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Moral Myopia

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Alexander the Great: How dare you molest the seas?
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.
St. Augustine, as observed in City of God

A trope whereby some in-universe group moral standard is portrayed as being hypocritical because the morality of actions depends entirely upon the identity of the actor(s). If it's us who do it then it's clearly justifiable and excusable — though it's not a good thing just because we do it. If others were to do it (especially if it harms us!) then it's clearly unjustified, inexcusable, and evil. Protagonist-Centered Morality is the trope for when it's not the creator's or narrator's intention to portray the group moral standard as being hypocritical, but it can be seen that way anyway.

The originating group may be royalty, a Proud Warrior Race, The Beautiful Elite, Scary Dogmatic Aliens, a close family, or fervent nationalists/patriots, but the attitude is all the same: they are justified in taking anything and delivering Disproportionate Retribution upon anyone who would take anything from them. Lack of Empathy is on full display; everyone else is a nonperson, subhuman, fair game. (Some may realize that non-members will attempt retribution, even if they deem it wrongheaded; others, however, are shocked at attempts at punishment.) Moral Myopia is also necessary in warfare situations — why care about "you killed my friend" when you're told to eliminate the opposition?


If you ever accuse them of being evil and demand that they justify their actions — if they even feel any need to justify something to an outsider — don't expect any remorse about their Dirty Business, or even admissions of villainy, whether regretful or gleeful. These are likely to spit at you that they do not subscribe to your idea of "evil". After all, they claim, how many good men would speak against murder as the ultimate evil — only to, if they found out a loved one committed it, make excuses for them and let them get away with it if they could? What's more, how many do-gooders actually feel remorse for all the minor evil minions they kill to save the world? How many so-called "heroes" will laze in their tents and turn a blind eye to the villain's actions, ignoring the evil being allowed to exist by their inaction, until he makes the mistake of hitting their Protectorate?


It is the most common cause of Curious Qualms of Conscience. It's also likely at the root of many if not most Double Standards.

For this trope to apply, the character must regard at least one other character as deserving of moral consideration. When it's completely egocentric, It's All About Me. If instigators are surprised that people feel this way in a setting where they have no right to be, it's Nobody Ever Complained Before.

See also Species Loyalty, Ape Shall Never Kill Ape, A Million Is a Statistic, Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters, Moral Dissonance, No True Scotsman, Never My Fault, The Right of a Superior Species, Tautological Templar, and Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide". Also compare with Moral Dissonance if a Double Standard is portrayed as justified in-universe and nobody calls the protagonists out for any act they do, and Pay Evil unto Evil when being morally myopic is a must for retribution. Super-Trope to Revenge Myopia. Likely to be at best a "gray" in Black and Gray Morality, Grey and Gray Morality, or White and Grey Morality. When the writers seem to wholeheartedly privilege the protagonists this way, it's a case of Protagonist-Centered Morality. The Cannibal Tribe may employ this to avoid self-depopulation while also refusing to abandon cannibalism. Related to the Original Position Fallacy, where someone supports a policy or idea because they assume they will benefit from it, and then react with outrage and shock when they realize that's not the case at all.

Contrast Hypocrisy Nod and At Least I Admit It, when they are actually far from myopic.


Other Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • Batman 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 its sort of justified since its implied she hears plants scream in pain whenever they're damaged (plants DO notice things like that), but its hard to tell if it actually happens or if she's just so mentally unbalanced she imagines it. Ad the issue gets compounded when you remember that Ivy is typically portrayed as being a vegetarian.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 and 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.
  • 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.
    Cadena: Yes.
    Rogue: But not to kill mutants or humans.
    Cadena: That's just pest control.
  • 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, thats 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wonder Woman: In addition to his firm belief in his right to rape any mortal he pleases and act as the final word in judgement 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. In Wonder Woman (1987) eventually his own children gang up to kick him off the throne of Olympus due to his rampant damaging hypocrisy.
    • By 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 perpertrating genocide and trying to remove free will from and subjugate humanity.

