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Moral Sociopathy

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"But I have a perfectly healthy brain. It just doesn't contain feelings. And that doesn't necessarily make me a bad person. It just means I have to work a little harder than everyone else to be good."
Amanda, Thoroughbreds

Sociopaths are essentially the human version of Always Chaotic Evil in most media. Since we consider morality to be good, they are naturally depicted as selfish and immoral.

It's... quite a bit more complicated than that. And, some works reflect this.

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While it is somewhat Truth in Television, sociopaths are still human, and it's not unnatural that sociopaths have a sense of right and wrong, even though it is highly likely to be completely different from what other people consider that to be. Many diagnosed sociopaths are known to have moral codes, usually unique to them, but occasionally based on preexisting social codes (such as The Golden Rule) as filtered through their very particular perspectives. Naturally, since these types of morality focus more on abstract concepts rather than on the feelings or reactions of people themselves, expect some rather interesting and/or nasty extremism to crop up: either occasional or a lot. The upshot is, they can easily like individuals and work towards the welfare of people as groups without actually caring for or about them and what they feel all that much. Emotional toes are likely to be trodden on and then shrugged off with an easy smile, and not even out of any deliberate calculation on their part — because they might very well not even be fully aware that they have trodden.

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By definition, sociopaths are largely or totally incapable of normal levels of guilt, compassion, empathy, or remorse — thus, whenever they subscribe to a moral code, said code will either be reinterpreted into something rather more amoral than usual or simply be amoral from the outset. They might well feel "bad" or uncomfortable about doing something they think is wrong, or that goes against their code, but they won't necessarily be able to feel guilty about that, and will shrug it off as just one of those things, or justify to themselves what they did as being The Needs of the Many, or what have you; no matter how much Insane Troll Logic they have to employ to reach their conclusion. This guilt-free confidence of theirs in their own beliefs, abilities and logic chains can come across as highly charismatic to a lot of the people around them, so expect The Charmer or The Social Expert to come with the package, even if they openly display their blind spots.

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The psychologist Andrzej M. Łobaczewski described something somewhat similar to this as a "schizoidal psychopath"note —who may have a conscience, but it's so heavily distorted that his/her moral codes end up demented; and whose attitude toward society becomes that of a Knight Templar.

See also Principles Zealot, when one is completely obsessed with his/her moral code above everything; some moral sociopaths are twisted versions of these as well, since they care more about their empathy-restricted moral code almost as much as they do about themselves. This twist can be bad to be around, without necessarily being Evil... or even conventionally Good, for that matter (it's going to hit Lawful, though). However, moral sociopaths need not to be always overwhelmed by extremism; a many can simply hit Nominal Hero, which, while lacking empathy, still have their moral codes to restrict them from dangerous, socially damaging behaviours in many ways. Also compare/contrast Black and White Insanity, Byronic Hero and Sociopathic Hero. Also, at a bit more of a stretch... Comedic Sociopathy: a word of caution for all other characters in a work — always remember to wear properly tested safety equipment if one of those is a main protagonist. Having "fun feels good and is liked by the crowd, so do what is fun for the crowd and avoid what the crowd finds unfun" as an actual moral stance can be draining to live with.

Moral sociopaths are both born and raised — so, you can't just make one without most of the ingredients being there. The more socially acceptable types are likely to have had strong role models of the Mentor Archetype school who helped them develop their codes around a solid, workable framework to hang their unconventional outlooks from. Or, you know... just some really decent parental figures they wish to live up to, whichever. By contrast, the rather more extreme versions will have a rotten background with terrible mentors and/or role models giving them a valid Freudian Excuse or two (or six) handy that will go quite some way to explain the somewhat questionable nature of the moral code they have cobbled together out of sheer spite, the will to completely confound the bad examples and/or the wish to survive.

