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Humans Are Bastards

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Homo homini lupus est.note 

"See, their morals, their 'code'... it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show ya. When the chips are down, these, uh, these 'civilized people', they'll eat each other."

In essence, Humans Are Bastards is the reverse of Rousseau Was Right — the natural proclivity of humanity is towards selfishness, apathy and violence. Only a select few people manage to rise above their base nature to become something better, but the kernel of darkness is still In the Blood. When Humans Are Bastards is in effect, even your "heroes" don't have clean hands, so most conflict is gray against black, with some gray against gray or black against black on for variety. Frequently used by Omnicidal Maniacs as an argument in favor of a Class 3a Apocalypse.

Humans being bastards doesn't preclude them being pragmatic about it, so if there isn't a profit to be made by making the world a hellhole, they might not, but if conditions are tolerable it certainly isn't due to any inborn altruism on the part of those in charge. Appeals to people's better nature will not work. Don't expect to see anyone shame the mob — idealism has no place here. Any successful do-gooders will be very, very cynical and paranoid, as the genuinely hopeful will inevitably become embittered if they're not killed outright.

Very, very far down the cynical side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, and all but guarantees a Crapsack World if this is true of the majority of the population. Comedies are black. Dramas are depressing. Beware of Too Bleak, Stopped Caring.

Compare Crapsack World, Black-and-Gray Morality. Compare World of Jerkass, where all the characters are jerks, but there isn't necessarily a moral about humanity at large. Hobbes Was Right often makes an appearance, proposing that if the bastardy of humanity is a constant, the most effective form of government is tyranny. On the other hand, the exact opposite stance may be taken as well: if humans are inherently bastards, then it's no use giving any of them power, because they will all inevitably abuse it.

Contrast Humans Are Good, Rousseau Was Right and White-and-Grey Morality. See also Humans Are Flawed, which takes the middle road by acknowledging humanity's shortcomings while not underplaying their potential capacity for virtue.

For settings where humans are depicted as bastards compared to other sapient species, see Humans Are the Real Monsters.

Remember, In-Universe Examples Only. We don't need any elaboration of all the bad things humans have done.

In-Universe Examples Only:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • 7 Seeds repeatedly shows us what jerks humans actually are, although some of them are presented as last-ditch efforts in case things go so bad that they don't think there's any way things could recover.
    • The 7 Seeds Project involves cryogenically freezing the team members and have them awaken in the post-apocalyptic world without even telling them they were picked for it. They just suddenly saw black and wake up in what looks like hell to them. The exceptions being the guides for each team, who were chosen to explain things to them and guide them, as well as Team Summer A that consists of teenagers who knew this was coming and have been raised to actively prepare for this situation.
    • How Team Summer A and its candidates were raised. All raised to prepare for being picked for the project, be great at everything and learn to focus and pay attention to this. If you are somehow not outstanding or have some defect like lacking stamina or having hereditary bad eye sight, the candidate drops out, meaning they end up killed and turned into sludge and fertilizer.
      • The Final Test for the candidates was worse. Random accidents begin to happen, which could have been avoided had they done as they were taught and been observant and paid attention. The Final Test escalates into a huge bloodbath, where the situation mimics them being thrown into the future with no help from the teachers, no easily accessible gas or water source and a place to sleep. It's pure survival. You "fail" the test by dying. The last seven students, one from each class, that are alive are picked for the project.
    • The Ryugu Shelter reveals that one of its plans, if things really started to go down the drain, was to cull half of its population to be ground up to become animal feed, fertilizer and fuel so the rest can survive a bit longer.
    • The Fuji Ship is a shelter and armoury, filled to the brim with all sorts of shooting weapons and has a built-in mechanic that, if they thought things were hopeless, would shoot dozens of missiles including a nuclear warhead all over Japan and self-destruct the ship, with the captain and crew being locked in so they can't escape. Regardless if people were actually still living in Japan.
  • Attack on Titan explores this, through discussions between characters and through how humanity deals with their grim circumstances. This is best exemplified by the attitude of Dark Action Girl Annie, who firmly states that people are by nature scum only concerned about themselves — those select few that go against the tide and have strong, unselfish convictions are greatly admired by her and considered "Special".
    • Ends up being played straight in that most humans outside the walls see Eldians, those who can transform into titans, as abhorrent, evil devils and the way Eldians are treated is definitely a case of this trope. However, it's not clear if Eldians are actually humans and the term "devil" is being used as an insult, or if they're literal devils who have merely taken on the form of humans, so it's both Humans Are Bastards from one side and Eldians Are Bastards from another.
  • Berserk likes to push this idea: every single evil thing that happens in the series can be traced back to human corruption and desire, and there is no external threat to humanity. Supernatural monsters? Humans dreamed them up. The demonic Apostles? All former humans who willingly and knowingly turned themselves into monsters. The God Hand? Same deal, but even more depraved and powerful. The Idea of Evil, the Unseen Evil that is suggested to be behind everything? Born of unconscious collective human desire. All the horror and the suffering humanity goes through in the series is, ultimately, self-inflicted.
    • The most misanthropic part of the whole manga has to be in the Conviction: Birth Ceremony arc. Sure, there's the obvious; a Corrupt Church with a fundamentalist inquisitor and his sadistic torturers. a pagan Cult that indulges in human sacrifice and cannibalism, and the violent campaign between the two trapping a population of displaced, starving war refugees. However, it turns out that these "ordinary people" are also not fully good either, falsely accusing people they don't like of heresy to get rid of them and robbing whatever goods left with violent force, driven by extremes like fear and distrust and spite towards everyone else. However, it is important to note that these horrible conditions were, in a way, manipulated by the Godhand, as this cumination of widespread despair and misanthropy allows them to kickstart an Incarnation Ceremony. Still, their plan works because of human nature, not in spite of it; they are smart enough to exploit this trope for their plans.
  • This is the core philosophy of Dante from Black Clover. More accurately, he feels being evil in of itself is to be human, stating that "malice" is the one supreme emotion that differs humans from animals. When Asta denies this, he stabs Gauche. He's pleased at seeing an angry, berserk Asta, saying that his rage is what makes him human.
  • The main conflict of Doraemon: Nobita and the Kingdom of Clouds is kicked off when the Kingdom of Clouds, a civilization of advanced humans called the Sky People living in the skies, decide to initiate The Great Flood to cleanse the surface of humanity after witnessing the irreversible damage humans have inflicted on the environment. It's not helped by the fact that the Sky People have rescued various animals from Earth's surface, including a Bornean orangutan whose home was destroyed by construction machines, a Tanzanian elephant whose family was massacred by a group of poachers, the Loch Ness Monster herself who's Last of Her Kind after her ancestors were hunted to extinction by humans in the past, and multiple animals who similarly despises humans for one reason or another.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The origin of the Nameless Namek who would become Kami and Piccolo is that he came from a peaceful and benevolent race, and became corrupted from seeing the worst of humanity over the centuries. When the Nameless Namek wanted to become the new Guardian of the Earth, he separated himself from his evil side and that piece of him became King Piccolo, who went on to terrorize humanity. Yajirobe lampshades that there are some really nasty humans in the world and couldn't blame Piccolo for being corrupted.
    • In the early story arcs of the series, most of the focus is on Goku fighting humans who had no problem stealing, killing, and terrorizing their fellow man. The best example being the Red Ribbon Army who executed children and Commander Red sacrificing his own men just to use the Dragon Balls to get taller.
    • Kami held this view which is why he didn't want to revive the Dragon Balls after Piccolo killed the Eternal Dragon Shenron. According to him, the humans turned his symbol of hope and courage, the Dragon Balls, into items of greed and murder. He only changes his mind after seeing Goku's selfless nature, despite Goku not being a human. Then again, he could have seen Goku as a representation of humanity since he was raised among them. This especially holds true if he knew what Goku was before being found by Gohan.
    • In Dragon Ball Super Zamasu believes this but on a wider scale: He believes ALL mortals are corrupt and that gods are too useless to do anything about them. He does not act upon it, however, until an encounter with Goku, at which point he steals Goku's body (becoming Goku Black) and uses it to try to kill ALL the mortals (and any gods who oppose him). Then he goes to an alternate timeline and teams up with another version of himself. And it only gets worse from there...
  • Elfen Lied is a shining example of both this trope and Humans Are the Real Monsters. The diclonii are treated horribly in this series, and humans who want to help them aren't really treated kindly either.
  • End of Evangelion reveals that humanity itself is the final angel; and as evidenced by the JSSDF's ruthless and near-utter destruction of NERV, they are the one angel that cannot be defeated.
  • Zeref believes this in Fairy Tail. It's why he wants to wipe out humanity. Turns out being Really Four Hundred Years Old lets you see some rather unfortunate and recurring traits of human nature, and with his Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds personality, it was the perfect storm to create a Misanthrope Supreme. Interestingly, however, due to how much his own actions have shaped human history and influenced said dark forces acting in his name or using his inventions, he decides that he is the reason for this and so decides to hit the Reset Button with an incredibly powerful time-altering spell to take himself out of the equation and Ret-Gone the present for a (hopefully) better timeline.
  • Shirou Kotomine (rather, Shirou Tokisada) of Fate/Apocrypha believes that mankind is beyond regular salvation, and only a true miracle granted by the Holy Grail can save them. Of course, his solution is to create a World of Silence...
  • Downplayed, but present in The Fruit of Evolution. The general population is just trying to live their lives in peace. The leadership of the human empire, however, revels in it. Without exception, those in charge treat their underlings terribly. A lich, Xenos, had his maid and lover butchered because the human emperor was jealous of his talent and wealth, transforming him into a lich in the first place, against his will. Even in the present, the rest of Seichi's school was enslaved, and forced to go through Training from Hell to prepare for the next rising of the "Demon King" that the human empire antagonizes in the first place. The reason Seichi is not among them? The rest of the school bullied him horribly, for his body-type and odor, the second of which was beyond his control, and abandoned him, just before everyone was shipped off to this new "fantasy world" RPG Mechanics 'Verse by an admitted Jerkass God.
  • Ghost in the Shell's setting runs on this, to the point that the Tachikomas are actually much more human than the actual humans.
  • This is the point of the Universal Century Gundam series, where there are more selfish and cruel people in the world than kind, noble and selfless ones.
    • It is used by Char Aznable as an excuse to drop Axis on Earth. It becomes a lot more visible right after the disappearance of Zeon.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt shows that all sides of the One Year War are bastards in their own rights, from Zeon's ethically dubious cybernetic experiments to the Federation's use of Child Soldiers as sacrificial pawns.
    • Rau Le Creuset from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED believes that humans are selfish, greedy bastards who will do anything to get ahead... even if it means wiping themselves out in the process. He justifies this viewpoint with both Kira's existence (an attempt at a genetically perfect human being) and his own existence (a clone meant to be his original's legacy and successor, giving him severe identity issues); this belief is also drives him to want to wipe out humanity, taking the "I'm Taking You with Me" ethos to its logical extreme. Fittingly, he's the worst of them all. The scary part? He's not wrong. Considering all the racism and blind hatred fueling the wars (which both sides are aware of and DEFEND as virtuous, especially at their highest levels of authority), he has a very good claim for arguing his point. And it isn't even that he's blind to the capacity for good in humanity: he acknowledges virtue and idealism when he sees it, he just doesn't believe there's anywhere near enough of it to counteract the evils of humanity.
      Le Creuset: (about Lacus) It's such a shame. I really did enjoy her songs. But the real world is not so nice as the one that exists in music!
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, the Earth Alliance jumps straight to the Nuclear Option at the first opportunity. That opportunity was given them to ZAFT renegades dropping a colony on Earth. This is what motivates the antagonist from the sequel to enact The Plan to prevent such things from happening again, because he agreed humans became bastards as a result of their hatreds. The big difference between him and Le Creuset is that he believes he can fix humanity, rather than simply give up on it as a lost cause.
  • This is the premise of Hell Girl. In the first season, almost every victim is an Asshole Victim and the clients are mostly Woobies who torment them horribly. However, the season also reveals Ai's backstory. She was meant to be a sacrifice to her village's god. She and her cousin Sentarou, whom she loved, broke one of the rules, resulting in Ai and her parents being buried alive by the villagers, including Sentarou, who was forced to do so. In the second season, Futakamori, the theme has changed to Black-and-Grey Morality, where the viewers sometimes sympathize with the victims as well if the clients happen to be bastards. The final arc of the season takes the cake where almost everyone in the town is a complete asshole; they banish each other to hell and use Takuma as the scapegoat because of his reputation as the "Devil Child". And in the third season, Mitsuganae, the humans are so fucked up in their mind that none of Ai's clients get a happy ending like the ones from first season. The new main character in the third season, Yuzuki Mikage, is a victim of this trope: it's revealed that she's Dead All Along. But what killed her? Her father was a bus driver, whose many customers were killed in an accident. The bus company blamed him for it, leading to Yuzuki and her mother being isolated by society and nobody helping them when the mother fell sick and died, and Yuzuki died of starvation.
  • The conclusion Aur from How to Build a Dungeon: Book of the Demon King has reached. He believes humanity is a collective of selfish beings who will sell out and betray anyone, anytime, anywhere if it means saving their behinds; something happened in his life, implied to be a massive betrayal that left him in shambles, that made him into the cold demon lord that Aur is today — someone whose only life goal is to make humanity suffer and submit them to his rule. The irony is that Aur himself is a human being, performing greater acts of evil out of misguided hatred; he is proving his own view to be right.
  • In Now I'm a Demon Lord! Happily Ever After with Monster Girls in My Dungeon, the vast, vast majority of the human population are genocidal antagonists who exterminate whole races purely to either fatten their wallets, or to slake their lusts for power, wealth, or pleasure.
  • In Revenge of the Teapot Hero, the only good and kind people were the protagonist Kyrie and her home village. She herself lampshades that the humans are the aggressors in a stupid war with the "demon" tribe, purely over territory, and when she's dubbed a [hero] but found to have a lack-luster talent, she gets sent back home only to have her entire village butchered to the last child to get at her and make it look like it was the act of some nameless bandits, with the soldiers grumbling on how tedious it is to chase her down until she turns the tables and then beg for mercy, with the local commander gloating how he's proud to be "a professional soldier" as he engages in various acts of atrocity and sadistically tormenting her, even convincingly faking his surrender when she turns the tables on him, to try and buy time to back-stab her, burning through what little mercy she had left.
  • Sgt. Frog:
    • Well, at least, that's what the Angol clan considers humanity to be in the manga, sensing various evil thoughts throughout the world and being able to count how many sins are happening on Earth in a specific moment. This would explain why the Angols seem nice, despite their destructive aims.
    • Also in Soulcalibur 4, which features Angol Fear, Angol Mois' cousin who'd go on to appear in the Keroro manga later. Her story suggests the Angol race thinks Humans Are Bastards, and possibly the reason they want to destroy Earth is to save the rest of the Universe from that corruption expanding; Ultimately, Angol Fear observes that there are many innocent humans, and leaves it up to Angol Mois to decide whether to destroy Earth or not.
  • In Tomica Hyper Rescue Drive Head Kidou Kyuukyuu Keisatsu, this is the belief held by The Evil AI. When it tried to connect with humans, it absorbed so much negativity that it came to the conclusion that they were an evil who needed to be wiped out.
  • A recurring theme in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, unlike other series the enemies are because of human greed and viciousness. To the point that the ultimate Big Bad of the series was just a regular human that eventually grew corrupt due to humanities' bloodlust.
  • Explored in the Chapter Black arc of YuYu Hakusho. The Big Bad is a former spirit detective who used to have a rigid Black-and-White Morality view of demons and humans, until he crashed the secret Black Book Club and witnessed that the evil rich old men that make up the club's membership have been capturing, torturing and murdering demons for their own amusement. The sight completely shattered his worldview and he vowed to Kill All Humans, recruiting followers by stealing a tape from the Underworld called the Chapter Black tape, containing hours of mankind's worst deeds, capable of turning anyone who watches it into a Straw Nihilist with an utter disdain for humanity. However, Koenma eventually reveals that the Chapter Black tape was never meant to be watched by itself. Instead, it's supposed to be watched at the same time as a similar "Chapter White" tape that shows mankind's most compassionate and altruistic moments, giving the viewer an idea of mankind's potential for good and evil in equal measure.