    Fan Works 
  • Dilandau's penchant for slapping his men is exaggerated in Vision of Escaflowne Abridged, to the point where one forgets what he's doing and desperately tries to defect when someone DOESN'T bitchslap him. But so help you if he catches someone else treating his Dragonslayers like dirt.
    Dilandau: No-one bitchslaps my men but me!
  • Played for Laughs in Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Dr. Gero rages when Piccolo crushes one of his arms, demanding to know what he did to deserve such treatment. Piccolo responds that Gero vaporized a significant portion of a city with his Laser Eyes; when Gero responds "I mean recently!", Piccolo points out that this happened less than an hour ago.
  • Lampshaded in the Back to the Future fanfic Back to the Future Prequel by Doc, who wonders how Hank can care so much about Doc accidentally hurting his sister while being completely unconcerned about threatening Marty.
  • The Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers example is lampshaded in Relationships Series when Lindy (gently) reminds Nove that Cinque's injuries happened because she attacked on Scaglietti's orders, but that people can forgive her because in her heart, she now understands this and regrets it.
  • Subverted in Mai-HiME by Natsuki, who has no pretensions of being a paragon of morality, admits to having no moral high ground in Windows of the Soul, regarding Umi Tsuda, the fiancee of a First District member Shizuru had killed, and who, in the fic, tries to kill Shizuru. Natsuki admits that what Shizuru did to Umi's fiancee was terrible, but while she understands why Umi would seek revenge, she cannot agree or sympathize, simply because if Shizuru took away someone close to Umi, Umi is now trying to take away someone close to Natsuki.
    Natsuki: For me, and for this woman, it's far simpler. I stand here and you stand there. You've lost your precious things, so in order to satisfy your desire for justice you seek to take mine. And I won't let you, because Shizuru is my precious thing.
  • Checker Monarch, the villain of Getting Back on Your Hooves is perfectly willing to exact a convoluted plan to ruin Trixie's life (in retaliation for Trixie trying to be happy because they're sisters and Checker hated sharing the spotlight with her in any way) that runs the risk of financially ruining the Apple family, because doing so won't cause any trouble for her. A little later she is enraged (a later attempts to seriously wound or kill Rainbow after a Villainous Breakdown) at Rainbow Dash's ruining said plan by failing to act according to Monarch's predictions, despite Dash's being a completely unwitting pawn in the whole affair. Specifically, she expected Dash to lash out at filly-aged Trixie. Bear in mind that Checker Monarch is, very intentionally, a complete sociopath.
  • In Perfection is Overrated, some of the SUEs follow this ideology, caring about those they care about while being willing to inflict suffering and death on everyone else for the sake of their goals and the former groups- and this is them at their most moral. The only exceptions are Mariko (who is genuinely the most morally superior of them all) and Hitomi (who has no morals or people she cares about).
  • Escape From The Hokage's Hat: Danzo doesn't want anything bad to happen to Konoha. He has zero problems doing this to other villages to ensure this. Kakashi preaches that you don't abandon your allies or you are worse than trash yet when Sasuke does just that (and is promptly hit by Laser-Guided Karma) he mopes about everyone hating Sasuke for it.
  • Dead or Alive 4: The Devil Factor: When Dante reveals his fratricide of Vergil to Ayane, the latter, despite having wanted to kill Kasumi for years, finds herself nauseated at that information. Indeed, her hatred of Kasumi actually begins to waver at that thought.
  • The Lunaverse:
    • The Apples have this about their monopoly. They see it as okay to do whatever it takes to maintain their stranglehold at others' expense and Luna help anyone who dares get in the way. Applejack at least seems genuinely clueless about why it's a bad thing and appears convinced that they couldn't survive without it, but Apple Bloom is decidedly hostile whenever someone brings it up.
    • Discussed in Carrot Top Season. When Trixie tries to dissuade Carrot Top from helping look for the foalnapped Apple Bloom, CT guilt-trips her by saying that she wouldn't have the same attitude if it were Dinky who fell victim.
  • In A Midsummer Night's Dream chapter 9, the griffon ambassador expresses displeasure about not being told about the arrival of Midsummer Night and its pilots. Yet when Celestia reminds him of his own nation's similar obligations to inform Equestria of unusual activity, he tries, however clumsily, to worm his way out of it.
  • Renegade Reinterpretations explores this with regards to canon's portrayal of Morinth, suggesting that 'If Bioware hadn't tried to play the emotional anvil by having Morinth's only victim with a face be apparently the only young, pretty, white, harmless, nice virgin girl on the pit of vice and sin that was Omega, and instead let it be some Omega crime boss who caught Morinth's notice for his inner-fire, most people would find the exact same character a lot less evil.'
  • ''Legacy Of The Rasengan:Naruto'': An angry Naruto calls Sakura out on this. He points out that for all the times he and other people have tried being good friends to her, Sakura just keeps brushing them off for Sasuke. He also angrily points out how she never thinks of how her actions affect the people around her but doesn't care as long as she impresses Sasuke, which isn't helped by the fact that the reason he's chewing her out is because she impulsively broke into Naruto's apartment and stole his scrolls (even in context it isn't justified).