This is not to be confused with Übermensch. Moral sociopaths can have their own unique moral codes, but they are just as likely to adhere to already-established things like Christianity and Communism.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • While it's never made clear whether or not Akagi's titular character indeed is a sociopath, he does have a moral code he follows that has very little overlap with 'traditional' morality. Akagi considers lying, cheating and hurting others to be acceptable as long as whoever is doing them is willing to let the same happen to them if they lose; he despises double standards and people unwilling to risk anything.
  • Elmer C. Albatross from Baccano!. Despite his cheerful All-Loving Hero demeanor and selfless behavior, he is completely devoid of empathy and concern for others. He just does what he does because Good Feels Good.
  • Black Butler shows most 'supernaturals' having code, that by definition is immoral for humans.
    • The first season Big Bad Ash/Angela wants a world of purity and light. Burning cities, murdering children, screwing dogs, whatever it takes. Possibly a side-effect of being a Fallen Angel, since angels shouldn't be on earth in the first place.
    • Ciel says that demons (including Sebastian, the Black Butler) do not have morality or attachments, but only aesthetics, that includes following orders, which may be viewed as a sort of morality code. Even though Sebastian himself never shows any compassion or guilt, he does care about his assets, even if for only practical reasons (to get their loyalty).
  • Lloyd Asplund of Code Geass, though more of a Mad Scientist, claims that he is a sociopath, caring only about science and engineering. An instance is when he decides to marry Milly Ashford, just so he could inherit the third generation Knightmare Frame in the family's possession. Later on, when Milly breaks off the engagement so she can live her own life, he isn't overly concerned and lets her go without a fuss.
  • Light Yagami, the Big Bad Villain Protagonist of Death Note, has a moral code based upon perfectionism. He gets perfect grades in school? That's good. He's athletic, intelligent and charismatic? That's also good. He just murdered a man using an Artifact of Doom? It has to be good. He has to be good. He has to be perfect, and if the only way to ensure that he is perfect is to establish himself as God by forcing his brand of justice upon the world, in the process murdering everyone who is imperfect and bad according to him, then so be it. When one of his followers starts killing people for the "crime" of being unproductive to society, Light's reaction is that it is wrong- because there are are still criminals to take care of, hence it's still too early to kill off people just for being unproductive.
  • Solf J. Kimblee from Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the most evil examples. But while he is an Ax-Crazy Mad Bomber, it is well established that he does have a few standards, like always sticking by your principles (regardless of what those principles may be) and telling the truth. He highly respects people who stick to their guns through anything but he'll still blow up their house with a Slasher Smile.
  • Wolfgang Grimmer from Monster is a sociopath (at least according to himself) who is incapable of empathy and emotion. This has made his moral code, which is to fake being human as well as he possibly can at all times so that no-one can tell he's a sociopath, all the more important to him. He's so good at it that only people who really get to know him can tell that he lacks emotional affect. His wife only truly noticed it after their son died in an accident and Wolfgang was unable to fake mourning him. By contrast, Johan Liebert is a more traditional sociopath.
  • The Marines from One Piece are filled with many who have this view, usually seeing the letter of the law as more important than the spirit of the law.
    • Admiral Sakazuki/Akainu. His code is of absolute justice untempered by mercy or restraint, to the point he'd slaughter civilian refugees just on the off-chance one of those "wanted" by them escapes and renders the Marine's efforts useless.
    • His fellow Admiral Borsalino/Kizaru, while not as extreme, is also perfectly willing to target civilians to force his targets to take the blow instead and treats the hunting of pirates and criminals more like a game than a duty.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Kyubey is debatably this. The character views emotions as a mental disorder, and simply does not understand human morality. At the same time, he's trying to prevent the heat death of the universe. What makes the character debatable is that it's not clear if he genuinely believes his actions are for the greater good, or if he is selfishly trying to preserve the lives of his race.
  • Dragon Ball Super: Zamasu, the Arc Villain of the Future Trunks Saga, truly and honestly believes that mortals are foolish and dangerous creatures that can challenge the gods and should be destroyed for the good of the universe. When he tries to kill Gowasu for his earrings, he freely admits that what he's doing is evil, but he believes that said evil will lead to a greater good.
  • Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle:
    • Prince Fugil Arcadia believes in creating a balanced and peaceful world, but he has no empathy for individual humans (save for Arshalia), to the point where he sees them as objects in a Civ-like game who can be manipulated and sacrificed for The Needs of the Many.
    • Singlen Shelbrit is opposed to corrupt, inefficient governments, and seeks to rule the world to correct society. Like Fugil, he is also unable to form attachments with others, and is willing to sacrifice others for these ideals. He may be a bigger example than Fugil, since he never shows attachment to anyone, including his sister.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Fiction 