    Comic Books 
  • In Chlorophylle, humans have this vicious tendency to create a lot of things dangerous to animals.
  • Darkseid sometimes expresses this opinion, although he is not accusing humanity of being "worse" than other races but rather heartily approves as a fellow asshole. On one occasion, Batman threatened to blow up all of Apokolips if Darkseid did not free an enslaved Supergirl from Mind Control, and Darkseid believed him on the grounds that Batman is a human and humans kill each other all the time so he could buy that Batman wasn't bluffing.
  • Green Lantern: In Vol. 3 #155, Kyle Rayner decides to leaves Earth after being traumatized by the brutal hate crime inflicted on his young gay assistant Terry. Before he goes, he tells his then-girlfriend Jade (Jennifer-Lynn Hayden, daughter of the first Green Lantern) about his insights into the human psyche during his time as Ion (when he had achieved godhood and was nigh-omnipotent and nigh-omniscient) and what they revealed to him about the extent of man's inhumanity to man, which causes him to now view humanity with Jade-Colored Glasses:
    Kyle Rayner: Jen, I can't do this anymore.
    Jen: Do what?
    Kyle Rayner: Protect Earth. I've been thinking about something Brainwave said a few months back. About what drove him insane. He said that he had reached into the minds of millions, and all he found was hate. When I was Ion I felt it, too. Jen, there is good in this world, but it doesn't measure up to the bad. In the hearts of humanity, there is anger, there is rape, there is brutality... there is hate. It took this happening to Terry to... break me. I can't help these people now. I don't want to. Earth will have to get by without me.
  • In a lot of incarnations The Joker holds this opinion (most famously in The Killing Joke), maintaining that all it takes is "one bad day" to make anyone just as murderously insane as he is. In some cases it is implied that, deep down, he is outright disgusted with humanity and his murderous behaviour — as well as his suicidal recklessness — are violent acts of protest and despair at the world and not purely For the Evulz, with his battle with Batman being an ideological one over who is correct.
  • In Justice League (2018), Lex Luthor travels one million years into the future and learns that he's become a Dark Messiah, with all of humanity following his philosophy of personal empowerment and embracing one's inner self rather than aspiring to be something better. As a result, he created a Villain World where mankind embraced the worst aspects of human nature and subjugated the rest of the universe in his name, literally calling their way of life "Doom". To Lex, this was paradise. However in Doomsday Clock, Dr. Manhattan forsees that in a thousand years this timeline will be overwritten by one in which mankind finally embraces the ways of Superman, circling back to Humans Are Flawed.
  • Marvel Comics generally follows this trope given how much of a Crapsack World it tends to be. It starts with their very first superhero book, Namor the Submariner, picks up with The Incredible Hulk and hits its zenith with the X-Men. For example:
    • Most people who get powers or advanced tech are more than willing to abuse it. Many humans are usually shown as incredibly corrupt, stupid racists who turn on their own heroes for any reason, support programs like concentration camps and killer robot Sentinels designed to commit genocide against undesirable parts of the population, and are more than willing to sell mankind out to demonic invaders, alien invaders, dark gods or whomever is threatening them at the moment. About the only thing holding the planet together are the heroes and a minority of other decent people. Accordingly, most futures tend to end badly for humanity and most alien races hold this opinion of humans and would not miss humanity if it were to destroy itself. There are some exceptions and in the aliens' case, for most races, it is a matter of Moral Myopia since Aliens Are Bastards equally applies.
    • However, a number of comics indicate that plenty of humans are not bastards, it's just that the ones who are tend to be really prominent. Furthermore, X-Men (2019) goes some way to explaining why mutants are so particularly feared and hated — they're a direct replacement for humanity (something that, Depending on the Writer, they aren't shy about reminding humanity of). Many of them have god-like powers, and consider themselves apart from, if not above, humans. The fact that their usual binomial name, often chosen by the relatively moderate Charles Xavier, is Homo Superior, doesn't hurt, either. Thus, while humanity's actions aren't necessarily right, they are at least understandable (though this does veer into Grey-and-Grey Morality, with suggestions that both sides are as bad as each other).
  • In The Walking Dead, the worst threats to the survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse are other survivors. Sometimes it's more Humans Are Morons.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Zara developed this philosophy after being sold into slavery as a child. Her only remorse over any of her cruelty is getting imprisoned for it and she doesn't see any of her victims as innocent. In her view that's not possible, they're human so regardless of their age or public image they're at least as horrible and cruel as she is.

