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Omniscient Morality License

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"God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players,note  to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time".

A character with an Omniscient Morality License is usually one of the Powers That Be or very close to it. They can do anything to the hero and still be considered one of the good guys because they know it will turn out okay, regardless of the seeming randomness of chance and choices made. Sometimes this is attributed to supernatural rules (like the Balance Between Good and Evil) or Time Travel.

If the heroes were to attempt anything resembling these actions, they would be called on it by their manipulated "friends" and punished by the plot for their arrogance. This trope is defied (their license revoked) when the heroes rebel against them for playing God.

Occasionally With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility will also pop up if the character has their decisions or motives questioned. "Knowledge is power" after all, and if they know everything, that's a whole lot of power and responsibility. As the one who can fully understand all the context and consequences, they are perhaps the only one in a position to make the difficult choices and sacrifices so things work out "for the best".

Compare to In Mysterious Ways where the acts tend to be a lot more low key and often not unethical of themselves. Also compare with Blind Obedience. Overlaps with God Is Good when the supreme being's benevolence and omnipotence are reconciled with the license, also overlaps with Prescience Is Predictable when the decisions are obvious to other characters. Can lead to The Extremist Was Right where the actions genuinely work out for the good of most/all. If a character attempts to invoke the license, only for it to be made clear that it doesn't justify their actions, it's an example of A God Am I instead.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • CLAMP has been guilty of this in several series, thanks to Clow Reed, his reincarnation Eriol, and his old partner-in-crime, Yuuko.
    • In Cardcaptor Sakura Clow/Eriol frequently manipulated the cast, threatened Sakura's friends and family, and even risked erasing everyone's feelings of love, and yet are still considered good because it was "necessary" for Sakura to be subjected to these things. (Sakura didn't want to be a mage at first, and in the anime it's not necessarily clear what the pressing reason was for her to become one. Clow's even responsible for the cards escaping when they did. In the manga, it's made clearer: if he didn't do what he did, the magic of the Clow Cards would fade, and two of her friends would die.)
    • Also, at the end of both arcs, Sakura and the readers find out that there was no "disaster" (everyone losing their feelings of love), and that Eriol made sure that nobody not already involved with the Cards was anywhere near his magical disturbances. Sakura forgives them when she finds out, and even says she's glad she didn't know that there wasn't any real danger, because she wouldn't have tried her hardest.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Averted in Dragon Ball Z: after Trunks' first time travel and after he has warned the heroes about the incoming threat of the Androids, Bulma suggests seeking out Dr. Gero, the Androids' creator, and killing him before he can enact his plan, which they know for sure he will enact. Goku refuses, partly because he wants to fight the Androids, and partly because he doesn't think it's right to kill someone who hasn't technically done anything wrong yet (forgetting that Gero was the lead scientist of the Red Ribbon Army, and so most of their tech was probably built by him).
    • In Dragon Ball Super, Goku Black feels that he has one since he comes from a 'higher place' and has 'seen the truth'. He feels no remorse killing billions of mortals in the name of creating a perfect universe.
    • Zigzagged with the Gods of Destruction. King Kai states that they're Above Good and Evil, and that their duty to destroy planets is necessary for the sake of universal balance. However, it's later revealed that all Gods of Destruction are just ascended mortals, meaning they're just as capable of abuse of their power, injustice, evil, and tyranny as anyone else. Beerus himself often arbitrarily decides which planets to destroy for petty reasons like not having good food.
  • Kage Houshi from Flame of Recca.
  • The Truth from Fullmetal Alchemist. Yes, he punishes those that try to unlock the secrets of the universe, reverse death, and attain ultimate power by taking away limbs, reproductive organs, entire bodies, and even somebody's entire being, but it's ultimately because he wants people to just make do with the lives they have and appreciate the gift they've been given.
  • In Good Luck! Ninomiya-kun, the hero and heroine's family is a mass of absolute jerks willing to continuously mentally and physically torment the main characters, up to and including faking their own death just to get them riled up, as part of a "training" course. While they aren't explicitly stated to have God-like powers, their ability to be anywhere and everywhere at once borders on Deus ex Machina.
  • Gundam:
    • Debatable in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, where protagonist Shinn Asuka and Older and Wiser hero Kira Yamato ended up on opposite sides of the conflict, which obviously lead to trouble and flame wars (which still continue years after the series' conclusion). Some fans claim the director insisted in interviews that Shinn was always the hero, and that Kira had "strayed from the path of justice"; other fans of Kira and his allies insist that they were in the right and that Shinn was a Decoy Protagonist and the "true villain". That Shinn spends the climactic battle sidelined after being defeated and humbled by Kira's best friend Athrun, and had up to that point been fighting for the side that Kira and company were trying to stop from using a Wave-Motion Gun, probably had a lot to do with that perception.
      • The flame wars have gotten so bad amongst Gundam fans, that even after all these years that Word of God has changed his initial position, and now posits that Athrun was the main character. It hasn't helped.
    • Aeolia Schenberg from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 plays with this trope in that the plan to prevent future conflicts by attacking any person or force that may start or continue them is immediately considered ludicrous and foolhardy by pretty much the entire world in the very first episode. The protagonists themselves acknowledge that they are terrorists in form and function, but have already reconciled that their very violent approach is the only way to stop the fighting they themselves were victims of.
  • In the Haruhi Suzumiya series, Present Mikuru will accept any indignity, abuse or manipulation that her time-traveling superiors throw at her, because, you know, the future will get messed up if she doesn't. This is averted in the later books, when Kyon calls them on this, explicitly stating that he believes them to be manipulating Mikuru for their own selfish goals, and not for the good of the timeline. This is made even more tied to the timeline (creating a Stable Time Loop) because Present Mikuru's boss is her future self.
  • Naruto
    • There's Itachi Uchiha. Notably, his plan so far didn't work, but it remains to be seen if his contingency plan (i.e. Naruto) will. After being revived, Itachi pretty much gets his revoked and admits that in the end his attempts to fix everything himself failed and just created a giant mess. He warns Naruto not to make the same mistake.
    • There is also The Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, who decided to seal the Nine Tailed Demon Fox into Naruto, simply with the conviction that it was his responsibility as a parent to have faith in his recently born son's ability to set things right as motivation. Contrary to the above example, this gambit is turning out surprisingly well, irresponsible though it was. Minato had another, better reason to do what he did. If Kushina sacrificed the last few minutes of her life to temporarily kill the Kyuubi with her, the Kyuubi would have been resurrected at an unspecified time and place. Given who they were up against and the power of the Kyuubi (and his ability to control the Kyuubi), sealing it in Naruto at the cost of his life may have been the only guaranteed way to prevent another, more successful attack on Konoha.
  • Invoked and played for horror with the Celestial Dragons in One Piece. Due to their bloodline, they can do anything and get away with it, no matter how reprehensible. If you try to resist, you get killed. If you try to fight back (which wouldn't be too hard for most of the cast), even worse things will happen to you. They are, unsurprisingly, among the biggest villains in the series.
  • Deconstructed with the Big Bad of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, who justifies their manipulations, psychological torture, and what is effectively mass-murder by claiming that extracting humanity’s despair is necessary to save the universe from heat death. In fact, it sees nothing wrong with what it’s doing because it literally can't understand why humans object to being made disposable pawns, but the girls don't care and are pissed off anyway, and this line of thinking only serves to make the antagonist that much more inhuman.
  • The spin-off Puella Magi Oriko Magica makes it clear that the villain's reason for doing things are overall right. They have foreseen the apocalypse because of Madoka Kaname turning into a witch and plan to kill her to avert this fate. But it isn't until Sadness Prayer came out and showed things more focused on Oriko's point of view that this morality was expanded upon, with even the villain being more of an Anti-Villain and Well-Intentioned Extremist, and citing that they are doing horrible things because they consider it the right, and necessary, thing to do to ensure the apocalypse doesn't happen. Oriko's final words to Ultimate Madoka at the end of the manga even say that she's sorry for everything she's done, and it's implied that she cannot move on because of the weight of the people that died because of her is keeping her in place.
  • There's an entire manga about this trope, a shoujo/josei series named Seigi no Mikata ("Ally of Justice"). The protagonist's sister is a loud, lazy, gluttonous, extremely manipulative cow, but somehow all the selfish, self-centered things she does work out great for her and everyone else. Apart from the protagonist, everyone in the series adores her.