    Films — Animated 
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Frollo is selfish in his lust for Esmeralda, but otherwise he sincerely believes half of the things he does genuinely are what God intended (albeit because he, Frollo, couldn't possibly do anything God didn't want him to do). A pretty big break from the literary version, who was a much nicer Anti-Villain and probably not a sociopath at all.
  • According to the creator's commentary, in Kung Fu Panda 2, Lord Shen exhibits traits of this. He knows how utterly horrendous his actions were, but he refuses to admit how wrong he was about his parents because it's the only way he can justify the genocide of the pandas. As far as he is concerned, it's too late for his redemption and rendering everything as accidents is unthinkable.
  • Prince Hans from Frozen has no qualms about seducing a princess or murdering a queen, but he also does everything he can to keep the people of Arendelle safe.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Warden in Marmoulak wants to get all of his prisoners to heaven - even if he has to drag them there kicking and screaming.
  • Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs cuts a man's ear off for fun, has no sense of professionalism, guns down innocent bystanders, and clearly has no regard for his fellow robbers or their well-being. On the flip side, he appears to have a great deal of personal loyalty to his employer Joe and is shown (in a flashback) to have refused a plea bargain and instead serving a jail sentence when he could have walked by implicating Joe in a smuggling operation he was caught in. He also, as well as almost all of the other criminals, is offended when Mr. Pink refuses to tip their waitress in the opening scene.
  • In Star Wars, the Jedi aspire to be this, as they value morality, but their whole purpose is to forsake emotion. The old EU occasionally explores this in greater detail, sometimes to horrific detail. This is implied to be the Fatal Flaw that led to the fall of the Order, and something that Luke Skywalker is careful not to repeat in the New Order.
  • The new head of the CIA, Erica Sloane, in Mission: Impossible – Fallout. She ultimately comes to agree with Ethan Hunt's compassionate worth ethic, not out of any respect or agreement with his morality, but only because of her not needing to feel any sympathy while many others can.
  • Amanda from Thoroughbreds isn't a diagnosed sociopath, but she does have an unnamed disorder that makes her incapable of feeling anything. This includes shame, guilt, or empathy, but also sadness, anger, pride, fear, or even happiness barring the final minute of the film, where she sports a genuine smile while alone when looking at a picture of her and Lily as little kids. She doesn't put any special value on human life, has next to no social skills, and shares other traits common with sociopaths, including an affinity for high-risk behavior (online gambling) unbroken eye contact that makes other people uncomfortable, and zero fear response, even when someone holds a gun to her head. However, she insists this doesn't make her an inherently bad person; she just has to work harder at being good than most other people. She dislikes those who are evil or unkind. She doesn't enjoy inflicting pain, and is never outright cruel to anyone, but from her perspective, murder is okay if the victim does more harm than good in the world — she compares it to putting down a horse with a broken leg. She has enough intellectual empathy to put down her sick horse because she doesn't want him to suffer, even if she has to do it violently to ensure he dies. She is also the page's quote.
    I think most of this country’s moral norms comes from weird old Puritan bullshit. A human life isn’t some sacred thing. There’s nothing holy about a dick and a vaj getting together and spitting out a little dude. If that dude causes more bad than good, then he’s like a, you know, a piece of malfunctioning machinery.
  • Amy Dunne from Gone Girl is a sociopath to the core, with a list of transgressions that includes setting up a former boyfriend for raping her, throwing herself down a flight of stairs and blaming it on a childhood friend for petty reasons, and murdering Desi as well as framing him for kidnapping and raping her to fit her Wounded Gazelle Gambit plot. But she does genuinely believe in the concept of marriage and all that it details. Nick's neglectful, inconsiderate attitude of her, as well as him cheating on her with a student of his using the same routine he used to win her over is what pushes her to exact her revenge.

