Follow TV Tropes


Right Makes Might

Go To

"The humblest citizen in all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error."

So The Hero and some opponent (usually the Big Bad or The Rival), adherents of two opposite ends of any given scale of ideology, duke it out. Whether they are fighting over their difference in opinion or something else, it is immediately apparent to the viewer that there is supposed to be much more than life, death or the fate of the world at stake here: The outcome of this battle decides whose personal philosophy is correct.

But you can always count on the Hero to win. Why? Because Right Makes Might, and the hero is right.

This is obviously intended to be An Aesop on how The Good Guys Always Win and Justice Will Prevail. In these cases, the implication that Right Makes Might comes off as an equivalence, which is most likely not what the writers intended. Often, the writers will make the opponent Kick the Dog by fighting like a Heel, which will result in either the hero winning anyway through brute force, or the enemy's Karmic Death. Other times they'll make an opponent want revenge rather than justice, taking away from whatever righteousness their cause had. That being said, it's still a slightly more acceptable philosophy than the inverse: Might Makes Right.

This trope can be more or less justified by the story showing just why the Right philosophy is better (even for winning in combat) in the end. One possibility is that the good guys rely on character-building virtues like dedication and teamwork while the villains bluster and bully their way through life, leaving the latter unready to face a real test. If nothing else, the belief that Right Makes Might could make it happen by encouraging the heroes or demoralizing the villains. It could also be that the hero's resolve and dedication to an idea that they hold to be greater than their self interest, allows them to go past limits the villains wouldn't dare, even to making the ultimate sacrifice. After all, the villains tend to value their lives above all and see defeat as failure whereas the heroes see stopping the villain as victory itself and surviving in one piece as a luxury.

Other times this trope is taken more literally as it might be the righteousness of the hero that allows them to use resources not available to the bad guys in the form of Only the Chosen May Wield,Only the Worthy May Pass, Only the Chosen May Ride or they are chosen by the Empathic Weapon or a Living Weapon. The hero's virtuous heart may also make them a candidate by a The Chooser of the One, especially in instances where the story has The Chosen Many.

Very prevalent in shounen anime and western comic books, but really, this has been used to deliver morals throughout history. It was even assumed in ancient times in Western civilization to work in real life, on the logic that God or gods would help them win. It is still often considered true for more nuanced reasons, which essentially amount to the fact that Evil is easy but self-destructive, while Good is Difficult, but Awesome.

If the defeated party acknowledges the wrong of his/her/their ways, this may also include Defeat Means Friendship. If the meaning of the battle is supposed to be particularly obvious, the characters will actually engage in a "No More Holding Back" Speech or "The Reason You Suck" Speech before or during the battle, explaining their particular beliefs, the lessons they've learned and why they have faith that they will carry them through this battle successfully.

Though usually done with a hero and somebody darker, this can also be done in a A Lighter Shade of Grey or A Lighter Shade of Black scenario, to show that, while their ideas and worldviews might still be rather flawed, the winning side at least has a better understanding of how the world should be or at least has more points right than the enemy. Eg: While a A Lighter Shade of Black villain might not exactly believe in the powers of truth, justice or honor, he might still be a firm believer in Pragmatic Villainy and consider the Stupid Evil behaviour of his opponent pathetic and disgusting.

Not to be confused with Might Makes Right, which is where one side gets to make the rules because they are stronger.