    Comic Books 
  • Cable generally acts like this, thanks to coming from the future and already knowing how everything turns out. This was a big plot point in Cable & Deadpool, though he was called on it a lot, and it was often hard to tell how much was Cable genuinely believing it, how much was an act befitting his role, and how much was psychological warfare.
  • Curiously, although he's also from the future and is accompanied by a floating repository of 21st century history, Booster Gold doesn't. On the other hand, this might be partly because Booster needs not to let on that he's a Time Policeman like Cable, and pretend to be materialistic and harmless (something he's good enough at to fool Superman).
  • X-Men:
    • Professor X is infamous for this, though in the last couple of decades his pedestal has been thoroughly broken and he's been called on his more questionable acts, hard. It's notable that mutants who didn't grow up under his eye — particularly Nate Grey, Cable, and, to a lesser extent, their sister, Rachel Summers — are much less willing to put up with his antics. Nate likes the dream but doesn't trust Xavier an inch (and not entirely without reason) and has his own methods and agenda, Cable respects Xavier but also has his own agenda for protecting mutants and humans alike, and Rachel has absolutely no hesitation after X-Men: Deadly Genesis in calling him on his sketchy behaviour.
    • The villain Mystique has a psychic lover for most of Chris Claremont's run, who, according to his own Retcon, drives Mystique's apparently evil actions until driving her insane by dying.
  • Tony Stark/Iron Man, in Marvel comics. "I'm a futurist!" Ironically, he's now lost his position, become a wanted man, and had his world fall down around his ears. Bet you didn't see that one coming, eh Tony?
  • Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four is also an example.
    • He saved the life of Galactus, the devourer of worlds. When a group of aliens put him on trial for crimes against the universe, it's handwaved that Galactus is somehow necessary to the survival of the universe (it later turns out that Galactus is the can for a Sealed Evil in a Can named Abraxas). How, or even whether, Reed knew this when he saved Galactus is debatable, though it should be mentioned that what brings the decision in favor of Galactus is the embodiment of the Universe itself showing up to testify in Galactus' favor. This was more Honor Before Reason, though. He could have been extrapolating from nature. Remove a predator from an environment and often the environment will become overrun with its prey. It's still hard to justify since Galactus and his victims are often sapient and free-willed.
    • Reed Richards exemplifies the trope again during the Civil War (2006), using a Shout-Out to the central concept of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series; the fictional mathematical science of psychohistory (wherein one can, with enough time and mathematical expertise, predict the generalized "future history" of mankind through mathematical formulae). Using his new mathematical science, Reed Richards discovers that if the new Superhuman Registration Act, which would require all superhumans to register their identities with the government regardless if they rely on the identities' secrecy for their own or loved ones' safety, doesn't pass and come into law the resulting fallout would lead to the deaths of billions. This discovery is what prompts Reed's decision to support the act. A couple of supplementary stories have people telling Reed point-blank that human nature is the biggest Spanner in the Works of any possible psychohistorical theory and he needs to take more heed on that detail, but not only does Reed not cares about this (even when his wife leaves him because she's fed up with his attitude) because as far as he knows the math checks ok, but a couple of arcs later on provide glimpses of worlds where the SHRA passed (and is still working) without any issues—and the factor that made such a thing happen was that Reed worked on the SHRA all by himself (the 616 version conspired alongside Tony Stark and Hank Pym).
  • Subverted to the point of deconstruction in an issue of Impact Comics' Jaguar. The mute, monstrous-looking and -acting antagonist turns out to be an alien that, in an obvious Shout-Out to Superman's origin, was adopted by a friendly Earth couple as a baby, developed superpowers as he matured, was taught to use them for "good"... and one day started to kill people who hadn't actually done anything wrong. The theory his helpless foster parents eventually pieced together is that his species experiences time nonlinearly, seeing past, present, and future all at once, so he kills people for horrible crimes they haven't committed yet — thereby of course making it kind of hard to demonstrate what they would one day have done to deserve death had they gotten the chance...
  • Lucien Draay in the Knights of the Old Republic comics thinks he has one of these, and acts accordingly (to be fair to Lucien, his mother and closest friends are all absurdly powerful seers, so he has reason to believe this). Unfortunately, he interpreted everything they said through the lens of his Treacherous Advisor, who was really a Sith Acolyte working to bring it down from within and used Lucien as a convenient pawn to accomplish this. Lucien's response to learning he's been had could basically be described as: Villainous Breakdown, Villainous BSoD, Heel–Face Turn.
  • Odin in The Mighty Thor comics has pulled a number of questionable actions over the years. It is usually rationalized that as a king and skyfather Odin has higher priorities than others, along with Odin often having a far better idea of what is going on and the potential consequences. Since Asgard usually fights Omnicidal Maniacs, hell lords, and other evils as powerful as Odin and a threat to entire worlds if not the universe, it usually is justified.
  • PS238
    • One of the students has an ability that can best be described as hypercognition, an ability to form connections and make deductions that completely ignore quantum uncertainty and chaos theory. This leads to doing no small amount of questionable acts.
    • Tom Davidson, who can Time Travel, has much the same deal going on.
  • Morpheus has a habit of behaving like this in The Sandman (1989), called out in one of Delirium's occasional moments of incisive lucidity — "you just act like you know stuff I don't know and that makes everything you do OK." The only truly omniscient member of the Endless is Destiny, and he follows a strict non-interference clause.
  • The Spectre seems to think he has this, as he executes his chosen calling — punishing those who commit crimes — in the most horrific ways, and doesn't discriminate; even something as minor as a child filching coins from their mother's purse warrants the same nightmarish "ironic death" as a mass-murderer.
    • This actually presents an interesting interpretation as to why the Spectre will never return to Heaven; he actually takes his role far, far further than God desires. Until the Spectre finally gets clued in from his human hosts that he does not have one of these, he'll continue to disgust his creator so much that he will never allow the borderline demon to sully Heaven's halls again.
    • And this really just pushes the license back on The Voice (DC's on-again off-again attempt to avoid offending anyone by explicitly calling him "God"). "Spectre, you're a dick, so rather have you in Heaven where you can't really hurt Me, I'm going to send you off to Earth to do horrible things to mortals who can't defend themselves against you." Yes, the Spectre's victims generally "deserve it", but the terrifying thing is that by the Spectre's logic, everyone "deserves it." We can only hope he goes after people in order of the egregiousness of their sins and that we die of other causes before he gets around to us.
    • The Spectre once went completely overboard with his License during a period of time when he wasn't bound to a host. Under Eclipso's influence, he slaughtered most of the DC verse's magical community. The Voice finally had enough of these antics when The Spectre murdered the last remaining Lord of Order, Nabu, and promptly revoked the Spectre's license and shoved him into a new mortal host. The Voice typically operates In Mysterious Ways — that it took direct action here highlights just how upset it was.
      • It's important to note that Spectre was manipulated by Eclipso during this time and — though still flawed logic — thought he was doing the universe a favor by wiping out magic users who regularly break the laws of reality, which is a viewpoint at least worth debating. What's completely terrifying are the off-the-wall punishments he was dealing out before his wrath was targeted on the magic community. Destroying a wizard because he can shoot fire from his hands could be considered a preemptive measure. Impaling a man with a giant pen for tax fraud or cutting a girl's head off for being disrespectful to her parents is just insanity.
  • In another comic example, an early Golden Age superhero known as Stardust the Super Wizard is virtually all-powerful and, from the readers' perspective, quite insane. Yet he always winds up being treated as a hero in the story. A text feature in 1910, the most recent chapter of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, reveals that a number of other heroes finally took Stardust down, imprisoning him in a super-dense ice block.