    Literature 
  • The Poetic Serial Killer, U.N. Owen/Justice Wargrave, in And Then There Were None. They describe themselves in the Epilogue Letter as having been a sociopath who craved murder since childhood, but also having a moral code that caused them to target only other murderers.
  • 1984: Perhaps the closest fit to describe the guiding philosophy of the Party and the mindset of the Inner Party members. The pursuit of power for it's own sake is seen as the highest good of humanity, and the surest path to more power is to unite and subsume one's own will into the will of the Party as a whole - and break the wills of those who don't quite get with the program.
  • Subverted with Hrathen in Elantris, who seems like a religious fanatic at first, but turns out to be one of the more reasonable antagonists and goes through crippling guilt for his actions — he supports his theocratic religion because he believes it is too logical and well-organized to be wrong and turns against it when it stops behaving logically. Played straight with Dilaf, who is such a fanatic and has such a serious case of Fantastic Racism for the Elantrians that he can justify any atrocity.
  • Ambiguously, Peter Wiggin in Ender's Game, whose goal is to Take Over the World and unite it under a hegemony before the Russian-aligned Second Warsaw Pact creates a new conflict after the "buggers" are defeated.
  • Hannibal Lecter's personal ethics are bizarre. Murder, torture, cannibalism and mutilation are fine, but sexual assault and rudeness are punishable by death. What Lecter considers to be rude behaviour is unclear as he himself insults, ignores and talks down to people. And murder could be seen as being pretty rude as well. Furthermore, his definition of evil is to defy the rules of society and he made the deliberate choice to be evil by rejecting societal norms.
  • In Dan Wells' John Cleaver trilogy (I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and I Don't Want to Kill You), the protagonist, diagnosed at 15 with conduct disorder (which he calls "just a nice way of telling parents their kids have antisocial personality disorder"), does not want to become a serial killer but recognizes his potential to become one, so he lives by a strict set of rules to prevent himself from Slowly Slipping Into Evil, "practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation". His rules include: Not watching one person for too long (and ignoring them for a whole week if he does) to prevent stalking behaviour; not interacting with animals at all, period (animal cruelty); and giving someone a compliment if they make him so angry he wants to hurt them — he'll do this even to a boy at school who bullies him. John is so dependent on these rules, that in the wake of local serial killings, he wrestles for a week with the idea of breaking a rule to simply follow a suspicious drifter, purely because he's afraid of the slippery slope.
  • Zack of The Mental State is practically a textbook definition of this trope. He generally serves as a demonstration of how the darker side of human nature can not only be useful, but also essential. Apart from self-preservation, his primary motive throughout the course of the story is to impose his own concept of morality on the prison system. Luckily, he is a big believer in prisoner rights and freedom of choice. His rule is less like a ‘dictatorship’ and more like a ‘dictablanda’.
  • In the Night Watch series, the worse members of the Light Ones and the better members of Dark Ones are this.
  • In David Drake's RCN series, Adele Mundy's personal bodyguard is said to be a Sociopathic Soldier who acts moral not because of any personal code, but because of the legal consequences of doing otherwise.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Bronn. He makes no bones about it: He does his job to the best of his abilities, whatever it might currently entail as part of the agreed package. All while maintaining a professional and personable demeanour to all and sundry where suitable. But outside the job? He comes first. Always. He seems to find it somewhat disagreeable when people mistreat those he regards as having more worth (or just a load more bad luck) than wider society deems them to have or simply overlooks. But, he won't actually step in to act on their behalf unless there is something for him to gain by it. There is very little he is unwilling to do for the right price from the right authority, but the more distasteful (or dangerous) he finds the act, the more money or concessions you'll have to pony up before he'll do it. And, if you don't manage to supply sufficient incentive, he'll simply leave. Oh, and don't try insulting him by suggesting he go against his underlying "keep it honest; keep in business" code for simply enough recompense or some suspiciously, nebulously defined social credit: no dice. He'll add trolling you to his general "exist as well as feasible" strategy.
    Tyrion: If someone asked you to kill someone's baby, would you do it, without question?
    Bronn: Without question? No. [beat] I'd ask how much.
  • Sweet Valley High. Elizabeth Wakefield can be like this. In her efforts to punish people for their wrongdoing, she can be as cruel as the person themselves was, but she's always completely oblivious to this.
  • Timeline-191's Boris Lavochkin is a Sociopathic Soldier who will kill anybody who even looks at him funny. He still finds the CSA's Final Solution horrifying and deserving of punishment, meaning that for all his disregard of morality, he has a conception of it.
  • In The Expanse, Amos is explicitly described as a sociopathic killer, although this is as a result of trauma he suffered as a child. He uses other, more moral people around him to keep him on the right track, as he's more than willing to just start butchering people who get in his way without someone to keep him in check. In Nemesis Games, after Earth is hit by meteor strikes and he's left without anyone to tell him what to not do, Amos takes extreme measures to stay alive, including seeking out and killing a survivalist so he can loot his bunker. In a few cases, however, we encounter instances of his bizarre moral code, such as his violent objections whenever he encounters someone abusing children, and his sense of moral obligation to those who are part of his self-identified "family", including a willingness to go to war against an entire crime family when they initially refuse to help pay benefits to his adoptive mother's widower. In short: Amos has worked out that a fully-expressed set of murderous behaviours even for immediate survival is a very, very bad longer term survival strategy to have in space where you kind of need a lot of people on your side just to get air and water — so, he tries to keep a small, trusted, cohesive and protected group around him to steer him in less accidentally suicidal directions, and help him out of social jams he can't wrap his head around. Whatever it takes. Always. Everything makes sense when you look at it that way. The liking kids bit? He knows he's damaged, and when it happened to him: what little empathy he has, he keeps for those who might wind up like him if he doesn't protect them when he actually sees stuff like that happening in front of him. He doesn't always get it right, but he tries.
  • Aster in Magik Online shows all the signs of being The Sociopath but he has a very twisted moral compass of a Knight Templar, refusing to believe in evil because he believes he can reeducate anyone into a model citizen, ironically showing a belief in good and bad.
  • Explored in detail with various characters in The Machineries of Empire:
    • Mikodez really is a sociopath with morality, who maintains an overall good orientation despite his lack of morals, because he intellectually thinks that treating other people well is more effective in keeping society stable and avoiding trouble.
    • Jedao really tries to be one, because he thinks it's necessary, but is deeply tormented as a result.
    • Kujen deliberately turned himself into a sociopath because he found being a Well-Intentioned Extremist too painful and thought he could continue to achieve good ends, but ended up as just a sociopathic villain because he didn't account for Motive Decay.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This is the whole point of Dexter. The title character is a psychopathic serial killer who had a moral code instilled in him by his foster father who in turn did so after confiding in a psychiatrist who pioneered research into psychopaths. While his code prevents him from killing innocents, its main purpose is to prevent him from getting caught.
  • Patrick Jane on The Mentalist once pretended to have become an example of this trope. To trick a killer into a revealing admission, he pretended that an experimental device had switched off his conscience, and began threatening to shoot a group of suspects on the grounds that it was his job to identify criminals and they weren't cooperating.
  • If we are to take him at his word, Sherlock Holmes is a more-or-less-heroic example of this trope in Sherlock. He solves difficult crimes for the intellectual challenge rather than any particular desire to right wrongs or help people.
    Sherlock: I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath.
    • On the other hand, he feels a deep kinship with any of those who don't "fit" into society at large. That is, he tends to treat them like he does his brother Mycroft; constant needling in their day-to-day lives, mostly out of boredom. And he's an outright brutal bastard to anyone who preys upon them.
  • The Rani, from Doctor Who and its extended universe. Unlike another former classmate of the Doctor's-turned-Time Lord renegade, The Master, The Rani dislikes needless violence and exercising power over others for its own sake. She'll even help people who are in danger when it doesn't benefit her. She genuinely sees herself as working toward scientific knowledge and at one point thinks an entire planet she's been experimenting on will benefit in the long-term from her actions. It's just that her quest for knowledge tends to benefit her while inflicting tremendous suffering on beings she considers lesser species (which, naturally, would be any species that isn't Gallifreyan). Nor does she really understand the Doctor's ethics. In the Big Finish audio The Rani Elite, when the Doctor is angry when she kills a man who is trapped in a decaying body as a direct result of her experiments, she's genuinely taken aback that the Doctor isn't instead praising her for her compassion.
  • Omar Little on The Wire. He robs drug dealers and kills when he has too. He feels no guilt about his actions, as he strictly focuses on people involved in 'The Game': civilians are off-limits. However, if the effects harm people he cares about, it does upset him. But it does not stop him from doing what he does.
  • Person of Interest: Sameen Shaw is a textbook sociopath who is on the right side. She was originally an extremely talented surgeon, since she didn't have all those messy emotions that got in the way of work for everybody else. But her horrific bedside manner led to her superiors strongly encouraging her to find another job, so she became a government black ops agent. She did a great job at that until she stumbled onto a secret miles above her pay grade, and her partner was killed for it. Shaw killed her boss (the guy who ordered the hit), but pointedly left everyone else in the organization alive because she knew they were doing good work. Then she joined Team Machine, a group of Small Steps Heroes who do the exact same job she was doing for the government, just on a smaller scale. While she finds some of their rules such as avoiding killing to be naive, she does follow them when possible, and proves to be an extremely valuable asset. Even her former black ops bosses, who know they should really kill her for knowing too much, acknowledge that she's better off where she is.
  • In Daredevil (2015), FBI Agent Benjamin "Dex" Poindexter is explicitly diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and psychopathic tendencies, but due to the positive influence of his childhood therapist he has spent most of his life trying to find a person to be his "north star", whose example he could follow in order to be a good person. Unfortunately, he decides that the best way to do so is by obsessively stalking a former coworker, and then Wilson Fisk manages to get his claws into him and the "moral" part goes out the window...

