Follow TV Tropes


The Right of a Superior Species

Go To

Each was powerful, well-armored, and a veteran of many a raid. Those who saw them said they made Toa look like some kind of Rahi that crawled out under a rock. They saw themselves as a higher level of being, preordained to rule by virtue of their superior strength and intellect.
BIONICLE on the subject of the Barraki, "City of the Lost"

Out in the reaches of space, an alien race exists that has developed far beyond any human civilization. Said aliens will believe they are justified in killing or enslaving humans due to their higher intelligence. They don't necessarily hate humans, they just believe that humans are so insignificant as to be unworthy of moral consideration. Bonus points if they draw parallels between the way they treat humans and the way humans treat other animals.

The purpose of this trope is often to question the attitudes that justify the exploitation of animals, the environment, and/or other cultures. Works that use this trope ask the question, "What if there was someone who treated you the way you treat those you have power over?" In particular, this trope often draws inspiration from the white supremacist attitudes that were used to justify slavery, the actions of European colonial empires, and America's westward expansion, to say nothing of the Nazis.

Not every alien species that victimizes humans fits this trope. As a guideline, please note that this trope applies if either:

Overlaps heavily with The Social Darwinist, type three, and Humans Are Insects. Contrast Alien Non-Interference Clause and Benevolent Alien Invasion. See also Can't Argue with Elves. When these attitudes are applied to fellow members of one's species, then you're looking at a self-styled Master Race. It can be argued that any species that practices this trope is probably not actually a Superior Species, but stories that use it heroically/unironically never seem to touch upon this argument.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Super: How Zamasu views his attempted genocide of mortals and his fellow Kais. He believes that everything he does, no matter how heinous, is justified because he's a god, and he passes judgement on mortals despite being just as bad, if not worse. Near the end of the Future Trunks Saga, he even spells it out:
    Zamasu: You pathetic mortals always try to emulate the divine. Now, why is that? Is it because we gods are so wondrous? Are you coveting our undeniable beauty? I understand, yet it's so tragic. Your mimicry is doomed to fail! Acts of gods are beautiful because we are inherently pure, while mortal endeavors will inevitably become wicked corrupted and marred by sin!
  • In Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, Neo Atlantis holds humans to be nothing but uppity Uplifted Animals better off under Atlantean governance.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Kyubey/The Incubators play with this trope. They turn vulnerable teenage girls into magical girls in order to fight witches, but don't tell them that they do so by essentially turning them into Liches. Then the girls find out that if they don't keep their Soul Gem pure, they become witches too, and it then it turns out Kyubey is doing all this to collect energy to fight the heat death of the universe, and they have been assisting humanity since the stone age. All this while subtly implying that they regard humanity the way humanity regards cattle. However, The Incubators lack emotions, so they do this not out of a sense of being superior to humanity (or at least that's not the most important reason), but because they need to prevent the universe from dying, and this is the most efficient way he's found to do it.
  • In Wicked City, Makie's ex-lover Jin tries to make her admit this by saying, "Human are lower-class creatures than us. They're only fit for slavery. That's their heritage."

    Comic Books 
  • The comic book version of Cowboys & Aliens gives the aliens this viewpoint (pretty much explicitly stated to be a metaphor for Manifest Destiny and the treatment of Native Americans).
  • Marvel Universe:
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Vol 1: The misogynistic aliens from Neptune see themselves as the more advanced inherent superior of humanity and intend to enslave every human that survives their plans to remove the earth from orbit to use its resources as they please, which they consider their right.
    • Vol 2: The misogynistic kreel from the Sangtee Empire see it as their right to spread their empire and enslave and destroy their nearby less technologically and, by Sangtee standards, socially advanced neighboring states and planets.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Arrival, one of the aliens tells the protagonist that humans don't deserve this planet, since they're so keen on ruining it. In fact, in their mind they're helping us along on our way to extinction by using secret underground factories to conduct Hostile Terraforming to their native environment.
  • The film Avatar runs on this trope, though it's a rare case of humans being the superior species while the "primitive" Na'vi have to deal with mankind strip-mining their planet.