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • Dark suffers from this. For example, in Act III chapter 8, after being resurrected/resummoned after Tsukune's inner ghoul killed him, he tries to murder Tsukune outright because of the ghoul, knowing full well that in killing Tsukune, he'd be doing the exact same thing to Moka that the ghoul did to Mizore. Furthermore, in Act VI, when Arial nearly kills Mizore in a jealous rage, Dark comes up with Lame Excuses to justify Arial's behavior, when he had previously killed people just for looking at Mizore the wrong way; however, the situation with Arial can be justified, since she's his guardian angel and Dark just cannot live with forsaking her.
    • Also in Act III chapter 8, Felucia and Mizore, after openly supporting Dark's view that Tsukune's inner ghoul is too dangerous to be kept alive even with the Holy Lock, actively fight Moka and Kokoa to prevent them from stopping Dark from killing Tsukune. Kokoa calls them out on it, pointing out that they know how it feels to lose someone they love and are doing the same thing to Moka; while this gets through to Mizore and causes her to hesitate, Felucia is not so easily swayed.
    • In Act III chapter 24, when Apoch and Astreal regain consciousness after getting beaten up by Inner Moka, they're instantly terrified at the sight of her and scream about how she's going to kill them. As Inner Moka points out, they have little room to talk, considering the fact that the entire reason Inner Moka beat then up in the first place is because they tried to kill Yukari. Additionally, in Act III chapter 23, they remark that they distrust Yukari to be around Ahakon because she "never learns and chases after those who are taken," and when their actions cause Ahakon to break up with them in favor of Yukari, they themselves spend the rest of the fic chasing after Ahakon, who is now already taken, and even try to seduce him and steal him back at least once.
    • The original Jovian and Jacqueline who served as Hokuto's Co-Dragons absolutely thrive on pain, violence, and mass destruction... as long as they're the aggressors, not the victims. Case in point: in Act IV, Jovian had previously killed the original Apoch in cold blood during Act III and spent several chapters of Act IV going on a massively destructive rampage through Tsukune's hometown alongside Jacqueline For the Evulz, but in Act IV chapter 28, the minute Apoch and Astreal successfully kill Jacqueline, Jovian completely drops all pretense of playfulness and starts spamming Wave Motion Guns at the Ezranas in an Unstoppable Rage.
    • Hokuto himself. He holds the nihilistic view that all life, human and monster alike, is naturally evil and violent, with living things destroying everything around them for no good reason. He himself is just as violent and destructive, with Jovian and Jacqueline's aforementioned rampage in Act IV being done on his orders.
    • After accepting her role as Dark's guardian angel/mother figure in Act VI, Arial insists that Mizore isn't good enough for Dark in part because Mizore doesn't respect her; considering the fact that Arial had previously nearly murdered Mizore in a jealous rage, stole her engagement ring right off of her hand, and is continuing to be a complete jerkass to Mizore despite all of her attempts to reason with her and win her approval, Arial has done absolutely nothing to deserve any respect from Mizore.
  • In the Valvrave the Liberator Continuation Fic The Return H-Neun calls Nao out for not feeling anything when she shot a cannon at a ship full of his countrymen, who he then had to see slaughtered. She promptly pointed out that they were soldiers who had been attacking them and he did worse on Module 77 under Cain's order, killing students who weren't capable of fighting back and using poison gas so he's not innocent himself. Once she's gone, he does agree and needed to take his anger out on her for living as a traitor rather than dying loyally.
  • in Hail Odysseus, Draco Malfoy is furious when Harry and Ginny tell him that they had Blaise Zabini killed and are going to have Pansy Parkinson fake a murder-suicide, while ignoring that he was actually paying Blaise Zabini to kill Harry and the only reason he did not do it himself was because he is a coward.
  • Ambience: A Fleet Symphony:
    • Several times Damon and co. encounter bad guys who try to use I Have a Family to beg for mercy, yet somehow see no problem with slavery, murder, rape and doing all sorts of evil to others who have families too.
    • The Abyssals claim they're morally "more worthy" of Earth and despise mankind for its misdeeds, yet conveniently overlook the equally or even more heinous wrongdoings of their commanders.
    • Shiranui sees nothing wrong with being insubordinate and putting her ship sisters ahead of the needs of the fleet. Yet when Suzukaze does the same it's suddenly disgusting. Furthermore, despite her self-declared protective feelings for her ship sisters, she doesn't even stop to contemplate how she herself would react if, like the deserter, one of her own ship sisters were to turn on her for defending them.
  • In The Dresden Files fic Business, the mob boss Marcone explains how he's different from other criminals because he's motivated by the greater good, and they're just greedy parasites...while he's torturing an insurance salesman into lowering his prices. Yeah. That's not greedy at all. In the same scene, Marcone claims that Harry's vigilante efforts to punish criminals are self-righteous and naive, but his own vigilante efforts to punish criminals are somehow not.