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • The Phyrexians have a very well structured religious system and many of them hang neurotically to their philosophy, but they have very little empathy. New Phyrexia indeed has two factions that fit this bill perfectly: the Machine Orthodoxy, composed of white-aligned Phyrexians that formed a nightmarish faith which they cling to obsessively, and the Progress Engine, composed of blue-aligned Phyrexians whose view of "progress" would make Josef Mengele proud.
    • The Azorius Senate from Ravnica also count, being obsessed with order and making laws, while not caring for the population, and sometimes even acting fascistic. Being the enemy colors of Red, the color of emotions and empathy, White and Blue loves this trope.
  • Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000:
    • The servants of Chaos, particularly Khorne and Slaanesh. Khorne is a War God who demands sacrifice and bloodshed, while Slaanesh is a Love God(dess) whose followers practice every form of hedonism and excess. So while Khornates will kill everyone including noncombatants (after killing those who can fight), they won't torture for eternity like the Slaaneshi (and often fight each other for those reasons).
    • Likewise, Tzeentch and Nurgle can each claim moral superiority over each other. Tzeentch is the god of mutation, sorcerers and backstabbers, and his followers are prone to getting the wrong end of deals like being mutated into a gibbering Chaos Spawn, a mindless, gibbering creature who exists only to kill and suffer... or become superpowered wizards. Nurgle, on the other hand, wants nothing more than for the entirety of the universe to decay away, and so his followers are blessed with loathsome diseases and hideous cancers... but as a side effect, their nerves are rotten away so they can't feel pain. Yay!
  • Franklin Killers in Mage: The Awakening have had their moral code screwed up by exposure to the Franklin Working, the creation of a very conservative, homophobic and sex-negative mage. As a result, they tend to have very firm personal codes, in which premarital sex or minor crime is likely considered morally worse than violence, so they may see nothing wrong with stabbing a jaywalker.