    Fan Works 
  • The narrator of Aesir: Cross Wars, also known as the author. He's an omnipresent pain in the ass to the characters, and sometimes actively hinders the heroes. Sometimes, he actually forces the characters to do stupid things such as falling for Schmuck Bait. And, despite this, things always turn out fine in the end.
  • Bring Me to Life: Jasmine thinks she has this, and states as such during her Motive Rant against Buffy and Angel:
    Angel: Who the hell gave you the right to decide who lives and dies?
    Jasmine: I did! I'm not human, vampire- so don't try to treat me as one!
  • Doctor Strange tends to pull this in Child of the Storm with his behind the scenes manipulations, his status as the Wild Card and his requirement that people do exactly as he says (which people generally do, as they've long since found out that it's better than not doing it).
    • Odin, to an extent.
  • The Crow: Phoenix Rising: Don't worry, there's no need to angst about the gruesome murders you've committed if your magic talking bird friend says it's okay.
  • In The Infinite Loops, there's a very real possibility that Loopers, especially Anchors, will fall into thinking they have this, as an effect of Seen It All and A God Am I. Sakura Syndrome is one such example, where the Looper believes that nothing they do matters, so they have carte blanche and can still remain morally pure.
  • Left Beyond: The Third Temple cadre runs the world on this basis, to the point where impromptu execution by Divine lightning are common and, by and large, tolerated by the population. Until someone invents a better lightning rod, that is.
  • In Origins, the Neglectful Precursors seem to think they have one — but they also argue over who among themselves has it.
  • Often defied in the Pony POV Series: the Concepts never claim to have this and if asked, will explain their reasoning for their actions in a fashion mortals can understand (so long as mortals are actually capable of comprehending the answer), and if they have to do morally questionable things to get a good result, they often apologize and do their best to limit the damage, or it's the result of Blue-and-Orange Morality unavoidable in regards to their concepts (such as Strife having no moral qualms about creating predators to prey on a species because she's Natural Selection and it'd be impossible to do her job if she did). If one does do something morally reprehensible that's not actually justified or a product of carrying out their concepts, the other Concepts will be the first to call them out on it and do something about it.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness:
    • In Act III, Akua and Kahlua think they have this. They helped Kiria with his Chrono Displacement plan, even stealing the spell from their own father and being perfectly willing to kill Moka and Kokoa, their own sisters, to do so, because they think that Kiria's plan will be for the benefit of monsters everywhere and since Kiria's altering the past, nothing they do in the present will matter anyway. Of course, they promptly switch sides and spend all of Act IV atoning when they find out they were just Kiria's pawns, and his real plan was to rewrite history in his own image.
    • Hokuto also thinks he has this, but he's just insane and nihilistic. He's convinced that everything he does is right, no matter how horrible it is, up to and including slaughtering every last living creature on Earth, because he's convinced that all living things are evil and that the only key to true peace is if everything dies.
  • The God-Emperor of Mankind, in his Thousand Shinji role, persuades the other canon!40k gods to send back a sadistic Keeper of Secrets rather than a Lord of Change on the basis that Shinji had to learn that "when the gods are assholes, mortals suffer". Somewhat understandably, Shinji gets enraged and punches him. Made even worse in that by the sidestory, they seem to have forgotten this lesson, rendering it a Broken Aesop.
  • The Fans in With Strings Attached. Even though she loves the four, Shag thinks nothing of dropping them into a dangerous environment, completely unprepared and ignorant of everything. Jeft is one of the Big Bads and turns on his own character at the end. And Varx... oh, shut up, Varx.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Pagemaster: The eponymous Pagemaster takes a cowardly child and subjects him to all sorts of deadly situations. To all appearances, there was a real chance that the kid would either die or develop severe mental trauma as a result of this. Instead, he learns to be courageous, and the Pagemaster gets off the hook because apparently, he's just so darn wise that he knew it would work out like this from the beginning.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Drop Dead Fred: The title character does random, chaotic, highly disruptive, and seemingly pointless things, but said actions unfailingly serve to benefit someone in the end. One of the best examples was when Fred sinks the protagonist's friend's houseboat. The owner of the houseboat later received a massive insurance payout, far larger than what she expected, and was able to buy a much nicer house as a result.
  • Subverted in Man on Fire. "Do you think God'll forgive us for what we've done?" "No." Which is an interesting take on the concept. If he's already irredeemable, there's no reason to have any moral compunction left.
    "Forgiveness is between them and God. It's my job to arrange the meeting."
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Before the climax of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Avengers have secured an organic android body that Ultron was planning on using for his final form, but was only able to place a portion of his programming in it before it was apprehended. Tony wants to activate the android, saying that it could be a powerful ally and would be the savior Ultron was supposed to be. Steve (who is backed by the defected Maximoff twins) says that the risk of another robot as powerful as Ultron is far too dangerous, and demands it be destroyed. As they have only minutes to either activate the android or destroy it, the argument degrades into a brawl. Suddenly, Thor crashes in, scatters his teammates and uses his lightning to bring the android to life. Why? Because oracular water spirits told him that the android would be a key factor in defeating Ultron. It is because of this that the android is given the name Vision. And when Vision's motives are questioned, he unwittingly proves his goodness by lifting Mjölnir — even though a scene earlier in the film implied that most of the Avengers didn't really consider lifting the hammer proof of anything (but mostly because none of them could lift it themselves, with the exception of Steve, who could lift it but chose not to). Can't argue with Asgardians, can you?
    • In Avengers: Infinity War, Doctor Strange uses his Eye of Agamotto (i.e. Time Stone) to look into the future and see the ways the future will play out to find out any probability where the heroes can win against Thanos. Out of 14 million or so possible futures, he only sees one positive outcome. Then, during his battle (assisted with Iron Man, Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy) vs. Thanos in Titan, as Thanos heavily wounds Tony, Strange decides to give his Time Stone to Thanos (who was seeking it) to spare Tony. This would later allow Thanos to complete the Infinity Gauntlet and use it to wipe out half of the lives in the universe, which apparently includes Strange himself. As he's slowly crumbling into dust, he tells the distraught Tony that "this is the only way", suggesting that whatever positive outcome he saw would involve letting Thanos achieve his goal first. And it turns out as Avengers: Endgame reveals, said outcome involves Tony performing a Heroic Sacrifice by using the Infinity Gauntlet to turn an alternate version of Thanos and all his forces into dust. At a decisive moment in the climax, Strange shows the one outcome finger to Tony, which means he is fully willing to sacrifice Tony just to bring down the Mad Titan.
  • Mary Poppins. Those nannies waiting in line in the beginning did not deserve to get blown away in a windstorm, no matter how stuffy they were. Her presence also seems to spread a magical flying hysteria that kills the Bank President, but hey, he "was his happiest in years."
  • After a certain point, the entire plot of Paycheck is the main character, Michael Jennings, doing this to himself. He was hired to build a future-viewing machine, with the contract stipulating that his memories would be wiped afterward so he couldn't reveal how it worked. When he goes to collect his payment, he finds that he waived it before the memory wipe. Instead, he is given a large envelope full of seemingly random objects. It is eventually revealed that when testing the machine, he saw a horrific future, possibly caused by the existence of the machine. So, using the machine, he worked out a collection of objects to leave for himself that would result in him blundering his way through saving the world. He worked it out so that he would get a happy ending, but of course he no longer knows this when the time comes and he finds himself facing seemingly imminent and completely unavoidable death.
  • Although not explicitly stated in Star Wars, Obi-Wan and Yoda use Luke in what they feel is the best way to get him to stop Vader and the Emperor. In the end it's subverted, as Luke wins by NOT heeding their advice. If he had killed Vader like they asked, the Emperor would have won.
  • Invoked via the Job argument in Wholly Moses!: "Who are you to question God?" "I am Man!"
  • A lot of people complain how, in The Wizard of Oz, Glinda the Good Witch of the North basically manipulated Dorothy by not telling her how her Ruby Slippers she got when she first arrived in Oz could send her home. In the original novel, this is because it wasn't Glinda (who's the witch of the South) Dorothy met in the beginning, but the other Good Witch, who didn't know how the shoes worked. Presumably, the movie didn't want to use more actors than it had to. The Wiz provides one adaptation that kept this plot element.
  • The Network in The World's End is a deconstruction of this. It says that its plan of uplifting humanity by giving them advanced technology and replacing dissenters with Blanks is justified because that's the only way they'll have any hope of fitting in in the larger galactic community. But the main characters point out that out of everyone in Newton Haven, only two or three people haven't been replaced, and that the Network isn't helping humanity, it's destroying it. After an argument, the Network decides that it's not worth it and leaves Earth, taking most of modern technology with it.

  • Lone Wolf:
    • In Book 9 of the series, the Crocaryx were created by Kai solely to guard a Lorestone. Once that Lorestone is no longer in their possession, the narration announces that this is the beginning of their race's demise. Makes one wonder when humans will fulfill their reason for existing.
    • In one of the non-interactive novels, Banedon is specifically told that the gods will lend him their aid as long as he's useful to them. Once he isn't, he's on his own.

  • All of the ruling Elites in Ai no Kusabi qualify for keeping slaves and how they treat everyone in castes beneath them. It's their right as the Powers That Be to do as they please with those below them within their society. Iason Mink really takes the cake, however, as the most powerful Elite with his treatment of his Sex Slave Riki.
  • Polgara from the Belgariad/Malloreon universe demonstrates this tendency a lot. Admittedly, it goes with the job. Belgarath describes how he often has acted as Aldur's holy hatchet man, but Polgara has the biggest attitude about it.
  • The Culture novels are primarily about Contact exercising the Omniscient Morality License they believe themselves to have over all less advanced civilizations.
  • Matthew Sobol in Daemon, or at least his posthumous actions through the Daemon itself.
  • Dragaera: Vlad Taltos is often subjected to this excuse from his patron goddess, Verra, but he objects rather vehemently to it. After one of her plans blows up spectacularly, he comments to a friend (with whom he had been discussing the concept of the Omniscient Morality License earlier) that he has concluded "when a god does a terrible thing, it's still a terrible thing".
  • In Dragonlance, Fizban's way of helping people is by being a nuisance and hindering the progress of the heroes, even when it endangers their lives. It turns out his hindrances end up helping them in the end, and that is his unique way of helping them out. He can do this because his secret identity is none other than Paladine, the chief god of light.
    • Really, the entire setting's theology is built on this, with the notorious Cataclysm — where all gods, Good, Neutral and Evil, abducted all of their priests from the mortal world and unleashed an Earth-Shattering Kaboom on the planet because of the arrogance of a mad theocrat who was slaughtering everyone who didn't fit his definition of good — being the worst example.
  • Most of the characters' issues with god emperor Leto II in God Emperor of Dune revolves around his near-omniscience and the resulting path he leads humanity down because of it. Duncan Idaho in particular takes issue with it, as well as Leto's transformation into a nigh-immortal sandworm/human hybrid. When queried, Leto argues that the higher morality conferred by his gift of prescience compels him to act in ways that seem unimaginably cruel when the alternative is the complete extinction of humanity. Unlike most examples of this trope, Leto occasionally doubts himself and wonders if he's doing the right thing due to him being very, very aware of the evil of his actions.
    • To be specific, humanity needed melange for space travel. Melange could only be found on Arrakis, so humanity had confined itself to planets close to it. Leto II realized that if they continued on this path, humanity would die out. To counter this, he ruled over humanity in a reign spanning thousands of years, restricting both their freedom and travel. This was so that as soon as he died, humanity would satisfy a three and a half millennia long thirst for freedom and travel and explode out beyond the reach of known space. Humanity would thus be spread out so far and have no vital center, and would thus never end. Leto called it the "Golden Path." He stated that his father, Paul Muad'dib, also saw the Golden Path, but was too frightened to start it. There was also another part to it; prescience itself is a trap, since once something is foreseen it becomes inevitable. He used his rule to spread the previously unique genetics and technology that render people immune to it far and wide, so nobody can pull the crap he pulled again.
  • It's revealed in the sixth book of the Emberverse that The Powers That Be are the ones who knocked humanity back to the bronze age, killing billions, because they had foreseen a bad future leading to the extinction of humanity.
  • In S. M. Stirling's and David Drake's The General Series, an ancient computer called center (always lower-case) establishes a telepathic link with General Raj Whitehall and drafts him into reuniting the human colony-world of Bellevue in order to restore the lost high-tech civilization of the long-collapsed interstellar Federation. Whitehall is a volunteer in this enterprise and retains his free will — except that center is for all intents and purposes omniscient, and can always show him vividly, with a stated degree of probability, exactly what outcome will result from a given choice, so that Whitehall really has only one way to go.
    • At the end of the series, Raj's friend who was being held "hostage" by Center this entire time is released to become the ruler of mankind. Said friend has been learning all about human history, directly from Center, for several years, and presumably has the same link to Center that Raj has.
  • Harry Potter: Dumbledore's relationship with Harry in the later books begins to resemble this. In the final book, the characters openly question if Dumbledore knew what he was doing. He did, and even correctly predicted that Harry would be willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good. He even knew, or at least guessed, that Harry could survive as long as it was Voldemort that delivered the Killing Curse, but by letting Harry think he would die, enabled Harry to grant his friends the same protection his mother had given him by her sacrifice. He also sincerely loved Harry, and honestly regretted the hell the poor kid would have to go through.
  • Heralds of Valdemar:
    • The Companions have a tendency to succumb to this temptation from time to time, which is a major reason for their Obstructive Code of Conduct not to interfere with human affairs unless asked. A particular example occurs in the Mage Winds trilogy, when Elspeth's companion Gwena manipulates her toward her Glorious Destiny in an Anviliciously unsubtle way, and is soundly called on it by her Herald. This doesn't stop her from trying, though, and it isn't until Gwena gets a stern talking to from Yfandes in Winds of Fury that she finally gives up.
    • In Mage Storms, the Gods themselves are revealed to have been playing this game for millennia; nearly every single one of the myriad disasters and near-disasters that have occurred since the first Cataclysm was engineered for the specific purpose of putting in place all the pieces necessary to avert the second Cataclysm.
  • The Arisians of E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman universe use this extensively over a period of two billion years, gradually shaping the evolution of intelligent species and specific bloodlines within those species until their descendant civilizations can finally defeat their ancient and truly foul enemy, Eddore.
  • Played with in Mark Twain's The Mysterious Stranger, in which Satan explains exactly why his seemingly immoral actions, including causing deaths and madness, are in fact for the best.
  • The Childlike Empress from The Neverending Story fits this perfectly when she has to basically mentally torture Bastian in order to get him to say her name. Of course, the people of two worlds were hanging in the balance, so she had justification.
  • Although the title character of Agatha Christie's Parker Pyne Investigates turned into another Amateur Sleuth later, in his first appearances he is a consultant who boasts that he has discovered the underlying principles of human nature and can solve any kind of unhappiness. "Are you happy? If not, consult Mr. Parker Pyne" — who will probably lie to you, and on odd occasions may deliberately expose you to physical danger, but you will end up happy. His staff occasionally question his methods, but he's the expert on human nature, so there's not much they can do once he assures them that it's all for the best. (This would be easier to take if there weren't that one story where the twist ending is that Parker Pyne is after all capable of horribly misjudging the situation.) It's probably meant to be covered by Rule of Funny.
  • In Larry Niven's Protector, the Pak Protector Phssthpok feeds the Tree-of-Life fruit to human Jack Brennan, causing Brennan to metamorphose into a superintelligent Protector himself, and then immediately starts laying down instructions about what Brennan has to do to save the human race from a Pak invasion. At one point, as Brennan recounts it later, he is about to protest, "Don't I have any choice?" And then, before he can even get the words out, immediately realizes, "No, I don't have any choice. I'm too intelligent."
    • Brennan then proceeds to kill Phssthpok, exterminate the Martians, and spend the next two hundred years working on a plan that culminates in infecting one of his descendants with an airborne version of the Tree-of-Life virus so that he spreads it to an entire human planet, killing most of the population and turning the rest into Protectors who have no choice but to fight the coming Pak fleet.
  • Callum of Raised By Wolves has one thanks to his precognitive powers, and he uses it to justify putting the heroine through an absolutely hellish couple of months, including her being beaten to within an inch of her life by an angry werewolf. In fairness to him, nearly everyone involved does come out of it having lost nothing and gained something. The only casualties are Ali and Casey's marriage and the Big Bad, who deserved it.

