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Dystopian Edict

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Who would've figured Robotnik would be a "Stop Having Fun" Guy?
"Anyone found not having a good time will be shot."
Graffito, Fatherland

A Dystopia, Crapsack World or Planet of Hats oftentimes has a single, not very realistic law (with other laws existing to shore up that law) which, often contrary to common sense, defines that society. The penalty for breaking the Dystopian Edict is usually draconian in nature — death or imprisonment are the most common, but worse punishments exist, particularly in speculative fiction.

This edict must never have existed in any past or present society (nor, in many cases, could it), and probably couldn't be enforced in the real world for more than two minutes.

Dystopias with a variety of different laws and rules, no matter how draconian, don't count. (E.g. The Giver.)

See also The Evils of Free Will for what most of these Dystopian Edicts ultimately boil down to. Common Dystopian Edicts include:

  • Fascists' Bed Time - Curfew gone totalitarian; if you're out and about later than the government wants you to be, dire consequences ensue.
  • All Crimes Are Equal - Every act that breaks the law is punished in the same way, often a very brutal way.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory - You have to be happy no matter what; any display of more negative emotions is punished harshly.
  • Individuality Is Illegal - Any individuality or deviation from the societal norm is met with harsh punishment.
  • No Sex Allowed - Get groiny with others? Get jailed or worse.

Contrast Fascist, but Inefficient and Dystopia Is Hard. Dystopian Oz is a sub-trope based off of the Land of Oz series.

As mentioned above, this trope is by its nature not applicable to real life.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Akarui Sekai Keikaku: Anyone not in a relationship with someone after a period of time is executed.
  • AKB0048 with the Entertainment ban. Depending on the area, it is either grudgingly accepted (things like radio and TV and classic music) to being completely banned with the threat of siccing State Sec on the offender. If you're wondering whether or not they've gone completely insane, it depends; does knowing about all-powerful eldritch forces that can be controlled by celebrities and a desire to control these forces yourselves at any cost make you insane?
  • The Third: The Girl with the Blue Eye has the "Technos Taboo". Enforced by the ruling elite known as the Third to prevent the most advanced of technology from being used outside of their control.

    Comic Books 
  • The comic City Of Dust, where every fiction (starting with religion) is outlawed.
  • The "It is illegal to be unhappy!" variety seems pretty common. It also appears in a Mickey Mouse cartoon, where Mickey and Donald Duck have fallen through the Bermuda triangle into a fantasy kingdom. Everybody is smiling like crazy. At one point, the king orders his guards to arrest a gardener, seemingly at random. When Mickey protests that the man wasn't being unhappy, the king replies: "Well, now he is! I'm a great believer in preventing crimes."
  • The Dark Judges in Judge Dredd come from a parallel dimension where it was decreed that, because all crimes are committed by the living, life itself is a crime, punishable by death. Unfortunately for Mega-City One, they don't recognize jurisdictional boundaries either.
  • In Buck Godot: THERE ARE NO LAWS IN NEW HONG KONG. SO WATCH IT. Unlike most examples this was done to prevent a bunch of Lawful Stupid robots from taking over. However there are a lot of unspoken traditions that are enforced by everyone else.
  • No emotions! (The Doctor Who Magazine comic City of the Damned and the IDW Doctor Who story The Whispering Gallery)
  • Transformers (2019) has the Nominus Edict, which is increasingly seen as one of these by the general population. It was instituted by the Autobot leader Nominus Prime following the devastating War of the Threefold Spark, and while part of the edict is understandable (lethal weapons are sealed away, Cybertronians aren't allowed to have integrated weaponry built into them), others like a ban on both the founding of colonies without unanimous approval from the Senate (something nigh impossible) and exploration is viewed as stifling Cybertron's culture and citizens. When the series begins, the Autobots try to present Cybertron as being a peaceful utopia, but ignore when it's pointed out the Nominus Edict has long worn out its welcome.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): The Sangtee Empire has outlawed sexual reproduction and women cannot be citizens due to their misogynistic state religion. This also serves as population control as all citizens are (supposed to be) grown in vats overseen by the government.