This is one of the main components of Japanese Spirit. See also: Heroic Resolve, As Long as There Is One Man. Contrast Written by the Winners, which deconstructs this belief by pointing out that due to Values Dissonance, every side of a conflict will always believe they prevailed over the other because their cause is the right cause.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • L of Death Note seems to believe this, with lines like, "Justice Will Prevail!" and, "Let's show him that the good guys always win." Light, on the other hand, believes the opposite — making this one interesting aspect of their clash of ideals.
    Light: If we catch Kira, he is evil. If he succeeds, he is justice.
    • Of course, in the end, either of them could be right. L's side wins, as he predicted, and the world sees Kira as evil, as Light predicted.
  • In Devil May Cry: The Animated Series, the low level demon grunt Sid manages a ritual to grant him the power of the demon lord Abigail. Though he curb-stomps Dante the first time they fight, Dante defeats him in a rematch. When Sid asks how he could have possibly been defeated, Dante claims a rotten soul like Sid's can never truly defeat a virtuous soul, no matter how much power he gets.
  • Used all the way to death in Digimon Adventure and Digimon Adventure 02. The Chosen Children "wielded" various virtues (yes, as in Wielder of Courage, Wielder of Friendship, Wielder of Purity, etc.). Their Mons got bigger when the kids developed positive character traits. This is a fairly blatant example.
    • One episode of the fifth season is named "Justice Equals Power," which is the trope name slightly rephrased. Though ironically in that case it was one of the villains who believed this, Duftmon of the Royal Knights. Suffice to say, his belief didn't stop the heroes from smashing him via an Eleventh Hour Super Power.
  • Fist of the North Star: This might as well be tattooed on Kenshiro's knuckles so it's the last thing a mook sees before his fist goes right through his face. Kenshiro's fighting prowess comes from Hokuto Shinken. Kenshiro's STRENGTH comes from the righteousness of his cause and his unwillingness to ever give up.
  • Naruto's Might Guy actually believes in this, but its impact on the show is questionable, as his apprentice, Rock Lee, is forbidden from using his most powerful techniques except for when it's to protect a friend or loved one. Also questionable in the fact that Rock Lee loses a lot. In Naruto, there's one sure-fire way to win which even works for Lee. Promise someone important that you will win. Naturally, you can't break your promise, so you'll just have to win instead. Guy, however, plays it straight, never having lost one fight on-screen. Even his supposed failure to defeat Madara counts as a victory as he stalled Madara long enough for Naruto to arrive, thus successfully protecting the people he cared about.
  • Discussed several times in Medaka Box, in the sense of deconstructing it. "I will lose because I was weak, not because I was wrong" is used by both heroes and villains at various points in the series, and Born Loser Kumagawa has variations of "I am not wrong" as one of his Catch Phrases.
  • By the author's own admission, all of One Piece is built on this idea. In fact, breaking someone's dreams is so traumatic that the author cites it as the reason characters don't kill their foes. To little surprise, the author was an assistant on Rurouni Kenshin before starting One Piece.
  • Used a lot in Rurouni Kenshin, especially during the Kyoto Arc, after which most of the surviving bad guys shrug and start using their powers for good (or the government, anyway). But also subverted with the Kenshin vs. Soujiro battle (where Soujiro's philosophy is Might Makes Right, if not necessarily the reverse); when Kenshin wins, he is quick to state that this does not mean he has the right philosophy either, just that he's a better swordsman.
    • What makes this interesting is the fact, that Soujiro was clearly head and shoulders above Kenshin in skill until losing his cool due to being startled by Kenshin's selfless philosophy... So, right still made might.
    • This trope also comes into play in Sanosuke's fight against Anji; Anji is clearly the stronger opponent with a greater mastery of the technique he taught Sanosuke. However, Sanosuke convinces Anji that his way of atoning for his dead adoptive children won't solve anything.
    • Kenshin points out the same to Kid Samurai Sidekick Yahiko, who asks at the end of the Kyoto arc "We won, doesn't that mean we were right?" that this outlook is essentially a reflection of Big Bad Shishio's belief that might makes right.
  • The titular character from Saint Seiya is driven by justice, The Power of Friendship, and his love for Saori (that is, the Goddess Athena.) He's a Bronze Saint — the lowest class of guardian, beneath Silver and Gold Saints, Specters, Marine Shoguns, and God Warriors — and he's arguably the least naturally powerful of the Five-Man Band. And yet, his all-encompassing determination to defeat evil has allowed him to awaken the Seventh Sense and fight actual Gods to a standstill. At least, hold them back long enough for Athena herself to finish the job.
  • Sgt. Frog: Generally Failure Is the Only Option for the Keronians when they try to take over the world, but when they turn around and try to defend it from far worse threats, they seem to become noticeably tougher.
  • The fight between Marco and Luchist in the Shaman King republications. Although Marco's clothes (or lack of), and his Bishōnen looks led many fangirls to think that true justice is the one that's hotter and uses the less clothing pieces as possible.
  • A key element of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Spiral Power is based on the ability of organic life to adapt to and ultimately overcome adversity. Though any strong emotion can produce it, more Spiral Power can be derived from Love, Friendship, and Protective Instinct than mere Unstoppable Rage.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! the outcome of a card duel is decided by who has stronger convictions, rather than by random chance. They call it "The Heart of the Cards". Yugi (or Yami) always pull out the card they need to reverse the otherwise impossible situation.


    Card Games 
  • A recurring theme in white creature-boosting cards and effects in Magic: The Gathering. Of course, the player still pays for them with plain old mana and other resources as usual, so it's mostly just a matter of flavor; but it's there.