  • In Battle for Terra, the human race stages an invasion of an alien planet. They justify this by the right of their superior technology, their view that the aliens aren't sapient, and that Earth was destroyed and they need to repopulate the species somewhere.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Ego, as a nearly omnipotent Celestial, believes that it his "purpose" to convert every planet in the universe into more of him. The death of every other being in existence doesn't matter to him because they are so lacking in comparison to a Celestial.
  • Megatron (and probably the other Decepticons) in Transformers, who says that "Humans don't deserve to live."
  • This is Magneto's long-standing objective in the X-Men Film Series. According to him, humanity cannot be trusted to coexist with mutants, so they must be subjugated or eliminated by the mutants in order to prevent the atrocities of persecution.

  • In just about any story featuring vampires, the vampires consider themselves to be on top of the food chain, and consider humans their prey.
  • Age of Fire: This seems to be the overarching perspective dragons have on the other races, seeing themselves superior in every way, and are thus allowed to do whatever they please with them. It also gets deconstructed somewhat, as the story generally portrays the dragons as actually superior to the other races (not only are they physically stronger, but are just as, if not more intelligent), something none of the protagonists contest. However, its indicated that even if they are, it does not give the dragons the right to do whatever they want to the "lesser" races. Wistala is the only one of the leads who doesn't share this view, with Auron mostly dismissive of the others with occasional exceptions, and RuGaard fully subscribing to this belief.
  • On the rare occasion that the Animorphs directly interact with Yeerk controllers, the Yeerks almost always pull out this argument. As far as they're concerned, all other species are to Yeerks as cattle are to humans, so Yeerks are fully justified in enslaving, Mind Raping, and killing humans, Hork-Bajir, Andalites, and so on. Of course, the Yeerks the Animorphs can interact with are the ones who think this — the ones who don't agree don't leave the Yeerk pools in the first place, except a few who only changed their minds later.
    • The Yeerks do have something of a point in that being a Puppeteer Parasite is what evolution made them, and expecting them to not take over and use other beings as hosts is tantamount to expecting them not to live, as without a host a Yeerk is a blind, deaf, helpless worm, despite possessing the same sentience as more physically-able creatures. Some more sympathetic Yeerks (such as Aftran) argue that they can't help what they are. Where the argument falls apart is when they claim this entitles them to form a galactic empire to conquer and enslave all other sentient beings in search of more and better hosts.
  • In Auf zwei Planeten ("On Two Planets") by Kurd Laßwitz, which was published a year earlier, a deep split evolves in Martian politics over the question of how to treat the Bate (the inhabitants of the planet Ba, or Earth). The faction led by Oß (known in-story as the Antibat party), which for a time gains the ascendanscy, is convinced that the Bate are basically incapable of what the Nume (Martians) consider rational thought and civilized behaviour and that therefore they are perfectly justified to rule and economically exploit them. When a rebellion on Earth throws off the Martian "protectorate", Oß seriously thinks of methods to retaliate by stopping the rotation of the Earth and introducing the Martian disease Gragra; but when these morally abhorrent genocidal plans become known to the Martian public he is resoundingly defeated in the crucial election and a peace treaty between the two planets is concluded.
  • Cradle Series: Dragons are naturally far more powerful than humans and basically immortal, so they consider themselves far superior and see nothing wrong with slaughtering entire towns for no reason, and then cry for justice if anyone fights back. Though in fairness everyone on Cradle is like this. The emphasis on Asskicking Leads to Leadership has resulted in a culture stuffed to the gills with Moral Myopia. Lindon only gets one dragon swearing a blood oath against him for a stupid reason, but three humans do so, each for their own reasons.
  • In The Culture, the super-A.I.s who run the eponymous civilization classify life on a "logarithmic sentience scale", in which one Mind is worth the lives of billions of humanoids. Somewhat subverted, as they're not jerks about it most of the time, and do their best to make sure that members of lesser species thrive and enjoy their lives.
  • In Darren Shan's vampire books, the Vampires avert this but the Vampaneze play it straight.
  • The Death Gate Cycle: The Sartan and Patryns each believe that they are the superior species and the only one fit to rule the lesser races of humans, elves and dwarves. The lesser races are viewed as children to be protected by the Sartan and subjects to be ruled by the Patryns and pawns to be sacrificed by both. Inverted in one realm where the lesser races have achieved peace amongst each other and offer to mediate the conflict between the Sartan and the Patryns. Both sides even use the term "mensch" to refer to said lesser races.