  • In anti-Conversion Bureau stories, the PER and the Equestrians are often called out for their villainous actions but they're all too quick to act like they're the innocent victims of a hateful conspiracy.
  • In The Babylon Effect, the Minbari are called out on this by an Asari matriarch. The Terran-Minbari War started when a Terran Alliance ship panicked and killed a Minbari leader, but during a prisoner interrogation, Matriarch Benezia tells a Minbari commander that, by that logic, the killing of an Asari matriarch who was trying to negotiate a peace between Terra and Minbar should justify the Asari wiping out the Minbari. After all there are individual Asari who have been alive since before the last Great War, so by the Minbari's logic, they are an older, wiser and superior race, and therefore there's all the justification they need. The Minbari commander starts to realize how stupid their holy war has become.
  • Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters: Aldarn despises the nobility and Phobos' forces for all the awful things they've done, but feels justified in the "heroic" nature of the Rebellion's own less than admirable acts. He's also perfectly willing to use Ikazuki's mask to force the Rebellion to accept his leadership, but denies that it's anything like Phobos' means of ruling by force.
  • Adrien Agreste's Protagonist-Centered Morality becomes this in Leave For Mendeleiev due to him no longer having the protection of being the official Love Interest. So far as he's concerned, being chosen for their Miraculouses means that they're both meant to be, and Ladybug's explicit disinterest in him can be safely ignored. At the same time, Aurore is clearly interested in him, but he ignores her feelings and only strings her along when he thinks she might be connected to Ladybug and could help him figure out her Secret Identity. Once he's convinced himself that Aurore doesn't know anything after all, he sees nothing wrong with dropping her without so much as a word... and when called out on neglecting her feelings, is more annoyed by the inconvenience to himself than anything else, passively-aggressively sniping at Jean behind his back for the reminder.
    • When he and Aurore witness Chloe bullying Marinette, he's more immediately alarmed by Aurore wanting to put a stop to it than the bullying itself. Why? Because he's more worried about Chloe being upset at getting called out and potentially causing an akuma than he is about Marinette's feelings at being singled out and abused. Even when Marinette tells him outright that she could have wound up akumatized herself, he doesn't appear to recognize any issues and blames Aurore for the problem Chloe caused.
  • Rose Quartz and Pearl both exhibit this in Ask White Pearl and Steven (almost!) anything after learning what kind of gem Steven is:
    • Rose accuses Steven of being none other than White Diamond in disguise, having rotated his/her gem around and taken on a smaller, less threatening form, feigning innocence and ignorance while pretending to be somebody else. What's ironic about this is that Rose is none other than Pink Diamond herself, and has kept the surviving Crystal Gems (sans Pearl) and everyone else who knows her Locked Out of the Loop for over 5,000 years.
    • Pearl attempts to convince White Pearl to leave Steven and join the Crystal Gems. She takes considerable offense at White Pearl implying that they're a Cult of Personality centered around Rose, insisting that this is her chance to finally become her own gem... despite the fact that Pearl is actually pretty fanatically loyal to Rose, aka her own Diamond.
  • The One to Make It Stay: Adrien/Chat Noir constantly refuses to listen to Ladybug, ignoring her repeated requests for him to stop flirting with her and take their duties as superheroes more seriously. He also blames her for the tension that has naturally resulted from this, complaining that she doesn't treat him like her partner and equal... because she supposedly doesn't listen to him. And whenever anyone directly calls him out on this, he deflects and refuses to acknowledge their point, trying to make them out to be in the wrong. Demonstrating, again, that he will not listen to anyone who isn't telling him what he wants to hear, while demanding that everyone else should listen to him exclusively.
    Chat Noir: You're completely out of control. We're supposed to be partners, but then you go ahead and pick and get rid of teammates without me.
    Ladybug: Maybe if you actually acted like a partner, and treated our teammates with respect, I would have given your opinion more consideration. Why is it that I have to entertain what you want, but when I tell you to back off and stop hitting on me, you get to act like I'm being unreasonable?
    Chat Noir: Come on. Are you seriously airing out our dirty laundry in front of everyone right now?
    Viperion: If you don't want her to call you out, don't give her material to work with.
    Chat Noir: [glaring at him] Stay out of this, snake.
  • Mastermind: Strategist for Hire: Izuku shoots down Shiragaki's choice to kidnap and attempt to recruit Bakugou Katsuki during the attack on the UA Training Camp, in spite of how villainous he acts, because of this:
    Izuku/Mastermind: You’ll never be able to get Katsuki to be a villain because he doesn’t see himself as one. He sees himself as a hero and no amount of threatening or bribery is going to convince him otherwise.
  • SAPR: Sunset Shimmer decides to enable the Breach to happen by destroying the controls of the train explicitly because she values the lives of her team, but she doesn’t value the lives of the people of Vale.