  • In the Astro City series "Tarnished Angel" we follow Steeljack, a Supervillain who wants to simply retire, but has a hard time because A: he is a well known supervillain, B: is completely covered in shiny metal skin which kills his chances of getting a normal job and C: the deck is stacked against him. One of the things that has always dogged him is that he could never make it as hero because he always came up short for some reason, but at the end of the story when he is facing off against the Big Bad who happens to be in a top of the line Power Armor suit in EPIC COMBAT, he thinks something like:
    Now it's about who's tough and it ain't about who's right or wrong... but maybe being right is what made me tough enough.
  • Whenever Captain America throws His Mighty Shield, you can see this written on it in six-inch letters. His Nigh Invulnerable Unobtainium shield is literally reinforced with American Righteous Might — not Self-Righteous Might. America is the Greatest Country in the World — but only when it maintains its idealism.
    What If? #44: Without its ideals — its commitment to the freedom of all men, America is a piece of trash!
  • De Rode Ridder ("The Red Knight") is canonically unbeatable in a straight fight for justice, as is stated in-universe by an Evil Sorcerer doing a mystical examination on his sword. The only way the villains can ever get at him is by treachery or hostages.
  • Superman justifies this trope to his evil opposite Ultraman. Superman fights his opponents over and over again. Ultraman kills them and thus has less fighting experience against challenging opponents.

  • In The Karate Kid movie series, the protagonists often overcome stronger, more experienced adversaries through the strength of conviction and self-respect.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe.
    • In order to teach Thor a lesson in humility and compassion, Odin casts a curse/geas on the Divine Hammer Mjölnir that allows only those with a kind and noble heart to wield, much less lift it, before casting his hot-headed and violent firstborn son to Earth for re-igniting a bloody war with the Frost Giants of Jotunheim. Only through the three days he spent as a mortal man did Thor learn the value of selflessness, love and kindness, and only then was he deemed worthy of wielding Mjölnir once more.
    • Doctor Abraham Erskine chose the sickly but kind and gentle boy Steve Rogers to be the prototype candidate for the Super Soldier Project because he adamantly believes that it takes a kind-heart to create the Ultimate Warrior, not strength or obedience. He is of course laughed off by the cynics in charge of the US Military, who believe violent and obedient bullies are what it takes to win wars, not kindness. But when Steve Rogers finally becomes Captain America, he proved them all wrong with flying colors.
    • In The Avengers, Phil Caulson alludes to this trope. He confidently tells Loki that he has no chance of winning, because evil has "no conviction". Tony echoes this when he points out that Loki is going to have to keep fighting even if his ploy to conquer the world succeeds. Something Loki doesn't seem to have considered.
    • In the Darkest Hour of Avengers: Endgame, Stark is knocked unconscious by Thanos and Thor a breath away from having his heart carved out by the Mad Titan. Captain Steve Rogers, gentle and kind of heart, is deemed worthy by Mjölnir to wiled it in defiance of the tyrant, becoming the Ultimate Warrior that Dr. Henry Erskine always believed he could be. The Good Doctor would be proud of Captain Rogers.