    Fan Works 
  • Frozen Hearts (Red Witch): Most of the characters in Ooo sees the humans as one and considering their leaders, their observation is not far off.
  • The Grimm Prince: After Jaune becomes King of the Grimm, one of the first things he does is order Salem to bring all the grimm back to the grimmlands. It takes several weeks for people to actually realize the grimm have disappeared and a full year to genuinely believe they're gone. Then less than a year later Mistral is encroaching on the lands of Vale and Atlas, ready to go to war with them over land and resources. Ozpin insists it's a plot by Salem to make humanity tear itself apart in their greed. Jaune, upon learning of the pending war, can't believe anyone would fight over resources after going from having control of only five percent of the world totalnote  to having literally the entire world and all its resources available.
  • Harry in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality believes in this trope... in a way. He notes that for the longest part of history humans have been absolutely horrible to everyone except for their personal allies. He does think that humans have potential to be good, but they need to be conditioned to do so. Professor Quirrell, on the other hand, believes the trope wholeheartedly, to the point where he questions whether people really care for each other and don't just pretend to do so.
  • A subtler theme in Miraculous: The Phoenix Rises. While Adults Are Useless and Crapsack World are blatant themes, apart from our main characters and a handful of exceptions, on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism this text is at the very far end of the latter.
  • This was so common in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fandom that some people on Friendship Is Magic Fiction (FIM Fiction) felt it necessary to create a "Humans Aren't Bastards" group for stories that subvert this mindset. It can be found here. Examples of this being played straight are:
    • In Last Light, the difference between the pony-centric Equestria and the human world is accentuated by their different suicide rates. Suicide is almost unheard of in Equestria, but it's not in the human world. Sunset's bullied so much for supposedly being Anon-a-miss that she's been Driven to Suicide.
    • The Conversion Bureau sub-genre of fics is themed around the utopian country of Equestria contrasting with the violent world of humans. Disgusted by humans, Celestia decides to force them into becoming ponies. Though whether or not she and the titular bureau are actually right or if they don't have as much moral high ground over humanity as they think, varies heavily from story to story.
  • In chapter 13 of My Name Is Molly, Liam regrets not doing The Operation to turn him into a Funny Animal. He monologues that humans are monsters for bombing their species instead of looking for a cure. The animals seem more peaceful and are blissfully ignorant about The Plague.
  • In The Return this is humanity's hat and why they're still alive.
  • In this crossover of "The Amazing World Of Gumball" and "Dracula", Count Dracula holds this view of humans after the death of his wife, Mina.
  • Katiya of the Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch fic The Warmth of a Sister's Love is a firm believer in this to the extent that she actually hates it when she has to assume her human form. However, Lucia and the others, having lived amongst humans for far longer than Katiya has, are quick to point out that not all humans are bad, and by the end, Katiya has started to accept this.
  • Orochimaru in Son of the Sannin claims that "there's no such thing as innocent people, just people who never had the chance to sin".
  • In Suikakasen, Seiga is a firm believer of this. She points out to Yoshika that survival revolves around killing others, but that humans are extra cruel because they cut and cook the living things they eat. While witnessing a warzone at the end of episode 3, Seiga laments that humans have begun to kill for reasons other than to gather food and likens them to pests.

    Films — Animated 
  • On the whole, The Animatrix: The Second Rennissance explains that the Machines were not so much trying to overthrow humanity but pushed to the brink by humanity's own callousness and disregard for their right to be treated as equal. The endgame of reducing humans to living power sources that are trapped in a virtual simulation of life before the war is almost like a gesture of mercy given how unfairly and cruelly humans used the Machine race.
  • In Mavka: The Forest Song, that's the opinion all the Nature Spirits hold bar Mavka, due to her bonding with Lukash. That's the reason she is chosen as the next Guardian, to bridge humans and nature spirits.
  • In Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, Batman threatens to blow up all of Apokolips with its own Weapons of Mass Destruction if Darkseid does not release Supergirl from his mind control. Darkseid doesn't believe him because the codes to those weapons are encrypted, but when Batman reveals he's cracked those codes, Darkseid flies into a rage, kicks Batman's ass... and congratulates him, believing that Batman would have went through it with it for one simple reason — humans kill each other all the time and are capable of anything. Unlike most other examples, Darkseid intends this as a compliment.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Aquaman (2018): Orm openly despises humans and openly whom he blames for the polluting the seas and overfishing marine wildlife. As such, he believes that the only way to preserve Atlantis and save the environment is to wipe out humanity. He is also a pureblooded extremist who hates his half-brother Arthur Curry for being the son of the late Queen Atlanna and a surface-dweller.
  • Lampshaded by the Sole Survivor at the end of Circle, in which a roomful of people have to vote for each other's deaths in a mysterious alien experiment.
  • Conquest of the Planet of the Apes: In this dystopian movie, humans have become oppressive and totalitarian towards apes using them as pets or slaves mainly to cope with their grief over cats and dogs dying from a disease.
  • In The Dark Knight, a recurring theme is the question of whether Humans are evil or Rousseau Was Right. The Joker preaches the former, that all humans are cowardly, cruel, self-serving and will happily slaughter each other to get to the top of the pile. To this end, near the end of the film, he sets up a social experiment to determine which. He rigs two ships with explosives, one ferrying innocent refugees and the other carrying convicts, with each ship having access to the other ship's detonator. If one blows up the other, that ship is allowed to leave. The Joker gives them 10 minutes to decide, and if no action is taken, the Joker will detonate the bombs on both ships. Not only do they both defy the Joker and refuse to condemn the other to death, but it's also the convicts who refuse to do it first.
  • Almost every main human from The Fearless Four. Examples being Buster's owner chuckling evilly when he plans to kill him rather than just wanting him off his hands and Gwendolyn's owners trying to kill her. Then there's also the main trio (unless you count that long-coated guy) of the Mix Max company/dictatorship.
  • In The Fifth Element Leeloo despairs when she learns about the human race's tendency to inflict horrible things onto themselves (specifically World War II) to the point of her seeing no point in helping them escape destruction, but then decides otherwise when Corben tells her that there are things that deserve to be saved and professes his love for her.
  • Hulk: David Banner believed that people cause too much chaos around him and his son.
    David: Think about all those men out there, in their uniforms! Barking and swallowing orders! Inflicting their petty rule over the entire globe! Think of all the harm they've done! To you! To me! To humanity! And know this, that we can make them, and their flags and their anthems and their governments disappear! In a flash! You and me!
  • Elves seem to take this attitude towards men in The Lord of the Rings, only to be proven wrong by the riders of Rohan coming to the aid of Gondor. Though their dislike of men is justified, considering the last man who had the ring kept it for himself until it killed him.
  • Surprisingly averted in Monsters (2010). It seems the military may rain down the occasional heavy-handed airstrike to take down an alien but aren't seen doing their usual "It's The Only Way To Be Sure" approach, namely making a crater the size of Mexico. People just seem to be trying to survive or adapt to the situation rather than kill each other over it.
  • In Darren Aronofsky's mother! (2017), humanity is represented by the unwanted guests who show up in Mother's house. They start out merely intrusive and impolite, but as their numbers continue to grow, they become increasingly thoughtless, violent, and downright savage, stealing or breaking everything in sight, lashing out at each other, and killing and eating Mother's baby, at which point she decides to kill them all.
  • In On Dangerous Ground, policeman Jim Wilson believes all people are this trope after years of serving and protecting in a Vice City.
  • Patch Adams
    Patch Adams: You know, Truman... in all of God's creations, only human beings kill their own species.note 
  • The Purge:
    • The Purge shows that the people of the United States are perfectly fine with a 12-hour period each year, when all crimes are legal, resulting in an annual bloodbath. The purge psychologically influences American civilians into thinking that crime does pay because at least during those 12 hours it's true. The government covers up their agenda by telling the public it's to vent their anger, but really, it's a social darwinistic measure used to attack the poor and homeless so as to help the elite rich get even richer.
    • The First Purge shows that when the Purge was first implemented, people were in fact not bastards - they used it to get high and have orgies, instead of going on murder sprees as the government expected. To correct that uncomfortable fact, they deploy armed mercenaries.
  • This is a recurring motif for George A. Romero's zombie films, all the way from the original Night of the Living Dead (1968). It's argued that, from at least Land of the Dead on, it's actually hurt Romero's storytelling, as he keeps rehashing/hammering in the same old message.
    • Worth noting that a common complaint of Land of the Dead is that the human characters come across as such unsympathetic bastards that, incredibly, you could make a decent argument for the zombies being the good guys.
  • In Shaun of the Dead, once the zombie outbreak is brought under control, it's shown that the people of Britain keep the remaining zombies around to perform menial jobs and be subjects of amusement in stupid game shows. Apparently, nobody cared to dispose of once-living people in a more dignified way. There's also David, who is a truly wonderful combination of The Sociopath, Know-Nothing Know-It-All, Four Eyes, Zero Soul, and Dogged Nice Guy Deconstructed as Green-Eyed Monster.
  • Spirited (2022): Publicity man Clint Briggs is a firm believer in this, building his marketing strategies around his knowledge of human nature. The belief initially gets him marked as unredeemable and not worth getting a haunting from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.
  • The films of Todd Solondz. Everyone is apathetic, disaffected, hypocritical, selfish — it's telling one of the more sympathetic protagonists is a man who fantasizes about school shootings.
  • In The Snake Prince, the titular prince, a benevolent ancient serpent god, saved a village from drought, the only thing which he asks in return is for his beloved human girlfriend as his bride, whose love she reciprocates as well. But the villagers, fearing the prince's powers, instead chose to assault his lair with sulphur smoke, with the intention of killing him, leading to horrible consequences for both the prince and his human bride.
  • In Starship Troopers, humans are presented as arrogant, jingoistic xenophobes living in a People's Republic of Tyranny. Everyone is brainwashed by propaganda and horrifically desensitized to violence, the military command dress like Nazis, murderers are arrested, tried and executed in the same day, and history classes teach students that Might Makes Right. Every action the human characters take is presented as gloriously and unambiguously heroic. The film is a satire of militarism and fascism.
  • This is a prominent motif in the Transformers Film Series:
    • In the first film, both Ironhide and Megatron tell Optimus that humans are primitive brutes who are better off dead as while Optimus asserts that they're just young, underdeveloped and overall naive.
    • By Transformers: Age of Extinction, the humans have outlawed all Transformers, both Autobot and Decepticon, and begin to hunt down both factions all without acknowledging that if it weren't for the Autobots they'd all be dead or enslaved by now. The Autobots only chose to save them out of pure sympathy for the entire film series, and the humans sell their leader Optimus Prime out to Lockdown for the Seed in hopes of creating an army of robots for themselves. When Optimus starts to express anti-human sentiments, Cade Yeager persuades him to understand that humans simply make mistakes and are imperfect. Cade's speech does work, and Optimus regains his faith in humanity by the end.
    • Transformers: The Last Knight reveals that Unicron, the Destroyer and Chaos Bringer, is the creator of all life on earth. This explains why humans are little more than pissed off hornets to the Autobots.
  • An important plot point in Wonder Woman (2017), where the titular heroine witnesses firsthand one of the most destructive conflicts in human history and ends up losing hope in humankind. She was initially under the belief that humanity was under the influence of Ares and pitted to fight against each other. Turns out he merely suggests them new ways to kill each other from the shadows, rather than forcing them to do anything. The fact that even after being killed by Diana and bringing WWI to an end, other even more terrible conflicts such as World War II and the countless Cold War proxy fights would follow and he wouldn't be alive to influence ends up proving him right that humans can perfectly wage war without outside forces.
  • The World's End: The Network certainly seems to think so.
  • The World of Kanako: Almost every character is a monster, and this movie shows no way out. The bullies, Aikawa, Matsunaga and Kanako of all people act just For the Evulz. Protagonist Akikazu shows strong traits of this too, but he's still disgusted by the other characters' actions.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • Believing humans will continue to grow and despise mutants, Magneto maintains this belief. Though it doesn't really help his case when he keeps doing things that make people fear him.
    • Mutants are not well-treated in X-Men: First Class, to the point where Xavier's attempts to justify keeping the peace with normals boil down to "okay, they suck, but as the Superior Species, can't we set a good example?" It was the '60s, which was just plain bigoted in general.
      • Subverted by the fact that the film's Big Bad (Sebastian Shaw) is a mutant, as are his followers, so humans don't hold a monopoly on being bastards here.
    • In X-Men: Apocalypse, it's worth noting that the Misanthrope Supreme of the film is also the antagonist.