  • In the Dragaera series, this attitude crops up among powerful Dragaerans as regards humans, at least when they bother to really think about humans at all. The Dragaerans can make a case for it, as they live for millennia, are taller, stronger, and more magically gifted than humans, and have a variety of other advantages. Whenever the question comes up whether the Dragaeran Empire should invade its human neighbors, the argument against invasion is usually more "Is the army ready for it? No? How inconvenient. Bored now, let's do something else." And yet above the Dragaerans are the Jenoine, alien beings of fantastic power and Blue-and-Orange Morality who created the Dragaerans from human stock as an experiment, and mostly just want to get the lab rats back in their cages.
  • The First-Born in The Gods of Mars regularly assaults the Thern gardens, taking their women as slaves and only the women to serve as chattel and food, invoking the right of being the very first race in Barsoom to achieve sentience to exploit the lesser races of Barsoom as they see fit. The Therns themselves qualify since they consider themselves closer to the primary deity of the planet and use it to enslave every other race on Mars. The fact that they are guilty of the same crimes that they are in the receiving end by someone else is lost on them.
  • In one of the spinoff novelizations of Independence Day, a human soldier suddenly finds himself thinking that maybe the Harvesters were justified in trying to wipe out mankind, as humans are so primitive, warlike, and disgusting, like a civilization of giant cockroaches... but soon snaps out of it when he realizes that a nearby alien was influencing him telepathically.
  • The Lost Regiment:
    • The 9-foot-tall Human Aliens roaming the planet Valennia have no other word for humans than "cattle". Their people are the "chosen ones", while humans are there to serve them and fill their cookpots. Even horses (brought from Earth thousands of years ago and bred to carry the huge aliens) have a higher status than "cattle", since they enable their nomadic lifestyle. Other animals like pigs and cows are considered to be "lesser cattle", but the preferred meat of choice is "cattleflesh" (i.e. human meat). The aliens impose a Medieval Stasis on the various human cultures that come over periodically through the Tunnels of Light and have themselves maintained their level of technology for thousands of years, maintaining their way of life. Any new weapons that show up with newly-arrived humans are quickly destroyed or buried (last time, they tangled with some pirates and many Tugar warriors were lost to firearms before the pirates were killed).
    • They themselves were once on the receiving end of this treatment by a race of technologically-advanced Starfish Aliens, who had ended up on their planet via the same means as humans. They were conquered and treated as slaves, until they turned their masters against one another and slaughtered the survivors despite the heavy losses. They then took their advanced technology and threw it into the sea.
  • In Magik Online Concordia is founded on the belief that dragons are inherently the strongest and wisest race and it's their job to enlighten and uplift lesser species. Basically, they conquer everyone and forcibly integrate them into their culture and sadly have more than enough power to back it up.
  • In Master of Formalities, Lord Frederain muses on no intelligent alien life being discovered in the millennia since humankind left Earth and spread throughout the galaxy. He then admits that it's possible some colonists did, in fact, encounter alien life forms but then simply reasoned that any life form that gets in the way of a heavily-armed colonist can't rightly be called "intelligent".
  • The title character in Odd John believes that mutants like himself are justified in doing whatever they feel like to humans, no matter how cruel, because they're smarter than humans. Disturbingly, the author seems to agree.
  • Out of the Dark by David Weber, is about a race of aliens who usually do this successfully but get way more than they bargained for with humanity. In this case, the carnivorous Shongairi view themselves as superior to all galactic species, especially those annoying herbivores dominating the galactic society and dictating the rules. As far as the Shongairi are concerned, they're just biding their time and building up their advantage before showing the others who's boss. Averted with Dracula, who doesn't consider vampires to be superior, merely different. Maybe he did once, but those days are in the past.
  • Phantoms: The Ancient Enemy, a shapeshifting Eldritch Abomination, uses this argument as a justification for its acts of predatory cruelty against humans. It dismisses them as "cattle," insisting that "To me, your lives are as brief and inconsequential as the lives of mayflies are to you."