    Film — Animation 
  • 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!"
  • 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 Heel–Face Turn and save the day.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • 28 Days Later: "You killed all of my boys." (Several of whom had been involved in an attempt to kill Jim and were preparing to rape his girlfriend Selena and the other female in the party, a 14-year-old girl, which was disturbing even by West's standards.)
  • In A.I.: Artificial Intelligence we see a group of humans that make a sport and spectacle of publicly destroying sentient robots in various ways. They are shown having great concern when the possibility that a child has gone missing on their grounds and that it may have been confused with a robot is presented to them. Meanwhile, the crowd who've gathered to see this show end up rioting when the MC tries to have the child-mecha David dissolved in acid, and it's clear that they did this mostly because the MC failed to prove that David was a robot.
  • In Apocalypto, the leader of the slavers, Zero Wolf, is perfectly content with leading his men (and among them his son) to Rape, Pillage, and Burn the jungle villages, enslaving its dwellers and even killing their babies; however when one of those villagers, Jaguar Paw, kills his son in self-defense, he starts an implacable chase to kill that man.
  • In Casino Royale (2006), Valenka was terrified when Obanno attacked her boyfriend Le Chiffre and threatened to mutilate her. Later in the film, however, she's smug and devoid of pity when Le Chiffre takes Bond and Vesper captive.
  • In Children of Men, Patric, one of the two men sent to kill Theo, takes it personally when Theo inadvertently kills the other assassin in the process of saving his own life. When they meet again near the end of the film, Patric even knees him in the groin, shouting about his fallen comrade: "He was nineteen!" (because young people are viewed as precious as human beings had stopped having children).
  • In Clash of the Titans (2010), Zeus is made aware of his son Perseus but refuses to show him any favor. He says his son has shown no love for him either, casually ignoring the fact that Perseus is a discarded byproduct of one of Zeus's nights of lust with a mortal woman. Eventually Zeus warms up to Perseus and helps him on his quest, even claiming him as his own in the end.
  • In the 1999 film The Corruptor, Danny Wallace (Mark Wahlberg) is an Undercover Cop from Internal Affairs sent to investigate Lieutenant Nick Chen (Chow Yun-fat) for corruption, which disgusts Danny's father that his son is a Snitch. Yet Danny's father himself is a former Dirty Cop that took bribes. Apparently to him there's nothing wrong of taking bribes from criminals but going undercover to catch dirty cops is.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • Aquaman (2018):
      • Black Manta seeking revenge against the titular Aquaman for not saving his father's life when he's trapped in a sinking submarine. He seems completely blind to the fact that his father died after trying to kill Aquaman and before that, he had led a pirate siege against the submarine in which he ordered the execution of half of the vessel's crew with the intent on killing the rest, which in turn was the first part of a false flag campaign the film's Big Bad was orchestrating. To drive home the differing moral alignment of the two characters, Aquaman later admits that his actions had, in part, created Black Manta.
      • Orm hates surface-dwellers for damaging the ocean and endangering his people but he himself murders the king of the Fisherman kingdom, strongarms the Fisherman princess and her people into joining his army and goes to war with the Brine kingdom when they refused to join him, causing more strife among the kingdoms.
    • Marilyn Batson from SHAZAM! (2019) apparently got disowned by her own parents for having Billy at 17-years-old, which then created a bunch of emotional turmoil for her. However, she fails to see that leaving behind her helpless 4-year-old toddler son without telling him (even with trusted authority figures) can cause equal amounts of emotional turmoil for him as well. When Billy meets up with her at her apartment complex after ten years of searching for her, she refuses to acknowledge that Billy might have been emotionally damaged because of the abandonment.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons the main character, Ridley, is a thief and constantly steals from others, but is shocked when another thief robs him. This is explained as being because he believes in Honor Among Thieves, and didn't realize that other thieves don't necessarily hold the same view.