  • Twisted in The Brightest Shadow. The Hero's power operates by this logic even when what he's doing is horrifying. It's effectively about how horrifying this trope is if you don't agree with the "right" side.
  • The Galahad quote above is referenced and mocked in Discworld:
    Carrot: My strength is as the strength of ten because my heart is pure!
    Angua: Really? Well, there's eleven of them.
    • Given what Carrot has been shown to be capable of (he once took on the entire crowd at the Drum, including a troll, and WON) it is possible this is true in his case.
    • Plus, on the Discworld, belief is a very powerful force. In The Last Hero, the most experienced heroes on the Disc, who have conquered monsters and armies, are very worried about facing Carrot:
      One brave man against seven ... won. They knew it was true. In the past, they'd all relied on it.
  • In T. H. White's The Once and Future King: played straight when King Arthur explains to Merlin that, while might doesn't make right, one ought to try to use might for right, and subverted, when Lancelot repeatedly defends Guinevere against accusations of unfaithfulness despite the fact that she really is unfaithful to her husband. With him.
  • In John Milton's Paradise Lost, Abdiel laments that this is not so, and that Satan should be powerful after fallen.
    wherfore should not strength & might
    There fail where Vertue fails, or weakest prove
    Where boldest; though to sight unconquerable?
  • In The Player of Games, Gurgeh pushes to victory in the final game against the Emperor because his playing style reflects the Culture's philosophical superiority to The Empire. But when the Emperor turns over the table and tries to kill him, Gurgeh prevails because of his incredibly deadly robot buddy rather than any innate rightness.
    • The violent reaction of the robot buddy epitomizes the Overpowered Space Hippies Philosophy of the Culture: they will remain tolerant and friendly and will even go as far as to hide their godlike power as long as you do not threaten them with a weapon. When you start threatening them, they start blowing up suns.
  • The fantasy-medieval-Europe civilization of A Song of Ice and Fire has the "trial by combat" legend too. Most of the characters are too cynical to believe in it, but they're willing to play along with superstition when it's useful. Most 'trial by combat' so far has had "accurate" results, however, when Tyrion is on trial for killing King Joffrey, his sociopathic nephew, his champion faces off against the prosecution's champion, the Card-Carrying Villain Gregor Clegane. Clegane dies the slow, Karmic Death of a poisoned spear — but manages to bludgeon Tyrion's champion before dying, sentencing an innocent man to death.
    • The degree of "accuracy" is debatable. Aside from Tyrion's successful escape, Dunk has avoided punishment for the 'crime' of kicking the prince who deserved it, and we never find out if the Red Widow from the Sworn Sword was actually guilty, only that she loses the trial.
      • It's hard to say whether Dunk's case is playing this trope straight or not. He got in trouble because he wasn't familiar enough with the court or knightly etiquette. However, the trial by combat turned out the way it did for the same reason: he was losing badly until he started to fight dirty.
      • Littlefinger counted on this trope when he challenged Brandon Stark for the hand of Catelyn Tully, thinking that he would triumph like the underdogs of the stories he read as a child. He was wrong and would have died had Catelyn not asked Brandon to spare his life.
      • The trope is given a Title Drop by house Wydman, whose words are "Right Conquerors Might."
  • In Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe, this is a common belief. The most notable example would be in the end of the second book of Song of the Lioness, "In The Hand of The Goddess". Alanna has evidence that the King's uncle is out for the throne; since she's a newly made knight, nobody really believes her. She's challenged to a duel, saying the winner will show who's the right one. While she wins by a mix of luck and genuine talent, its also because she is favoured by the Goddess.
    • In a short-story, this also seems to be the belief of an African-like tribe; when settling a dispute about a broken marriage vow, they feel the gods will let whoever was right win. In this case, the young girl who fought the older man won because she really had been practicing hard.
    • Subverted and mocked in the Protector of the Small books, first when Kel and Raoul note that knights who lose always blame things other than the gods' disfavor, and then tragically when a now-deceased officer in the King's Own claimed that one Tortallan horseman was the equal of ten northern savages.
    "Maybe they are. It's the eleventh savage that gets you."
  • In The Wheel of Time, the White Cloaks have a Trial Beneath the Light, in which judgement is dispensed by the accuser and accused fighting to the death. The White Cloaks, being Knight Templar, haven't used this particular trial in 400 years. And just to make sure the reader knows who's going to win: Eamon Valda, the accused, goes up to the Galad Damodred, the accuser, and mentions that Galad's stepmother was healthy when he last saw her and that "she was the best ride I ever had, and I hope to ride her again one day."
    • Though this is ultimately subverted in that it's not superior strength or skill on Galad's part that wins the duel but a trick capitalizing on Valda's overconfidence.

