation'; in other words, destroy all life on Azeroth and start again. The seems the Titans value the idea of order more than they value the lives it's supposed to save.
- The Big Bad in the online Flash series Broken Saints tricks the US government and military into creating the instruments which they think will allow them to set up their version of Utopia. Instead, said instruments will actually trigger the Government Conspiracy's own destruction and set up the Big Bad's version of Utopia (the heroes somehow manage to step in at the last minute, stop both factions, and use the living Empathic Weapon the Big Bad created to set up their own version of Utopia).
- In Dominic Deegan, Celesto Morgan — a seer who has become the Champion of Chaos — fiercely believes in this. Having been on the rough end of humanity a bit too often, he believes that "When an infection is too deep... amputation is the only solution."
- Fans! is definitely going into that territory as a group of mystics called the Order of the Dragon plan to overthrow the world's governments in a "bloodless coup" by murdering the Aleph, the personification of the very first written language, thus destroying the concept of the written word itself. When Donna, arguably the least evil of this group of Knights Templar, is informed that roughly 6.5 billion people will die as a result of their actions, her response is "Some will survive." To make matters worse, they recruited Keith Feddyg, who's motivated by his own needs, which involve inflicting as much pain as possible on as many people as possible. Oh, and revenge against Ally. The remaining members range from vengeful psychopaths to pathetic losers. Whatta way to run Utopia!
- The Order of the Stick:
- Redcloak, the Goblin cleric has the goal of creating a world where goblins and goblinoids are not simply farms for XP. He's got two ways of doing this. The first is that he and Xykon establish control over the gate and the snarl, ruling the world and allowing the Dark One (the god of the goblins) to blackmail the other gods into doing what it wants. The second involves the snarl being released and destroying the entire multiverse, eating the souls of everyone and anyone in any of the planes, including the afterlife. The gods will be forced to recreate the world, but the Dark One will now have a say in how the world is made.
- General Tarquin plans to bring the southern part of the Western Continent under his control by skillfully manipulating the three most powerful empires that rule it. Elan isn't comfortable with the deception involved, but Tarquin justifies it to himself by reasoning that he can end the wars which plague the area, killing tens of thousands each year.
- The Varn Gene Mage from Terinu wants to restore the Varn Dominion. All that involves is the capture of the titular character and the persuasion of all the races that the Dominion had once enslaved to join up again. By force, if necessary.
- One Shortpacked! arc involves Robin and Ultra-Car going to an alternate universe where the Drama Tag was never pulled, meaning that the comic's Cerebus Syndrome and subsequent Character Development never took place. Everyone is cheery but a bit off, and every strip ends with a joke. Among other changes, Galasso's dead wife Pamela is still alive. It turns out that she created the Drama Tag to stay with her family, and argues that everyone is happier with this reality than they would be if the Tag was pulled. Rachel, who is also stuck there, pulls it anyway to finally get back to the normal universe.
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Summed up in Dr. Horrible's statement, "The world is a mess and I just... need to rule it." Summed up less cogently when he tries to explain his worldview to Penny:
Billy: The fish rots from the head, they say, so my thinking is, why not cut off the head-
Penny: Of the human race?
Billy: It's not a perfect metaphor...
- Doctor Steel wants to remake the world into a Utopian Playland — by force with the aid of giant robots, if necessary.
- Worm's protagonist has mostly arrived at this view, deciding to join up with other villains since the heroes have failed to impress her.
- Ironically, The world's greatest heroes feel the same about their crimes against humanity.
- The city of Ba Sing Se in Avatar: The Last Airbender, when at last it is reached, is a stronghold that has withstood the Fire Nation for one hundred years, a haven for thousands of refugees. However, the price for this is the censorship, even from the king, that there is a war that has been waging for the past 100 years and that the Earth Kingdom is losing. Also, anyone who insists that there is a war is promptly and quietly kidnapped, brainwashed, and enslaved by the Dai Li militia.
- Fire Lord Sozin started the century-long war with the aim of "sharing Fire Nation prosperity" with the other nations, in spite of warnings from his closest friend, Avatar Roku.
- Amon in The Legend of Korra believes that bending is a source of pain and misery in the world, and is abused to no end. Ridding the world of it would bring equality to the world and the human race. Not such a bad idea, except that his plans of firebombing arenas full of thousands of people and taking away bending against the will of the benders are more than a little sick.
- Justice League's Alternate Universe equivalents, the Justice Lords, did this to their world, taking over and imposing a metahuman-run utopia/dystopia. Most of the ends seem well worth the means, especially violating Lex Luthor's Joker Immunity and lobotomizing omnicidal maniacs, but the group quickly leaped off the slippery slope by getting rid of the right to vote or speak freely while arresting individuals for threatening to not pay for food. On the other hand, their world has no rape, murder, arson, or even litter. Unusually, this is one of the more even-handed examples, with both "Utopia" and "the means to it" being shown in fair measure. Fans of the show were left to wonder if, in a world where every prison's a Cardboard Prison, the Justice Lords might have had a point, and the Batmen even debate on it in the middle of the episode.note
- An example of this is Gotham. Justice League Batman's version looks like it came out of a pulp noir story, and Arkham is a run-down creepy Bedlam House. Justice Lord Batman's version looks identical to Metropolis, and Arkham looks like a perfectly normal psychiatric institution (if you excuse the fact that parts of it are staffed by lobotomized supervillains). And people are arrested for making a scene at a restaurant.
- The very same episode also featured another version of this at the very beginning. Lex Luthor—who was the President at the time in the alternate universe—apparently did something that he justified with this belief. The episode never tells us what he specifically did, but whatever it was, apparently it backfired horribly and was about to start World War III before Superman kills President Luthor. When Superman walks into the Oval Office he exposits "Even this wasn't enough for you, Lex. You had to have it all. Now we're on the brink of a war that could destroy the whole planet." Lex—who appears to still be in a state of shock about his mysterious plans backfiring—ignores Superman and babbles to himself "Could have been so perfect! Paradise!" Then the conversation spirals out of control, and the scenario described in the above two paragraphs comes into fruition.
- Motorcity: Detroit Deluxe is supposedly "The City of the Future" where everyone is clean and happy, but everyone must dress the same, KaneCo soldiers and bots constantly pilot the area as well as occasionally terrorize Motorcity. Mike states that they've had their freedom taken away, but their citizens are unaware.
- Nerissa of W.I.T.C.H. wants to make the multiverse a safe place for all, ridding the universes of evil. To that end, she's hunting down powers equal to that of a god, manipulating everyone from teenagers to adults to the friggin' dead, trying to kill a cat to gain its power and essentially turning everyone against each other and destroying them just to reach that goal.