    It's not so easy to take his side in the sequel, which ends up as a heartbreaking "Shaggy Dog" Story due to the Big Bad's Evil Plan. He sees it all coming, but does absolutely nothing about it except for sending Bryn a cryptic gift with the implied message to Figure It Out Yourself. She doesn't, and later Calls The Old Man Out for not warning her in more direct terms.
  • The title character in the Realm of the Elderlings book Golden Fool argues that, despite their obvious threat and fickle behavior, dragons must be saved from extinction. He/She makes the case that without another powerful influence to counterbalance them, Humanity will become uncontrollable and destroy itself.
  • In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Liu Bei and his companions (most notably Guan Yu and Zhuge Liang) can do no wrong, even when this means killing hundreds of thousands in various ways over the decades in the name of Liu Bei's vision of supporting the crumbling Han Dynasty, while Cao Cao is the big-time villain despite all the good works, major successes (against others who are not Liu Bei) and personal niceties that he's acknowledged to have.
  • The Silmarillion: Subverted with the Valar. Eru gave them almost absolute authority over the world (their authority over Elves and Men in particular, however, is a bit of a grey area), but they lack the "omniscient" part. The Valar can and do make mistakes in pursuit of a greater good, despite (and sometimes because) of their good intentions. The narrative implies that several of their actions which seemed like self-evidently good things (such as bringing the Elves to Aman to protect them from Morgoth, or giving Númenor and extended life to the Edain) were entirely the wrong thing to do, even if they were motivated by the best intentions. Some of their other actions (such as releasing Melkor, or sending the Istari to Middle Earth) also had bad results due to lack of foresight (or an inability to understand how good things can become evil). Played straight with Eru himself, who tolerates evil not only because He gave free-will to His creations, but also because of His declaration that in the long run there can be no suffering which will not, in the end, lead to an even greater good than if it had not been at all.
  • Varys of A Song of Ice and Fire claims to be working "for the good of the realm" and acts (seemingly) genuinely apologetic toward those who get hurt along the way... but he is still more than willing to foment war and personally kill good men for his nebulous "good of the realm."
  • In Space Marine Battles, the Iron Warriors believe that as Space Marines, they're perfectly fine to send thousands of PDF soldiers to their deaths to wear down the enemies' defenses. They also don't bother with telling the PDF that there's Slaaneshi cult on the planet, because hey, they're the Emperor's "Angels of Death".
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • The Diagram, a plan written by King Taravangian of Kharbranth on one of the days when his randomly fluctuating intelligence was at nigh-omniscient levels. The precise plan isn't revealed until the third book, but it involves predicting events all over the world leading up to the inevitable Desolation, and finding a way for humanity to survive it. It starts with assassinating every other ruler in the world, and gets darker from there. One of the minor side plots of the organization involves slowly killing hundreds of people a day in hopes of collecting the Death Rattles and discovering more about what is coming. Even with these patches, holes and flaws are still appearing, and the plan is falling farther and farther off the rails. It should be noted that the Diagram staunchly opposes the heroes (long before the heroes even know the organization exists), because they are working to refound the Knights Radiant, ten orders bound firmly to Honor Before Reason, who would never allow this plan to move ahead. When the plan is finally revealed, it turns out to be for Taravangian to become the ruler of the world, thus putting him in a position of enough power to negotiate favourable terms of surrender to Odium, since the Diagram claims that there is no reasonable way for humanity to win against him.
    • The Sons of Honor are this is a different direction. They believe that if they can bring back the Voidbringers and the Desolation, the Heralds of the Almighty will return, catapult the church back to prominence, and fix everything wrong with the world. In order to do that, they are willing to kill whoever gets in their way and insist it is all for the greater good without explaining their actual plan at all. Even worse, they're unaware that the Heralds never left, and that instead they just gave up their oaths and abandoned humanity. King Gavilar and Highmarshal Amaram were both members of this group.
  • Sword of Truth:
    • Annalina Aldurren often invokes this trope, believing that she has a right to steer the protagonist's life because she's spent hers studying prophecies about him. She is quite often called out on this by the other characters (most notably said protagonist's wife), is more often than not wrong in her interpretations of the prophecies, and on several occasions suggests doing things such as erasing the protagonist's memory and having another character seduce him in order to have him do what she thinks he should. In fact, it's outright stated that, had she not meddled in the protagonist's life in the first place, many of the events of the series would never have taken place. Interestingly, Anna is called on this and finally broken of the habit, only for the villains to mess with the timeline/people's memories and her to revert to form.
    • In the same series, Nathan Rahl occasionally delves into this territory, but is more successful as he's an actual prophet, and gets the total experience and meaning of his prophecies. A more or less straight example: When he's introduced, it's mentioned that while entertaining a young woman, something he whispers to her makes her run screaming from his room, and eventually leads to a civil war and tens of thousands dead. Much later, he remarks that in that war, a pregnant woman died whose child otherwise would have grown into a horrible dictator who would have killed far, far more.
  • Hathor of the Tentyrian Legacy can predict the next two thousand+ years with perfect accuracy. Attempts to interfere with her visions go badly. This, despite the fact the Tentyrians would dearly love to prevent some of the events she predicts like WW2.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • The Aes Sedai all act like this, to the extreme annoyance of both characters and readers. To be fair, some of them are smart enough that things do kind of work out. Others, not so much.
    • Rand adopts a similar attitude as time goes on. He assumes that because he's The Chosen One, he automatically knows best, and won't listen to any kind of dissent or independent initiative. Even a massive military fiasco doesn't humble him for long.
  • Subverted in The Wise Man's Fear. The Ctaeh, a faerie oracle, is the ultimate evil. It uses its omniscience to guide whoever converses with it to their doom (and normally to cause massive chaos in the outside world). An entire faction of Sidhe exist just to keep everyone away.
  • Xanth's Good Magician Humfry will send the story's protagonists to face life- — and occasionally world- — threatening peril with nothing more than an objective and a general path to follow. Justified (albeit by Humfry himself) in that if he gives his supplicants the full story, they'd get things wrong and go straight for the end goal, instead of going through the experience and ally gaining journey actually needed to succeed. (That, and most Xanthians expect to be given the runaround, trusting that things will work out in the end.)

