Pirate: How dare you molest the whole world! Because I do it with a small boat, I am called a pirate and a thief. You, with a great navy, molest the world and are called an emperor.
A trope whereby some in-universe group moral standard is hypocritical because the morality of an action depends entirely upon who is doing it. It is, in short, a moral double-standard. What is justifiable for one group is, in their eyes, criminal for another.
There could be any number of reasons for this, but they all basically boil down to some innate moral superiority which is taken for granted. Note that moral superiority is often assumed first, and justifications come after. This makes it easy to mix and match justifications as necessary depending on the circumstances. A character or group is good because that's "who they are," and therefore anything they do must have a justifiable reason for it, and anything they want they automatically have a right to have, because surely withholding something from such morally good people is wrong.
Likewise, if they do somehow manage to commit some crime or atrocity, this is considered an aberration: something that goes against their innately moral nature — a mistake soon left in the past, followed by an inevitable return to the right path. Meanwhile if their enemies do the same thing, it is considered a reflection of their innately immoral nature, because deep down that is who they are, and evidence of an inherent moral defect.
Moral myopia is common in Real Life and therefore Truth in Television, both on a societal level and on a personal level. Most people believe that, deep down, they are a "good person", regardless of the actual morality of their actions, and are likely to make similar excuses for themselves and friends. Meanwhile they are unlikely to make excuses for strangers or people they dislike.
Moreover, people understand their own thoughts, emotions and motives that cause them to act immorally, while other people's thoughts, emotions and motives are outside personal control and therefore not nearly as easily trustworthy. It doesn't help that some people outright lie about their situations, making it more unlikely to label their actions as anything other than inexcusable, fundamental immorality.
Lack of Empathy also results in people justifying their own immorality while condemning the immorality of others.
- Anime & Manga
- Fan Works
- Films Live-Action
- Live-Action TV
- Video Games
- BoBoiBoy: The Five Scammer Commanders are card-carrying scammers, yet when Adu Du and Probe scam two of them (out of the stuff they cheated out of Adu Du), the five brothers respond by getting angry and attacking Adu Du and the city he's in, only willing to cease attack if he apologize first (he refused).
- Asterix: In Asterix at the Olympic Games, the Gauls use Exact Words to participate in the Olympic Games along with the Romans. The Roman centurion overhearing this (and very much aware of the impending Curb-Stomp Battle) is furious that a people they've invaded and conquered could turn against them for no reason.
- Villainess Poison Ivy frequently reacts this way to her beloved plants being pruned. Gaia save you if you use weed killer. Meanwhile, she kills one or two humans per appearance. Of course, in Ivy's case it's sort of justified since it's implied she hears plants scream in pain whenever they're damaged (plants DO notice things like that), but it's hard to tell if it actually happens or if she's just so mentally unbalanced she imagines it. And the issue gets compounded when you remember that Ivy is typically portrayed as being a vegetarian.
- The self-promclaimed "Victim Syndicate" are all formerly Innocent Bystanders who seek revenge on Batman for becoming Collateral Damage in his numerous battles with his adverseries - they have absolutely no problems causing Collateral Damage themselves to achive this. Nobody calls them out on it.
- Back when the Apartheid government was still in power in South Africa, several storylines in Bloom County addressed it. (Portraying it in a negative light, of course.) In one such storyline, the strip's resident Jerkass Steve Dallas (who was not particularly racist, but really didn't care about the issue) had to bail his sister out of jail after she and her sorority had been arrested in an anti-Apartheid protest that had turned violent. After listening to her reasons for doing it, Steve scolded her by pointing out that her sorority refused to admit blacks; something she was unable to reply to.
- In Flashpoint, the Reverse-Flash really rubs it in his nemesis' face that the Crapsack World was all The Flash's fault because The Flash went back in time to save his mother...from the hands of the Reverse-Flash.
- A humorous example was Howard the Duck's enemy Doctor Bong, who years after his conflict with Howard, attacked She-Hulk, thinking she was a bad influence on his five genetically-cloned offspring that he was raising as his sons. (He thought she was causing them to find violence attractive; sure, fighting her is going to prove it isn't, right?)
- Art Spiegelman's Maus tells the story of his father Vladek's survival of the Holocaust, and the horrors his endured for being a Jew. Yet as an old man, Vladek thinks nothing of acting racist toward blacks.
- Norman Osborn runs on this; if it happens to him it's unforgivable, but if he does it to someone else, it's business as usual. Best shown in The Night Gwen Stacy Died; he laughs off killing Gwen Stacy and openly mocks her death to Spider-Man's face, but when Spidey damages his Goblin Glider, he flies into an Unstoppable Rage and swears to make Spidey pay for doing so.
- Secret Six:
- The man who had Catman and Cheshire's son kidnapped calls Catman out on this. He bluntly states that their son could never have had a happy life growing up with Cheshire and/or Catman since both of them are murderous criminals. He also notes that neither of them have the right to play the victim card since Cheshire is a mass murderer who nuked a country and Catman doesn't care about that. Catman is forced to concede these points, and he decides to leave his son to his new life and tells Cheshire that he is dead so she won't try to look for him herself.
- Deadshot invokes this trope to Lady Vic, a fellow assassin who once threatened Deadshot's daughter in order to get him to stand down. "A job is a job. And I would have done the same thing. No, we ain't clear."
- Bane, after a lifetime of murder, destruction and brutality, is shocked to discover that he's set for Hell when the team briefly goes there to rescue Ragdoll II. Bane insists that he followed a "code of honor", I.E avoided certain types of crimes like rape or killing children. In his mind, that's the same thing as actually being a good person. The demons laugh at him, and tells him that "men of honor" are a dime a dozen among the damned, and him following a personal moral code doesn't protect him one bit from the consequences of his sins. However, Bane takes the exact opposite moral from his experience and decides that if he's damned anyway he might as well become The Unfettered when they're back on Earth.
- One of the Irish mercenaries in Sin City gets angry at Dwight for killing his fellow mercs... despite the fact they were trying to murder Dwight.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): While genuinely altruistic and courageous, Sonic and the Knothole Freedom Fighters are still flawed beings prone to impulsive decisions and sometimes conflict with allies over their inability to practice what they preach:
- Despite being the ones to put the Council of Acorn in charge in the first place to keep order, they routinely defy or ignore them whenever they don't make the decisions they want. Sally, ironically the most strategic and political of the group, was actually rather bewildered and hurt when they took offense to this.