    Live Action TV 
  • Virtually every installment of Super Sentai, and a lot of Power Rangers, use this, especially in the finale: The Rangers are overpowered, their base invaded, and the villains have all but won. But the Rangers believe so much in the rightness of their cause that they pull through anyway.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The BiblePlayed with — Gideon has an army of 22,000 that God says is too many because then Israel might think they won with their own strength rather than God's support, averting a possible Might Makes Right. There are only 10,000 left, and then God gives them ultimate Hebrew test of righteousness — ritual physical cleanliness. If they lap water from a stream like dogs instead of cupping it with their hands, they go home. There are only 300 men left and they triumph.
    • Straight up Averted with the passion of Jesus: despite being the Son of God, He suffered and died like a low criminal in the cross, humilliated and abandoned by everyone but St. Mary and St. John; while His death was necessary to bring salvation to mankind, it must be mentioned that the way he died further divorces the correlation between might and right. This also became ingrained in the tradition of the Martyrs, as they were sentenced to death for their faith and choose to remain with Christ, even if it meant a horrible end.
  • Arthurian Legend: King Arthur spent the majority of his reign trying to dispel the idea that Might Makes Right and implement a legal system where Right Makes Might. Unfortunately, Mordred used this against Guinevere and Lancelot. King Arthur was forced to choose between the woman he loved and the system he had spent his life working on for the good of his people. If Arthur had abandoned his legal program, Lancelot could have taken Trial By Combat to avoid the charges but in doing so removed any support by both commoners and nobles for his plan, while the Right Makes Might would remove any advantage Lancelot or Guinevere had, but would prove his system was equal and truthful. In the end, he stuck with his ideal, and his new laws sentenced Guinevere to burn at the stake, which caused Lancelot to rebel, which signaled the end of Camelot.
  • This is a constant theme in Egyptian Mythology, resulting in nearly universally happy endings. The good guys (champions of order, justice, goodness, the gods, and Egypt) always triumph over the bad guys (fighting for rebellion, chaos, injustice, and anarchy) every time. Even when gods do things modern readers may object to, it's always depicted as unambiguously the right and just action, not because Might Makes Right, but because the gods (such as Re and Amun) are always good and always want what's best for the world. They always ensure the triumph of good, just mortals over bad, chaotic ones. Goodness, cosmic order, social order, justice, and monarchy are inextricably linked together as the concept/goddess of Ma'et, and it/she needs to be firing on all cylinders to prevent the sea of chaos from dissolving the whole universe. Thus, even violently putting down a rebellion against the Egyptian empire is supposed to be important for ensuring the stability of the cosmos. (Your enlightened conquerors obviously know what's best for you...)
  • The concept behind Classical China's Mandate of Heaven: if the Emperor is no longer righteous, then Heaven itself no longer backs him and the righteous people must seize the throne for the sake of everyone under Heaven.
  • The Qur'an, Surah 4. An-Nisaa, Ayah 76:
    Those who have attained to faith fight in the cause of God, whereas those who are bent on denying the truth fight in the cause of the powers of evil. Fight, then, against those friends of Satan: verily, Satan's guile is weak indeed!
  • In The Mahabharata a servant of Dritharashtra given the power to report all the events of the war to the blind king tells him that even though the Kauravas have a much larger army with more skilled warriors, the Pandavas' victory is inevitable because they are in the right. For the same reason, Arjuna defeats Karna despite being less skilled than him since Krishna is on his side. Even then, Karna's charity protects him from Arjuna's arrows until their karma was used up.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Pun aside, after Josianne tried her hand at being the kind wrestler SAWmill and PGWA crowds would cheer for failing horribly at it and losing title match to Tracy Taylor after being caught cheating, Genni Right took her on in a match to prove Josianne should stick to the rules because it was ultimately the best way to win matches, not because fans like it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, Paladins (in 3.5 and earlier editions) have their powers directly tied to their Character Alignment. That is, if a Lawful Good Paladin strays from the path of righteousness and becomes neutral or evil, she loses a good number of her abilities until she manages to atone for her sins and go back to her original Lawful Good alignment. Fourth Edition lessened the effect of this and Fifth Edition eliminated the the alignment requirements entirely.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: The titular Hopeful draw their powers from the Light, the embodiment of virtue and beneficence in the universe, and they are chosen by virtue of being the examplars of human virtue.
    • More mechanically, Princesses use Belief (their Karma Meter stat) as part of the dice pool for Clash of Wills, certain Wisp rolls, and other Charms, meaning that their powers literally get stronger as their morality improves.
  • True to the source material, the Star Wars d20 game makes Dark-side Force users advance in power more quickly than Light-siders, but have a lower cap, meaning that a high-level Light-sider has an edge.
  • The source of the powers wielded by the Sisters of Battle in the Warhammer 40,000 universe is never explained. All the other races' powers, whether they see them as religious, arcane or psychic in origin, actually ultimately derive from the Warp, which is anathema to the Sisters' religion. They're either unknowing hypocrites, or get their power from another source altogether. The official explanation is that their belief in the Emperor, of whom they are officially his wives (since they're nuns and nuns are married to their God etc), is so strong it actually reaches him on Terra and makes him send miracles to aid them in battle. Considering how they are just about the only army whose "magic" looks divine and positive rather than base (other Imperial forces, Eldar), bestial (Orks) or even outright vile (Chaos, Tyranids), if still clearly Knight Templar, maybe they do have a point.
    • The book Horus Rising plays with this trope in the character of Kyril Sindermann. Sindermann spends the first half of a chapter giving a speech about tyrants and bullies using the "might is right" argument to argue morality. This is juxstaposed with the Imperium invading and subjugat-excuse me, "bringing into compliance" a world that just wanted to be left alone. Sindermann says "We are not right because we are mighty, we are mighty because we are right", and it's up to the reader to decide if the Imperium is actually a force for good or if it's no better than the tyrants it claims to overthrow.