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • The Vorlons acted like this was in force, and pretty much everyone went along with it for the first half (or so) of the show's run. As soon as the main characters start to question it, all hell breaks loose.
    • The Shadows did this too, but from the opposite direction. Basically, the Vorlon thought the best way to foster the younger races was through Order; forging alliances so the whole is stronger than the parts. The Shadows believed that strength was born of Chaos; get everyone killing each other, and the victors would be stronger than when they'd started. The problem, and the proof that this trope was not in effect, was that after a while, both sides forgot why they were doing it, they just wanted to prove that their philosophy was the correct one. And us younger races were caught in the middle.
  • The Collector's Devil implies that he has one. He's chided the protagonist for overestimating his own ability to judge a person's character.
  • Rube in Dead Like Me seems to have this. In the pilot episode, he basically tells George to start taking people's souls, or else, without offering any explanation as to why. When she, quite understandably, refuses, the consequences are dire, and she is berated for doing what anyone with a conscience would have done.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The TARDIS. She is a semi-tame, mostly omniscient Eldritch Abomination Sapient Ship with a mind of her own, apparently very protective of and fond of her Doctor. Of course, she tends to spend most of her time dropping her Time Lord and his human friends off in places where they experience terrible danger and often nearly get killed (and sometimes do get killed), ostensibly for the greater good. Despite this the new series straight-up reimagines her as the Doctor's "wife". Granted The Doctor and most of his travelling companions love getting into these adventures, most of the time.
    • The Time Lords often come across as this before their reinvention as a Decadent Court. For example, in "The Mutants", they give the Doctor a container to deliver, but they won't tell him what's in the container, or who's supposed to receive it, and then dump him and his assistant Jo on a planet at war and with an atmosphere toxic to humans. In "Terror of the Autons", a Time Lord in human clothing appears to inform the Doctor that the Master is active on Earth and encourages him to fight back, but provides absolutely no useful information other than this. They send the Doctor to revive the Sacred Flame on Karn in "The Brain of Morbius", but this is only implied by the fact that they dump him on Karn at all (notably, when Maren becomes convinced the Doctor's a Time Lord spy, he agrees he might be, as far as he knows).
    • The Fourth Doctor did a lot of dodgy, risky things for the greater good that were treated by the plot as fun and lovely because the Doctor is a genius and knew it would all be alright — like manipulating Sarah Jane, bullying Leela and making people who trusted him think he'd gone Axe-Crazy. A lot of what the series later did with the Tenth Doctor is a deconstruction of the morality of this tenure.
    • Toward the end of the classic series, during the epoch known to fans as "The Cartmel Masterplan", the Doctor could often be found pushing the bounds of morality, justified by the incredibly complex machinations of his long-term plans, and the desire of the production team to inject a new sense of mystery into the character.
    • The Tenth Doctor has shown tendencies towards this too; subverted in that the show treats it as a character flaw, and a very serious one at that. Of course, Ten also gets incredibly worked up over perceived injustices and forms strong emotional attachments to characters he's only known for a few hours, in contrast to classic Doctors who held a much more detached attitude. The Doctor's OML finally expired in "The Waters of Mars", where he tries to interfere with a fixed point in time and save a woman who, for the sake of humanity's future development, absolutely must die. She gives him a deeply angry What the Hell, Hero? speech and then kills herself, just to right the timeline.
    • The Eleventhth Doctor still has moments of this — he is almost as manipulative and secretive as Seven when it comes to using his companions as chess pieces, and the show is more reserved about treating it unambiguously as a character flaw. In "A Christmas Carol" (which was even adapted from a Seventh Doctor story written by Steven Moffat), the Doctor uses time travel to rewrite someone's personality by manipulating their life until that point, and while Kazran in his original state is an awful person, the show glosses over the fact that he's not making the choice to become better as you would normally expect in the Yet Another Christmas Carol plot, but having his life modified by an external person who knows the outcome. Kazran objects to what is happening at first, but (while its working) becomes a happier person as a result. Then The Reveal from his love interest spins him back to misery and old Kazran is delighted to throw the futility of it in the Doctor's face.
      • Alternately, if one looks at it in a timey-wimey way, the Doctor is helping young Kazran choose to become a better person, by showing him just how much like his father he might end up and making sure he had at least one person in his life whom he loved (and who loved him back) to act as his Morality Pet when it came time to make the decision faced by old Kazran.
    • The Twelfth Doctor, a Pragmatic Hero, has his own problems which are treated as major flaws in-universe. Unlike Ten and Eleven, he's far more detached from others. He doesn't like manipulating others for the sake of saving the day, and he knows he doesn't have an OML — but he has to do something to put a lid on the threat of the week.
      • In Series 8, when faced with an important but non-fixed point in time in "Kill the Moon", rather than just making an informed choice (either kill or spare the Moon creature) for humanity, he leaves it up to them and Clara in particular — trusting and believing that she will make the choice he would and all will be well. He also deliberately withholds critical information supporting the correct choice, meaning Clara is forced to go with her gut against all reason and available evidence. While she does make that choice and everything is okay, she is furious with the Doctor for being condescending and cruel to her and humanity by abandoning them, and they are estranged for a time. It's more or less the flipside of the aforementioned "The Waters of Mars". He meant well with his non-interference in the fates of others and the audience knows he does not see humans as small, as she claims — a speech he gives to the Half-Face Man in "Deep Breath" says as much, but she wasn't there for that — but No Social Skills and Clara having come to expect him to save the day for others all the time (having travelled extensively with Eleven and also met Ten and War) means he is horribly misunderstood.
      • In the Season Finale "Death in Heaven", the success of Missy's evil plot hinges on convincing the Doctor to seize his OML by taking command of a Cyberman army and using it to do his bidding across the universe. He rejects her "gift" and instead lets one of the Cybermen — Clara's late boyfriend, who has resisted cyber-control — make the choice over what will become of them.
      • In Series 9 he becomes increasingly frustrated with having to hold back from using his full abilities for the sake of time and space's stability, owing to all the losses he experiences as a result. In "Before the Flood", he is chewed out over letting someone die to confirm what the villain's plan is, and later tries to break his own rules to save Clara, whom he is in love with by this point. In a moment of grief in the next episode, "The Girl Who Died", he defies the fates and saves the sweet titular girl from death's door in a way that also makes her immortal. He almost immediately regrets it when his high emotions have passed, and it comes back to haunt him terribly. In the 3-part Season Finale, when Clara is Killed Off for Real and he is forced to undergo Cold-Blooded Torture immediately afterwards, the resultant Sanity Slippage leads to him temporarily becoming an insane Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who's sure he won't destroy the universe by saving her from her fixed-point death
    • The Thirteenth Doctor has moments of this as well. She does nominally say that she and her companions are a very "flat-team structure," but in truth, she's still the one making the decisions, and if any of her companions dare to question her, she makes it very clear to them that their opinions and judgments don't matter because they don't know as much as she does and they could never make the choices that she has to make.
  • In Joan of Arcadia, God gave Joan her "assignments" with little to no concern about how Joan's activities would be perceived and reacted to by her family and friends. At least twice, Joan's life was directly endangered by her following God's orders.
    • Lampshaded in the second episode where God tells Joan to join AP Chemistry. Joan becomes partners with Grace and Adam and invites them over to her house for a study session. Adam recognizes Joan's father (the police chief) who his dad works for as head of the police impound lot. Joan's mother looks at the stock at the lot and finds that there is a car with hand controls which will give mobility to their paralyzed son, which in turn starts to break him out of his depression. When Joan points this out and who she got what God was trying to teach her, God further explains that this isn't a vacuum. All of those actions will have an effect on the world that Joan couldn't begin to understand and it was all because she did something as simple as sign up for a new class, handily demonstrating to the viewers what would happen for the rest of the series.
  • Lost: While there are numerous examples of characters in authority positions abusing their powers because they know everything will turn out alright, the straightest example of this trope is Jacob, the island's ageless supreme protector, who lives in isolation away from the people he brings to the island. His ultimate goal is to prove wrong the theory of his nameless archenemy, who thinks humans are inherently flawed with sin, and so he allows them to form their own ideas of good and bad on the island while avoiding corruption by the nemesis. If Jacob intervenes, so he believes, his theory will be worthless: they must make their own decisions without his guiding hand. Regardless, in getting characters to the island, he has exercised some moral license: allowing Sayid's wife Nadia to be killed or knowing the plane they intended to return to the island on would crash.
  • The Great Dragon in Merlin has advised/ordered Merlin to do some incredibly dodgy stuff, including letting a child die and poisoning a terrified woman. Sometimes he obeys, sometimes he doesn't — but either way it usually turns out bad for Merlin.
  • In Power Rangers Mystic Force, senior Knight Daggeron sends the young 'uns into Another Dimension without their gear to test their mettle, and doesn't stick around to watch (he had to go take on the Monster of the Week). Our heroes very nearly wind up as a giant's breakfast. When they manage to get themselves out of it and return, Daggeron's "I never doubted their safe return" just doesn't ring true - you really feel like the writers threw the line in so that Daggeron wouldn't appear to be criminally irresponsible. To be fair, Daggeron appeared to have arranged the whole thing, since the giant was a vegetarian and he had conveniently given the green ranger an inane task of practicing the spell he would need over and over again. So either this trope or sloppy script work.
  • The Inquisitor, the villain of the Red Dwarf episode of the same name, behaves as though he has one. After surviving to the end of time, he concludes that there is no god and no afterlife, and that the only purpose of existence is to live a worthwhile life. To this end, he travels through time, deletes those he judges to have wasted their lives and replaces them with another possible version of themselves. An interesting twist, though, is that he allows his victims to judge themselves, and the requirements aren't that stringent, especially if you have extremely low personal standards — meaning, ironically, that it's the moral and decent people (who are humble enough to see their own moral shortcomings) who get punished, while the self-satisfied and morally lazy get off scot-free.
  • One episode of Sliders featured a world with abundant and apparently legitimate psychics. The foremost psychic in the United States holds the government position of Prime Oracle, functioning as the de facto head of government in all matters in which it becomes involved, and is responsible for preventing or mitigating every major disaster since the office was created. The Slider's first encounter with the current Prime Oracle is when he tries and fails to run Wade over with his car. This trope is apparent when the police tell her that if her story is true, then he must have had a good reason for doing so. His license even extends to choosing his successor, who inherits that license by virtue of being chosen by someone who had it.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • In a Fridge Brilliance moment, Daniel Jackson fits this trope. He's been to heaven and back, most of his ideas and choices are good, and he even has the right, power and morality justification to question ascended beings. Lampshaded later when he becomes a Prior and asks for a little cooperation for his latest plan (his CV should have spoken for himself). He's not, but he proves his worth and his loyalty, and his actions are still the ones saving the day.
    • To a lesser extent, SG-1 and Stargate Command is for the countries of Earth who don't profit as much from the technology as the US, and want to screw the ones that actually work in the process. They still do what they know best, and save the world(s) through it every time.
  • Star Trek:
    • Q, primarily from Star Trek: The Next Generation. He tests the Enterprise crew in various ways, which at times even appear life-threatening (and, in at least one case, is life-threatening), but in retrospect it is reasonably obvious that his goal is to assist in the characters' development; albeit in a Zen Survivor kind of way. Beautifully subverted in the Next Generation episode "True Q", in which the nigh-omnipotent Q, in one of his rare straight-faced moments, tries to claim this license as the Continuum's right to judge and possibly execute the half-Q, half-human Amanda for being too potentially dangerous to live. When he responds to Picard's questioning that right with the simple, terse words "superior morality", Picard nearly chokes: "superior morality? I haven't seen any evidence of any morality at all!" It also turns up in the series finale, "All Good Things...":
      Picard: It is not for you to judge us!
      Q: Oh, but it is, and we have.
    • Another example occurs in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with the revelation that the Prophets engineered the birth of Benjamin Sisko. To do this, one of them took control of a woman named Sarah and forced her to romance, marry, and have a child with Joseph Sisko; she left as soon as her body was returned to her. Which sounds a lot like rape, but that implication is never brought up. The heartache it caused Joseph Sisko is, as he thought there was a legitimate romance going on and had no idea why Sarah left so abruptly. The one time Sisko asks prophet-Sarah "why?" her answer amounts to there having been a chance Sarah would make choices that didn't result in Ben being in born, and since Ben must exist, this "risk" justified their actions
      • In the pilot, it's implied that the prophets only have a loose concept of what they're doing and need Sisko to explain linear existence to them. Sisko, and even Quark at one point, second-guess and even lecture them when they do something wrong. It isn't until the introduction of their very linear, multi-season battle with the Pah Wraiths that the show starts treating them as gods rather than aliens.
  • Much of the character drama in Travelers comes from the protagonists really wanting to believe that the Director — who is not only incomparably smarter than any of them but also have the benefit of hindsight since it's watching events from four hundred years into the future — has one of these and that they can trust it to make the best possible choice in every situation, even though it won't (and possibly can't) explain to them why it was the best one. Many villains are ex-Travelers who have, effectively, lost faith after seeing too many of the Director's supposed "best possible choices" appear to lead to nothing good.

