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The Social Darwinist
aka: Social Darwinism

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"It's really simple. You bring two sides together. They fight. A lot of them die. But those who survive are stronger, smarter and better."
Justin, Babylon 5, "Z'ha'dum"

The Social Darwinist is someone who believes that the Darwinian theory of evolution — i.e., "survival of the fittest", to oversimplify it — should be applied to people, and sometimes entire societies or nations. Or they may just advocate ideas that are associated with this, though not invoking evolution (Darwinian or not) itself. To the Social Darwinist, all life is a struggle for survival in which the strongest naturally prosper at the expense of the weak — and it is right and natural that they should do so because that's just the way things are, and/or natural law is Above Good and Evil. Such characters rarely concede that their chances for survival may have started higher than others due to reasons such as inherited wealth or social prestige. They typically state that We Have Become Complacent and stupid, and want to remove "weakness" and "stupidity" from society. It may seem to some that because humans aren't currently having wars/disaster and humans aren't endangered as a species, evolution in humans has ceased altogether.

If they do talk about evolution, they are very likely to talk about Evolutionary Levels and Goal-Oriented Evolution rather than Darwin's actual theory (which was more of a pass-fail concept).

Fictional Social Darwinists generally come in six major flavors:

  1. The Straw Meritocrat: Basically a Straw Nihilist or Hollywood Atheist without the overt craziness. This first type believes that the scientific absolutism of natural selection puts them in zero accountability to God, the State, or any other moral code. People who rise to the top in the human environment aka society, by whatever means, can consider themselves superior to others — even going so far as to praise the evils of over-ambitiousness and condemn kind behavior. Frequently, this will be held even in settings where the people in charge are clearly getting there through nepotism, or otherwise as a result of luck and privilege.
  2. The Nazi By Any Other Name: The second type is a racist or speciesist who believes that their race is a Master Race or Superior Species, and by extension, the only one fit to live and reproduce in the world/galaxy/universe, and uses this belief as a justification for subjugating, enslaving, or just plain getting rid of those that they consider "inferior" (as the Real Life Nazis did). Scary Dogmatic Aliens are very likely to have this mindset, as is any society modeled upon the Nazis. Occasionally also held by super-people.
  3. The Evilutionary Biologist: The third type is an evolutionary biologist or anyone else who has mistaken ideas about how evolution works "for the good of the species," and in order to help it out or not "get in its way," anyone with a birth defect or who is in any other way "weak" in this villain's eyes deserves to die to keep the gene pool strong. Many such characters hope to create the Transhuman Ultimate Life Form. This type is also what Those Wacky Nazis had in mind with Aktion T-4, the Lebensborn program, and their wider eugenics policies thus it is the closest to A Nazi by Any Other Name.
  4. The Jerk Justifier: The fourth type is simply selfish and uses Social Darwinism as just a justification for sociopathic behavior. This character may not actually believe it and may not even care, but finds Social Darwinism to be a convenient justification or excuse for the way they were going to behave anyway. Often overlaps with Straw Hypocrite, especially if he's a coward who will immediately resort to "un-Darwinist" cheating if he's ever exposed as inferior himself.
  5. The Struggler: The fifth type believes that competition, suffering, and struggle make the individual, and possibly society as a whole, superior. They tend to believe in Evil Virtues like cunning, ruthlessness, opportunism, and the ability to endure and survive by any means necessary, and tend to have a cynical view of the world as a hard, harsh place and that Hobbes Was Right; they may also/instead suffer from Evil Cannot Comprehend Good and thus undervalue non-Social Darwinist virtues like kindness or pacifism. A Real Man Is a Killer logic often falls into this category, as does War Is Glorious. Those Wacky Nazis held to this view as well. Differs from the first in that they don't necessarily believe that those at the top always deserve it; they tend to take a Might Makes Right view of things, and the most sincere of this kind do not believe the struggle ever ends and are never hypocrites; if they end up on the losing side, they will accept their fate with dignity (though usually not quietly).
  6. The Weakness Punisher: The sixth type deliberately seeks out weak people to ruin their lives. They usually use a lot of manipulation to let these people embarrass themselves, often enough online, and bully their victims or let other people do the bullying for them. If female, they always use their sexuality to exploit their victim's wish for having a purpose in life. In the end, they usually encourage their victims to commit suicide so that their weakness will never again be a burden to anybody and show their Last Disrespects.