- They have a wavering view of using firearms Depending on the Writer. Rotor to his credit lampshaded his hypocrisy on the matter at one point.
- In Issue 221, Mina Mongoose calls them out on this. When Sally tries to lecture her on being responsible after her songs end up rallying the public against Nicole, Mina turns it around and retorts she and the rest of the Freedom Fighters have no room to lecture her on responsibility considering the fact that even after Nicole was hijacked by the Iron Queen, they continue to keep her in power at New Mobotropolis and don't even bother coming up with any failsafes to prevent her from being compromised again.
- Examples from Superman comics:
- The Third Kryptonian: after Kryptonians destroyed Amalak's homeworld, he went on a centuries-spanning rampage, killing any and all Kryptonians he could find, even those who had nothing to do with the genocide of his people. He didn't mind innocents getting caught in the crossfire either.
- One of Superman's enemies was Manchester Black, the leader of a group of "superheroes" who executed supervillains and gained a lot of public support for doing so in "What's So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way?". When Superman challenges them to a fight and pretends to use lethal force against them, Black is horrified that Superman is using the exact same methods that he had against him.
- Teen Titans: Deathstroke's beef with the Titans started because his son Grant died trying to kill them. Note that the Titans didn't actually kill Grant — he died from the Super Serum H.I.V.E. injected into him to give him the same powers as his father. For this, Slade felt he was justified in planting a mole in their team and plotting their deaths.
- The Transformers (IDW): In the various books (The Transformers: Punishment, The Transformers: Robots in Disguise, The Transformers: Dark Cybertron...), the Decepticons often act like they are an oppressed people now that the war is over, while conveniently forgetting the four million years of murder, torture, genocide and other atrocities they committed against both many alien races and their own kind.
- Ultimate X-Men: Wraith has no problem opening fire on Wolverine and another man in an airport parking lot, then shooting Wolverine while he's caged, but Wolverine causing one of his men to be decapitated? That's horrific!
- Lewis Prothero in V for Vendetta had worked in a death camp with no remorse, but valued his doll collection like most people do their children. V causes him to have a mental breakdown by destroying them.
- Gold Key issue #4 of Wacky Races posits in the story "Follow Through To Yoo Hoo" that all the racers (even virtuous Peter Perfect) use a book entitled "How To Win A Race By Hook Or Crook," written by the series' token villain, Dick Dastardly.
- Wonder Woman:
- Wonder Woman (1987): In addition to his firm belief in his right to rape any mortal he pleases and act as supreme authority on Olympus, Zeus is regularly cruel and vindictive but is outraged if anyone questions him or his methods and murderously furious if anyone should respond in kind. His rampant, damaging hypocrisy eventually causes his own children to conspire to remove him from the throne.
- Wonder Woman (2006): Outside interference from the New Gods and Darkseid have led to Athena's death and Zeus once again becoming the king of the Olympians. Zeus acts like he is morally superior to Ares and considers genocide and removal of free will horrific when individuals other than him are the perpetrators, but spends the entire series perpetrating genocide and trying to remove free will from and subjugate humanity.
- The X-Men villains the Children of the Vault are pretty open about their ethical beliefs:
Rogue: So it's a crime to kill your people.
Rogue: But not to kill mutants or humans.
Cadena: That's just pest control.
- In Y: The Last Man, "Ring of Truth", 355's archenemy Anna Strong sends a couple of her lieutenants to kill her and she (355) quickly dispatches both of them. This triggers the Mama Bear in the arch-villain, who then proceeds to attack the heroine in full on moral outrage and revenge mode.
- The Angry Birds Movie:
- (King) Leonard and a small army of his piggy subjects sail over to Bird Island, lull the residents into a false sense of security with false acts of kindness and proceed to steal their eggs with the intention of eating them. When the birds spurred on by Red start attacking their village in retaliation, the pigs are all too quick to act like they've done nothing wrong and frame the whole thing as the birds being Ungrateful Bastards.
- On a minor-but-no-less-Jerkass note, the pig's ship wrecks Red's house when the former first arrives and at no point do they apologize or offer to help fix it (keep in mind that Red built that house himself and had no help due to spending most of his life as a pariah). But when the bird's rescue mission leads to his house getting wrecked, Leonard is pissed. For extra Kick the Dog points, when Red rightfully calls him out, Leonard brushes it off with "Your house was ugly!"
- Big Hero 6: Despite being motivated by the loss of his daughter due to another man's mistakes, Yokai/Professor Callaghan is shockingly dismissive of Tadashi's death (which he indirectly caused) and Hiro's own grief; when accused of leaving Tadashi to die in the fire he caused, he callously snaps that it was Tadashi's own fault in a tone that clearly indicates he thinks Hiro should just get over it. To be fair though, Tadashi did basically run headfirst into danger to save Callaghan instead of trying to get a firefighter to do it.
- Played for Laughs in Megamind where, after an entire film of looting, stealing, and destroying, Megamind declares it's wrong of Tighten to steal because "he's the hero" without even a hint of self-awareness or irony. Conversely, Megamind believes he's unable to do right thing because he's the villain. He gets way better in the end, realizes he's free to do whatever he wants, and decides to pulls a HeelFace Turn and save the day.
- Kingpin's main motivation for constructing and activating the Super-Collider in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is to find an Alternate Universe where his family is still alive (who were killed in a car crash fleeing from him after discovering that he was a super-villain). However, throughout the film, he has no hesitation over inflicting the same pain of loss on anyone else who crosses him, including gunning down Miles' uncle right in front of him.
- Meta-example: TLC's hit single "No Scrubs," a lyrical litany of reasons to reject a man (first and foremost among them being if he cannot afford his own vehicle, forcing him to "[hang] out the side of his best friend's ride"), was followed up with "Unpretty," which complains about how men make women feel bad about themselves for petty and shallow reasons.
- In Beyoncé's "Irreplaceable", the singer chases out a live-in boyfriend for cheating on her and using her wealth to impress side chicks... then casually mentions in the chorus that she's already called his replacement to come over, implying that she was also cheating.
- David Bowie's "God Knows I'm Good," where a shoplifter first thinks "God may look the other way today" as she steals, then cries "surely God won't look the other way" as she's arrested.