    Films — Animated 
  • The LEGO Movie: No creativity allowed, everyone must follow the instructions.
  • Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town: Burgermeister Meisterburger bans all toys from Sombertown after he trips on one and hurts himself. This is not good news for the young Santa Claus, who is tasked with delivering the toys made by the elves to the children of Sombertown.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Ai no Kusabi has "No Sex Allowed" for the ruling class of Elites. So they just keep "Pets" for voyeuristic purposes.
  • George Orwell books warn against cults of personality.
  • Kurt Vonnegut:
  • Ray Bradbury:
    • Fahrenheit 451: No books! Deep thought in general, though not as incredibly illegal as books, definitely does get you in trouble.
    • Short story The Pedestrian. A man goes out walking at night, which no one else does anymore — they're all watching TV. He's stopped by the police and hauled off to the Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies. A throwaway line in Fahrenheit 451 reveals that the pedestrian of the title is likely Clarisse McClellan's uncle.
  • Star Trek expanded universe:
    • A Star Trek: The Next Generation novel called "Gulliver's Fugitives" had a planet that banned all fiction, with very elaborate cleanup measures including Laser-Guided Amnesia. Unlike many examples, this one makes it very clear just how incredibly hard it is and how much of the society's resources are needed to maintain the "quarantine" against imagination. The whole thing turns out to be a hallucination caused by Troi doing an Archive Binge in a learning machine.
    • And a Star Trek: Enterprise novel, By The Book, features a society where any spontaneity is regarded as barbaric. Justified because they share the planet with Hipons, a Giant Spider race whose thoughts alone can Mind Rape you and the only protection is to have your mind as orderly as possible. It eventually turns out that the Hipons weren't doing this on purpose, and the Enterprise crew eventually figure out a workaround.
  • Ayn Rand's Anthem is set in a collectivist society where the words "I, me, my, mine," and "ego" are forbidden. Speaking those words is a crime punishable by death.
  • No chocolate! (Bootleg by Alex Shearer, which was also made into a TV series, a manga and an anime.)
  • Brave New World: Averted by the World State, who do not pass any singular edict or unpleasant law in order to forge their dystopia but instead are conditioned culturally to not like doing anything alone, being incapable of a long term relationship, consuming a drug called Soma when you are not happy, and any number of things in order for you to be "happy" and not disturb the social order; if you don't follow even one of this rules of behavior they banish you to a island far away so you won't disturb the social order, but it is stated at one point this is not as a punishment as it may look as there they're able to coexist with persons who share similar beliefs and live their own way. After all, "Everyone belongs to Everyone Else".
  • In The Court Of The Air, true believers in a hyper-communistic ideology volunteer to be maimed, disfigured or lobotomized if they realize they're too fit, attractive or smart.
  • In Christian Nation, the Fifty Blessings are a series of fifty separate edicts, themselves grouped into ten categories, but are still technically one law which the theocratic future America is hellbent upon enforcing upon its populace.
  • The James Morrow novella City of Truth: no untruth of any kind, including misleading statements, exaggeration or fiction. That law is enforced by brutal conditioning in a procedure known as the "brainburn." It's not only illegal to lie in Veritas (the city of the title), it's impossible once one's received the burn.
  • In Coda (2013), everyone is required to listen to the Corp's music once they hit a certain age. This causes an addiction to it that never goes away.
  • The Dark Elf Trilogy: The third son of a Drow house must be sacrificed at birth to Lolth! Drizzt Do'Urden avoids this fate only because one of his brothers assassinates the other before the sacrifice takes place, "promoting" him to second son.
  • In Delirium, love has been declared to be a mental illness called amor deliria nervosa. At the age of 18, all citizens are required to have a surgery that removes from them the capability to love.
  • The Once and Future King: In the ant colony, everything not forbidden is compulsory! It's an allegory of communism.
  • Discworld:
    • Fiction is illegal in Interesting Times's Agatean Empire.
    • Parodied with Vetinari. He has all mimes and street performers thrown into the scorpion pit (making sure that the mimes can see a sign saying "Learn The Words" as they die) and is said to hold "Views" on modern art. The people of the city consider these his good points; previous rulers were much much worse.
  • Doctor Who novel The Stealers of Dreams, where even thinking about anything untrue is a sign of insanity. However, it is justified by the mind aliens that make anything you imagine become "real" as a hallucination.
  • In the book Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, the one and only rule in The Town is "no shadows", as in they cut off your shadow before you're allowed in. Of course this also takes away your mind so they really don't need any other rules to maintain order.
  • Enid Blyton's Land Of Do-As-You-Please: No laws of any kind! An inversion of course, but still a kiddy version of a dystopia, though.
  • In The Lovers, the Haijac Union has many such rules for its people, among which sex must have reproductory purposes and be devoid of pleasure but still out of love between husband and wife, women can't wear make-up, and people must eat silently while wearing special "eating caps" that hide them chewing.
  • In Dan Wells' Partials, the Hope Act demands that all women 18 and older must be pregnant as often as possible since all infants since 'The Break' have not survived and the politicians figure that sooner or later an infant will be immune if they keep at it long enough.
  • The Proscriptions of Jwo-Jeng serve as this in Safehold. They are the rules the Church of God Awaiting originally crafted to make sure Safehold remained in a state of Medieval Stasis, and one means by which the current regime stays in power. They limit all technology to only devices which are wind, water, and muscle powered. The protagonists aren't at a point where they can outright violate the Proscriptions, but a little creativity (and, later, an ally who can provide Loophole Abuse) goes a long way.
  • Shadow Children: Couples must have only two children. Any extra children must die or go to jail.
  • In the very first Sword of Truth book, the Evil Overlord and Big Bad has recently outlawed fire. In a quasi-medieval society, just as winter's about to set in. This stems from when he was horrifically burned by Wizard's Fire as a child, but that doesn't make it any less crazy, and the main characters note that this will lead to widespread death. The Big Bad, of course, plans to either become a god or destroy the world by the first of Winter — his chosen Doomsday spell comes with a time limit — and so doesn't care about the lingering effects.
  • The Tamarisk Hunter: Most if not all of the water in the Colorado River belongs to California, meaning that states and people farther upriver have no water.
  • In Piers Anthony's Tarot novels, miscegenation laws prohibit anyone on Earth from marrying within their own racial group. Ostensibly intended to end racism once and for all, they're actually a population-control mechanism, as millions of people in racially-homogeneous regions can't find anyone suitable to marry.
  • In Robert Silverberg's "To See the Invisible Man" (which was adapted as an episode of The Twilight Zone (1985)), a future society requires everyone to be friendly and warm to each other at all times. Anyone convicted of being "cold" must spend an entire year with a mark on their forehead that warns everyone else not to acknowledge their existence in any way.
  • In Unwind by Neal Shusterman, the government has decided that to please both sides of the abortion debate, abortion is illegal but people can chose to have their children "unwound", which means they are taken apart and used for organs. The people who proposed this idea apparently came up with it to satirize the extremes the other sides were reaching, and were quite surprised when it was accepted as a legit compromise.
  • Victoria:

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Black Mirror episode "Nosedive", people's worth is defined by a 5-point system.
  • In the Doctor Who serial "The Happiness Patrol", unhappiness is not allowed.
  • Not a country, but an episode of The IT Crowd has the company CEO Denholm Reynolm declaring a war on stress, with anyone showing any signs of stress to be fired. Of course, the threat doesn't help things.
    • He shows a similar attitude to a lack of teamwork, once firing an entire floor because they weren't working together as a team. And then ordering the security team sent to make sure they all left the building fired because he suspected they weren't working as a team.
  • Monty Python's Princess Mitzi Gaynor of Happy Valley sketch: No unhappiness! Violators will be hanged by the neck until they cheer up.
  • The Orville:
    • "Majority Rule" features a planet where the number of "likes" a person has attached to a device they wear can have them get mind wiped in the worst case. As if the entire planet is a comments section, so to speak.
    • "All the World is a Birthday Cake" features a planet ruled by astrology. Specifically, people are deemed to be either cursed or destined for greatness depending on the stellar sign they were born under. To top it off, it's really just a fascist dystopia that targets people based on Fantastic Racism.
  • It doesn't get more absurd than the half-hour episode of Six Dates with Barker starring Ronnie Barker, about a world in which everybody has to laugh at old music hall routines.
  • One early episode of Stargate Atlantis used the Logan's Run premise, but dropped the age to 25, in order to keep the planet's population small enough to be contained within their anti-technology defense field.
  • Star Trek:
    • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "A Taste of Armageddon", two planets are at war with each other, but have set up a system where, instead, of actually dropping nuclear bombs on each other, they have computers calculate how many people would be killed if one of them dropped a bomb on another. Anyone the computers determine would have been killed by the hypothetical blast have 24 hours to report to a Disintegration Chamber and let themselves be killed. Apparently, in the 500 years the war had been going on for, no one had ever refused to let themselves be disintegrated until Captain Kirk came along. It's implied that this orderly and clean system of war is actually what has kept the conflict going for so long when the horrors (and physical cost) of a real war would have had both sides crying for peace centuries ago.
    • The people of Kaelon II are required to commit ritual suicide at age sixty, according to Doctor Timicin in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Half a Life". The intent of the almost two-thousand-year-old "resolution" is to allow people to face death with dignity instead of dying slowly from natural causes (it also relieved pressure on Kaelon II's health care system), but Lwaxana Troi finds it barbaric and convinces Timicin to seek asylum on the Enterprise, nearly causing a diplomatic incident. When his work is threatened (his people will not allow him to publish his work on restoring their dying sun if he receives asylum), Timicin agrees that his people are more important than his life and Lwaxana accompanies him to his resolution ceremony.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "The Obsolete Man", anyone who does anything the State declares wrong or useless (here being a librarian, believing in God) is judged "obsolete", with the penalty being death.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place has The Contest (all wizarding families with multiple magical children force all those kids to compete to see who gets to keep their powers, as a family may only have one wizard per generation, with the losers stripped of their magic).