  • George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. The world was destroyed in a nuclear war and all that's left is three warring super-states all run by totalitarian governments who all seek to control every aspect of their citizens lives and completely eliminate love, freedom, happiness and rebellion as concepts in the human psyche, and if anyone anywhere shows any hint of these ideas, the government arrest them, torture them and Mind Rape them until they are an Empty Shell who only love the government, and then the government executes them and wipes out all memory of them.
    "There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — for ever."
  • In Poul Anderson's After Doomsday, the destruction of Earth is unprecedented, making the evidence that humanity did it all the more painful. At the end, when the survivors are pondering whether humanity should go on in face of this, they learn they were framed.
  • Alpha and Omega: During one of Reverend Lester Stark's radio shows, he is shaken by the final caller wondering if the reason the Rapture hasn't occurred yet is that no one on Earth is spiritually pure enough to be worthy. Stark tells the caller that it's an interesting theory (especially given that the previous callers were focused on paranoia or hostility about the Jewish messiah's emergence), but one he hopes is wrong.
  • Apparently, Disillusioned Adventurers Will Save the World: A translation of the manga's title is "Adventurers Who Don't Believe in Humanity Will Save the World" and "Humans are Bastards" is almost literally one of the first lines of the manga, with Nick and the his future teammates agreeing that humans are completely untrustworthy due to each of them having experienced profound betrayal by people they trusted. Ironically three of the team's members are human and shown to be good people, getting along well with each other... but not without setting a few ground rules ahead of time first.
  • Every single character in Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, even the hero is a multiple murderer who later on carries a necklace of ears around his neck. The only possible exception is The Judge, as though he's the worst of the bunch, there's a suggestion he's not human.
  • In Stephen King's Cell one character described humans thusly "At the bottom, you see, we are not Homo sapiens at all. Our core is madness. The prime directive is murder. What Darwin was too polite to say, my friends, is that we came to rule the earth not because we were the smartest, or even the meanest, but because we have always been the craziest, most murderous motherfuckers in the jungle."
  • This trope shows up in spades in the Marquis de Sade's work. Anyone who isn't a complete bastard is either a hypocrite or a victim. Sade's worldview was a very, very cynical one.
  • The Divine Comedy:
    • The less man relies on God, the more depraved and incommunicable he becomes, as demonstrated by the descent in Inferno. While in the First Circle the damned can still communicate and organize themselves despite their boredom and sorrow, by the last circles men are stealing each other's bodies, spending eternity screaming in each other's faces, and eating each other at the very bottom of Hell.
    • One of the wrathful penitents in Purgatory says that Heaven is not to blame for evil in the world, but rather the free will man has abused. Unless a shepherd applies laws and guides humanity towards greater goods, the species is doomed to only greedily hoard the most superfluous of goods and deny themselves true joy while tearing apart the world around them.
  • In Doglands, Argal rants about how humans think they rule the world. Dogs have unselfishly been their loyal companions for thousands of years, yet they mistreat them and euthanize them without much thought. Humans think that nature was made for them to exploit. Argal also states that, though humans treat dogs as they do, humans actually treat each other worse than they treat dogs.
  • Tara from Dread Locks describes humans are monsters for doing things like killing animals for sport and saying how she and now Parker can top humans on the food chain.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss eventually has this opinion after a long reflection in Mockingjay, having endured a brutal dictatorship and an equally brutal civil war where she lost the only person she's certain she loved and had to assassinate the would-be dictator to avert a Full-Circle Revolution.
    I no longer feel any allegiance to these monsters called human beings, despite being one myself. I think that Peeta was onto something about us destroying one another and letting some decent species take over. Because something is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children's lives to settle the differences. You can spin it any way you like. Snow thought the Hunger Games were an efficient means of control. Coin thought the parachutes would expedite the war. But in the end, who does it benefit? No one. The truth is, it benefits no one to live in a world where these things happen.
  • "A Hunger in the Soul" by Mike Resnick has an adventurer-journalist abusing and eventually murdering the native inhabitants of an alien world in his quest to find a missing doctor who has developed the cure for a disease ravishing human civilization. He eventually finds the doctor who has no intention of handing over the cure, having decided from the journalist's actions that humanity deserves everything it gets.
  • British statesman Lord Chesterfield in Letters to His Son: "In the mass of mankind, I fear, there is too great a majority of fools and, knaves; who, singly from their number, must to a certain degree be respected, though they are by no means respectable. And a man who will show every knave or fool that he thinks him such, will engage in a most ruinous war, against numbers much superior to those that he and his allies can bring into the field. Abhor a knave, and pity a fool in your heart; but let neither of them, unnecessarily, see that you do so." (letter 60)
  • Lord of the Flies is the purest possible example of this trope. The characters' failure to govern themselves is merely a symptom of a deeper problem. Many of them come to fear an alien "beast" that threatens their society. However, when the pig-head of Simon's vision says the monster was within the boys all along and later when the survivors are "rescued" by a military ship, it becomes clear that the book is an allegory of the idea that the root of conflict between people is their own inherent corruption.
  • Mark Twain's satirical essay The Lowest Animal takes the claim that humans are the "reasoning animal" and destroys it by showing mankind's hatred towards each other and everything else.
    • Twain also sarcastically argued for the (continued) genocide of the Native Americans, on the basis that the white man had lied and betrayed and screwed them so many times, and so thoroughly, that they would (justifiably) never trust whites again. Therefore, the only course of action left was to give up any remaining illusions of not being utter bastards, and finish what they'd started.
  • In Quest for Fire, the various hordes of primitive humans fear each other much more than they fear beasts.
  • Remembrance of Earth's Past: Played with. Her experiences during the Cultural Revolution are the cause of Wenjie's nihilism and other experiences of human destructiveness are why many members of the ETO believe humanity deserves to be destroyed. However, in the end it turns out that humans are too soft and sentimental to survive in a harsh universe.
  • In The Sister Verse and the Talons of Ruin, this seems to be the Lord in White's general view of humanity, and if the events of the story are any indication, it's not too far off.
  • According to the The Thebaid, people do so much evil that even the gods can't possibly keep up to date with every crime committed. Even flooding the whole world and letting the sun-chariot set the skies aflame can't kill enough people to get rid of every villain. If the word of the gods won't convince readers, then the history of incest, murder, envy, and betrayal that defines Thebes should get that theme across enough.
  • Rob J. Hayes' The Ties That Bind is a world where no one, and we mean no one, isn't one form of bastard or another. This includes the heroes. Then again, it is a Grimdark Sword and Sorcery setting starring a bunch of thieves and sellswords.
  • Very much a theme in J. R. R. Tolkien 's universe, but especially in The Silmarillion where Men are displayed as treacherous, unreliable, bellicose and corrupt. Justified, since Tolkien was a World War I veteran, and knew what humans could do to each other.
  • The villains of The Traitor Son Cycle both think this, though for different reasons. The Dragon believes that humans are incapable of peacefully coexisting, both with the Wild and each other, without ruining everything around them. The Big Bad, on the other hand, is convinced that every human is secretly just waiting for an opportunity to give in to his darkest urges, and it takes only a little push to turn anyone into a monster.
  • Vampirocracy: This is why the vampires felt they needed to take over the world. Humans would eventually destroy themselves, and with no humans, there's no vampires.
  • In Veniss Underground, Quin shows his genetically-engineered sentient meerkats video of humans committing atrocities against animals and against one another. It's meant to indoctrinate the meerkats with the belief that humans are bastards and meerkats are the superior race; and Nicola, after seeing the meerkats' hidden garden, doesn't disagree.
  • The Warchild Series by Karin Lowachee has this in droves. For a sampling: There are pirates who engage in human trafficking, a pirate captain who is probably a pedophile, a war between humans and aliens started because humans tried to take the aliens' moon by force (and massacring a bunch of aliens in the process), a government more interested in bigotry and bureaucracy than peace, soldiers who willingly engage in torture, etc. Even the most sympathetic characters still end up slitting someone's throat, rebelling from the central government, and executing suspected terrorists without a trial. Humans are bastards indeed.
  • Worm. Two-thirds of people who gain powers are villains. The heroes have their own problems, with very few of them straight-forwardly heroic. Most authority figures are, at best, apathetic, incompetent or more obsessed with PR than doing good. People are not always able to set aside their differences and unite even in the face of great troubles, all the way up to armageddon-in-progress.
  • The Interim Coalition of Governance (the ruling government of humanity) from Xeelee Sequence is like Oceania, but with better technology and on an interstellar scale. They would make the Imperium recoil in disgust. One of their worse atrocities is they spent the lives of trillions of Child Soldiers in a gamble to get rid of the Xeelee from their Galaxy and become the dominant lifeforms in the Universe. They are so xenocidal they have exterminated many aliens for getting in their way and reduced those who surrendered to a fate worse then death. They commit countless atrocities not because of Godzilla Threshold or Dirty Business, they commit them just so they can fill the wound made in their shattered egos made during the occupation from the Qax. They are hypocrites and liars who turned the societies under their rule into a totalitarian Crapsack World to make their people suffer and channel their suffering and hate towards the Xeelee, who are trying to save them from the Photino Birds. When the Coalition finally drove the Xeelee out of the Milky Way, they immediately fell into civil war before being unified by another tyrannical regime which also quickly collapsed.
  • Xun Zi, despite being a Confucian Philosopher, carries the opposite belief of Meng Zi and suggests that humans are inherently evil, lustful and lawless, and they require laws and standards to become good. He also suggested that humanity should take control on their desires and instincts.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, determined to take down the evil law firm Wolfram & Hart once and for all. He finds an elevator he thinks will take him to W&H's "Home Office" and their senior partners. On the way down seemingly to Hell, the undead W&H lawyer Holland Manners appears telling him his fight against them and evil itself is pointless. The elevator doors open to reveal they are still on Earth and that Earth is the home office. It is because evil lives in the heart of every human being. This revelation completely demoralizes Angel.
  • Bad Robots uses this as the justification for its pranks. A robot named Tez One has gained sentience, and witnessed humans mistreat their electrical appliances. So he forms TezCorp to manufacture products that torture and screw humans over with this trope as the justification.
  • A common theme in Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror. Depending on your perspective either technology is creating a Lack of Empathy among people or it simply allows humanity to be bastards more easily.
    • In "The National Anthem", the British public pressure the Prime Minister to have sex with a pig in order to save a princess.
    • In "White Bear", a signal transforms 9/10 of the population into "Observers", leaving the remaining 10th to do whatever they please, and they please to cause misery. Then it's revealed there was no signal and that these people are enjoying the torture of a criminal.
    • In "Hated in the Nation", an obscure social media hashtag directed at society's assholes (a controversial newspaper columnist, a rap artist who was mean to a kid who idolised him and a woman who disrespected a War Memorial) leads to their gruesome deaths. When the public catches on that the hashtag really does kill people, all hell breaks lose.
  • Played for laughs by Community in "Debate 109", an episode involving a debate championship with the subject of "Is Man good or evil?" The main characters have to argue the latter position against a disabled man who is also extremely cruel, needlessly tormenting Annie.
  • Delete: The AI accuses humans of being unworthy to live as a result of our various misdeeds.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Human Nature": Part of the instructions the Doctor leaves Martha before turning himself into a human to hide from pursuers is for her to not let him hurt anyone, because "you know what humans are like."
    • "Midnight" is all about this. The Doctor ends up stuck in an Enclosed Space with a group of humans who descend into murderous paranoia when it becomes clear that one woman has become possessed by a malign entity, ultimately nearly killing him when they think that he's become possessed. This is sharply contrasted with how normal they all are before things go to hell.
  • Derren Brown TV series The Experiments: In "The Gameshow", the audience are encouraged to put on a "Phantom" mask and vote the outcome of the night of an unsuspecting volunteer. Many of them voted negatively to the point where they wished the mark be kidnapped right after putting him though roughing up, being overcharged, accused of a shoplifting, getting fired, and downright trashing his apartment.
  • Game of Thrones: Like the novels the show is based on, this trope is on display constantly. In each and every episode it's a guarantee that characters will wreak suffering, misery and destruction to attain power and personal gain. This behavior is undeniably one of major reasons why the Game of Thrones world is in shambles.
  • The Good Place: According to Michael, only very few people rack up enough points to make it to the Good Place, with the great majority of humanity being subject to eternal damnation in the Bad Place. It turns out that Michael was exploiting this trope with his vision for a new kind of Bad Place, where humans just make each other miserable for all eternity. Subverted though as it's shown that the standard is so high even many renowned philanthropists like Florence Nightingale went to the Bad Place, along with a vast number of "sins" like "being French" etc. So unsurprisingly many people destined for there like the main cast are really not that bad and definitely capable of doing good and the whole process of judgement is put into question as a result.
  • Frank Pembleton of Homicide: Life on the Street holds this view.
    Pembleton: And I broke the first rule of being a detective. I assumed that Zeke Lafeld was homosexual.
    Bayliss: Well, it's what people do, Frank. It's human nature.
    Pembleton: Yes, it is human nature to kill someone simply because their sexual orientation is different.
    Bayliss: People get afraid. Threatened.
    Pembleton: People? That's you and me, Tim. Grown-ups. Why is it that children don't care about such things?
    Bayliss: As adults we get socialized. We learn to behave.
    Pembleton: No, no, no. We learn to hate.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): In the third episode, Lestat de Lioncourt thinks it's absurd that Louis de Pointe du Lac wants to be picky about which humans they eat based on their prey's accomplishments because in Lestat's opinion, humans are fundamentally evil beneath the veneer of civilization.
    Louis: The ones you admire — the poets, composers, the thoughtful man who designed this park you love so much — shouldn't we spare them the randomness of our killing?
    Lestat: Every one of them is capable of abomination, even the ones worthy of admiration. Shakespeare, Brahms, this naturalist that fogs your mind. [...] Thrust them into circumstance, whisper to them their Lord, God and Savior is not listening, and you will see all kinds of depravity.
  • Running theme of Kamen Rider. Many monster races have menaced humanity, but if they were not created by humans, they were at least outdone by them.
    • Kamen Rider Drive: Roidmudes were created by Tenjuro Banno just For the Evulz. Aside from 002, who was created with the face of the man Banno had a grudge against and the exact purpose of being his personal punchbag. It's no wonder they murdered him and tried to destroy the world.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Bugsters are video game characters that came to reality and personify humans' need to create enemies to beat their stress out on. They tried to convert the world into their personal playground, where they could massacre people to their heart's content. Still doesn't come anywhere close to their creators, who unleashed them on the world for funzies and profit.
    • Kamen Rider Zero-One: HumaGear are manufactured as all capable One-Man Army workforce androids. Humans often abuse them because of Fantastic Racism, ludism, for profit or simply for funzies. HumaGear don't understand why humans are bastards and are not programmed to protect themselves. Naturally a Robot War ensues after a long string of humans and rogue HumaGear hurting each other and any HumaGear caught in the crossfire.
  • Malcolm in the Middle requires this to be a universal fact. Though it's usually Played for Laughs because everyone is either a jerkass or a moron.
  • Played for Laughs on Married... with Children. The main characters are all comical and their misdeeds are humorously played out. Even authority figures, clergy, and random civilians are massive jerks. Being a Sadist Show this is all a comedy.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Afterlife", Kersaw thinks that the aliens concluded this as a result of their experiment and hunt of Stiles.
  • Penny Dreadful: City of Angels: Magda believes this, and that they all just need a "push" to become monsters. She serves in that role, tempting them into violence.
  • On Scrubs, pretty much the only thing that Sitcom Arch-Nemeses Drs. Cox and Kelso have ever agreed on is that people are "bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling".
  • Sense8: The series goes hard with this in regards to homo sapiens. Whenever the topic of regular humans vs sensates comes up, the show would have you think that no human anywhere has ever done anything nice for anyone, while one anthropologist even hypothesizes that the advantage homo sapiens has is their ability to lie, and they probably wiped most sensates out in the past (like the Neanderthals).
  • Tracker: Cole occasionally feels this way, finding humans frustrating. Mel usually agrees that he has a point.
    Cole: Well, your planet is very strange, Mel. You have people living on the streets, children starving all over the world, your world leaders are elected by the lies that they tell, and you have a global communication system - like the internet — that promotes hate and glorifies people like John Wayne Gacy and Jack the Ripper!
  • The Mirror Universe in Star Trek runs on this trope. A dark contrast to the standard Humans Are Special / Rousseau Was Right that powers the regular Trek Verse, humanity in that universe is a race of xenophobic, dictatorial imperialists out to conquer any and everything in their path. And they are just as brutal, if not more so, to each other; in that universe's Starfleet, killing your superior officer is an acceptable means of promotion. There is a level of pragmatism in what they do. They generally would rather an alien world willingly submit to the Terran Empire's rules, but whereas the Federation will take a no, the Empire will commence orbital bombardment. And while casually killing fellow officers is a means of career advancement, it seems decorum dictates it be done only under excused circumstances (e.g. the superior screwed up).
    • Season 2 of Star Trek: Picard introduces an alternate reality that is in some ways similar to the Mirror Universe. Instead of the Terran Empire, there is the Confederation of Earth, which is just as xenophobic and dictatorial, but the Confederate humans are a lot more committed to a single idea of human domination of the galaxy ("A safe galaxy is a human galaxy."). Without all that backstabbing, they have been much more successful in conquering the stars, even managing to wipe out the Borg.
  • Despite fighting monsters of all kinds for a living, the Winchester brothers from Supernatural find humans to be the most senselessly cruel and hard to understand.
    Dean: Demons, I get. People are crazy.
  • HG Wells in Warehouse 13 comes to this conclusion after her 8-year-old daughter was murdered.
    '"Open your eyes, Myka! Have you seen the world in which you live? The divide between rich and poor! Hunger and famine! War and violence and hatred all flourishing beyond control! Indeed, men have found new ways to kill each other that were inconceivable in my day, even by fiction writers!"
  • Westworld:
    • It's really creepy how many guests like to pretend they're murdering or raping people in the form of android "hosts". Some of the androids start malfunctioning and realize what's going on, with one saying he that has to warn his "daughter" about the things they do with her, then pledging revenge on their maker.
    • This is the Forge A.I.'s conclusion about the humans in general. After analyzing all the guest data, he realizes that humans are simple and, like the hosts, doomed to act in accordance to their own "coding", unable of actual free will, meaning that they will never change. Though some human characters disapprove otherwise, this is one of the central themes of the show.
  • The X-Files: Played for Laughs in "The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat" by an alien visitor who (in a parody of Donald Trump's campaign kickoff speech) declares that Earth's solar system will be walled off from the rest of the universe to prevent humans from spreading their criminality and dishonesty.