- In general, the Greek gods would rain retribution down on mortals (or each other) for things they would cheerfully do themselves. As one example, Zeus was famous or infamous for his many infidelities, yet would savagely punish anyone who so much as looked at Hera (or any of the other major goddesses.) The goddess Calypso later called Zeus and the other male Olympians out on this, not that it did any good.
- The Bible:
- Laban and his family see nothing wrong with cheating Jacob out of Rachel, forcing him to work 20 years for them, enriching themselves on his labor in the process, and Moving the Goalposts ten times. But when Jacob prospers despite their attempts, they think he's stealing from them and get angry, leading to God telling Jacob to get a move on.
- The prophet Nathan manages to force David to see his own crime (sending Uriah out to be killed in order to steal his wife) as others see it by retelling the story of his own deeds to him in disguised form. Until The Reveal prompts a "My God, What Have I Done?", David's righteous outrage at the cruelty of this horrible guy Nathan's just told him about is an example of moral myopia.
- From the Book of Proverbs:
"Every man's way is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts." (Proverbs 21:2)
- In the Book of Ezekiel, God addresses this problem a few times with His people the Israelites when they say, "The ways of the Lord are not fair [or equal]," by responding to them, "Are not My ways fair, and your ways are not fair?"
- The famous "First they came..." poem by Martin Niemoller.
First they came for the communists,
And I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
And I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
And I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me,
And there was no one left to speak out for me.
- Hulk Hogan (and just about every face wrestler during the WrestleMania era of the WWF to a lesser extent): When they engaged in rulebreaking and the same behavior to defeat rulebreaking wrestlers, Gorilla Monsoon usually portrayed it as "turnabout is fair play." (i.e. Screw the Rules, They Broke Them First!) Also, several male wrestlers beating up Sensational Sherri when she tried to interfere in Randy Savage's matches. When the heels broke the rules, they would be called every bad name under the sun, particularly by Monsoon and Vince McMahon. During a classic Saturday Night's Main Event promo, Hercules Hernandez during his early heel run once cut a sly promo about this... the good guys get away with bending or breaking the rules, but when he (and his rulebreaking friends) step out of line, they are harshly condemned. It was mainly justified because the bad guys were such insufferable dicks about everything they did that the good guys using the same tactics just looked like comeuppance to the fans.
- John Cena to ridiculous lengths. The long version: Money in the Bank ladder matches main event pay-per-views and are even called historic events — but only when, and explicitly because, John Cena is in them. A babyface attacking another babyface whose championship he wants or vice versa, or who he's otherwise understood to be in a rivalry with anyway, is only considered a FaceHeel Turn on the part of the attacker — when the babyface attacked is either a part-time legend or John Cena, and the attacker of course is neither. When someone calls to attention how another man has been disingenuous and egocentric at times, the whistleblower may have a point — unless the person they're questioning is either John Cena or one of Cena's friends, in which case their complaints are rarely even worth addressing. A former WWE Champion whose heel turn was facilitated by a systematic campaign of disrespect needs to finally accept that the show is not about him when the person saying this to him is John Cena. The short version: WWE portrays everything Cena does as just and everything that anybody who opposes him does as unjust.
- When Gran Apache threw his weight behind Los OGTs trio of Ricky Marvin, Chessman and Averno and even supported their campaign against luchadoras, Apache seemed to be the only one not seeing the irony in his beloved wife and daughters being among the world's most famous and respected luchadoras. Naturally when Los OGTs targeted the rest of the Apache family Gran Apache was angered by this "betrayal".
- Heard on a New Orleans radio station a good while back: "If I copy you, it's research. If you copy me, it's plagiarism."
- In The Ballad of Edgardo, the other players gang up on Edgardo and A Guy Called Squid for killing Lightning Sword Guy, despite the fact that Sword Guy attacked first, and Edgardo and Squid were only defending themselves. After complaining to the DM, the other players tried to get Edgardo and Squid's characters killed so they would leave the forum.
- A recurring issue of traditionalist Clan warriors in the BattleTech universe, who readily consider their Inner Sphere opponents 'barbarians' for using actual tactics and concentrating fire instead of engaging in 'honorable' duels against foes with vastly superior war machines. Which of course only reinforces their conviction that these people need to be conquered for their own good.
- In the First Succession war, the new Coordinator ordered the execution of 90% of the civilians of Kentares, as revenge for the "assassination" of his father the previous Coordinator...who had been visiting the world while his forces were still in the process of conquering it in the first place and ended up simply being a uniformed legitimate combatant in the scope of an enemy sniper.
- Word of Blake (a splinter faction of the techno-theocratic Comstar with the 'religious fervor' side turned Up to Eleven) grabbed this trope and ran with it in their time after the split with Comstar, leaving Comstar as the larger, more secular branch. It's lies when Comstar edits the truth to suit their needs, but 'the true perspective' when the Word of Blake does it. It really puts their later Jihad into perspective: a holy crusade bring the universe to its proper order to the Word of Blake, but a violently omnicidal temper tantrum as thrown by religious fanatics to everyone else in existence.
- When combined with Dunbar's Number, this really helps explain the horrors of Exalted's First Age. An ever shrinking group of people whom they view as "people" combined with ever worsening insanity are not the best things to give someone who has god-like power.
- Then there's Kimbery. Did she hurt you? It was For Your Own Good. Did you hurt her, even by something as minor as failing to live up to her ridiculously high expectations? You're a horrible monster and deserve her hate.
- The Primordials technically can't suffer from this, if only because of their status as Eldritch Abomination. Malfeas absolutely loves beating the crap out of others, but he finds himself unable to forgive anyone who does the same to him. It takes serious Cthulhu-equivalent of mental fracture to make him even consider that people don't like being curbstomped to hell by a god-monster.
- Vhaeraun, the drow god of thieves in Forgotten Realms, who thinks of himself as a liberator. His writeups specifically point out that he emphasizes cooperation among his followers and considers it justified to commit all kinds of crimes against others in pursuit of his goals — but if someone else does the same to them, he's furious.
- Europans in Rocket Age seem to think they have the right to push around the rest of the solar system and get incredibly angry any time anyone attempts to push back.