    Video Games 
  • BioShock 2: Sofia Lamb is a curious case in that she probably did not begin as this, being originally driven by her altruistic goals, though arguably, she was enamored with the concept rather than the people themselves, but by the time of the game, she became a Totalitarian Utilitarian obsessed with removing individuality and curing humanity's genetic fatalism.
  • The Reapers of the Mass Effect series turn out to be this. Yes, they come in every 50,000 years and eradicate all the technologically advanced species and convert them into raw material for a new Reaper... but they do it so the galaxy won't descend into an endless war of organics vs. synthetics, and besides, the civilizations they harvest live on within the minds of the Reapers. Thus, they rationalize genocide as being part of the "greater good", and ultimately what's best for everyone.
    The Rannoch Reaper: "YOU REPRESENT CHAOS, WE REPRESENT ORDER. EVERY ORGANIC CIVILIZATION MUST BE HARVESTED IN ORDER TO BRING ORDER TO CHAOS. IT IS INEVITABLE. WITHOUT OUR INTERVENTION, ORGANICS ARE DOOMED.. WE ARE YOUR SALVATION."
  • Persona 4's resident Serial Killer, Adachi, evolves into this after his defeat. By Persona 4: Arena Ultimax he's still a sociopathic asshole, but he's decided that he's going to pay for his crimes, and if he were to be released from prison because somebody else started killing people in the same manner, it would violate the rules he's decided for himself. He also slightly cares for Yu and Doujima, but good luck getting him to admit that.
  • Racter from Shadowrun Returns: Hong Kong is a clinical sociopath, but learned from a young age that it was in his rational self-interest to pretend to adhere to 'normal' human morality even if he feels no emotional connection to it. He understands things such as friendships on an intellectual level, and will consider the Player Character one if you continue to engage him in interesting talks without blowing him off. He also has a near-religious interest in Transhumanism and therefore feels moral outrage, or the closest he can get to it, about people who jeopardise the future of the human race's evolution for personal gain, like two of his former research companions did when they stole his experimental drone data and sold it to ARES in return for employment.
  • Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri's leader of the Human Hive, Chairman Yang. He disregards the individual, in pursuit of a totalitarian collectivism, because he believes that unfettered self-interest is ultimately harmful to the cause of human progress.
  • Jade Curtiss in Tales of the Abyss is a heroic version. He has no empathy whatsoever, but is troubled by this, and always tries to do the right thing even though his concept of right and wrong can be a little skewed. Far, far less so in his backstory, where he was a Creepy Child.
  • Big Bad Prince Maximilian from Valkyria Chronicles is a classic sociopath in many ways (shallow effect, relating to others only in terms of their worth to him, It's All About Me mentality) but possesses a very strong code of ethics that often makes him very sympathetic. He's one of the least racist people in a game where even the good guys display strong prejudice, abhors disloyalty, executes his own men for war crimes and rescued a young Selvaria from the laboratory where she had been imprisoned (mostly because he knew it would ensure her loyalty, but still).
  • "John Doe" from Batman The Tell Tale Series combines The Sociopath with Psychopathic Manchild, but the two things he views as genuinely wrong are betraying a friend and being rude. Of all the things you can do to him, the one thing that seems to genuinely cross him is "rudely" putting a tracking device on him.
  • Kronika from Mortal Kombat 11 truly believes she is doing the right thing. However, the method she does everything is so sociopathic that it ends up making her look even worse. She says that it is important to maintain the Balance Between Good and Evil, but what she wants is Forever War which will result in so much suffering for many people. She attempts to remove free will from the people of the timeline so she can have what she believes is the perfect timeline for everyone involved. Her arrogance prevents her from allowing any result that doesn't have her desired outcome.
  • Nil from Horizon Zero Dawn loves killing, and was formerly a solider of the Evil Empire, which he had no particular problem with. He was jailed after the fall of the regime (which he thinks is fair enough), and when he emerged decided that killing citizens of established tribes wasn't worth the ire it raised. Thus, Aloy can find him scouting various bandit camps.