  • Powerviolence band "Man is the Bastard" is this trope.
  • If a Death Metal band goes into more "philosophical" or "societal" territory, it'll usually manifest as this. Expect a lot of Misanthrope Supreme as a result.
  • Slipknot says it best with the first real song off of Iowa: People=Shit.
  • Pearl Jam's "Do the Evolution" is a sarcastic "Humanity Is Superior" chant, which received a music video that translates perfectly how Humans Advance Swiftly by being bastards to themselves and everything else on Earth.
    I am ahead, I am advanced
    I am the first mammal to make plans, yeah
    I crawled the Earth, but now I'm higher
    20:10, watch it go to fire
  • Zazie's "Je suis un homme" (I am a man) points out how humans can be quite apathetic and destroy the very world they live in. The video clip, set inside a museum full of visitors, shows a lot of statistics, such as the number of food produced for a given year, immediately followed by the number of malnourished children in the world and people dying from hunger.
    You see, I'm not a man
    I am the king of illusion
    At heart, may I be forgiven,
    I am the king, the king of jerks
    I control fire, I control the game
    I control the world, and behold what I've done with it
    A frozen land, a scorched land
    The land of men that men forsake!
    I am a man with his back to the wall
    Like a freak of nature
    On the earth, with no other reason
    I run in circles, I run in circles
    I am a man and I consider
    All the horror of my nature
    For my trouble, my punishment
    I run in circles, I run in circles
  • "Savages" by Marina Diamandis, as the title might imply, is about the animalistic nature of humans.
    Another day, another tale of rape
    Another ticking bomb to bury deep and detonate
    I'm not the only one who finds it hard to understand
    I'm not afraid of God
    I'm afraid of Man
  • Cernunnos by Faith and the Muse is a rant against humanity from the point of view of the titular Celtic deity. Overlaps with Gaia's Lament.
  • "Human Race" by Three Days Grace is about humans constantly competing, fighting, and getting back at each other.
  • "Savages" by Theory of a Deadman.
    We're all humans, fighting human nature to stay alive
    We are predators teaching our children to be just like us, fear and hate like us
    Will we ever realize we're just savages?
  • "Hide in the Fairytale" by Theocracy evokes this trope, which is surprisingly dark given that they are Christian power metal band.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Hesiod from Greek Mythology introduced the Ages of Men with each age being worse than the last. The Silver Age war constantly till Zeus destroyed them for their impiety. The Bronze Age was worse till Zeus destroyed them. The current Iron Age is considered even worse with humanity forsaking any form of righteousness and it is said Zeus would eventually destroy this age as well. Even Dike, goddess of mortal justice, left Earth unable to deal with humanity.
  • Zeus invokes this Trope along with Too Dumb To Live at the start of Homer' Odyssey when he complains about mortals blaming the gods for things that are entirely the fault of the mortals. He provides an example to support his case and none of the other gods present disagree.
  • Hinduism has four different ages called Yugas that cycle continuously; namely; Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali. The amount of virtue or vice among humans depends on the age. Currently, we are living in Kali Yuga, the worst age where vice reigns supreme.
  • The basic idea of some forms of fundamentalist Christianity, but especially that of Calvinism, with the aptly named doctrine of Total Depravity. Due to Original Sin, humans are corrupt, evil bastards to the boot, with no hope of escaping this except through Christ. Those who disobey God's commandments are pre-destined to Hell after their death because of their evilness, save those who seek repentance through Christ (a choice that's also predestined, according to traditional Calvinist doctrine).
    • Arminianism, usually seen as an opposing doctrine to Calvinism, also includes the doctrine of Total Depravity.
    • The Apostles warn in their Epistles that during the last days the people will be evil, corrupt, violent, dishonest, lecherous and full of vice.
    • Traditional Catholicism, via St. Augustine, has the concept of the massa damnata — the idea is that since genuine repentance can only come from acknowledging and rejecting oneís sins, and since most people refuse to accept any responsibility for their wrongdoings even if they will claim such for appearance's sake, then almost everyone who has ever lived or will live, including nearly all Christians, is going to Hell. Itís a very depressing thought, but it teaches that salvation can still be obtained by repenting and doing penance.
    • Many of Paul's writings assert how awful mankind is and how we would all be screwed if Jesus hadn't come along with a third option. The Book of Romans in particular pulls no punches:
      As it is written: None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands, no one seeks God.
      All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.
      Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.
      The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.
      Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.
  • The state of nature is the notion that humans are more than willing to fight each other and without a ruling power to keep everyone in check, life tends to be "nasty, brutish and short". In this state, there is neither law nor security, only absolute freedom. Thus, it's argued, people must give up some rights for mutual benefit (or in some cases, philosophers like Thomas Hobbes said all of them). However, others reject this view (like Rousseau) and say that the state of nature was positive (maybe not entirely, but less than all bad at least). He and others didn't necessarily believe that's obtainable again though.