  • In Ciel ~The Last Autumn Story~, Krohiten is the Arc Dragon of the Heavens, and thus has the power to see visions of the future. His first vision was of a near-lifeless Bad Future, and he's spent most of his existence trying to find a way to prevent it. And he doesn't let any potentially disastrous effects from those solutions on the people around him dissuade him.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Sidereals in Exalted like to think they have it. They were intended to by their creators (the goddess of Fate), but their metaphysically mandated Fatal Flaw is Hubris via groupthink - they get together in large groups, work great foretellings, and then choose the wrong path for all the right reasons. The biggest example? The Usurpation, for they foresaw three futures: the Solars went mad and ended everything (very likely); the Solars were brought down and imprisoned, diminishing the world but allowing it to continue (pretty likely); or the Solars were drawn back from their madness by the other Exalts and the world entered a new golden age for all (extremely unlikely). They chose the middle road, despite being Exalted and thus meant to beat the odds because it's more awesome that way.
  • Urza, in Magic: The Gathering, had this regarding the Phyrexian invasion. The results of this ranged from creating an entire race who were basically nicer-looking versions of the Phyrexians to recruiting a treacherous murderer onto a strike team so the guy would shank some of his allies and Urza could justify using his life energy to arm the mission's bomb payload.
  • In the "Atlas of Earth-Prime: Mexico" sourcebook for Mutants & Masterminds 3rd edition, we're introduced to Tlacaelel, a Mexica noble from when the Aztec empire was first founded, who was granted immortality and immense magical powers when he subdued and absorbed the manifest Spirit of the Mexica Nation. Doing so granted him the apparent understanding that Mexica's glory would only survive if it was spiritually split; by keeping the nation locked in eternal turmoil, that greater conflict would swallow up and negate any external influences on Mexica's soul. To this end, he has been directly responsible for many of the tragedies to befall Mexico, from the massacres and near-genocide of the Spanish conquistadors (to forge a stronger nation from the once-disparate tribes under Spanish influence), the nation's loss in the American-Mexican War (to shed nations tainted by slavery and shield Mexico from the Mayombe cult), and culminating in directly supporting the modern era's prevalent drug wars. His current ploy boils down to supporting various criminal and super-criminal groups, whilst secretly leaking key information to heroic factions, ensuring perpetual war between both. However, the trope is zigzagged in that it's noted that Tlacaelel's taking of the Spirit by force meant he only got half of the Spirit; the Serpent, embodiment of the material world, and the Eagle is still out there. It's subtly implied that this actually gave him a faulty vision and he's been in the wrong all along despite thinking of himself as the Big Good... but, for the most part, the booklet falls firmly on the side of "he's been doing the right thing, or at least started out that way".
  • A Mystara splatbook covering The Magocracy of Glantri, in the Dungeon Master's section, has an address to the reader from the Immortal Khoronus, who reveals that when Immortals of the Sphere of Energy transformed a nuclear reactor into a mystical artifact that could enhance arcane magic and assist mortals become Immortals of that Sphere, Immortals of the other Spheres reacted by tinkering with "The Radiance", causing it to permanently leech away magic from the world itself whenever it was used. Despite the fact that this will explicitly cause all magic to vanish forever, resulting in the extinction of every magical creature and most non-human races, as well as causing Glantri to collapse (or be annihilated in a nuclear inferno), Khoronus acts as though this is a perfectly justified act, simply because, he claims, humans will ultimately master science once magic has been destroyed.
  • In the Planescape campaign, the Athar are a group who actually call the Powers That Be out for this Trope, calling them liars who use their power to call themselves gods, something they claim is untrue. They do, however, recognize their unfathomable power, but because the Powers depend on mortal worship to maintain their might, their (incredibly long-term) goal is to convince mortals of fraudulent divinity while encouraging the belief that mortals can shape their own destiny. Well, most of them do. The group has a few "extremists" who don't endear themselves to others, have questionable motives or try to take things too far...
  • Some interpretations of the Ravenloft setting's Dark Powers invoke this trope, depicting them as harsh but well-intentioned judges who consign the multiverse's foulest villains to The Punishment. Too bad for innocent bystanders living in the domains which confine said villains, because they're left at the mercy of the punished, as are the poor saps who get dragged into the game-setting by the Mists.
  • In Warhammer 40,000:
    • There's really no morality to speak of anywhere, but the Eldar usually act like this trope is in effect. Of course, it helps that they can see the future...
    • The Emperor of Mankind has this as part of the justifications for his plans, along with millennia of experience. Or so he claims.
  • There's an interesting case in Warhammer: The Lizardmen tend to lay claim to possess such a morality license, but not because they see themselves as almighty, all-knowing rulers — instead they see themselves as the chosen instruments of the Old Ones (who are essentially the creators of the world) and therefore any discovery of a sacred plaque means that the instructions are to be carried out to the letter. Whether this means helping to save your army at a specific place and time or shifting entire continents and dooming entire species/races is up to the instructions on the plaque in question.
  • Subverted with the Court of Pentacles in PrincessTheHopeful: The Court says that if you're a magical prophetess you ought to be able to find a way to solve problems and be nice to people at the same time. Doing morally dubious actions that you know will work out for the best is only a last resort.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • In the Myth Arc, Those Who Came Before are capable of apparently perfect precognition, yet bore witness to the near-absolute destruction of their First Civilization on Earth 75,000 years ago thanks to a solar flare. Dying out due to underpopulation, they Fling a Light into the Future by manipulating the course of history such that the modern-day Assassins can use their Lost Technology to attempt to avert a recurrence of the same catastrophe in 2012. Thousands of years of war, betrayals, scheming, and suffering as the Assassins battle the Templars for control of the future of humanity are part of this scheme, but they have no choice when the alternative is potentially the extinction of the human race.
    • The end of Assassin's Creed III reveals that Juno at least doesn't really care about humanity at all. She's been manipulating everyone to facilitate her own return and bid for conquest.
  • Comstock in BioShock Infinite due to a misunderstanding of the Christian concept of redemption. While it was meant to be understood as "this is a fresh new start, now Go and Sin No More," Comstock understood it as "because you are now saved, anything you do isn't a sin anymore."
  • Blaze Union: Good lord, Baretreenu. You want to Mind Rape someone to prove their innocence?! Why are you not getting called out on this?!
  • Chrono Cross has Belthasar, who sets up an incredibly complex scheme that spans across multiple time periods, destroys many lives, and causes changes to the world down to an alternate timeline. But given the endgame is noble — he's only doing that to ensure the universe isn't destroyed by an Eldritch Abomination — it's ultimately alright.
  • The Menders of Ouroboros in City of Heroes. Their leader, Mender Silos, hails from near the end of time and has recruited the heroes and villains of the present to try to stave off a disaster in the near future, known only as The Coming Storm. No one ever tells you what this might be, and the Menders will send you to accomplish the most random, and sometimes morally questionable, tasks in hopes of preventing the Coming Storm. (Though, if you're a Villain that's hardly a problem.) To add to all this, in every story arc they give you, a mysterious messenger will leave you notes, telling you not to trust the Menders but to play along anyway. And the Menders also allow you to relive your past adventures, just in case you missed a badge or reward of some kind.
  • Disgaea:
    • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness Master Lamington manipulates Laharl's group, the EDF, Vulcanus, and even the Angels. Laharl calls him out. Very hard. Of course, Lamington's motivations are not necessarily bad.
    • Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten delivers one in the form of the demons, who continually cast judgement on humans for being "bad", "sinful" and "warlike" and look down on them for becoming secular and not fearing demons enough anymore to provide them with the "fear energy" demons require (the fact that demons are essentially parasites living off humans is apparently lost on all the protagonists). There's also another with this universe's God, who places genocide machines on every inhabited world in the universe and activates them when he feels like it. Not only is he indignant if the protagonists stop this happening to Earth, but if you get the ending where Valvatorez and co. actually defeat God's avatar in battle, the game ends with both Earth and its Netherworld being burned by God's forces.
  • In Divinity: Original Sin II the Player Character is a Godwoken, meaning a Chosen One handpicked by their race's god as a potential successor. In Act 2 of the game the player is granted the ability to consume people's souls for Source energy. You can lampshade the obvious ethical ramifications of this to them, but the apparent consensus among the gods is that you decide what right and wrong is, with Duna (the dwarf god) in particular equating muggles to livestock. This ends up being subverted later on, as it's revealed the "gods" are merely Abusive Precursors who managed to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. And they're the biggest assholes out of their entire race, who already weren't very nice to begin with.
  • .hack//G.U. Games: Ovan, full stop. He puts Shino in a coma and enables Sakaki to Mind Rape people and attempt to take over the world. Why does he do all this? So that Haseo will be able to stop AIDA.
  • The Summon King Leviathan from Final Fantasy IV abruptly wrecks the heroes' ship in his first appearance, separating and sending them into quite nasty fates: Rydia falls into the water, Yang gets captured and brainwashed by the villains, Edward breaks his leg and is bed-ridden for the rest of the game. The ship's crew are never seen again, and Cecil is threw into Mysidia where people hate him. While things get much better for the heroes by the end, it can be jarring how the team easily forget the king's murderous sea monster's act and praise him for being wise and kind.
  • In the Golden Sun games, the Wise One does this to the entire group at the end of The Lost Age by sending a three-headed dragon to stop them, and only after they defeat it do they learn that said dragon was actually Isaac's father and Felix and Jenna's parents, and are on the verge of dying as a result. But upon restoring the powers of Alchemy with the last Elemental Star, the three adults are healed miraculously. It's later revealed that the Wise One did this to test their virtue and dedication, so as to make sure that the power of Alchemy would not be misused (like they had been in the past) if they were revived. The Wise One kind of dropped the ball there, since committing patricide probably tests as much for sociopathy as it does for virtue or dedication. If not more.
  • Explicitly referenced and refuted in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. The goddess Hylia set up all of the dangers that Link encountered in order to temper him into a weapon against evil. At the end of the game, she, as Zelda, her human incarnation, apologizes to Link. Explicitly saying that her actions were necessary, but that didn't make them right, and asks his forgiveness.
  • In Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, the human-supremacist organisation Cerberus seems to think they operate under one of these, believing that any action they take to elevate humanity's position in the galactic community will be vindicated by history. On the one hand, they acted to prevent the release of a biological weapon on the Citadel, and tasked Shepard with stopping Collector attacks. On the other hand, they've conducted nightmarish experiments on aliens and humans, unleashed Thresher Maws and Husks on unsuspecting colonists, trained rachni as shock troops (which ultimately kill two marine companies), tortured children to make more powerful biotics, and "accidentally" detonated starships over colonies to infect unborn children with element zero (keep in mind that 30% develop fatal cancerous growths).
  • Played straight and then averted into a spin out in Monster Girl Quest. The conflicts between monsters and humans are caused by Goddess Ilias' commandments, which explicitly prevent romantic relations between the two, and since monsters are a One-Gender Race which require human men to reproduce, that drives them to use uh, force, which makes humans hate and fear them. Luka continues to cling to her ideology religiously, despite striving for peaceful coexistence between the two. Between the constant rape attempts from monsters who have been starved of sex, the ridiculously positive effects of romantic co-habitation between monsters and humans, the sanctioned abuse from arrogant humans and bloodthirsty monsters, and the horrifying fate of those who explicitly break the edicts, his zeal is slowly chipped away. By the end of chapter 2, the final straw is being ordered by Ilias to murder Alice; Luka calls Ilias out on this, and full on rebels against her for it.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of The Betrayer, it gets... complicated due to a multi use. The former god of the dead Myrkul's actions (creating the spirit eater curse to punish a disciple who rejected his self believed license) comes from believing as a god he has one. If the player takes a specific course of action granting him an ironic, yet peaceful death, he chastises the player, accusing the player of believing they have an Omniscient Morality License "You have no right spirit eater, judgment is the purview of the gods". The new god of the dead's reason for doing the exact same thing as Myrkul, using a Fate Worse than Death to punish people who don't worship gods, borders on this as well. Note: in Forgotten Realms canon, Myrkul is designated evil, and his replacement is neutral (i.e., not good).
  • Ōkami: Waka could very likely be accused of this trope. In the game, it's shown that he can see the future, and is pretty strong, at one point even fixing the coastline of its corruption. Staggeringly, he does very little in the way of progress, when, theoretically, he could fix most of Nippon's problems. And a lot of problems would probably have been solved if he took a more direct approach in saving the world, rather than let destiny play out. Of course, Waka, knowing the future, would know that he's not powerful enough to defeat the Big Bad without a powered-up Ammy's help.
  • Ōkamiden: Waka's actions only serve to show how far he'll go if his foresight shows him a better future. He created the living doll Kurow, a younger copy of himself, specifically to house the evil essence of Akuro and allow Chibiterasu to strike him down once and for all. No one was informed, so it comes as a horrifying shock when they find out and nearly leads to a Heroic RRoD for Kurow. Waka gets called out for his actions, but his absence from the game means he never actually has to own up.
  • Subverted in Super Robot Wars Alpha 2, when the Guardian Goddess of Earth, Ganeden, lashed out at all the humans who decided to move into space and all the aliens. She then began erecting a dimensional barrier around the Earth. For that, the good guys tore her apart.
  • Zigzagged with Yukari Yakumo from the Touhou Project. As the founder, protector and benefactor of Gensoukyou, everything she does is for the realm's sake... However, Gensoukyou is a Fantastic Nature Reserve, meaning the well-being of its Monsters, Youkai and Fair Folk is more important than the well-being of its human residents, who are considered superstition-and-faith livestock at best, to say nothing of the humans from outside Gensoukyou who are treated as regular livestock for the realm's many man-eaters. Further complicating matters is Yukari's own refusal to ever explain or justify her actions or lack thereof, leaving even main characters to attept to call her out, only to get brushed off and left to apprehensively hope that Yukari has an omniscient morality license... even if she does, it's of the blue and orange variery.
  • Deconstructed in Undertale. Oh, you'll have every means of resetting the world over and over to go on a killing spree for the sake of a good time, and you can always turn back the clock and make everything right again, but the game will remember it, even ending with you losing your soul to the incarnation of your depravity.
  • Wilhelm in Xenosaga. Though he does show concern for the future of humanity, he has no concern for anyone who perishes during the course of his plans, even his closest allies, and sees all of life as a grand stage performance.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Code:Realize, the Ancient Conspiracy known as "Idea" theoretically has one thanks to their leader Omnibus's ability to see the future. In practice, Omnibus's predictions prove more fallible than they are presented to be, which casts some doubt over the validity of their claim to know the correct path for humanity.