  • In Priest Kings of Gor, Sarm justifies the Priest-King practice of smiting humans who experiment with firearm technology by claiming that Priest-Kings are superior to humans in the same way that humans are superior to the animals they kill for food.
  • The dragons from Robin Hobb's Realm of the Elderlings are like this. Even after a long absence and teetering on the brink of extinction, they fully expect humanity to serve them.
  • The Strong Races are this to the Weak ones in The Stars Are Cold Toys duology. The galactic rules are like this: if your race is powerful enough to wipe out any other race except fellow Strong ones, you can do whatever you please. If it isn't, you better possess some unique talent useful to the Strong races, or be wiped out by them to make space for new strains of evolution.
  • Star Trek novels:
    • In Star Trek: Millennium, Leej Terrell considers the Bajorans little more than cattle, and refuses to accept that Cardassia was doing anything wrong in enslaving them. Indeed, she tells Sisko that humanity's biggest problem is its refusal to distinguish "truly sapient" races like the Vulcans from "stock" like the Bajorans. Dukat made a similar argument in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, though he wasn't quite so brutal in his description of the Bajorans.
    • The Shedai in Star Trek: Vanguard believe they rule other species by right and generally have no issue with slaughtering those who resist them. Indeed, the Shedai word for peoples outside their hegemony often doubles as a synonym for "base criminals" or "uncivilized beings". Even the Apostate, who believes in benevolent rule and rejects the idea of conquest, seems to think the Shedai are natural leaders, above all other species.
    • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Relaunch, the Kurlans are completely unapologetic about their infestation of humanoid beings, insisting that humanoids are simply "meat". Whenever someone tries to reason with one of their number, it responds only with sneering contempt, mockingly explaining that humanoids "think with their glands" and know nothing of true intelligence.
    • The superhumans from Star Trek: The Eugenics Wars believe that they're inherently superior to the rest of humanity and that it's their natural place as rulers. They're not above gassing a UN meeting to strike at a single person, for example, because the others are only human.
  • Robert Westall's Urn Burial: Stated almost word for word by the Wawaka as the reasoning behind their disdain for and lack of concern over, humans. When Ralph accuses them of torturing humans, they respond that humans treat animals in exactly the same way.
  • The short story "Vilcabamba" is a direct allegory for the Spanish conquest of the Americas. The Krolp see no problem with taking whatever they want from the inferior human race, and willfully destroy the environment for mineral resources.
  • The Cetagandans of the Vorkosigan Saga constantly flirt with this trope both in their internal and external politics. The haut ruling caste are engaged in a centuries-long genetic experiment in what they consider the uplifting of the human species into something greater. The main point of internal debate on the matter is whether they've reached "superior species" status yet — as opposed to merely being a Master Race — and much of the rest of galactic society is worrying about the day the Cetagandans decide they've transcended humanity and don't need the rest of the species anymore. Especially since the Cetas have tailor-made diseases that can literally melt bones.
  • The War of the Worlds (1898): Unusual in that this is articulated by the human narrator at the beginning of the book. After reflecting on how much more advanced and intelligent the Martians are, he concludes:
    And before we judge them too harshly, we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished bison and the dodo, but upon its inferior races. The Tasmanians, in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years. Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit?
  • Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series. The reptilian Race considers themselves eminently justified in conquering Earth and making humanity a subject race because of what they view as their incomparably superior culture and technology, even though said technology turns out to be not quite that advanced over humankind's. Indeed, one of the "Lizard" characters pretty much lampshades this during a conversation with a human character, when the human points out all the rights and liberties that his people yearns for and the Lizard claims, in all seriousness, that humans would enjoy those freedoms under the rule of the Race.
    • They also find the Nazi arguments for the latter's claims of being the Master Race lacking. Then again, they don't even try to explain why they think their culture is better. Any time someone asks, they simply say "The answer should be obvious". Many times they express their outrage that humans have a level of technology close to theirs. They have no right to have technology like this by all rules (of course, by their rules, even a small technological change should take centuries of careful integration into society in order not to upset the status quo; their first two conquests were like-minded, humans not so much).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Both the Vorlons and the Shadows in Babylon 5 see themselves as superior beings tasked with shaping the lesser races. If that means torturing people, provoking wars or all-out genocide, that's a minor issue.