  • Town Square in Twilight Zone, where the citizens can be induced to panic and wreak havoc.


  • In Big Finish Doctor Who's Jubilee, the Daleks invaded England during the early 1900's and were destroyed by the Doctor. Much of the technology was scavenged and used to form an English Empire, an utterly depraved version of the British Empire ascribing to the worst parts of the Dalek philosophy; paranoid, xenophobic, sadistic — to the point the last remaining Dalek considers humanity worthy successors of the Dalek legacy. The huge crowd chanting "EXTERMINATE" at the Last Dalek hammers down Humanity has been warped into nothing but the next Daleks.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Grim Hollow Plays With it:
    • On the one hand, the current human kingdoms were founded by warlords who decimated the elf, dwarf, gnome, and dragonborn kingdoms, and scared the halflings with their brutality so badly that the halfling population willingly became servants and aids in the new human empires. Most of the said empires are some variation of corrupt, decadent, power-hungry, or fanatical. It was an insane human emperor, born from centuries of inbreeding, who was responsible for the death of the few surviving gods in Etharis by infecting them with his madness, thus causing a lot of the strife in the setting today.
    • On the other hand, this was centuries ago, and most living humans barely remember that the age of expansion happened, and hold no ill-will to the other races (the feeling is not mutual). The Charneault Kingdom — one of the only places where humans and elves dwell in peace — was founded by a human king, is still ruled by his descendants, and is Lighter and Softer by far than the rest of the continent.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, humans in the far future have formed a star-spanning theocratic empire that takes militarism, totalitarianism and xenophobia to the extreme. As an Imperium citizen you can be sent into a penal legion or even turned into a Servitor (a kind of lobotomised meat robot) for something as simple as unauthorised use of a photocopy machine. And the worst part is, it's all but outright stated that humanity would face enslavement or destruction or a Fate Worse than Death if they did not behave like this; the iron grip of the Imperium is the only thing keeping mankind alive.