    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry:
    • It was stated several times in the original continuity that the two sons of Sparda are perfectly equal or evenly-matched in every way; power, ability, face, etc. to the point where some of their battles are tied; their physical differences are only due to circumstances or preference. Naturally, Dante beats Vergil in their final clash in Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening after having just awoken to justice or having realized what he's fighting for. This trope is a decisive factor in favor of Dante, as the original continuity also stated several times that Vergil has a much stronger control over his demonic powers (specifically the Devil Trigger form, which Vergil acquired first before Dante) and takes his training more seriously.
    • In the fourth game, Sanctus demands to know why he's losing even though he's wielding the Sword of Sparda and has gained Sparda's power. Nero explains it's because he lacks Sparda's compassion and ability to love.
    • This also applies to the DmC: Devil May Cry continuity, where Dante is Unskilled, but Strong while Vergil is about as strong, yet also has superior skill. As expected, during their duel, Dante's Chaotic Good triumphs over Vergil's mix of Lawful Neutral and Lawful Evil.
    • In the climax of Devil May Cry 5, even after fully awakening to the blood of Sparda, Nero should clearly be no match for the stronger and more skilled Vergil, and yet he manages to defeat him. It should be noted though that Vergil had been fighting Dante earlier and was most likely exhausted from it.
  • In EarthBound, one of your party members has a Prayer ability that sometimes has random, minor effects on a battle, but it's also the only thing that's strong enough to defeat the final boss.
  • The final fight between Shirou and Kotomine in Fate/stay night is a mild example of this, pitting the former's ideal against a person who is the antithesis of that ideal and considers it idiotic. The Shirou/Archer fight in Unlimited Blade Works is a sheer endurance match for Shirou to try and defend his ideals against a man who was betrayed by the very same ideal and wants Shirou to give up on it. Finally, the trope is defied in Heaven's Feel where Shirou once again fights Kotomine but recognizes that he has long since lost any moral high ground and that the battle is merely that of two equally selfish wishes clashing against each other.
  • In the computer game Freedom Force, the main hero, The Minuteman, actually says "Right Makes Might!" He's also your most damaging melee fighter (if not the sturdiest), so he is apparently right on that.
  • The Kingdom Hearts series is built on this trope and The Power of Friendship.
  • The Teeth of Naros expansion of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning takes this literally. The Kollossae are a Grecian-styled race, complete with a forum for philosophical debates. The format of these debates, however, is a bit different than our usual definition: one debater poses a question, both participants offer an answer, then they fight. Whoever wins was obviously empowered by the gods, thus his answer must be the correct one. Amusingly, one of the debate topics is "Does might make right?" You can agree, reply with this trope, or assert that power and morality are unrelated... and then proceed to beat your opponent senseless.
  • A recurring bit in the Mega Man series, both games and other media, is Proto Man telling Bass that his obsessive desire to be the strongest robot is what keeps him from defeating Mega Man, who fights for the greater cause of protecting everyone. Bass never gets it.
    • Duo also tells Bass that acknowledging and fighting for justice will make him stronger. Coming from someone who is one of the strongest characters in the entire franchise because of his 'Justice Energy,' you'd think Bass would get the hint.
  • The story of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has a running commentary on this trope. Raiden believes that his sword is a tool of justice, where he kills evil people to save society. Conversely, the boss characters Raiden fights mock him for believing in that ideal and claim that he's a monster just like they are. Raiden's actions are placed through the lens of a Cowboy Cop, doing what he thinks is right, no matter the cost and regardless of who objects; all on account of thinking he's in the right. But if Raiden's strength gives him the responsibility to protect the weak, then who will he ever answer to if no one is strong enough to tell him no? The climax of the story comes when Senator Armstrong commends Raiden for being his worthy successor, because Raiden used his power to fight against everyone that got in his way and established his own justice through force. Raiden looks deeply troubled upon defeating Armstrong, and muses over what he should do next, but Raiden's friends show faith in his ability to do the right thing even if he does have a dark side — which gives Raiden hope as he ventures off towards his next fight. The conclusion that can be drawn from the story isn't necessarily that Raiden became Might Makes Right by defeating foes who believed in that mindset, but that by sacrificing so much to become stronger it speaks of how justice requires power in order to enforce. A weak person can't fend off those who would abuse him, so in order to enforce what is right you need to become stronger.
  • In Planescape: Torment, the character Vhailor embodies this trope. A "Mercykiller" who died long before the beginning of the game, he is now held together solely by his burning hunger for justice, and it is stated that his strength is equivalent to the degree of injustice that he's facing at the time — as can be seen if you choose him to resurrect at the final battle, where he'll gain ludicrous stat bonuses and utterly trample the final boss.
  • Many Star Wars game stories turn out this way. Usually the light side of the Force is just better... because it is. Even if you are allowed to create the end yourself, you can be sure, that somewhere after this particular incident good will win anyway ('cause both Knights of the Old Republic took place before the prequels, where the good guys were in charge... more or less).
    • Enforced by George Lucas's policy. In a Star Wars game, only the "Light Side" path is considered canonical. This prevented Obsidian from doing an "Everybody Dies" Ending and forced them to prop up the Light Side path they were working so hard on deconstructing.
    • This is a Justified Trope, in that the Dark Side canonically grants more raw power, but is toxic and self-destructive in the long run.
    • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, despite its deconstructionist tendencies, still gave stat bonuses for filling your Karma Meter to one side or the other. The bonus for a full light side Jedi Guardian? +3 to your Strength score. Meaning that right literally makes might.
  • Super Robot Wars has an ability, called "Valor" or "Hot Blood", that doubles the damage of the next attack. Its use is balanced by its price: most pilots can use it two or three times a stage at high levels. Every Super Robot Wars seishin spell is something like this, from Courage and Love (essentially Last Disc Magic) to Trust (healing) to Hard Work and Luck (doubled rewards for killing). Which can produce interesting in-jokes — Noriko's first two seishin were, true to the spirit of Coach Oota, Hard Work and Guts!
    • Narrative-wise, this is very much used in any games. How do you think that the good guys always wins against impossible odds? Because they are fueled with positive emotions and being Hot-Blooded in refusal to give up the fight for goodness. Even characters from cynical series would end up being less cynical, start believing in righteousness (in as much as they can muster) and then end up prevailing along with the optimistic good guys.