  • The intro track to "The Iceberg/Freedom Of Speech, Just Watch What You Say!" by Ice T, ''Shut Up, Be Happy'', is one long stream of these (though, amusingly, does include the line "all sports broadcasts will proceed as normal").


    Tabletop Games 
  • No pop music in 2084 in the Tabletop RPG Starchildren.
  • "Happiness Is Mandatory. Unhappiness is treason. Treason is punishable by summary execution. Are you happy, citizen?" - Friend Computer, Paranoia Fortunately, The Computer is your Friend, and will be only too happy to help you be happy by applying Better Living Through Pharmaceuticals. As a result, many Citizens are so happy they forget to do anything else, like eat or sleep.
  • Nobilis and the Windflower Law. "Thou Shalt Not Love." Really, the main point of the Windflower Law is the simple fact that very nearly everyone violates it. The one who enacted it may actually hate love as much as he claims, but the MAIN point is that it gives him a ready excuse to punish anyone at his convenience. The fact that violations are usually ignored, BUT cruelly enforced at Entropy's whim, is arguably scarier than consistent enforcement.
  • People in Risibilos, a now-defunct Ravenloft domain, had the "laughing law", by which every statement had to be accompanied by "ha ha ha". Not laughter, just the bland recitation of "ha ha ha".
  • In Warhammer 40,000, basically every faction that actually has laws has a ton of these. It's that kind of setting.
    • The Imperium of Man: Worship the God-Emperor of Mankind as in the Imperial Creed. Any divergence from this creed (as arbitrated by the higher church officials based on personal opinion) is heresy and punishable by immediate death. Violations (which may or may not be overlooked depending on how trigger-happy the cleric in question is) include being a freethinker, questioning the imperium, pointing out that the guy who wrote their Bible fell to Chaos soon afterward because the Emperor rejected being the subject of religion, annoying someone with the power to declare anyone a heretic, porn, being tangentially associated with somebody accused of heresy, minor doctrinal differences stemming from a world having little contact with the larger Imperium, being a mutant of some sort, technological innovation (inherited from the Adeptus Mechanicus), not revering the Emperor hard enough, being sympathetic to aliens, and so on.
    • The Eldar: All Eldar must adopt a 'path', or a profession they master utterly before moving on to the next. Eldar life is absolutely paramount over non-Eldar, even when you're sacrificing billions of humans who would otherwise have also fought Chaos. No non-Eldar are allowed on Maiden Worlds (and no, you're not allowed to tell them which worlds are Maiden Worlds). And while it isn't law, most Eldar are hampered by the extreme cultural arrogance and an unwillingness to cooperate on level with other species.
    • Tau: Everyone must serve the 'Greater Good', which in practice means everyone serves the Ethereals and stays firmly in their Fantastic Caste System. Non-Tau are allowed, but are second-class citizens who are often mass-sterilized. Dissenters tend to be sterilized and/or stuck in concentration camps, and it's a prominent in-universe theory that dissenters are rare because the Ethereals use pheromone mind control on other Tau.
  • Exalted: This is the hat of the Yozi Cecelyne the Endless Desert. A good chunk of charms she teaches to her champions also have something to this effect.
    • Lunars are social engineers that aim to create a society that doesn't depend on the Exalts. Unfortunately, due to a combination of personal deficiencies, ineptitude, inexperience, and sometimes just plain old human nature, their societies often end up having to be duct-taped with this kind of edict lest they falter.
  • FAPP: In the lands controlled by the Prudes, anybody who is caught having sex or masturbating is either forced to join the military or imprisoned for life. Guards regularly invade the homes of non-nobles to make sure that they are not having sex or masturbating. Non-nobles are also forbidden from conceiving children without permission, and must be unconscious during the process so they cannot get any pleasure from it. The only reason why they don't execute sex criminals is because everyone in the world is immortal.