    Video Games 
  • Like any good Zombie Apocalypse story, the crew of the Sevastapol in Alien: Isolation descend into the ruthless "kill or be killed" survivalist mentality the moment things start going wrong and civil authority falls apart. A good number of them are so utterly paranoid, they're happy to kill Amanda on principle.
  • Artery Gear: Fusion: The main story provides many examples of this trope at work.
    • During the initial outbreak of the first Puppet war, the humans ended up in a civil war for resources instead of teaming up to fight against the Puppets.
    • Queen Lisa Autoluna, the human leader of Autoluna Sky Port, invites the homeless and other less fortunate people to live in the safe areas. While she presents this decision in an inspiring speech, it is later revealed that she is planning to forcibly convert humans she deems unfit into Artery Gears, and could not care less if they all died in the war.
    • Continued from above: the more well-off humans are actually disgruntled that more people are given entry into the safe zone, viewing it as unfair as many had to pay much more to get here.
    • When a Puppet Master breaks into a safe zone, the residents are all quick to point fingers at each other, blaming each other for bringing it into the city. This only succeeds in causing even more chaos.
    • Autolunans view the battles between Artery Gears and Puppet Masters only as a source of entertainment. There are numerous tabloids and news reporters commentating on the war as if it was a sports game. Additionally, many articles make up untruthful headlines to make the Frontier seem like villains while painting Autoluna as a divine saviour.
    • Atlas discusses this trope, pointing out how often humans seem to fight each other even during times of great need.
  • Breath of Fire IV has a particularly nasty example in the Fou Empire, which not only has been launching wars against the rest of humanity (fueled by Fantastic Nukes fueled by people from those areas that have been tortured to the point of insanity first) but goes into a full-scale war against their own founding emperor and King in the Mountain God-Emperor — who just happens to be an immortal draconic Physical God that their ancestors summoned and buggered up the summoning so badly that it split the god across time and space.
  • This was the whole reason B.B. Hood, an adorable, cute-looking little girl who looks like Little Red Riding Hood but is actually a ruthless mercenary and monster hunter was introduced into Darkstalkers 3, to prove that humans can be more evil than any actual monster. She's completely human with no superhuman powers at all (well, other than the fact that the basket she has is probably a Bag of Holding), but is the cruelest and most psychotic character in the game.
  • The Dead Space games do this all the freaking time. In a setting where the Universe is dark and cold and deserted, and the only alien life we've found are horrifically reanimated dead bodies trying to kill everyone, human beings still manage to hold the title of "biggest assholes in the Galaxy". Not one game goes by without some douchebag betraying you, fanatically worshiping the Necromorphs and Markers, trying to brutally suppress something or other by killing many innocent people, or all of the above.
    • And in a few situations, it's even shown that much of that is necessary, or at least justifiable. Humans have reached a peak, and civilization is quickly circling the drain. The betrayals and coverups are part of an Government effort to revitalize humanity with alien technology, and the fanatical Unitologists are led by a misguided belief that, though humanity has failed to survive, some kind of evolution could save everyone. Even though it doesn't and they're completely wrong.
    • The third game reveals that humanity is merely following the same pattern every other race in the galaxy that preceded it followed. Every race became victims of entropy, limited resources, and the temptation of the Brethren Moons' Markers and destroyed themselves.
  • Humans in Dragon Age live in rather dysfunctional kingdoms and Empires, enslaved the elven race, and many are more interested in pursuing or preserving their own scraps of power while ignoring the blight of the Darkspawn.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, the races of Mer (Elves), especially the Altmer (High Elves), believe this about the races of Men. They see Men as having pitifully short lives filled with violence and savagery who disrupt everything the elves try to achieve. According to Altmeri religious beliefs, the creation of Mundus (the mortal world) was seen as an act of malevolence as it forced them to experience mortal suffering, loss, and death while removing their spirits from a place of pre-creation divinity. While most are content to toil in this mortal "prison" with "more limitations than not," some extremists, like the Thalmor, actively seek to undo creation to return to that state of pre-creation divinity. However, they believe that not just the existence of mankind, but the existence of the possibility of mankind keeps them trapped in Mundus. (According to their beliefs, mankind were made up from the "weakest souls" by the "dead" creator god Lorkhan to spread Sithis (chaos) "into every corner," ensuring that there could never again be the "stasis" of pre-creation.)
  • Endling - Extinction is Forever depicts a world where red foxes are on the verge of extinction, thanks to humans completely destroying the environment through their greed.
  • Fallout has tons of this. Humans in this universe were certainly bastards enough to destroy the world in a nuclear holocaust driven by desperated necessity for reserves and political tension, and post-apocalyptic living has not improved things. The existence of the Vaults is bad enough (they're fallout shelters that are actually a front for fucked-up social experiments for the US government — the Vaults weren't really meant to save anybody, and if they did it was more by accident) but Vault 11 in Fallout: New Vegas really takes the cake. It's a Vault run by an AI that demands a human sacrifice every year or it kills the population of the Vault. The population decided to sacrifice the first Overseer (they forced him to go out of spite, him being the bearer of bad news after all), and then collectively decided that every year, whoever was elected to be the new Overseer would also be that year's sacrifice. For years the people of Vault 11 callously sent their own to their deaths. Candidates ran bizarre Smear Campaigns listing all the negative qualities of their opponent as reasons to vote for them (and therefore get them killed). Some found ways of rigging the election process so they'd never get elected, and some even used their voting power to extort other residents (one of them extorted sexual favours from a woman by threatening to vote for her husband; when she complied, they voted for him anyway). This same woman then deliberately got herself elected Overseer and changed the election process to a Random Number Generator out of spite, meaning everyone now had an equal chance of being put on the chopping block. The corrupt voting block got unbelievably pissed off at this and started a civil war, which resulted in the deaths of everyone in the Vault but five people. The five survivors then go to the AI and tell it that it might as well just wipe out the last of them already because they refuse to sacrifice any more people... at which point the Vault door unlocks and the AI congratulates them for their "commitment to human life". The whole point of the Vault was a Secret Test of Character to see if the people would all stand up to the computer. After learning this, four of the five survivors committed suicide.
  • In Final Fantasy II, the Emperor's light half in Soul of Rebirth states this of humankind's legacy of war and violence. Almost fitting, given the kind of person he is even after his death.
  • This seems to be a recurring theme in the Fire Emblem series in general, both played straight and subverted:
    • Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light has the Dolhr Empire formed explicitly to oppress the human race for wronging the Manaketes in the past. Gotoh had lost all faith in humanity because of this until he met Marth.
    • Digging a little deeper in Shadow Dragon and Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War's backstories had Dragons ruling the world before weakening while the humans became stronger, eventually resulting in dragons being overran by humans courtesy of Naga.
    • This shows up a couple of ways in the Elibe duology. In Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, dragons and manaketes were driven out a millennium ago in a brutal war known as "The Scouring" and ally with the game's human Big Bad, who decided that humanity should be wiped out because his dad kept trying to kill him. The second (prequel) game, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, reveals in its prologue that humans were the ones who began the Scouring and does not take an approving tone; Eliwood remarks on and acknowledges at the end of the game that it was wrong for the humans to try to take the continent for themselves.
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones had the Five Heroes of Magvel take all of the credit for sealing away Fomortiis and omit Morva from their exploits of saving the world, and the humans of Darkling Woods who do know the truth are rightfully pissed. The heroes apologize for their short-sightedness and promise to change this. Ironically Morva himself is more interested in guarding the Demon King.
    • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn have a lot of racism and outright violence towards the Laguz, including but not limited to the Serenes Massacre. Even some of the hero's companions are initially racist and distrusting of the Laguz, and some of the Laguz are just as distrusting of the Beorc. It takes two whole games for the tensions to truly begin to heal between Laguz and Beorc, and many support conversations and acts of heroism to soften the initial racists.
    • Lastly, Fire Emblem: Awakening, a distant sequel to Shadow Dragon has the Taguel, rabbit people who were apparently genocided by humans with unknown motives in a vaguely defined incident. The apparent last taguel, Panne accuses Emmeryn, the leader of a human nation, out on this, but softens when Emmeryn apologizes for the behavior of her race. Ironically though the supposed Taguel prejudice is never seen at all, not even with the villains!
    • Yet the heroes of the series are always the opposite of this trope, proving to their cynical Half-Human Hybrid companions that despite the atrocities committed by their ancestors, someone is always willing to change things for the better so that all races can live in peace.
  • Despite the chief antagonists of the series being animatronic robots, the Five Nights at Freddy's series seems to have this as one of its primary themes. The robots are only malfunctioning because they're possessed by the spirits of dead children who were murdered by a serial killer. What's more, the enigmatic Bite of 87 was not caused by the animatronics malfunctioning as the Phone Guy claims in the first game; rather, it was caused by the victim's older brother, who forcefully shoved him into the mouth of an animatronic that then jammed and took out the boy's frontal lobe. Everything that happened in the series was a direct result of truly awful people doing truly awful things to innocent victims. Though it is worth noting that once the Bite occurs, the brother (who is laughing beforehand) stops laughing and looks on in still silence, implying that he never intended for his little brother to actually get bitten.
  • A Central Theme in The Forgotten City, a quest mod for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. Even in a society where crime doesn't and cannot exist, the negative qualities of human nature don't just disappear. For instance, if you are not an Imperial then you do not get to live in the luxurious Citadel, and Loophole Abuse is common as violence and theft are not permitted but gossip, intimidation, scams, doing drugs and necromancy are all fair game under the Dwemer's Blue-and-Orange Morality. There's also Jarl Metelleus, who keeps a woman captive and rapes her every night without breaking the Dwarves' Law because he's figured out how the law works, and when confronted coldly gloats to you that there isn't a thing you can do about it.
  • Discussed by two fae in Gungnir. Appears a lot in the Dept. Heaven series as a whole, though some may have reasons for being bastards. Some may end up not even being human at all!
  • In the Cult Classic FPS Iron Storm, in an alternate timeline where World War I has dragged on well into The '60s, it's implied that humans have become so accustomed to war that it's now all they know. Humans have been reduced to a species of insanely militaristic Crazy Survivalists. At the end of the game, when protagonist James Anderson discovers that the overlord of the Russo-Mongolian Empire is a Dark Lord on Life Support and his empire is really ruled by a gang of anonymous General Rippers, Corrupt Corporate Executives and Obstructive Bureaucrats, he's executed by his own superiors to cover up the truth and keep the conflict going as a Forever War.
  • A surprisingly powerful one comes from the now defunct Kemono Friends mobile game, which was otherwise ridiculously bright and cheerful. One of the Friends' introduction text has her saying that there's no such thing as bad people in the world, and that people can come to understand each other by simply talking to each other, and there's no need to have your guard up around other people. Her name? Dodo.
  • Master Xehanort of Kingdom Hearts has this attitude towards the people of the World. Something he went through in his youth, including a tour of the many smaller worlds, led him to believe that the light in people's hearts was a "total farce", that people were predisposed to being self-deluding weaklings that stole power from each other and led everything to ruin. He decided the only real solution was to use Kingdom Hearts, the heart of everything, purge the current World of all false lights, return everything to the darkness whence it came, and create a new empty World. And he went about it by... stealing power from others, deluding himself into thinking he was truly strong, and leading everything to ruin.
  • The Last of Us zig-zags this. The developers have gone on record as saying that the primary antagonists are other survivors, as opposed to the Infected. Sure enough, a lot of the worst actions in the story are carried out by humans, who are shown to be more than willing to slaughter one another without provocation to get what they want. The first game even features a group of cannibals with a leader who likes to... erm, keep 'pets' as an antagonistic force at one point. Despite this, though, there are humans out there who are only really interested in keeping to themselves and trying to make the best out of the Crapsack World they live in, such as the residents of Jackson, Wyoming, who have formed a self-sufficient community and only turn violent towards outside intruders (although in a world like this, you can hardly blame them).
    • The sequel takes things even further with the infected being even further shoved into the background in favor of plot being driven by other survivors. Both protagonists commit various atrocities for selfish reasons and the two warring factions in Seattle (The W.L.F. and the Seraphites) being cruel and despotic regimes who are genocidal towards each other and attack anyone who isnít one of them on sight. Needless to say the game paints an even bleaker picture of the post apocalypse than the first game.
  • Shows up as graffiti in the "Dead Air" campaign of Left 4 Dead ("WE ARE THE REAL MONSTERS!"). Also mocked right after ("Have you been outside JACKASS!!"). They really miss the internet.
    • Shows up again in "The Passing", as a piece of commentary on bathroom graffiti. "I flushed it 50 times and now it DOESN'T WORK!","You IDIOT! YOU ARE THE REAL MONSTER"
  • A common theme in Mass Effect is whether or not humans are evil in their pursuit to prove themselves in the universe. The Illusive Man and his unethical corporation Cerberus carry this characteristic despite trying to prove the goodness in humanity. They don't exactly make humanity look good in the eyes of the alien council. In fact, Cerberus is trying to make humanity the dominant power in the galaxy by any means necessary and they look down upon the extraterrestrials opposing them.
    • It's not we're evil as a species, just hyper-ambitious. Humans managed to get a Council seat after being on the galactic scene for only a few years, when other races have been lobbying for a seat for centuries. If the Citadel Council is killed near the end of the first game, guess who steps into the power vacuum.
  • This is discussed by Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain whenever you ask for his briefing on Soviet soldiers:
    Simple really, there's less hesitation to pull the trigger if they're not fighting their own race. Morbid cynicism, but it gets results. That's humanity for ya.
  • Monster Loves You! seems like it's going to play this straight at first, then completely subverts it. While Monsters and Humans initially have some fear and dislike towards each other, as a whole, both sides are actually pretty reasonable if you aren't actively trying to cause trouble.
  • For such a lighthearted series, Mother 3 drives this point home when you least expect it. Really, even if the Big Bad is loathsome, despicable, and a sick monster in every way, shape and form, you can't help but agree with him just a little bit when he delivers his "The Reason You Suck" Speech. In a nutshell, the Tazmily Villagers erased their memories for a more Utopian society to prevent another Apocalypse from happening that nearly wiped out all the humans in the first place. It is mentioned in-game that humans have destroyed themselves in one way or another, but it is left ambiguous. War? Pollution? Overpopulation? Who knows, these are all guesses. But, instead of learning from their mistakes, they instead get corrupted by the Big Bad, who is, funnily enough, a symbol of humanity.
    Porky: You resorted to blanking your memories to create a new world where humanity's past failures would never be repeated... How stupid can you be?! No matter how much you change the rules, no matter how much you refuse to admit defeat, in the end, the creatures known as "people" will always sign their own death warrant by acting out of stupidity and evil. And then... mankind will be gone for good.
  • Peacemaker Series: Downplayed. While the Dark Ones distrust humans due to the genocide and thievery perpetrated by the human nations, they're willing to accept humans into their ranks as long as they worship the Dark Mother. Sanguine is also willing to acknowledge Bambooblade as being different from other light-aligned humans if he makes it through her tower without killing anyone, but she also believes that a few good humans don't outweigh the malice of the rest.
  • At the end of Phantasy Star II, all the disasters turn out to be caused by earthlings, who, having stripped Earth of all its resources, have arrived to purge all life from Algo and take it for themselves. The Bolivian Army Ending doesn't leave much hope they can be stopped, either.
  • A common theme in Project Moon's works is that, unlike most other dystopian Crapsack World settings, nature isn't actively out to get people, but people are out to get each other. The worst mishaps that happen in the City are all man-made disasters, be it insane Megacorps out to conduct horrific human experiments on innocent civilians or The Syndicate going out for a slaughter for bizzare reasons, among other things.
  • Soul Series: Though many evil characters in the story have the excuse of being corrupted or driven insane by Soul Edge, Tira is actually Nightmare's Perky Female Minion of her own volition. Raised as an assassin from birth and horrifically insane, she sees Nightmare as a kindred spirit and unlike Astaroth, Ivy, Voldo and Sophitia, she is genuinely and completely loyal to him.
  • Sniper from Team Fortress 2 certainly believes this as stated in his "Meet the Team" video:
    "Sniping's a good job 'mate. It's challenging work, you're out doors, and I guarantee you wont go hungry. Because at the end of the day, as long as there are two people left on the planet, someone is gonna want someone dead."
  • In Undertale this is by and large the belief of the monsters of the Underground, owing to a particularly nasty war between them and humans that ended in defeat and imprisonment for them. While monsters range from apathetic to curious to outright violent against humans, most hold onto the belief that humans are a right lousy sort and believe stealing the soul of the main character is either Necessarily Evil or outright deserved karma. Your actions in the game will result in anything from proving them right, to proving them wrong, and even showing yourself to be "something" worse than humans or monsters, but it's ultimately subverted in the Golden Ending: monsters escape into the world and apparently have no problem integrating into the overworld and indulging in the comforts of human life, implying humans on the whole have accepted them.
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: A lot of people are starting to express this sentiment, unsurprisingly as its a world where the Nazis used stolen super-tech to defeat the Allies in World War II and wasted no time inflicting their twisted vision onto the people.
    Blazkowicz: Monsters did this.
    Grace: Not monsters. Men.
  • ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal: The White Druid (despite himself being a human) came to believe that humans are evil after witnessing the witch hunts in our world that forced the magical creatures to escape to Zanzarah. He is therefore not thrilled to find that another human has found her way into his realm, but he grudgingly accepts Amy's help in rooting out Shadow Elves. He turns out to be the Big Bad, driven to villainy by his paranoia of humanity.

