What the Romans Have Done for Us

Reggie: All right... all right... but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us?
Peoples' Front of Judea Member: Brought peace?
Reggie: Oh, peace—SHUT UP!

Many tyrants and invaders will claim they make life better for their subjects, but sometimes it's true. Even the most devoted revolutionaries will admit that in some ways life was even worse before the tyrant took power.

Compare No Delays for the Wicked, Benevolent Alien Invasion, and The Extremist Was Right.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • In a conversation between Lelouch and Kallen in Code Geass, Lelouch admits that Area 11's economy is much stronger than Japan's was before Britannia invaded (But on the other side of the equation, Britannia's oppression of the native population caused the crime rate to skyrocket).

Film
  • Monty Pythons Life Of Brian is the Trope Namer, to the point where you have to wonder why they want to rebel from Rome in the first place.
    • Of course Rule of Funny and Artistic License History firmly apply as the sequence credits the Romans with introducing many things to Judea that had already been in place before they took over (such as wine, which is already mentioned in the first book of the Bible) thanks to local rulers such as the Hasmoneans and Herod the Great or to previous invaders like the Persians and Greeks.
  • Undercover Brother has a bit probably inspired by Monty Pythons Life Of Brian, although replace Jews and the Roman Empire with African-Americans and the Republican Party.

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • Horrible Histories:
    • A sketch has the wife of a crusader saying "Aside from [reels off a list of everything brought back from the Crusades] what have the Crusades done for me?"
    • Inverted in any sketch that brings up Puritan Rule in England, they never fail to mention Oliver Cromwell banned Music, Theatre, Sport and Christmas.
  • The Penn & Teller: Bullshit! episode "Holier Than Thou" points out that while the Chinese have generally stomped on civil rights and horrendously mistreated Tibetans, they have given Tibet electricity, running water, and secular education.

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms setting, supplement Forgotten Realms Adventures. After Cormyr invaded Tilverton there was much grumbling by the inhabitants. However, the influx of Cormyrean merchants and trade increased their wealth, and the military garrison and the wall erected around the town reduced raiding by bandits and monsters.

Video Games
  • In Fallout: New Vegas Caesar's Legion is generally hated and feared in the Mojave Wasteland, being a merciless slave empire. However, a couple of people admit that they've done a better job at keeping their territories safe from raiders than the democratic NCR has.

Western Animation
  • The Simpsons: In the David and Goliath segment of "Simpsons Bible Stories" after Bart/David kills Nelson/Goliath II he is jailed for regicide because it turns out in addition to being a tyrant he built roads and hospitals and he was a better and more loved king than Bart/David.

Other
  • Adam Hart-Davis hosted a series of documentaries titled "What The [Civilisation]s Did For Us" which focused on how some generally unpopular periods in British history (Roman occupation, Victorian times) lead to important parts of British society.