  • In Urinetown, everyone has to use pay toilets in order to pee, and those who violate this law are punished by being sent to Urinetown. The musical was actually inspired when the writer, living on limited resources in Paris, had to choose one morning between a pay toilet and breakfast. (He chose the latter.)
  • In We Will Rock You, the Queen musical, rock is not allowed. It was really probably the only way to get any kind of a plot out of The Power of Rock.
  • Behold, the oppressive Motor Law in Freewill in 2112, the fanmade Rush musical, in which all forms of transportation, leisure, and technology are forbidden. You must adhere to one destiny- and only one destiny- and abide to the religion of Chruddism. Individuality Is Illegal, and conformity and Blind Obedience are applauded. The home of this extremely oppressive dictation? The good old US-of-A, of course!

    Video Games 
  • Perhaps the Ur-Example in gaming is Lord Blackthorn's proclamations in Ultima V. Here, he twists the enlightened virtues of Ultima IV into draconian laws, such as "Thou shalt not lie, or thou shalt lose thy tongue".
  • Played to amusing effect in Batman: Arkham Asylum. Joker declares over the public address that there is a new rule in place. Penalty for breaking this rule is death, no ifs, ands, or buts. The best thing about this rule? It's a secret!
  • Bioshock: Andrew Ryan's original edict for Rapture was 'no laws that restrict capitalism in any way'. The first sign that he was slipping from his ideals into tyranny was when he permanently banned all travel back to the surface of his underwater city on penalty of deathnote . It just got worse from there, until his utopia where freedom of speech and labor were paramount turned into a land where Andrew's rivals were banned from doing business, artists were imprisoned for satirizing him, and eventually the only industry that survived was Fantastic Drug dealing.
  • Blasphemous takes place in the land of Cvstodia, a theocratic culture that valued atonement, penance, and martyrdom before a Jerkass Genie turned up and started giving everyone the fate they thought they deserved. The cultural preoccupation with guilt means that the Grievous Miracle caused:
    • A young man begging for a penance worthy of his sins to be twisted around the trunk of a tree that grew up beneath him, leaving him crucified.
    • A man in the northern edge of Cvstodia to turn half into a tree. He comments that the exposure to the cold is good, because it numbs the pain of his transformation.
    • A young woman known for her beauty to burn her face with liquid metal out of concern that focus on her looks diverted attention from the divine.
    • And so on. All these figures are seen as exemplars to be emulated, paragons of absolution.
  • In Dragon Quest Builders 2, the islands in which it takes place are ruled by the Children of Hargon, worshipers of the lord of destruction. Under their creed, any act of creation, whether it be building shelter or cooking food, is considered a punishable act of heresy. While this makes your character, a Builder, a Hero with Bad Publicity, it's remarkably easy to turn people and the less fanatical monsters over to your side simply by providing them with basic comforts.
  • In order to ensureprevent revolution, the Orbs in the Manhunter games do this: Humans are not permitted to speak to each other under penalty of death. On the other hand, since the Orbs took over, everything is under penalty of death.
  • In Metal Wolf Chaos, Vice President Hawk's government declares that anyone caught giving aid to the terrorist Metal Wolf will be put to will all their family members within four degrees, their classmates and co-workers, and all of their families too. Thankfully, he doesn't actually get to carry this out before President Wilson (AKA Metal Wolf) retakes the White House and puts Hawk on the run.
  • In Tropico the relatively annoying DJ announcer states when you pass the anti-litter ordinance, "El Presidente has passed a new anti-litter ordinance. Remember, violators will be shot on sight, so watch where you throw that bubble gum wrapper, kids."
  • In The New Order Last Days Of Europe, the Holy Russian Empire under the "Blessed Regent" Sergey Taboritsky issues the edict that not only All Crimes Are Equal, but that simply being accused of a crime is enough to make you guilty of one - and the punishment for literally every crime is the death penalty.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice: Phoenix Wright's already difficult job is made that much harder when he has to defend in the Kingdom of Khura'in, whose legal system is defined by the Defense Culpability Act, a law that makes anyone who defends a criminal, even lawyers, suffer the same punishment as the guilty party. Said law is so wide and ill-defined that it essentially gives Queen Ga'ran total control of who goes to prison.
  • In Revolution X, the New Order Nation has banned all forms of music, television, magazines, and video games, and anyone between the ages of 13 and 30 have been arrested, along with the band Aerosmith.
  • In the Skyrim mod The Forgotten City, The Dwarves' Law forms one of the cores of the plot: "The many shall suffer for the sins of the one." Unlike most examples on this page it seems reasonable and is draconian only in it's enforcement: Steal or kill and everyone in the city where the crime took place will be killed.
  • We Happy Few: Take. Your. Joy. If you do not take your daily dose of Joy (or have the bad luck to be immune to it), then you are a Downer and will be summarily thrown into the Garden District. That is, if the Wellies (who do not like Downers at all) don't beat you to death first. Do not mention the events that led up to Joy being mandatory. And for the love of God, do not get pregnant or have a kid. Wellies don't like 'breeders'.