  • In the RPG Episode of Community, Britta tries to tell a Gnome waiter that he's just as good as they are. Abed (as dungeon-master) replies that according to the game rules, no, he's actually not, and the gang are justified in treating him however they want because of this trope.
  • In the Doctor Who adventure The Mark of the Rani, the Rani compares her experiments on humans with the rearing of animals for food.
  • In an episode of Farscape John is split into three forms — his regular self, a caveman-like version, and a possibility of what humans could evolve into thousands of years into the future. When they find out they need to sacrifice a Crichton, many of the crew including regular John are quite prepared to sacrifice the primitive one. When that doesn't work, the advanced one reveals he views regular John as just as disposable.
  • The Gua in First Wave view themselves as superior to humans because of the ease with which they are able to infiltrate and manipulate the human society. They kill without remorse and are determined to, eventually, take Earth for themselves. One episode features a Gua surgeon who explain to Cade that he views his experiments on humans in the same light as humans experimenting on rats. The Gua believe they are superior because they have managed to throw off an invasion of their own planet by a hostile race and transformed from a race of peaceful philosophers into conquerors (they have already taken at least one other world). The name "Gua" literally means "power to overcome". Some of their experiments are aimed at determining if humans possess this quality and are disturbed to learn that one in 117 humans do.
    • One female Gua even boasts how easily it is for their infiltrators to "sleep [their] way to the top". In another episode, a Gua cult leader reveals that Gua mating is painful and not at all pleasurable. Since all Gua on Earth inhabit human/Gua hybrids (called husks), they find human sex pleasurable and lack any sexual taboos present in most human cultures (likely another reason for the Gua to feel superior).
    • Joshua's opposition to his people's planned invasion of Earth primarily stems from the expected losses that will be sustained by the Gua during the invasion and the subsequent guerrilla warfare (assuming the Gua even get past the invasion stage). After all, if 1 out of every 117 humans has Cade's determination, then that means that there are about 60 million people on Earth who will actively resist.
  • The Observers from Fringe see their takeover of humanity as justified by their superior technology and intelligence. Windmark even thinks of humans as animals.
  • The Orville:
    • The Krill are fundamentalists, who believe that theirs is the only species that has souls. Therefore, all the other species are annoyances at best and obstacles at worst. They see nothing wrong with nuking an undefended Union farming colony in order to take the planet.
    • The Calivon are one of the most technologically advanced races in known space. They see all less advanced races as inferior and refuse to deal with them. They see nothing wrong with sending out probes to kidnap members of other races and put them into a zoo for their citizens to enjoy. The only race they consider equal are the robotic Kaylon, whose level of technology is comparable to theirs.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "The Voyage Home", an astronaut returning from the first manned mission to Mars learns that his crewmembers have been turned into aliens. He kills one via airlock, but the other one convinces him that they're peaceful and merely wish to survive. However, during re-entry, he sees through the ruse and realizes that the alien intends to spread spores through Earth's atmosphere, turning humans into others of his kind. The alien drops all pretense and outright claims that his species is very old compared to humans and deserves to live much more than we do by that comparison alone. The astronaut opens the airlock, and the pressure imbalance causes the ship to blow up.
  • In the short-lived show Prey, the new Human Subspecies feels it's their evolutionary imperative to destroy and supplant humans, the way humans did it to Neanderthals. They are stronger, faster, smarter, sociopathic, possess limited Psychic Powers, and reproduce like crazy. In addition, any pairing between a baseline human and a member of the new species always results in a member of the new species. This eventually leads to them being labelled homo dominant. Hunting the Most Dangerous Game is their favorite pastime, and a high percentage of serial killers are Dominants.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode 'Pretense', a Goa'uld justifies the taking of human hosts by claiming superiority to humanity and comparing the practice to the hunting and fishing practiced by humans. When Daniel Jackson points out that nearly all Goa'uld technology has been stolen from other races, the Goa'uld merely shrugs and says it doesn't matter how it was acquired. The Goa'uld have the technology; the humans don't. It's as simple as that. What's better is that both sides are trying to convince a third party represented by a Nox, a race of perfect pacifists that already considers itself to be superior to both humans and Goa'uld.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation. This is Q's go-to argument for being a Jerkass God to Humanity in general and the crew of Enterprise in particular.note  This has led to more than one Patrick Stewart Speech in response.