  • In Falling Down: D-Fens deals with a lot of various annoyances, but sees nothing wrong with his disproportionately (except in the case of the Neo-Nazi and gangbangers) violent reactions to them. An example is when he attacks the Korean store-owner. He is offended that the guy thinks he is a robber, and is willing to pay a (fair) price for his soda, but sees nothing wrong with smashing up the man's store, taking his bat, and making racist remarks. Prendergast sums it up quite nicely:
    Prendergast: So he stole your baseball bat, but he paid for your soda? Oh, this guy's discriminating.
  • In A Fish Called Wanda, Otto and Wanda double-cross George, the head of the group of robbers, and go on to steal the profits of their heist. When they find out that the locker the loot was supposed to be in is empty, a sign that George was Properly Paranoid, Otto starts furiously shouting about people never trusting him. And just before the locker is opened, Wanda is preparing to hit Otto over the head and make off with the money from the heist herself. She refrains only because she needs him until the loot is recovered.
  • In Kingsman: The Secret Service, Valentine is perfectly okay with committing global genocide, as long as he's not directly witnessing it. However, when Merlin activates his implants, killing all of his underlings and associates, he calls Eggsy out for "killing all [his] friends".
  • Friday the 13th (1980): Everything Pamela Voorhees does throughout the film is to prevent Camp Crystal Lake from reopening, in order to avoid another tragic incident like Jason's drowning. However, Pamela causes more than one tragic accident in pursuit of this goal, killing multiple counselors, setting fires, and poisoning the water.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Captain America: Civil War'': Helmut Zemo seeks to avenge his family, who were killed during the Avenger's battle with Iron Man's creation Ultron, but he ends up killing multiple innocents who surely had family of their own. He does seem to acknowledge this, seeing as how he apologizes to Black Panther for killing his father.
    • Black Panther (2018): Killmonger blames white people and Wakandans for the suffering of black people around the world, accusing the former of colonizing and pillaging Africa and condemning the latter for hoarding advanced technology that could be used for helping the African diaspora. While he does have a point about what Europeans did and how Wakanda could have helped the situation if it wasn't so busy being a Hidden Elf Village (which T'Challa acknowledges by the end and endeavors to fix), his ultimate plan is to use advanced Wakandan technology to conquer and rule the world- basically doing exactly the same thing the Europeans did, but palette-swapped. And despite disparaging Wakanda for holding back all the really nice toys for itself, he burns the Heart-Shaped Herb garden to ensure that he alone will possess the power of the Black Panther. Even his death scene is one of these as he believes allowing himself to die to avoid imprisonment for his crimes puts him on the same moral level as a captured African who jumped ship and drowned to avoid a life of slavery.
  • The inbred hillbillies in The Millennium Bug are willing to kidnap and rape innocent people, but act like their captives killing one of their own is a horrible thing.
  • In The Mist, a supremely annoying hellfire-and-brimstone preacher lady is shot by a good guy after commanding her flock to sacrifice a young boy to the monsters that invaded (being cooped up in a Walmart for a week with monsters outside will make you try anything.) The response from the flock: "You murdered her!" Note that the preacher lady had already "sacrificed" (read: murdered) several people herself by that point.
  • In Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, in the scene set during the Zulu wars. A trooper comes up to John Cleese's character to report on the extensive casualties in the horrific battle raging outside, but Cleese replies that "We've got a bit of a situation. One of the officers has been injured" (his leg disappeared in the middle of the night... long story). The trooper reacts with shock that one of the officers has been injured, and forgets all about the many soldiers killed or horribly maimed, as someone important has been hurt.
    • Later in the scene, a British soldier remarks that while killing more than a dozen Zulu would probably earn him a medal, killing Britons would earn him the death penalty.
      • That's a paraphrased quotation from Bertrand Russell at the outbreak of World War I: "Two weeks ago if an Englishman killed a German he was hanged. Today if an Englishman kills a German he is a hero."