- Pretty much every race in Warhammer 40,000, but special mention must go to the Eldar. One of their racial hats is that they see use Farseers to divine numerous possible futures, and most manipulate events to make sure that events lead to the future most beneficial to themselves. This includes engineering events that ensure billions of Humans, Orks, Tau, and pretty much any other race, die instead of risking the lives of a handful of fellow Eldar. The War for Armageddon, multiple novels, and one recent video game were all the result of Eldar manipulations. It's made even more jarring in the Eldar's case, when you consider that they know that their own actions might just be futile, when their efforts are more or less trying to stave off extinction in a galaxy where everything wants you dead, but then again, they know there's something much worse waiting for them in the Warp if they die, courtesy of Slaanesh.
- Not that the Imperium are any better, regularly decrying Eldar for viewing other species as inferior and irrelevant and their policies of casual genocide despite doing the exact same things themselves on a regular basis. The God-Emperor also railed against aliens for attacking and enslaving humanity, then went on to wipe out entire species and force those he considered useful to Kneel Before Zod.
- The Tau are an interesting case: while they think other species can be callous and/or barbaric, they generally try to use diplomacy or political maneuvering before they resort to a military conquest of a planet; and even then they take pains to try to integrate the local population of a species, and will resort to trying to exterminating them only if they have been judged as being incompatible with the Greater Good. This is in contrast to humans, Orks, Tyranids, and some Necron dynasties who will happily conquer a world upon first contact and try to exterminate the local alien species as soon as look at them. Tau society, rather deliberately, scales on how idealistic is looks depending on the perspective its seen from. From the side sympathetic to the Tau, they have one highest standards of living in the galaxy and it's about as idealistic as the Tau are. Opposite is that the Tau hierarchy is secretly manipulative, and their society is oppressive and incredibly Orwellian, and will resort to "reeducation", genocide, and using conquest as a first option if it suits their purposes. Given how a Tau society and how they interact with their neighbors, planet to planet, can be pretty diverse, and these two opinions aren't mutually exclusive.
- In classic fantasy Warhammer, this comes up with the Dwarfs. Their entire race operates on Revenge Before Reason, so they would (and do) readily and happily raze entire cities and kill thousands of innocent people if they felt slighted in even the tiniest way, but will never abide or forgive the death of a single Dwarf.
- In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, the Ratkin (wererats) have no moral qualms about killing excess humans and wiping out human society. However, when the Garou slaughtered them en masse and tried to wipe out their society, they were enraged.
- Similarly, the Ajaba (werehyenas) consider it their duty to kill old and weak humans. However, when the Simba king Black Tooth orchestrated the Ajaba genocide, they were furious and swore revenge.
- In Jenufa, Grandmother Buryja completely ignored her step-grandson Laca when he was a child and reached to her for comfort after he was orphaned. He grows up a bitter and violent man, and she is very angry that he doesn't treat her as family. They both get better by the end of the opera, however.
- In Mother Courage and Her Children, Eilif kills a few enemy peasants, steals their cattle to feed his regiment, and is lauded as a hero. He does it again during peacetime and is hanged as a bandit.
- William Shakespeare did this several times.
- In Henry VI, the Yorkists kill Queen Margaret's son (after she'd killed the Duke of York and let one of her allies kill his son); in the next play (Richard III), she considers the deaths of Queen Elizabeth's husband and both her sons to just barely match her loss.
- Similarly, in Titus Andronicus, Titus kills one of Tamora's sons, and she... goes quite a bit farther in avenging him.
- Puffin Forest: In the Deadlands one shot, a magic wielding reverend declares that the player characters are servants of the Devil because used magic to command snakes to kill him, but he was the one who summoned the snakes with magic to try to kill them first.
- RWBY: James Ironwood runs on this, his numerous conflicts throughout the series occurring because he feels he does not need to follow the standards he sets for others; he demands people trust him while showing them none (or at the least makes his highly conditional and dependent on staying in his good graces) in return, forces others to sacrifice much for the cause while giving up very little in return, and insists on loyalty when he has turned on others solely because they disagreed with him.
- Brawl in the Family:
- Yeah, "Ode to Minions" is a touching song, but considering these minions are trying to kill the player, and are usually an invading force or trying to repel a counter-attack after they had invaded at the behest of a power-hungry/sexually deviant dictator, it kinda loses its touch because they wouldn't be there if not for the VG bosses. Well, it is being sung by Bowser.
- The strip also toyed with the idea in another series of strips with the same setup but different punchlines. The setup: Mario stomps a Goomba, and his distraught family rushes over to grieve. In one punchline, Mario realizes what he's done and is later shown attending the dead Goomba's funeral; in another, he gleefully mows them down for the 1-Up. And in the third, the smashed Goomba turns out to be fine, and he and his family are shown laughing gleefully over the prank they just pulled on the guilt-ridden Mario.
- Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures:
- This is a big reason why adventurers (typically a Beings-only class) are licensed, despite the fact that they often end up indifferently persecuting all Creatures they encounter; Creatures don't regard Beings as having any rights and so they are free to slaughter and devour them at leisure, with any attempts at legal recriminations by the Beings resulting in an offending creature getting a slap on the wrist at best. So Beings take matters into their own hands by empowering members of their species-class to slaughter Creatures with equal impunity.
- From the Creatures' perspective, they're to some extent the ones calling the Beings out on this — because the latter in turn have no trouble killing and eating "mere" animals, either, and from the Creature point of view how clever food happens to be doesn't make a difference in whether or not it counts as food in the first place. (It's also worth noting that despite all differences, Creatures and Beings are not currently at outright war with each other and manage to coexist quite peacefully in places, and individual outlooks on both sides will vary considerably.)
- In Darths & Droids, Annie introduces her version of Finn (differing from the character in The Force Awakens) as a villain. He's fine with executing a bunch of unarmed civilian prisoners, but swears revenge against the person who shot his friend — who was an armed soldier who was attacking the village when he was shot.
- In Doc Rat, the carnivores regard their eating intelligent herbivores as morally unproblematic, and any objections from the prey are the problem. One indeed got indignant after her fox husband brought home baby rabbits, and the rabbits' father came by to beat him up.
- Girl Genius:
- Bang was a murderous, sadistic pirate long before she met Klaus, but he and Gil often look the other way regarding her actions, or at the most act vaguely annoyed with her, usually for jumping the gun or overdoing it when on an assignment, while severely punishing others for lesser infractions.