    Visual Novels 
  • Priest Kirei Kotomine from Fate/stay night. His religious beliefs and personal circumstances make him state firmly that there's no sin in an unborn baby and everyone has the right to be born. He is willing to put his life on the line and sacrifice everything without blinking an eye to witness a certain baby's birth. What makes it a case of Blue and Orange Morality is that he will literally sacrifice everything, including humanity, for Angra Mainyu, "the baby" that is an omnicidal Sealed Evil in a Can. Of course, he turns out to be an actual sociopath trying desperately to ape normal morals, so it's a justified trope-he doesn't actually get why people would be a little more nuanced about this than he is.

    Webcomics 
  • Kore from Goblins. He does sincerely believe he is doing the right thing by mercilessly slaughtering everyone that has been in contact with "evil races," even children of his own species that were with said "evil races." His utter conviction that he is doing good is probably what allows him to keep his paladin powers. This is either due to a houserule that lets paladins be this without falling, or just Herbert the Gamemaster being out of it or sadistic. Or both.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Temple Fugate, aka the Clock King—he was a productive member of society with his own efficiency company, but was also a Bad Boss with No Social Skills and Lack of Empathy who ends up becoming a villain. Fugate doesn't seem to realize why his Lack of Empathy plays against him; in his introductory episode, he knows he will lose an important appeal for his company, but is sincerely unaware why nobody seems to like him.


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