  • Sarda the Sage from 8-Bit Theater subverts this trope, with White Mage convinced he's operating under this license while the "Light" Warriors know damn well he hates them (and now they even know why).
  • Bob and George, one of the earliest noted sprite comics, frequently invokes this. The Author at times either personally deals with (or at the very least addresses to the cast and audience) problems that he created for the sake of the series. Needless to say at various points in the comic, this pisses off the heroes but is played for laughs. Sprite Comics that were directly inspired by B&G tend to either follow this example or allude to it, especially earlier comics, or those made by "Noobs".
  • Inquisitor Deket from Exterminatus Now, who had to be restrained by the Mobian Inquisition for trying to call down Exterminatus too often. While all of the Inquisition has free reign to do what they have to do to stop the forces of darkness, Deket abuses it the most often. It's telling that, in a cast full of assholes, she manages to be the biggest asshole of them all.
  • One strip from DMFA explains it well.
    Dan: And here I thought you did it all because you were an insane sadist...
    Fa'lina: Well that too! But that comes with semi-omnipotence also!
  • Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire:
    • Despite being The Hero (or, some would argue, the Designated Hero), Dominic Deegan has often invoked this trope to justify his morally questionable or just plain ridiculous methods of defeating the villain, especially after his Power Creep starts setting in after the Storm of Souls arc. He got called out on it after the Snowsong arc with the Supergreg silliness, and made to do community service, for solving a problem by manipulating everybody. He could have solved it conventionally, but that would have damaged his ability to Save the Villain. Most of the time he's actually pretty straightforward about his moving-people-around-the-board ploys; given his ability to confront problems that exist anywhere besides the psychoplanes almost always consists of "knowing more than anyone else" and 'communicating with people,' he has to do his part by networking.
    • Rillian the Necromancer has it much worse. The part where he followed Dominic and Luna around on their vacation in disguise, putting them through tests and ready to kill Dominic if he "failed" and his mind broke stands out particularly: worked out great, possibly necessary, appalling in principle.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Damien believed he had one as a god since he was created with the intent of fulfilling a prophecy of one who would unify the chimeric shapeshifter outcasts of the world.
  • It seems that the Predictamancers from Erfworld have a disturbing tendency to lean toward this. On one hand, Fate is a literal cosmic force, and whatever the Predictamancers predict will come true, by definition. (Whether the Predictamancers tell the real predictions are a whole other story.) On the other hand, both of the introduced Predictamancers have an annoyingly vague approach to telling their predictions, and give little to no help for anyone featured in their predictions, instead preferring to try and manipulate things from the side.
    • It's implied that this is less because Predictamancers deliberately hold back info than it is because higher-level Predictions themselves are hyperfocused on one specific event that one specific unit will do sometime in the future (e.g. one unit is Predicted to "croak the leader of Haffaton", and both the leader and the method of croaking end up different than expected between prophecy and fulfillment). They're very into You Can't Fight Fate because any attempt to Screw Destiny ends up making any Self-Fulfilling Prophecy turn out the worst. They can also end up extremely disconnected from others because, from Fate's point of view, the vast majority of people and events are of no importance whatsoever.
  • Felicia, Sorceress of Katara is one of those "heroic" examples who got called out for it. Though she might not know all the details, she still used her own apprentices to draw out the Sons of the Black Flame, and she crushed those cultists surprisingly easily for someone supposedly unprepared for them.
  • Doc Scratch of Homestuck, who actually is just about as close to omniscient as it's possible to get in his universe, certainly sees himself has having this. Subverted because Doc Scratch is genuinely — though very, very affably — evil. His response to being called out on it by Rose is as follows:
    Lies of omission do not exist. The concept is a very human one. It is the product of your story writing again. You have written a story about the truth, making emotional demands of it, and in particular, of those in possession of it. Your demands are based on a feeling of entitlement to the facts, which is very childish. You can never know all of the facts. Only I can. And since it's impossible for me to reveal all facts to you, it is my discretion alone that decides which facts will be revealed in the finite time we have. One can make either true statements or false statements about reality. All of the statements I make are true.
    • Becquerel (the "First Guardian" of the B1 universe ... Doc Scratch is the A2 First Guardian) seems nice enough, but occasionally does inexplicable (though rarely anything that could be considered of questionable morality) things. GCat (the B2 First Guardian) is more amoral (he's a cat, and mostly acts like a cat capable of warping reality to suit its whims of the moment... among other things, GCat is directly responsible for the death of Jaspers, but it's arguable that he didn't really intend it).
  • The Great Bird Conspiracy of Kevin & Kell, in addition to manipulating the inner workings of government and other institutions, carried out a long-running plan to prevent society from destroying itself by establishing computers to run it. In order to accomplish it, they abduct Vin, Fenton and Ray and have them work for Microtalon when they find out too much about it, and cause Lindesfarne to believe that her boyfriend Fenton is dead. While the people in question are eventually returned with their memories of their time at Microtalon wiped this caused a considerable amount of anguish for the cast. Not to mention the fact that the birds were responsible for making all these species intelligent in the first place.
  • Misfile features a clever subversion with God himself, who is all-knowing and yet apparently allows his angelic underlings to get away with errors. However, the twist (which is implied) is that God knows that these errors, such as the eponymous misfile, result in more actual good than harm, making him one hell of a chessmaster...
  • The Order of the Stick: The reason Durkon was wandering human lands is because Odin sent a prophecy to his high priest that the next time Durkon returned home, he would bring death and destruction. The other priests decided the best way to avoid this prophecy was to exile Durkon, knowing he was so honor-bound that he would never return unless called, even though this meant he had to abandon his family and ailing mother. Durkon became a key member of the Order of the Stick, which in turn considerably increased the chances of the world being saved,note  and Durkon even ended up meeting Odin and Thor at just the right time to learn some important information. Subverted when Thor asks Odin about it. Odin is a bit senile due to a problem with Gods Need Prayer Badly, and doesn't even remember the prophecy; he says the whole plan "sounds kind of mean." Presumably he gave the prophecy on one of his better days, but Thor decides not to mention this to Durkon anyway, as it will probably crush his spirit.
  • Played with in Questionable Content by "Spooky Bot", an incredibly powerful AI strongly implied to be a product of The Singularity. Their stated motivations are quite straightforward, but they also admit that "there are no credentials of benevolence that we could not falsify" and tacitly ask Faye to have faith in their good intentions.
  • Chris the producer from Sailor Sun: Turning his lead actor into an actress with an illegal transformation device just to lend his Gender Bender story authenticity? check. Deliberately getting her knocked up just so he can steal her Kid from the Future? Check. Stealing another alternate version of the Kid from another future when she proves unable to support the first one? check. Using a time portal to further screw with her life, either for the drama or just for the lulz?
  • Schlock Mercenary features a super-intelligent A.I. which epitomizes this trope. He could probably solve the universe's problems if he didn't think it was better for everyone to "work things out themselves". Petey may be god-like within the galaxy, but he is engaged in an out-matched war with the dark matter beings from Andromeda, and an "easy fix" such as breaking through a teraport shield to save a single ship could cost a star system in the larger conflict. Petey increasingly sticks to behind-the-scenes work to conserve resources. It helps that, most of the time, he prefers to end fights without any deaths, since a "current enemy" could be a "future ally" given enough time, and why deprive them of the chance? The main reason he can't do this with the dark matter beings is a lack of ways to communicate with them, and they started it.
  • In Shinka The Last Eevee Sol, the Espeon being held captive by Auranova Industries, used his Future Sight and telepathy to influence the leaders of Auranova towards kidnapping Nick and forcing him to evolve into a Leafeon rather than any of the other three Eeevees they were considering. Because he predicted that Nick would be able to help him and the other Eevolutions to escape. When Nick learns this he is rather pissed off at first, but Sol reminds him of all the times he showed that one trait that made him different from the others, bravery.
    • This behaviour of Sol's has been called out by fans and Luna, and the author has admitted that Sol is acting on blind faith and that his plan was pretty horrible. He believes that Nick is able to save them so he didn't even consider other options and was willing to put others at risk for his plan.
  • The Wizard of Oz example is lampshaded in Cheshire Crossing when Dorothy finally confronts Glinda the Good Witch with the accusation that Glinda deliberately withheld information about the ruby slippers to get Dorothy to murder the Wicked Witch.