- Tarvek was raised in a family where serving the Other and their memory and the population being wasped into mind control were just things that were -his father was particularly dedicated. It's only when he's faced with the Other possessing Agatha and the possibility of the Spark wasp being copied and used on her and Gil, that he starts to realize that maybe mind control over the masses might be a bad thing.
- Kevin & Kell: Carnivore kills a herbivore? Just part of nature, and the carnivore is unlikely to to even reflect over the fact that they just killed a fellow sentient being. Herbivore kills a carnivore? It's murder, and the herbivore will face prison time. Even most herbivores will think nothing of someone getting killed and eaten by a carnivore... unless the victim was a friend or relative, of course. This is as much a case of Blue-and-Orange Morality as Myopia. It's fine for a carnivore to kill a herbivore to eat — killing a herbivore for any other reason is murder (even if you eat them as well). And herbivores don't have that excuse, so... Mind you, this gets ignored a lot as well, especially by powerful carnivores like R.L., who eats people who inconvenience him all the time (including other carnivores, to be fair).
- In Men in Hats, Aram tells Gamal that he's going to do only good deeds for a week, then pokes Jeriah in the face with a stick.
Gamal: And moral relativism hits a new low.
Aram: The key question here is, of course, "Good for whom?"
- The Order of the Stick:
- Subverted by Belkar, who in spite of only caring about himself (and his cat) finds the idea of acting like this nothing but ridiculous ("I almost got through that with a straight face!"). See here.
- Redcloak from the same comic is a straight example: As the "good" races in the world kill his kind (goblinoids) freely for experience, he feels at a liberty to treat them the same way while fighting for the liberty and rights of his own people.
- The elves fighting Redcloak's occupying force are little better; the commander casually pushes a captive hobgoblin to his death while remarking the only good goblin is a dead one and his subordinates kill a civilian goblin couple, but when the commander encounters Redcloak personally he flies into a rage and charges him, swearing vengeance for every elf that was slain. Redcloak kills him and the majority of his team almost instantly, considering saying anything to them a waste of time.
- There's a twofer in #372: first, Redcloak calls out Miko, whose paladin abilities remove her "natural" fear reaction, when she calls the lich Xykon unnatural (he even uses the word "myopic"); and, by Fridge Logic, Redcloak also qualifies as "unnatural" despite calling himself "all-natural" immediately afterwards, since the Crimson Mantle has drastically reduced his aging. Lampshaded by the comic title.
- Belkar briefly objects to having a vampire who used to be Durkon in the party.
Belkar: I just don't trust the idea of using a horrible bloodthirsty savage to fulfill our goals while we — oh, I get it.
- In one arc of Rip And Teri, an assassin is after Rip. He poisons Teri (and Rip doesn't know if it's going to kill her or not) and then, as Rip is rushing Teri to a hospital, the assassin and his burka-clad wives attack the pair. In trying to survive, Rip takes one wife hostage, claiming "A wife for a wife!" and apparently hoping this could make the assassin stand down. But the wife bites a false tooth, unleashing a virus that would kill anyone in a ten-yard radius (including her). After Rip and Teri get away, the assassin bids his dying wife good-bye, then tells his other wives that they'll mourn later — they have to finish the job. And, for added menace: "A wife for a wife." Because, y'know, it wasn't like you accepted a contract against Rip and he was only trying to defend himself and your wife killed herself during the battle — it's all his fault!
- There was an inversion of this in RPG World; after Rabble-Rouser kills Olaf, his girlfriend nearly kills him, which causes Hero to go berserk and activate his Chosen One power of friendship, killing her. This is lampshaded.
Cherry: Rabble just killed the viking guy. She's understandably pissed.
Diane: Well, yeah, but she's a bad guy.
Dragobo: [holds up a sign] And that's all that matters to our "Greatest Hero Ever".
- Stalker x Stalker: In episode 11 Yukio gets furious when he notices an older man following Junko — when he was in fact doing the exact same thing and taking photos to boot.
- In Thistil Mistil Kistil, one of her master's sons is annoyed that Hedda is running away from a nasty form of Human Sacrifice.
- In Weak Hero, Jared reports Tobys family shop to the authorities under false charges of serving alcohol to minors — which gets said shop closed down and ruining Tobys family — simply for his own amusement. Later, Jareds reputation gets ruined by Tobys message board postings about his coasting through school through internal connections. Jared gets furious about this and confronts Toby demanding why he did it. Toby beats him up and calls him out on his hypocrisy: so Jared can ruin a familys livelihood with lies, but Tobys not allowed to tell the truth? Screw that.
- Encyclopedia Dramatica tends to do this with 4chan. To be honest they are almost the same except for the fact that one is a wiki and the other is an imageboard.
- Examined in this Cracked article: 5 Reasons Humanity Desperately Wants Monsters to Be Real.
- Reddit: Discussed with an attempted aversion on the popular forum /r/AmITheAsshole where posters submit their controversial actions for community judgment. Commenters respond by voting YTA (You're The A-hole), NTA (Not The A-hole, the other party is), NAH (No A-holes Here) or ESH (Everyone Sucks Here). Naturally, though, there are many posters who are stupefied to find that people believe they could be in the wrong.
- Whateley Universe: Card-Carrying Villain Mephisto sees no problem in murdering thousands over his 120+ year lifespan, but when his One True Love, Marla Fontaine, is gunned down by the his Arch-Nemesis, The Dark Avenger, while lying helpless on the floor, he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge... including brutally killing the Avenger's fiancee, who he describes as unimportant except as a pawn against the Dark Avenger. At least that's what he claims happened, though he is later revealed to be telling a mix of truth and lies to his interviewer, so the truth may be very different...
- Played for laughs in CollegeHumor Original Troopers Space Improv. Lord Sinister threatens to destroy the Princess's planet that has the insurgents' base in it, yet she apathetically confessed that she lied about it. He considers that she is cold for just letting him kill billions of people, just as he is about to kill the gunner for missing the planet's moon.
- American Dad!:
- Roger takes this trope Up to Eleven. He'll lie, cheat, and even murder for his own selfish goals, but if he's even slightly wronged in any way, shape, or form (i.e. Steve stealing his cookie in "Stannie Get Your Gun"), he'll go above and beyond to make the offending party's life miserable.