    • This was essentially the reasoning the Cardassian Union used to justify the occupation of Bajor prior to the start of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as they viewed themselves as a "superior race" to the Bajorians. In reality, they were simply desperate for resources to maintain their fragile hold on power as a second rank galactic power and there is much evidence that the Bajorans either matched or surpassed their Cardassian occupiers, such as developing a primitive form of space travel 200 years prior to the widespread usage of wrap drives for most Star Trek species.
  • The aliens in V (1983) don't really think of themselves as a superior race, but consider the humans they covertly conquered as a resource to be consumed. At one point, the original miniseries has aliens offhandedly discussing how it was inadvisable to sedate human captives before butchering them because the drug alters the taste of the flesh.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In the Bible, God pulls this on Job when the latter questions what right He has to do whatever He wants with mankind. God starts listing off his powers and accomplishments, and basically sums it up with Did you create the universe? No? Then shut up.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has had several species that like to pull this out:
    • The illithids need to eat brains to survive, and so consider every other horror they inflict upon the cattle they enslave to be barely worth considering. For bonus trope points, the illithids have been depicted as originally coming from the D&D universe equivalent of deep space (or even beyond space and time) to enforce their will upon their conquered slaves.
    • The githyanki, who were once enslaved by the illithids, have learned that you're either a Superior Species or an Inferior Species just waiting to be stepped on. They were once humans, changed by the illithids to make stronger servants, but then threw off their masters' rule. The githyanki then turned around and began their own empire on the right of their strength as the ones who threw down the illithids, but were stopped by internal dissent from a faction who split off to become the githzerai. The 'yanki do show at least a modicum of respect toward anyone else strong enough to avoid getting stepped on, but they still aren't too fond of outsiders even so.
    • The 3rd Edition Fiend Folio introduced the ethergaunts who came from the depths of the Ethereal Plane with strange and advanced technologies, ready to reclaim an ancient empire from before their self-imposed exile. Little is known of them except they hate divine magic and the gods, have a rigid caste system, and consider all other races inferior and subject to their whims.
    • The evil chromatic dragons (especially the reds) personify this trope, as their whole attitude is basically "We're really big and powerful, so we can do anything we want."
    • Eberron: This is why dragons are so dangerous to deal with. They unquestionably, unhesitatingly, and shamelessly consider themselves better than any other species, and therefore justified in doing absolutely whatever they want to humans, elves, and the like. Even the nicest dragons view mortals as more of an environmental concern, protecting a cute but dangerous species, than because they see them as people. The black dragon Vvaraak was declared an apostate by her kin because she taught druidic magic to the orcs of Khorvaire so that they could defend against a Xoriat incursion. To her, it was a simple exchange of knowledge, but her people cast her out.
  • In Empire of the Petal Throne, humans are the ones who did this when they invaded planet Tekumel. The native species (Ssu and Hluss) were clearly sapient and living together in peace, and had about the kind of technology that we have now in Real Life. Humans had developed far a more advanced starfaring civilization, so "obviously" the Tekumelani species were inferior. Humans had no problem allying peacefully with other advanced starfaring species, but they terraformed the hell out of Tekumel, rearranged its orbit and even gravity, and tried their best to genocide the "primitive" natives. It's even noted that most other starfaring races wouldn't have invaded at all.
  • Scarred Lands: The titans combine this with Abusive Precursors, as they see all of their creations (including the gods) as just playthings they can treat any way they want.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The average Eldar, compared to the average human, is ancient and wise and vastly longer-lived, and a stable psychic to boot. Their technology, knowledge and cultural sophistication eclipse anything mankind has achieved; and, in the distant past, they used to rule the galaxy. Eldar are fairly morose about it, however, as success and boredom caused them to reached such levels of decadence and depravity that they ended up creating a new Chaos God, Slaanesh. The cataclysmic birth of whom nearly caused the Eldar to go extinct, with the extant factions being the descendants of the lucky survivors, or of the consecutive waves of conservatives who already left the empire; and based on who you listen to, they're somewhere between declining towards extinction and slowly recovering to a ghost of their former glory. This trope comes into play because the current iteration of human society put their chips into quantity above quality as a survival strategy (exceptions exist, but the backbone of the Imperium isn't its brightest minds, but using human lives as an expendable and fairly quickly renewable resource); Craftworld Eldar see humans, at best, as a younger and cocky successor heading down the same path they did, and at worst as explosively-breeding, xenophobic cockroackes that are getting everywhere. Eldar have little problem in using espionage and manipulation to make other species, humans included, fight wars or take hits for them.