  • In the 2005 film Mysterious Island, Nemo's rant against greed when he mistakes one of the protagonists for a treasure hunter rings pretty hollow, since it's delivered from the comfort of his opulent island compound. Moreover, despite being a veteran who lost his wife and daughter to war and abhors violence, he evicts the protagonists from his compound and leaves them at the mercy of the island's Dire Beasts the moment he doesn't get what he want from them.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Davy Jones fully expects those he makes deals with to pay back their debts to him, demanding good faith at all times, but is treacherous and feels no obligation to return in kind.
  • In Polar the Big Bad Mr. Blut is utterly incensed when protagonist Duncan Vizla kills Blut's girlfriend and her team of assassins while they are trying to kill Vizla, and declares that now It's Personal. His underling Vivian is quick to point out the obvious:
    Vivian: Stealing his pension, trying to kill him, twice, and kidnapping his cute little neighbor... that is personal.
  • The Proposition:
    • "There's a little something called the law of reciprocity. You kill one of theirs, and they kill one of ours. Here's a piece of general advice: if you're going to kill one, make sure you bloody well kill them all."
    • One of the main themes of the movie is civilization versus savagery, with Arthur Burns representing savagery. He thinks like a wild animal and only cares about his family. Everyone else is fair game to be raped and/or murdered.
  • In Reservoir Dogs, Mr. Pink and Mr. White express outrage over Mr. Blonde shooting a number of people in the bank. White later admits to having killed a few cops during the escape. Pink asks, "Any real people?" White responds, "No, just cops." Later conversations establish that White and Pink believe that "a professional" will kill people if they try to block them from their goals, but not without reason.
  • Resident Evil: Extinction: Alice gets ambushed by a family of rednecks who attempt to rape, rob, and then kill her, and their comments imply they have done this before to many other survivors. When she fights back and kills one of them, they are completely horrified and mourn their comrade. They call Alice a monster and throw her into a pit filled with zombie dogs, but she turns the tables and sets the dogs on them.
  • Road to Perdition offers a heart breaking example: Mafia Hitman Michael Sullivan asks his boss John Rooney for justice against Rooney's son, Connor, who killed Michael's family. Michael has been loyal to Rooney all his life, and maybe Rooney loves Michael more than his own son, so when Rooney calls out Michael for this trope it is not only a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, but Rooney makes clear that everyone in the Mafia has crossed the Despair Event Horizon. You can see it at the quotes page.
  • Star Trek:
    • In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Khan is enraged by the deaths among his crew on Ceti Alpha V and condemns Kirk for them, while managing to completely forget that he was also nearly responsible for killing Kirk's crew.
    • John Harrison in Star Trek Into Darkness genuinely cares for his crew and would do anything to avenge what he thought was their deaths but gave very little thought about using Kirk and the Enterprise crew, even after they risked their lives to bring him in alive against orders. Then it's revealed he's this timeline's Khan and he gets even worse.
  • Star Wars:
    • In A New Hope, Grand Moff Tarkin promises to spare Princess Leia's home planet of Alderaan if she tells him the location of the Rebel Alliance's headquarters. He blows up Alderaan anyway once Leia tells him. When it turns out that the location of the Rebel base was false, he acts shocked that Leia lied to him.
    • In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin kills a helpless Dooku, but he is shocked when Mace Windu is trying to kill an apparently helpless Palpatine, to the point of attacking Windu to save the Sith Lord. Mace calls him out on the hypocrisy in the novelization and Anakin doesn't have much of an answer. He actually expresses some remorse over killing Dooku, saying it wasn’t “the Jedi way”. It is ultimately subverted though, as Anakin's reaction was less about morality and more that he needed Palpatine alive and while Dooku is his despised enemy who cut off his arm, seriously injured his master and attempted to kill the woman he loves, he views Palpatine as a father figure (and his ticket to saving Padmé).
    • In The Force Awakens, what does Kylo Ren, the one who betrayed his mentor, the Jedi Order, both his parents, and the whole galaxy, have to say when he comes face to face with the defected Stormtrooper Finn?
  • Taken 2: Done by the Big Bad. Bryan is the bad guy for killing his son... who had abducted who knows how many women and sold them into sex slavery. Bryan tries to remind him that the son started it first by kidnapping Bryan's daughter, and not only does the Big Bad ignore it, he promises to complete his son's work.