- In the episode "A Jones for a Smith", a crack-addicted Stan ends up ruining Steve's family-to-family dinner date with the family of the latter's new girlfriend, and ultimately spoiling the latter's chances with her. After kicking the habit, Stan insists that Steve, who is still without the girl and livid over it, will forgive him for it. Consider that just earlier in the season, Stan said that it would take time to forgive Steve for piloting a drone without his permission. Then again, this isn't too surprising considering that Stan tends to be an arrogant jerk.
- When Francine is upset with something Stan does, she will go to ridiculous lengths to get him to stop it, includes setting his mom up with Roger, openly flirting with his coworker (she found out that Stan agreed to marry their dentist if she died before him) yet she is furious when Stan is upset with something and goes to the same extreme lengths. One of the more reoccurring instances of this the fact that she keeps spoiling their kids while admonishing Stan any time he tries to discipline them. Yet any time Stan tries to spend time for himself giving them free reign she calls him out for being selfish.
- Arcane: Silco rather blandly tells a grieving mother that her child's death was a sacrifice for their cause of an independent Zaun. But when forced to choose between his own daughter and the cause, he admits he could never sacrifice her.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, when Iroh's son Lu Ten died during the war against Ba Sing Se, Azulon is shown to sympathize with Iroh's grief, however when Ozai tried to make an inappropriate bid to the throne, Azulon immediately became furious before his son to kill his youngest grandson Zuko just so he would feel the same pain that Iroh did. Note that this also disregards the fact that Azulon himself has staged multiple raids and undoubtedly led to the deaths of many people, including other families. Averted for Iroh where after his son died, realizes that he is inflicting the same pain of grief towards the people of the Earth Kingdom, which served as the catalyst for his HeelFace Turn.
- Beast Wars: During the final season, Blackarachnia openly complained about how the Maximals didn't trust her more than once, but never seems to take into account the fact that she spent up to two seasons shooting at them or trying to kill them. It didn't help matters that she didn't make any real attempts to fit in and acted no differently under the Maximals than she did Megatron, working on her own agenda in secrecy like stealing the Transmetal 2 driver and using it to try to give herself an upgrade. Of course, she does finally lose the Moral Myopia once she gets transformed into a Transmetal 2 and regains her Maximal programming.
- Dave the Barbarian: Played for Laughs in the episode "Shrink Rap" when Dave has helped Quozmir resolve his issues with his mother.
Fang: I love a happy ending.
Candy: Happy ending? They're going to destroy half a continent!
Fang: Yeah, but not the half we live in.
Candy: Good point.
- DC Animated Universe:
- Batman: The Animated Series: The Joker: "You killed Captain Clown. YOU KILLED CAPTAIN CLOWN!!!" (Captain Clown was a mindless robot, while Joker's current plot is driving an entire city insane.) Granted, expecting Joker to react the way a normal person would to anything is pretty foolish. He basically lampshades this himself by saying "I'm crazy enough to take on Batman, but the IRS? No thank you!"
- Unsurprisingly, The Joker went out with this in the DCAU continuity. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker has him kidnap Robin, disfigure and Mind Rape him into "Joker Junior", and ultimately hand the kid a gun and tell him to shoot Batman. At the last minute, "J.J." shoots Joker instead, and the Clown Prince of Crime's last words?
Joker: T-that's not funny! That's...
- Played for Laughs in Dilbert when Wally is thumbing through a pornographic magazine that was delivered to Dilbert's inbox and Alice takes offense to this and points out she could sue them for creating a hostile working environment:
Dilbert: Five minutes ago you beat a man senseless.
Alice: Ahh, he was senseless before I beat him.
- The Dragon Prince gives us Viren, a villain who seems to hold genuine love for his daughter Claudia. When Aaravos speculates that she will be a valuable asset to their plans, Viren protectively shoots it down with the sentiment that she is his daughter, not an asset. This would just be a simple case of Even Evil Has Loved Ones if Viren didn't have a history of disregarding the parent-child bonds between other people, assuming he can't use it to manipulate those people. Shown crystal-clear in the Series Fauxnale when he has the Dragon Prince helpless and cornered, and cruelly taunts that once he's done with him, he'll kill the little dragon's comatose mother, for seemingly no other reason then sadistic glee. Viren also constantly treats his other child, Soren, as Dumb Muscle and gaslights him into following his every command. Viren's love for Claudia is genuine, but it is clearly motivated by her being a prodigy in dark magic. Soren, who's more a physical fighter, is dismissed as a tool.
- The dragon Sol Regem is a prime example of this in this series. He understandably hates and condemns Dark Magic and all those who practice it because it causes the deaths of innocent magic creatures, and a certain dark mage used a dark magic spell to blind him. However, Sol Regem has absolutely no problems with slaughtering innocent life-forms himself if they refuse to yield to his demands. In the past, he threatened to burn down a city inhabited by hundreds of thousands of innocent humans (including children) in an attempt to force a single dark mage to give up his power. That mage was the same one who blinded Sol Regem, which he did to protect his people. In the present, Sol crosses yet another line when he threatens to kill Rayla, a teenage elf, and Zym, a baby dragon, because they are siding with Callum, a human boy.
- Played for Laughs in "I, Roommate" when Bender and Fry end up living together. In a normal human apartment, Bender is wholly content to live in the closet, but in a robot apartment where the living-space is tiny and Fry would rather live in the gigantic apartment-sized "closet"...
Fry: This is huge! Bender, why don't I just live in here?
Bender: In a closet? Oh, humans...
- Leela in general also frequently gets mocked for her Double Standard where men are concerned. She constantly complains about being an outcast because of her single eye and takes extreme offense to anyone who disparages or discriminates against her for it or is even put off by it, yet she herself has ludicrously high standards for men and will chase off anyone for even the slightest imperfections. One episode even has her chase off a man who is otherwise perfect, looks and personality-wise and who loved her in spite of her eye, because he had a lizard-like tongue.
- Played for Laughs in "I, Roommate" when Bender and Fry end up living together. In a normal human apartment, Bender is wholly content to live in the closet, but in a robot apartment where the living-space is tiny and Fry would rather live in the gigantic apartment-sized "closet"...