In general, the fictional Social Darwinist is a narcissist who mostly just tries to justify his own superiority over everyone else. If the Social Darwinist doesn't suffer a Karmic Death, the heroes "disprove" his might makes right philosophy by demonstrating The Power of Friendshipnote : either by ganging up and beating the crap out of him and his cronies or by the leader of the group (often the All-Loving Hero) doing it himself while repeatedly driving home that he's fighting for his friends. A particularly profound way for this to happen is to have the character beaten by a character who is either a visible minority the Social Darwinist considers inferior or has glaring physical or mental disabilities.

Less often, a sincere Social Darwinist will often begin to respect the heroes after their defeat; they may turn into a Worthy Opponent or even become a Noble Bigot as they struggle with their beliefs and begrudgingly admit that a group they had considered inferior does in fact have worthy people among them. Their beliefs might be a Tragic Flaw if they were drilled into them from a young age or they actually lived in some viciously hostile place where their views were justified.

Compare Evilutionary Biologist, Evil Colonialist, Evil Evolves, Evil Malthusian, Kill the Poor, and Slobs Versus Snobs. Sometimes overlaps with Objectivism and the "Übermensch" concept. Hollywood Atheists are often stereotyped as this. The trope maker for The Beautiful Elite. There's a bit of this trope in the Satisfied Street Rat. Likewise, characters with a Darwinist Desire are usually only interested in applying Social Darwinism on themselves and their offspring rather than imposing it on society, though both tropes can overlap in the same character. Compare and contrast Living Is More than Surviving; Social Darwinists will variably put either survival or quality of life on top of others.

Note that Charles Darwin himself would not be amused by all these people and the way they interpreted his theory; he proposed nothing of the sort, and the idea predated him by centuries (and while Darwin did believe that the Caucasian race had evolved further than other races, his racism was not based on arrogance or sociopathy; it was simply the scientific consensus then). At the time, his insistence that all humans were the same species was controversialnote  and Darwin strongly criticized much scientific racism (that was well-established by the time he wrote), especially (as noted above) common ideas that human races were radically distinct, with a far less racist attitude than many people back then. You never see a Social Darwinist treating societies in the same way a real Darwinist treats species: Darwinists are interested in maintaining biodiversity (so the greatest number of traits are available to "throw at the wall and see what sticks" when a change in habitat occurs), and Darwinism is a description of the way species work, not a prescription for which species should live or die. See Appeal to Nature for the fallacy of using "nature" to prescribe any behavior (moral, immoral, or amoral), and also see the Analysis page for this trope for more information on that. This did not stop Social Darwinism from becoming a fairly mainstream philosophy from the Victorian era to WWII when it became associated with the Nazis; this association contributed greatly to its loss of popularity. However, the emergence of culture war politics in the late 20th century appears to have won new adherents to the philosophy.