  • In Dragon Mango, Flan cites three reaons why he will win. The first is that his cause is fair and just.
  • There's a kind of complicated example in Tower of God, on the Hell Train, when Khun challenges Rachel to a contest with big stakes, and the contest is a coin toss. Khun explicitly frames it as a competition over "who god likes more," like it's about karma or something. Khun is an Anti-Hero in the moral sense himself, it's just that Rachel's even worse — and he wants to rub it in how nobody likes her, not even god. They end up doing best of three rounds, even though it was supposed to be one, and Khun wins the first and last ones. An observant spectator analyses the situation like this: Khun probably cheated on the first round, though it would have been too risky to try it again. But on the third round, he just trusted that god wouldn't let Rachel win. So basically, in this scene, Khun is thinking of himself as a bad person who's still going to win in righteousness by comparison. It looks as though he's even going to handle it by cheating, but then willingly switches to Right Makes Might because he wants to see that happen.
  • In Wake The Sleepers, Oralee's reason for believing Locke will win: he's nice.

    Western Animation 
  • Bionic-1 uses this exact phrase in a Bionic Six episode.
  • In the Double Dragon (1993) cartoon, the power of the Dragon was literally drawn on the strength of their belief that good was stronger than evil. They even had the phrase "For Right" "For Might" and they received armor that was tempered in the fire of Hope.
  • Downright inverted in Justice League, where a battle between Batman and Justice Lord Batman, his Fascist Evil Twin from another dimension, is interlaced with a debate between the virtues of the Justice Lords' fascist utopia and the free — but chaotic — world of the Justice League. Lord Batman wins through argument, just when Batman has gotten the upper hand. Batman wins round two — completely nonviolently this time.
  • A rare villainous example in The Legend of KorraZaheer, Book 3's Big Bad, believes that his new airbending abilities are due to this trope. He had, apparently coincidentally, been studying Airbender lore for years beforehand; this meant that unlike the other new benders he was a master from the moment he gained the power. He takes this as a sign from the universe that his cause is a righteous one.
  • The eponymous Samurai Jack is a firm believer in (in his words) "the might of righteousness".
  • This is essentially how Lion-O is able to harness the power of the Sword of Omens in both ThunderCats (1985) and Thunder Cats 2011. It repels evil, and does not work in the hands of the selfish or misguided, but it does not hold back when Lion-O is fighting for the good of others.