    • The Dark Eldar do this to extremes, though the fact that they think nothing of doing it to themselves if they can means they probably go out the other end into Always Chaotic Evil.
      Gideon: The torture, the terror, the raiding, the killing, maiming, stealing. Everything. Why?
      Asdrubael Vect: Why should I not? You are of no consequence. If you had not been captured by my servants and did not fall foul of some illness or mishap, you would still die within another twenty of your planet's short years. Why should I not use such a pointless creature for my amusement and sustenance? You are prey-species, nothing more.
    • The Imperium pulled this out occasionally during the Great Crusade; in one of the Horus Heresy novels, a Space Marine speculates on whether the Insectoid Aliens he's fighting are aware of their inferiority to humans or not. It's mostly fallen by the wayside in the modern Imperium, though, which by and large prefers to justify its genocides through the state religion instead.

    Video Games 
  • Baron Alexander from Amnesia: The Dark Descent justifies the meticulous, brutal torture of thousands of human beings, optimized for maximum terror and pain, with the fact that he's an immortal being from another dimension, and torture of sapient beings is the only way to gather vitae that allows him to work towards getting back home. To his dubious credit, there isn't a hint of sadism in his actions; all the torment is carefully calculated and purpose driven without any kind of emotional dimension. However, at one point when examining one of his memory things he admits that he's a monster who's done unforgivable things, but he just wants to get home too badly to stop.
  • The Ancients from the Ancient-Shivan War mod for Freespace 2 regard every other race in the universe as inferior, and believe that they have the sole right to decide which ones are worthy of existence. They had absolutely no qualms about hunting other sapient races to extinction, yet when the Shivans start doing the same to them, they never even bother to compare it to what they themselves did, at least until the very end.
  • In Baten Kaitos this thought is enforced by the government schools of Alfard ("The Empire of the flame"). Lyude, the one heroic character from the country, is revealed to have been homeschooled by a nanny.
  • This is part of the big twist of the Destiny 2 expansion The Witch Queen after hundreds of years, a group of Ghosts essentially gave up on humanity, and joined with the newly-risen Savathun, seeing her Hive as more worthy of the Light.
  • In Doom Eternal, the Maykrs have been facilitating the demonic invasions of mortal worlds for millions of years in order to receive Argent energy, the only thing preventing their race's extinction. The Khan Maykr openly declares that this is their right as a higher species and creators of the setting's Heaven analogue. Of course, when this results in a Genocide Backfire thanks to the Doomslayer, she hypocritically calls him out on defeating her through his superior One-Man Army status.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The fal'Cie from Final Fantasy XIII are all over this trope like flies over jam. At one point, Lightning realizes that to them, humans are nothing but pets whom they keep for amusement and some housekeeping chores they don't care to do themselves. It is eventually revealed that humans and fal'Cie are related species in the sense that both were created by the same creator deity. Fal'Cie were made infinitely stronger but without the capacity for free will, so when the creator has left the building, things went south for the humans as the fal'Cie hijacked that free will to turn them into weapons.
    • The Occuria to a lesser extent in Final Fantasy XII. They aren't evil persay, but they like to give the equivalent of a nuke to someone every few centuries to let them cause enough destruction to wipe the world's slate clean. Why they do it is never 100% explained, but they seem to think that without empires and controlling forces to rule over humanity, we'll destroy ourselves, or worse them, in no time. Their justification being that the last race they were in control of (The Espers), all but one of them rose up against the Occuria, and the last was so powerful that they sealed it away out of fear.