Not to be confused with Survival of the Fittest. Also contrast Underdogs Always Win, which takes this concept and flips it completely on its head.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Esdeath in Akame ga Kill!. It's only natural for the weak to perish, after all. To her, the feelings of the "weak" are utterly incomprehensible and absurd. Exactly how much was the result of her upbringing in the harsh winter north or inherent in her very nature is a matter of debate. In fact, the reason she's in love with Tatsumi so much is that he constantly manages to find ways to avoid her killing him.
  • In Animal Land, Jyu completely believes in the "survival of the fittest" notion wherein strong animals prey on and can do anything towards weaker animals. He is totally against anything that goes against this notion, such as animals working together, as he sees it as a lie to the natural order of things.
  • Berserk:
    • After taking a level in jerkass and pursuing demons on his quest for revenge, Guts adopts this as his philosophy, saying that people who get caught up in other people's battles are fools who lack the strength to really live. He gets better when the Conviction Arc rolls around and he realizes just what a mistake he's made in going on this vendetta in the first place.
    • Griffith is this trope even from his introduction, firmly believing that the strong are superior to the weak and should use them as tools in order to gain their rule. Unlike Guts, after being made weak, he dives even further into it and abandons his humanity by becoming a member of the Eldritch Abomination clique of the Godhand.
  • Satyajit Shyamalan from Birdy the Mighty: Decode is one and believes that the next step on humanity's evolutionary path is to use a superweapon to wipe out all of humanity but those he considers most worthy. His main criteria for determining those superior is whether they, like himself, had survived a major war or disaster that would lead to mass casualties.
  • Black Butler:
  • Black Clover:
    • Licht despises the weak, stating that "the victims are always the powerful ones. They're envied, feared, isolated, persecuted, and preyed upon." This is because his tribe, the powerful elves, were slaughtered by the weaker humans.
    • Mereoleona Vermillion is a benevolent one. Despite being royalty, she states that she doesn't care whether someone is a noble or peasant so long as they're strong. This belief of hers is what earns her Zora's respect despite her social status.
    • Vanica is completely indifferent to the 90% of people on the continent who would die if the Dark Triad creates the Tree of Qliphoth. She states that the humans weak enough to die don't interest her and she'd only want to fight those strong enough to survive.
    • When the Spade Kingdom Resistance show themselves to the Dark Triad as a diversion for the Clover Kingdom's assault force, Zenon Zogratis lets loose a legendary, ancient demon on them. Zenon states he had planned on using it to exterminate the people in Castle Town, proclaiming that only the strong are the citizens of the Spade Kingdom. His flashback shows that he adopted this ideology to cope with murdering his friend and rival Allen, who was too weak to do anything significant against the devil, by taking up an opening he had made while fighting it, killing them both.
  • In Bleach, during his "The Reason You Suck" Speech, Ichigo's Inner Hollow expresses the view that only those with combat instinct and the bloodlust to act on it have the right to live, using it as justification for trying to take over Ichigo's body.
  • Bungou Stray Dogs: Akutagawa holds this belief firmly, claiming the weak ones should die and give way to the stronger.
  • Code:Breaker: Though not yet outright stated, Ogami's brother implies that this is his group's ideal when he wonders why Ogami is protecting an ordinary (?) human.
  • Code Geass:
    • The Holy Britannian Empire treats Social Darwinism as a religion. Even the main street of Pendragon, the capital, is named Saint Darwin. This is why they annihilate cultures that they conquer, stripping them of their name (Japan is renamed Area 11), because the weak only deserve slavery. The "Elevens" still have a chance, if they prove themselves "Honorary Britannians" via military service.
    • Emperor Charles zi Britannia has this philosophy, and it applies at its most ruthless to his children: if any are weak, he deigns that they deserve to die. The protagonist, a deposed prince of the empire, directly opposes this attitude, as it's what cost him his mother and crippled his little sister, while Charles did nothing. It's actually not so simple; while Charles likely does perceive himself to be at the top of society, it's more that he tries to use the notion that might makes everything better in an attempt to justify self-interest (in his mind, everything's alright as long as he wins). Lelouch calls him out on it in Episode 21 of R2 when he points out that his parents wouldn't have cared if their plan did fail and they lost their children for real, remarking that they only wanted to have an excuse to feel proud of themselves for having kept their family. He does argue against Lelouch that, like him, he follows the mentality that the ends justify the means, but they differ in that Lelouch's goal is for the people of the world to care about each other (so that they wouldn't take advantage of each other again), whereas Charles acts for himself, and Suzaku later opposes him for taking advantage of other people just like (if not more so than) Lelouch when those with power should protect those incapable of acting, recognizing that Britannian society isn't such an ideal world.