    Real Life 
  • Abraham Lincoln, the original Trope Namer used this phrase in his 1860 speech at the Cooper Union in New York. After an hour and a half arguing that the logical extension of the founding father's actions was to outlaw the spread of slavery, he enters an impassioned climax that at his own suggestion was written in capital letters in the newspapers. "LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT." While the phrase might have been used before, it's almost certain that it had received very few standing ovations before this time.
  • Sun Tzu emphasized the importance of making one's followers believe that one's cause is in the right, as it greatly enhances their will to fight and bear hardships. Emphasis on 'making'.
  • A lot of war crimes are just plain stupidity. Abuse the civilian population and you just lost yourself a lot of potential informants on the guerilla activity in the area. Abuse POWs and opposing soldiers will fight to the death instead of surrendering. If you employ With Us or Against Us to its logical conclusion, a lot of people who would have remained on the sidelines otherwise will turn on you.
    • Seen a lot during World War II: Both the axis led by Nazi Germany and The Soviet Union were busy committing war crimes en masse, including but not limited to: starving/slave working/exterminating civilians, doing the same to prisoners of war, indiscriminate mass bombings, invading countries they couldn't get grips on because their populations fought fiercely to the last man if need be (violating Sun Tzu's advice up there, the most notable example being Finland repelling the Soviets) and generally being just despicable and incompetent (Stalin's purges bit him in the ass when no good Generals could do his war in the beginning, the same happened to Hitler near the end). The final nail in the coffin was dragging the United States into the war, who after the last war intended to not get involved, but the axis attacked them anyway, thus rousing a sleeping giant. You know what happened next.
  • Some things considered morally right are also efficient or effective, and can actually lend themselves to might.
    • Discrimination can rob you of some of your best people.
      • In World War II, America was frantic to get the best people for crucial wartime activities, and relaxed their existing prejudices against women and African-Americans. Their outstanding contributions to the war — best known for "Rosie the Riveters" and the Tuskegee Airmen but by no means limited to them — is believed to have been one major factor that laid the groundwork for the success of the Civil Rights Movement.
      • Nazi Germany, by contrast, scared off many of their Jewish physicists and some of their non-Jewish colleagues left in solidarity. Many of those German physicists would prove crucial for the success of America's Manhattan Project, and their loss likely crippled the Nazi efforts to create an atomic bomb.
    • And as a related point, regimes or groups that are so willing to violate the most widely held standards of morality for their cause/ideology probably are also going to make a lot a dumb and inefficient decisions because their priority is making decisions that conform rather than ones that are effective. For example the military run government of Japan placed almost no emphasis on trying to maintain the national economy, even though they needed its tax money to keep the military running. At worst, they made a lot pointless regulations outlawing business practices that were "too western." The net result of this was that a lot of Japanese businesses (and the government and military themselves) had to do their banking in the United States. When Japan started trying to take over Asia, the US government just ordered their assets to be frozen and stopped allowing oil to be sold to Japan. The Imperial Japanese Navy then thought it prudent to attack America to stop the embargo rather than secure another source of oil, because that was the "warrior's option." So less right makes might and more "wrong can not maintain might long term."
  • In general it can be convincingly claimed that Evil Is Easy but Good is Difficult, but Awesome. Mutual cooperation, alliances, and diversity may be harder to pull off in some ways but the results are self evident. At a minimum, people you are cooperating with are people you don't have to fight. And at best you get something greater than the sum of its parts. This is also the fundamental reason for Honor Among Thieves: even if you don't care about morality, a reputation for honesty is just better business. This also applies to seemingly amoral and ruthless fields like war and spycraft. Studies by the CIA, of all people, have determined that Torture Is Ineffective and is more likely to make your enemies fight to the death than anything else. War crimes against civilians cost you informants, effectively recruit for your enemy, and on top of it they lead to poor discipline in your troops. And authoritarian governments and warlords tend to collapse quite dramatically in short order, because the paranoia and inevitable toadies that come from emphasizing loyalty over all lead to very poor decision making. Not to mention the pervasive fear of being subject to Shoot the Messenger if you dare cross the party line. Even seemingly self-sacrificing choices such as accepting refugees turn out to have a karmic payoff, since economic studies have shown that in the long run having people around who are ready to work hard for a new life becomes a major economic boon. And the better they are supported and helped to get on their feet, the faster and better the results.