    • This is Emet-Selch's justification for his actions in the Final Fantasy XIV expansion Shadowbringers. He believes the Ascians to be a superior race that inherently hold much more value than the modern races of the world, whom he sees as mere fragments of what the Ascians once were. To him, the denizens of the Source and its many shards are but fuel to feed Zodiark, and will sacrifice them to bring back the Ascian empire of yore. It's partially subverted in that he sees the lesser races as not just genetically inferior, but morally inferior - he asks if the modern races would sacrifice half of themselves to save another as the Ascians themselves did to summon Zodiark and repair the world - but it's clear he holds contempt for their innate lack of arcane acumen compared to the Ancients as well, using the illusion of Amaurot to really drive home just how superior the old Ascian civilisation was.
  • Galaxy Angel: The Valfask use this as their justification to conquer worlds. In the second game, Nefuria cites how humans use tools and other lifeforms for their purposes, and the Valfask will do the same with them.
    Nefuria: Allowing a superior race to control your pathetic and weak lives will finally give them meaning.
  • The encyclopedia of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn says that the "Golden Age of Man" was a lot less so for Muggles and beastfolk, who were demeaned and enslaved respectively by the ruling Adepts.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Kett Empire justify their actions on the grounds that A: "reproduction cannot be left to chance", and B: "The superior race dominates". They often don't treat or consider other races sentient, even as they're destroying them. Their monumental arrogance even applies to their language. The name for it translates as "true speech".
  • Played with, but mostly subverted in StarCraft with the demonstrably superior in every way Protoss. At least... the Khalai Protoss (and then later those led by Artanis): but the Tal'darim, not so much. While some Protoss early on "cleanse" human colonies of the Zerg without so much as even trying to rescue the humans, this is also before the Protoss realize that humans are actually sentient (their definition of sentience includes the ability to speak telepathically and perform at least basic feats of telekinesis). When they encounter a human who has psychic abilities, Sarah Kerrigan, they pretty quickly start to treat all humans as equals (regardless of telepathic ability).
    • Though the trope does appear in the series: but it's between the various groups of Protoss, making it much more like real-life racism than is usual for this trope.
    • Also, some humans are racist against all non-humans both Zerg and Protoss. This starts to look very silly when Sarah Kerrigan becomes the Zerg Queen.
  • Part of the game mechanics in Stellaris, interstellar empires cannot engage in normal diplomatic relations with pre-FTL species. They can just research them like animals, uplift them as a protectorate, or simply invade. And while fighting other space empires requires a formal declaration of war, you can bombard or invade a pre-FTL planet at any time.
  • Tales of Arise: Renans are a hi-tech, space-faring race, who can innately use Astral Artes. Three hundreds years ago they came to the medieval planet of Dahna and enslaved its population simply to use them as fodder for the Crown Contest. Since Renan society is The Magocracy, uniformly-Muggle Dahnans can't expect to take in it any positions other than slaves. On the other hand, when the (mostly-Dahnan) party proves themselves strong enough to overcome this difference in power, one of the Renan Lords, Ganabelt, acknowledges their strength, and fights them head-on, without resorting to any tricks.

    Western Animation 
  • In Amphibia, it's revealed that this was the reason that Amphibia 1,000 years before the series was a prosperous civilization despite the fact they were Planet Looting Multiversal Conquerors. Back then, all amphibians were indoctrinated to believe that there was nothing wrong with strip-mining worlds and enslaving the races that lived there because of their superiority. Even the heroic Leif has no issues with this viewpoint, only objecting because overuse of the music box might harm Amphibia itself. However, after the theft of the Calamity Box which led to Amphibia's advanced technology going inert, along with the Fantastic Caste System Andrias put in place following Leif's betrayal, this mindset faded out of the current generation, to the point that they knew that invading innocent worlds, especially the one where Anne and her friends came from, is wrong.
  • The Marcabians in Blake and Mortimer, they see all other species as inferior and treat them like vermin, including humans.
  • My Little Pony: Make Your Mark: Opaline, an alicorn from Equestria's past, believes that alicorns, who have traits of all three pony races and are immortal, are meant to rule over all ponies and be the ones to possess and control all magic. As such, her goal is to regain enough power to take over Equestria, and possibly corrupt Sunny Starscout into joining her in the process.

    Real Life 
  • Humans have this trope with our treatment of animals. Played with in that as far as we can tell, most animals genuinely aren't sapient. Human civilizations have done this to each other as well, when asserting their race as the Master Race and such.