    Web Original 
  • Whateley Universe: Played perhaps uncomfortably straight with the Tao, which ostensibly always guides its Handmaid to do just what is required to maintain 'the balance'. However, the Demon Lord of the Hell of Firey Immersion, has hinted that the information Chou received was lies. Whether it was speaking the truth or not, we don't know. The ability to apparently predict the future is also not a original power of the Tao, but given by some magical loom and tapestry that we don't know much about.
    • The omniscient-seeming Mrs. Potter may also count, though she seems to be more unambiguously on the side of the angels than many of the usual trope examples.
  • DarkMatter2525: Whenever Jeffrey questions the ethical implications of Yahweh's atrocities, as well as the hypocrisies of not allowing others to do the same, Yahweh usually whips this trope out in one form or another, claiming things like Screw the Rules, I Make Them! and the fact that he is defined as the ultimate good and thus whenever he does something, it is not considered bad.
  • Worm and its sequel Ward often deconstruct the idea when precognitives get involved in world-altering events.
    • The poster child is Cauldron, a secret organization that does many, many terrible things for the purpose of saving humanity from something that will probably kill 99% of the population some years down the line if nothing is done. Whether or not they were justified is a point of contention in and out of universe, especially since it's been demonstrated that precognition is never perfect.
    • In Ward, Dinah Alcott is known to be behind fostering anti-parahuman sentiments, which seems paradoxical since she is a known parahuman herself. Eventually she reveals that she had foreseen that anti-parahuman hatred was inevitable, but by fostering it and directing it herself, she could minimize the damage it caused. This seems to have backfired when another precog with their own morality license interferes and ruins all her plans.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Everyone seems to think the Avatar gets an Omniscient Morality License... everyone, that is, except the Avatar himself. While contemplating how exactly to deal with Fire Lord Ozai without taking his life, Sokka discusses this.
    Aang: I can't just go around wiping out people I don't like!
    Sokka: Sure, you can. You're the Avatar. If it's the name of keeping balance, I'm pretty sure the universe will forgive you.
    • In the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, the inverse happens: Korra herself occasionally tries to get away with this, particularly on Book 1, with virtually no success (thankfully, she grows out of it by mid-Book 2). As a whole, the series is a subversion of this notion: by Korra's time, the very role of the Avatar as an infallible moral figure is seriously questioned, and most antagonists are ideologically opposed to this idea.
  • The Vok from Beast Wars think they have this. They do all sorts of terrifying, inscrutable things while steadfastly refusing to explain their reasons, arrogantly claiming the Transformers couldn’t comprehend them. In the season one finale, they try to blow up the entire planet just because the Transformers “contaminated” their precious experiment by total accident. Optimus calls them out on this and says that they have no real right to murder thousands, but the Vok disagree; in their eyes, it’s their planet to do with as they please.
  • Centaurworld: The Tree Shamans are a pair of tree centaurs that have lived a long time, and due to that, they know what a person needs more than the asker themselves. However, they approach this subject with what seems like cold indifference, giving people the things they need without explaining how shocking it would be for them and how to deal with it. In counterpart, they completely ignore what people want even when it's understandable. The major example is that a flashback reveals that they refused to bring back the herd Wammawink lost as a child due to "not being what she needed" and refuse to even console the traumatized little girl who just lost her entire village.
  • Danny Phantom has Clockwork and the Observants. Clockwork's reaction to Danny's evil future where he's a mass-murdering, rampaging sadistic sociopath? "So he's the strongest, most evil ghost in the Ghost Zone. So what." No wonder some fans think him to be evil. Clockwork has the advantage of knowing everything, or at least all the outcomes. It's in his Catchphrase. The fact that he never used his knowledge for outright good or evil shows that he's being neutral about using his power. That said, he does ultimately help the heroes stop Dark Danny and becomes Dark Danny's jailor. He also later helps Danny cure his friends of a deadly disease, pressing the Reset Button when Danny accidentally made wrong what once went right and intentionally giving him the clue needed to fix the problem in the present. It seems Clockwork's overall Neutral Good.
  • The Dungeon Master from the Dungeons & Dragons (1983) animated series. He uses children to carry out potentially fatal quests that work towards his enigmatic goals. Although he could easily defeat Venger and most of the other threats to the Realm, he prefers to use the kids to do it under the pretense of helping them get back to Earth. He is actually capable of just sending them home, but either gets evasive or disappears when asked to do so.
  • The titular train from Infinity Train kidnaps people from Earth and keeps them trapped onboard until they manage to work through whatever emotional or psychological issues they might have that made the train pick them in the first place. This is made slightly easier in that passengers are given an animated tattoo that quantifies said emotional trauma to a numerical value that is accurately tracked as they progress through its cars and develop positively or negatively along the way, until the goal of zeroing out is achieved. Subverted in that not only was there no guarantee that all this would even be explained to you until very recently, but even with that knowledge, the train still doubles as a Death World where one could easily die before getting their number down.
  • A mild version of this can be found in Time Squad: to prevent history from "unweaving", the crew needs to engage in some morally objectionable actions (making Edgar Allan Poe have a mental breakdown, create mutual tension between the Hatfields and the McCoys, etc.)
  • The creators of Uncle Grandpa have stated his seeming idiocy and recklessness may or may not actually be all part of his plan to improve children's lives.
  • Wakfu: Nox committed atrocities for two hundred years, collecting Wakfu (life energy) to power a spell to turn back time and save his family. He collected what he thought would be enough, believing that whatever he had done would be undone once time was turned back and thus anything he did in pursuit of it was fully justified. Therefore, people who resisted him were just getting in the way of the "right" thing and why he felt no guilt killing and draining their lifeforce to pull it off. That would have been a much happier ending. It only took him back twenty minutes.
  • Subverted in Yin Yang Yo!, when a Lie Fairy creates a villain that grows every time Yin and Yang lie. At the end, she shows up and congratulates them on learning their lesson... only to have the townspeople angrily point out that she destroyed the city in the process.

Alternative Title(s): Omniscient Morality Licence