  • The "everyone must be happy" variety shows up in Sluggy Freelance with 4U City. Anyone found being unhappy is either filled full of drugs until they are happy, or they get deported to another dimension via the "Judgement Chutes."

    Web Original 
  • Fear, Loathing and Gumbo on the Campaign Trail '72: Under control of the Lesser Mao (Mao Tse-Tung's nephew), China becomes a totalitarian hellhole that could give North Korea and the Khmer Rouge a run for their money. After the Lop Nur nuclear facility is nuked by America in retaliation for the Lesser Mao nuking rebels in Kwangsi, he passes several of these edicts. Anyone with ties to the outside world is deemed an enemy of the revolution and executed. That includes people with Chicken Pox, anyone who speaks a foreign language, and even anyone with a hint of literacy.

    Western Animation 
  • In American Dad!, when Roger takes over as dictator of a small Caribbean island, everyone must dance to Bananarama.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: In the episode "The Tomorrow Boys", Jimmy and his friends Sheen and Carl test his time machine and find a city under Libby's control. Under this, the people are required to watch many dance programs at certain time. The boys discover that Libby was given the Megalomanium by mistake on her birthday and must go to the future Jimmy and get him to rethink about science after marrying Cindy.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: There is no war in Ba Sing Se. Any attempts to point out the war that's been raging for 100 years outside of Ba Sing Se will, at best (i.e., if you're the Avatar and his friends and cannot be disappeared) be met with stonewalling and run-arounds. For most people, it'll be met with arrest by the Dai Li and being taken to Lake Laogai to be brainwashed into a puppet of the regime.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: Timmy once ends up in a dystopian alternate future (ruled by his dad!) where everyone must smile all the time.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "The Cutie Map - Part 1/Part 2", Starlight Glimmer runs a town that practically runs on Individuality Is Illegal. At one point, she confines the mane cast in a room with a loudspeaker that does nothing but play Dystopian Edicts that are variations on "Everyone is the same."
    Starlight Glimmer: Choose equality as your special talent. Difference is frustration. To excel is to fail. Be your best by never being your best. Conformity will set you free. Accept your limitations, and happiness will follow. You're no better than your friends.
  • The Simpsons: The "Treehouse of Horror V" story Time and Punishment has Homer visit an alternate reality ruled by Dictator Flanders. Happiness Is Mandatory, and anyone found not happy will be forced to smile for hours by metal hooks, and if that doesn't cheer them up, they're given Flanders' special cure of a nice glass of warm milk and a total frontal lobotomy.