  • 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.

    Myths & Religion 
  • 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.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • 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." 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 Face–Heel 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 Power 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."


    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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 Tamara's sons, and she... goes quite a bit farther in avenging him.
  • 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.

    Web Animation 
  • 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.

  • 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".
  • 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!
  • Subverted by Belkar in The Order of the Stick, 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 Thistil Mistil Kistil, one of her master's sons is annoyed that Hedda is running away from a nasty form of Human Sacrifice.
  • 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.
  • Kevin & Kell is very similar; indeed, on this very wiki, Doc Rat is likened to a "less brutal variation" of K&K's Carnivore Confusion.
    • 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 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 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?"
  • 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.
    • It's also worth noting that, in the case of Mario at least, the Paper Mario games reveal that Bowser's minions don't represent the species as a whole, so not only are they trying to off Mario, they chose to do so, as well.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • 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 this 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.
  • 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...
  • 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 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, 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.
  • 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 have blink-and-you'll-miss-it scenes where she realizes the double standard, and she's since become friends with both of them.
  • Popeye:
    • 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 it's 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, don’t. What’s 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, you’re 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 he’s 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.
  • Cartman from South Park: 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.
  • 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.
  • Minor example in Star Wars: Clone Wars. 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: 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 plight for their lost empire is... limited.
  • 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.


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