- The Garfield Show special "The Mean Machine" involved some robots enslaving the human race and the organic alien inhabitants of the world they originated from to build more robots. It so happens that after the robots are defeated in the end, the organic aliens have them reprogrammed into being servants, which is pretty much also a form of enslavement.
- Infinity Train plays this for drama and displays this in these characters.
- The Flecs are a pair of mirror officers who brutally enforce mirror law in the Chrome Car and will relentlessly hunt down slivers who separate from their primes, even by excluding themselves from the rule. Likewise, when Mirror Tulip annihilates the bad cop in response, the good cop furiously breaks off from his code by sentencing her to death in retaliation.
- Simon Laurent throughout Book 3 as he slips further and further into insanity after being reminded of his trauma. Simon wants Grace to empathize with him while he has no empathy for others.
- Averted in Invader Zim. The Irkens as a whole think of non-Irkens as nonpersons, but the Tallest at least have no problem throwing their own kind out of an airlock when it pleases them. Come to think of it, Zim seems to think anyone who isn't him is expendable for the sake of his mission, as shown in "Hobo 13" where he sacrifices his entire training squad (including fellow Irken Skoodge) in order to complete his training.
- King of the Hill:
- Anytime something embarrassing happens to Hank, Peggy will tell anyone who will listen about it to the point that random strangers will give him advice. Imagine her reaction if he did this to her. In another example, Peggy got a job at the Alamo Beer company during a time where there was no stock of Alamo in their local supermarket. Peggy told Hank exactly how to get his favorite beer without telling him that it was tainted. Despite this, Peggy claimed that Hank betrayed her trust while continuing to allow him to drink the tainted beer.
- In the episode "Hank's Bully", Hank is continuously harassed and taunted by the son of his new neighbors, but the parents take no disciplinary action and instead write off their son's behavior as creativity and his way of expressing friendship. Then Hank asks Bobby to deliberately cause trouble for them by imitating their son's behavior as Hank gives the same excuses for Bobby's behavior, and all of a sudden, they find such behavior unacceptable.
- In the episode of Megas XLR where the heroes meet some Space Pirates.
Pirate: We don't like cheaters. Unless it's us doing the cheating. Then it's OK.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Starlight Glimmer, the resident poster child for "evil villain turned good guy" and "constantly being handed second chances", is very quick to outright refuse to give Thorax a chance to prove he's a good person or give up on Pharynx and write him off as a lost cause after he's not easily willing to change his ways. Both of these episodes do have scenes where she realizes the double standard (or has it pointed out to her), and she's since become friends with both of them.
- Twilight is the princess of Friendship, forgives her enemies constantly, and encourages her new student Starlight to make some friends around town. Starlight meets and hits it off with one of Twilight's old foes, the stage magician Trixie. Twilight is completely against this, is called out on it by Starlight who then doubts if Twilight genuinely forgave her, and ultimately realized how her unfair treatment hurt them and apologized.
- The Owl House:
- Amity Blight was first introduced as an Academic Alpha Bitch with an Inferiority Superiority Complex who treats though who are less successful than her as beneath her, when Luz comes along it led to a series of incidents between the two mainly caused by Amity's hostility, and blaming Luz for getting her in trouble or embarrassed instead of taking responsibility for her actions. She was fine with having Luz dissected, nearly maiming her in a duel that'll determine Luz's magic studies, and simply being mean to her friends, but when her future in the emperor's coven is jeopardized by Lilith or some other bad thing happens to her its horrible. She even calls Luz a bully when she finds her with her diary, what makes this more ironic is that Luz was really trying to make amends with Amity, but Amity's Jerkass attitude keeps her from establishing authentic friendships.
- At the end of "Elsewhere and Elsewhen", Philip Wittebane concludes that Witches are barbaric after Lilith punches him hard in the face, completely ignoring that he had thrown her and Luz to the Stone Sleeper as a distraction with no remorse just so he could get what he wanted, and that he was trying to rope them into doing the same thing again despite having already seen his true colors.
- Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves, when Wimpy is stealing food behind his back, Abu Hassan remarks "Must be thieves around here."
- In a Famous Studios cartoon, Popeye is the butt of several increasingly cruel April Fools Day pranks brought on by Bluto. Whenever Popeye got angry, Olive would accuse him of not having a sense of humor. Bluto later played a prank on Olive and set Popeye to take the blame. Suddenly, it wasn't very funny.
- The Powerpuff Girls: The episode "Girls Gone Mild" displays this perfectly with Stanley and Sandra Practice, two Moral Guardians who, fearing that the Girls' style of crime fighting may be a bad influence on children, force them to stop using their powers, threatening to sue Professor Utonium if they do so. Even as the crime rate in Townsville rises with the Girls unable to intervene, the Practices refuse to rescind the contract... until the villains come after them.
- Discussed in The Real Ghostbusters episode Night Game where the spiritual forces of good and evil end up playing a game of baseball as the battleground they always use happens to now be a baseball field. Evil blatantly cheats to get a run and, when Peter points it out to The Umpire, he explains that evil cheats because that's its nature and that's why we call it "evil". He adds that only good is not allowed to cheat, because if good adopts the methods of evil, it becomes evil.
Ray: I wonder if good is allowed to steal bases.
Peter: Maybe good just borrows them.
- Regular Show: "Under the Hood", Rigby is painting Park Avenue's TV room:
Park Avenue: No, no no, dont. Whats the matter with you?
Rigby: You painted all over our whole park.
Park Avenue: Yes, but it's different, you know? It's what I do! My stuff is good, youre only making a mess!
- Rick from Rick and Morty is all about this. Here's just a few glaring examples:
- He's outraged that the alien Zeep created a microverse in a battery whose inhabitants unknowingly generate electricity for Zeep's world. However Zeep lives in a microverse created by Rick to power his car, which is fine.
- When he's betrayed by Gearhead who quotes his "look out for number one" mentality, Rick coldly points out he is always number one and dismembers Gearhead, cautioning everyone else around him to never betray him.
- The Season 4 premiere has Rick outright spell it out without even a shred of shame when, in the midst of stealing death crystals, they get attacked by a faction of aliens who also steal said crystals:
Rick: Crystal poachers. There's no lower form of life. They think the galaxy's their own personal piggy bank.
Morty: Wait, then what are we?
Rick: We're Rick and Morty.