    Visual Novels 
  • A running theme throughout Spirit Hunter: NG is that much of the conflicts are caused by human cruelty: the spirits are all vengeful because they were horribly treated in life; their murderers got away with it because of the corrupt society they live in; and the protagonists — even Seiji, the heir to the Yakuza — bemoan the rotten state of the world.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, which is an actual reality show based off the now in-universe Danganronpa franchise, and currently in its 53rd season (or 50th, since it had to have started with Danganronpa 4 at the earliest). The entire audience cares nothing about how everyone in the killing game felt, as they take pleasure in their misery.

  • Subverted for laughs in Freefall. After being tricked into helping the police locate Florence, Sam exclaims that humans are devious sneaks... but since Sam's own kind are a race of scavenger-thieves, he sees this as praiseworthy.
  • Guilded Age: Gastonia is a hive of racists out to conquer and plunder the planet in much the same vein as 17th-19th century colonialists. That said, the comic has shown that no one, not a single race could be considered good or all that nice. Either they are: xenophobic, condescending, tyrannical, downright genocidal or all of the above. Really, the only reason why Humans are labeled like this (at first), was because they were the only ones shown.
  • Downplayed in Terra. The upper brass of the UEC are definitely bastards, responsible for a number of atrocities, and human terrorists were originally responsible for the comic's Forever War. However individual humans are no more inherently good or evil than anyone else, and the Asurian Empire can be just as bastardy as the UEC.
  • Twokinds: The setting takes place after a messy world war that killed half a million people, mostly Keidran, because one arrogant human had one bad day losing his entire family. Humans are obsessed with the Keidran slave trade, and most dirt-poor humans passively accept the oppression and embezzlement from the nobles. This is less of a treatise on humanity's inherent cruelty, and more of their tendency to learn about cruelty from their forefathers and other races' cruelty and grow obsessed with it, as the god of humans orchestrated this genocidal frenzy to happen so he'd become the Top God, and the other races are capable of slavery and authoritarianism without humans, but on a lesser scale.
  • It's unclear how intentional it is but Nineteen-Ninety-Something does not shy away from showing how so many of life's problems could be solved or outright avoided if people weren't such selfish bastards to one another. It's telling that the protagonists largely consist of a bunch of trouble making delinquents and are still among the most morally correct characters in the comic.

    Web Original 
  • On Jay Thomplinson's Best Of The Left podcast, after having to do multiple episodes on the issue, he entitled the final 2013 episode on rape culture 'Humans are just terrible'.
  • The eponymous Dr. Horrible laments that most humans are sheep and can't think for themselves. Obviously, only a complete overhaul of the system can fix this problem. Captain Hammer really only exemplifies this trope.
  • Humans Don't Make Good Pets sums it up when the human protagonist suggests genociding a species of murderous cannibals and his translator can't translate "genocide". After he defines the term to his alien companion, the alien only keeps from screaming in horror due to the dangerous situation they're in and asks why humanity has such a word.
  • Whenever The Nostalgia Critic runs into this trope in a film (almost always with a helping of Green Aesop), the review cuts to a newsreel-style condemnation of man's evil, complete with clips from the movie and an old-timey voiceover. It's finally subverted in the previously mentioned Once Upon a Forest, where the voiceover finally gets sick of the trope, announces most humans are alright, and showcases how much more dangerous animals are.

    And then the movie itself subverts this by showing the humans not as bastards who caused the problem in the movie on purpose, but having simply made a mistake that they're more than willing to fix. Needless to say, the Critic was shocked when the enviromental film took this stance instead of the standard "humans are complete bastards wanting nothing more than to destroy the planet" that most Green Aesop films do.
  • If Balloons Could Talk, then apparently humans would do all sorts of things that hurt and terrorize them just for the sick pleasure of hearing them cry out in horror and agony.
    A pair of human hands hooks a balloon up to wires that conduct electricity
    The hands insert the plug into the outlet and the balloon cries out in pain
  • SCP Foundation: There's various examples of SCP objects who certainly think this is true, and the amount of SCP objects that were man-made certainly helps. However, one SCP object in particular plays around with this in an odd and certainly impressive way: SCP-2000, the Reset Button cloning facility and cold data storage they have to "reset" human civilization in case of catastrophe. Where does this come into effect? They can edit the output, and the logs say no more attempts to tone down humanity's violent and sociopathic tendencies will be made. Why? They're already made two successful ones, and any more would just kill humanity's drive to fight for their right to live.
    • SCP-5000. All human emotions, the good and the bad don't naturally originate in the brain. Instead, as the Foundation discovered, they're the product of some...thing that wormed its way into humanity's collective unconscious at some point in the past and altered the way our minds work. Yes, that's right. Human nature as we know it is simply the result of Mind Rape committed by this unknown and impossibly ancient entity for its goals, whatever the hell those might be, and our natural state is as a race of empty shells lacking emotion and empathy. The Foundation was so horrified by this discovery that they decided the only ethical thing to do was to wipe us out by unleashing every anomaly in their arsenal. And the man who sacrificed himself to hit the Reset Button has now guaranteed that the entity can go on with whatever it's doing with it being unclear if it will be discovered in the new timeline.
  • Le Visiteur du Futur. Out of all the people that learn about the distant cataclysms that their actions will cause, no one cares about it, and even among the heroes, only the Visitor really cares about saving the world at first: Henry is a robot that was programmed to be a humanist and the Visitor's partner, Raph is just helping him as a friend and would rather date Stella and have a good job instead, Judith only wants her ID papers for 2011, Matteo is his bodyguard, and Tim and Leo quit after they realise they won't gain anything from him.

    Western Animation 
  • In Castlevania (2017), Dracula was a reclusive vampire lord and not a big fan of humans until he met and fell in love with Lisa, a medicine woman who sought out the scientific knowledge he had in his castle. After she was burned at the stake as a witch by the citizens of Wallachia, Dracula snaps and decides that, because no one tried to save her, humanity was deserving of nothing less than wholesale genocide. Even after his son Alucard tries to talk him out of it, Dracula unleashes the hordes of Hell on Wallachia, putting the town to the slaughter under his orders.
    Dracula: That woman was the only reason on Earth for me to tolerate human life!
    Alucard: Then find the one who did the deed! If you loose an army of the night on Wallachia, you cannot undo it. And many thousands of people just as innocent as her will suffer and die.
    Dracula: There are no innocents! Not anymore! Any one of them could have stood up and said "No, we won't behave like animals anymore!"
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) episode "The Dragon's Gift", this sentiment is truly believed by Granamyr, an ancient and wise dragon who has been around for millennia and lived during a time when humans and dragons fought terrible wars against each other. When He-Man and Teela come asking him for help, he decides to give them a Secret Test of Character (he tells them to murder the one being on Eternia who is older than he is, claiming he is simply jealous of it). When the two of them pass the test by refusing to do so, Granamyr admits that there may yet be hope for humans after all. (In the Spin-Off series She-Ra: Princess of Power, the origins of the war that he mentioned are revealed when the heroine is thrown into Eternia's past. As it turns out. It was started by a wizard seeking to set the humans and dragons against each other. To that end he carried out an attack on a human food supply, and then blamed it on the dragons, provoking them in to declaring war against the dragons. Thus, while Granamyr's claim was not unjustified — maybe one bastard who happened to be human was to blame — his anger against all of humanity was likely Disproportionate Retribution.)
    • In the reboot to She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, after discovering a near-unlimited source of magical energy, the human empire of Eternia attempted omnicide against the rest of the universe by using the energy as a superweapon because they considered other races a blight upon existence. It just goes to show that no level of energy production can stop humans from being assholes. They were only stopped by a bigger asshole: Horde Prime.
  • J'onn goes through these sentiments in Justice League when doing a mindsweep of the city in an attempt to find Luthor, ends up discovering the vanity and selfishness of mankind. He retreats to the woods but gets some faith in humanity restored when he reads the thoughts of a group of people trying to find a little girl who got lost.
  • MAN: A Must-See Animation Short by Steve Cutts is the animated film of this trope. It starts with man figuring out he can smash a bug just for fun, then killing more than he could possibly eat without sharing, and goes all the way to industrialized factory farming and dumping toxic waste in the ocean, coupling this trope with a Green Aesop. Then it veers off into Space Whale Aesop as a pair of aliens discover the man being king of the earth and decide to do to him what he did to the planet, flattening him into a welcome mat to toss on top of his garbage.
  • In Peace on Earth, the human race pushes itself to extinction through a series of wars fought for increasingly nonsensical reasons. The wars drag on and on at atrocious cost until only two men are left in the whole world, and they end up shooting each other dead, leaving the planet to be inherited by Ridiculously Cute Critters. The animals don't really remember humans very well but given the nightmarish stories and the "book of rules" the humans had but didn't pay much attention to, they come to the conclusion that the world's better off without them anyway.
  • The obscure cartoon Vytor The Starfire Champion provides an amusingly extreme example. The hero's tribe depends on a special tree both to sustain life and as a symbol reminding them that the ways of peace of preferrable to those of fighting and bloodshed. In one episode the hero accidentally kills it, and hardly an hour later his former friends become so blinded by their violent impuses they start to build catapults and spears in plain view of each other with no indication of who they're even planning to fight. With the way the hero breaks up a spear fight between two of them, it's like with the one thing reminding them of their peaceful ways gone they've immediately decided to turn on each other. As soon as the tree's restored, everyone immediately drops their weapons and are best buds again.


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"O man..." (Spoilers)

Odio bitterly condemns mankind from his throne of Archon's Roost, overseeing the now destroyed Kingdom of Lucrece.

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Main / HumansAreBastards

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