- The Simpsons:
- In the April Fools' Day episode, "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show", Bart, in retaliation for a series of mean spirited April Fools pranks pulled by Homer, finally pulls one over on him, only to accidentally send him into a coma. After Bart confesses to the prank, Homer wakes up and strangles him. This is just plain wrong, because Homer pulled some harmful if not potentially deadly pranks, including duct-taping Bart's eyes shut and putting milk in the fridge that had been next to a furnace for six weeks yet never apologized. He'd rather drink a beer than be father of the year, that's for sure.
- Similarly in "Fear of Flying", the patrons of Moe's bar play a sequence of increasingly brutal practical jokes on their publican, all of which he takes in good humor (such as lighting his clothes on fire and hiding a cobra in the cash register which repeatedly bites him). Lastly, Homer plays the innocuous "Loose Salt Shaker Lid" gag on Moe and immediately gets chewed out by his friends and barred from entry. Of course, this is the joke.
- In "Dude, Where's My Ranch?", when the family goes on a ranch holiday, Lisa gets a crush on an older boy. She hears him talking to a 'Clara', and promising her the first dance. When she meets Clara, she misdirects her down a dangerous trail. Later she finds out Clara is his sister and only then does she go to help her. The boy calls her out for this when she admits what she did.
- Homer again in "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy", when Grampa in a fit of rage told him that he was an accident, Homer abandoned him on the roadside. When he informed Marge of this, she reminded him that he tells Bart hes an accident all the time. Homer defends himself by saying that when he does it, "it's cute". The cycle of abuse caused by the Simpson men's shoddy parenting is lampshaded throughout the series.
- In "Alls Fair In Oven War", Marge enters a baking contest and all the other contestants are outright bullies to her because they see her entry as a threat. The contestants are rude to Marge and try to sabotage her entry at every opportunity. Marge then gets back at them by sabotaging their entries when she gets the chance. Lisa witnesses this and is disappointed in Marge, telling her to be honest and admit what she did. This wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fact that Lisa was with Marge throughout the whole contest and she herself witnessed the horrible treatment her mother was receiving as the other contestants were not even bothering to hide the fact that they were trying to sabotage Marge, with one of them burning Marge's entry to a crisp right in front of Lisa. Despite this, Lisa never calls out the other contestants for what they were doing to Marge.
- South Park:
- In the Terrence and Phillip special "Not Without My Anus", the Canadians defeat the invading Iraqis by all farting at once and flooding the stadium with gas. Naturally, the Iraqis take extreme offense to being defeated with chemical weapons:
Iraqi: They're using chemical warfare! How could they?!
- In the Coon and Friends Trilogy, Cartman starts to think the rest of the organization turned evil just because they kicked him out and sees himself as the hero because according to him, heroes make the world a better place for themselves.
- In episodes such as "Freak Strike" and "The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs", the boys will exploit Butters to gain publicity or avoid getting into trouble, but when he turns the tables on them, they suddenly have the nerve to accuse him of stealing their credit.
Cartman: Once again, Butters is trying to screw us over! That asshole!
- In the Terrence and Phillip special "Not Without My Anus", the Canadians defeat the invading Iraqis by all farting at once and flooding the stadium with gas. Naturally, the Iraqis take extreme offense to being defeated with chemical weapons:
- Spider-Man Unlimited: The High Evolutionary is made of this. He states that he rebuilt Counter-Earth society to eliminate greed, selfishness, hate, etc. However, it's incredibly clear that he doesn't mind any of these things so long as humans are the victims, not the aggressors.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- SpongeBob normally acts clingy towards Squidward (which irritates the latter senselessly), but when Squidwardnote starts acting the same way towards him, SpongeBob gets indignant and goes as far as to harshly tell off Squidward for it.
- In "Krusty Towers", Mr. Krabs forces Squidward to be Patrick's indentured servant, using the (plagiarized) motto "We shall never deny a guest, even at the most ridiculous request." However, Squidward quits and starts turning the tables on Mr. Krabs by making him his indentured servant and even using the same motto against him. All of a sudden, Mr. Krabs has the nerve to take offense to this.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- In the Padawan Lost arc, a Trandoshan hunter gets righteously pissed when his son is killed during a hunt of kidnapped Jedi younglings. Trandoshans are a Proud Warrior Race whose religion literally demands that they kill their way into Heaven. Every corpse a Trandoshan brings back from a hunt adds more "points" to his soul's worth, guaranteeing him ever-increasing rewards in the afterlife. But, conversely, if one of his would-be victims were to kill him, that would be not only humiliating but a grave moral disgrace, resulting in the hunter being "zeroed" (losing all his points) and most likely being sent to Hell.
- Likewise, the Zygerrians consider any culture that could be defeated by them as naturally weak, and any culture who would be conquered as deserving of being enslaved and quashed by their own. On the other hand, they consider the Jedi's conquering of their old enterprise an insult to their culture and an intrusion on their very way of life. The viewer's empathy for the plight of their lost empire is... limited.
- Boba Fett regards Mace Windu's killing of his father during the Battle of Geonosis as unforgivable murder, ignoring the fact that Jango was a hostile combatant on a live battlefield, had already killed one Jedi prior to this, and was actively trying to shoot Windu when he was killed.
- Minor example. When a suggestion is made to forego Anakin's trials and promote him early, the one arguing the most against it is Jedi Master Oppo Rancisis:
Rancisis: That is what concerns me. To walk the path of the Jedi, one's spirit must be strong. That requires discipline. And he has often disobeyed you, has he not, Master Obi-Wan?
Yoda: Did you not disobey me from time to time in your youth, Master Rancisis?
- Star Wars Resistance: Jace Rucklin is obsessed with making Kazuda Xiono pay for the destruction of his racer. The one and only person responsible for the ship's destruction is Rucklin himself, thanks to the overuse of (stolen) highly explosive hyperfuel. Kaz saved Rucklin's life during that incident, even after Rucklin had manipulated him so he could steal the fuel, but don't expect any gratitude from Rucklin.
- While fishing in a Gene Deitch era Tom and Jerry cartoon, Tom's brutish owner throws one of their catches at him as a prank (Tom is self-preserving enough to just take it in good humour). Jerry then throws a fish at him and frames Tom for it, knowing the owner's immediate reaction would be to beat the shit out of Tom in a rage.