  • Vicious of Cowboy Bebop shows shades of this, particularly in his attitude towards those who lose their ruthless side. Notably, he assassinates his former mentor Mao Yenrai for attempting to make peace with another Syndicate (then dismissively describes him as "a beast who lost his fangs"), denounces the Elders of the Red Dragon as "corpses that can't fight", and during their first confrontation, he angrily demands to know why Spike Spiegel, his personal and romantic rival, survived his exile if he's no longer as cold-blooded and ruthless as Vicious.
  • A Central Theme of Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School (and of the Danganronpa series in general) is that talent comes with its drawbacks and doesn't make anyone better than everyone else, with the main cast of each series being a Dysfunction Junction filled with Broken Aces.
    • Juzo derides Hajime for being talentless while beating him up, later saying that he did it to keep him from getting himself killed for digging too deep into the school's corruption but on some level his disdain for the untalented was genuine.
    • Additionally, Chisa was a Noble Bigot who gives the impression of being an All-Loving Hero even to untalented Reserve Course students (who are generally viewed as worthless) like Hajime, but looked down on them as well as she frequently referred to her temporary reassignment to their class as "torture" and didn't give a second thought to the kids she spent half a year with.
  • In Darker than Black, Amber's organization "Evening Primrose" is sort of the Contractor Resistance movement, and while it's not clear to what extent Amber herself has this viewpoint, her obsessive follower Maki definitely does, and in one scene, he actually refers to Contractors as something like a "master race". The Interquel villain Harvest is also an insane Social Darwinist, and has several lines about "the next stage in evolution".
  • Death Note:
    • Light Yagami zig-zags this trope, and he happens to be the protagonist. He believes that by using the Death Note to pick off criminals and the unpleasant, he can make the world consist of good people only. As he puts it, if Kira (his mass-murdering alter ego) is caught, then he's evil; if he wins and rules the world, he's righteous. On the other hand, he also thinks he is able to make moral judgements about murdering people not because of strength, but because he has deluded himself into believing he is divine, and paternalistically desires to protect those he considers to be weak and innocent. (If you want to stop him, you are no longer innocent.) Therefore, at the end, when Near gets the upper hand and decisively proves Light is Kira in a room full of cops and FBI agents, Light refuses to accept defeat. Light tries desperately to justify his actions as something they should agree with and then making a scene of himself when they don't buy it. That is, when pushed to a corner, Light abandons Social Darwinism and shifts to a mentality of "I am always justified no matter what."
    • Near also demonstrates himself to be this at the end of the series, stating that justice is essentially purely based upon the ideas flawed individuals who enforce it happen to hold and that it has no objective jurisdiction other than strength. Arguably, his Kirk Summation of Light is just as rooted in his disgust in Light for believing he can set up an objective standard of morality as much as disgust for his numerous horrific actions throughout the series.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, tied with his immense need for fighting strong opponents Akaza shows extreme disdain for those he deems to be weak, saying word for word their natural outcome is to simply perish in the wake of those in power culling them along the way; Akaza also shows he is kind of a determinist, believing the strong are fated to be so, but the weak will always be weak. However, as the story unfolds Akaza's ideology is shown to be a result of his quite tragic past, where his great physical strength as a human didn't help those he loved in the slightest, they died in ways his might was unable to prevent it from happening — his sick father committed suicide to spare his son a life of constant worry, and even thieving, to support him; his bride and father-in-law were fatally poisoned in the middle a dispute against a rival dojo — all of that led Akaza to a downward spiral, which corrupted him when forcefully turned into a demon, forgetting his life as the human Hakuji, his new demonic mind warped his pain from losing his loved ones to a sick love for strength, and complete hatred for the weak, which ironically was his total opposite belief back when he was human, Hakuji loved his weak and sick father and liked taking care of him.
  • Digimon:
    • Demon of Digimon V-Tamer 01 holds the contradictory views that monsters should live by instinct alone and that it is a monster's duty to destroy weaker creatures wherever they can be found, regardless of how impractical this is. He's above no methods in his pursuit of the latter, including lying about his motivations and has gone so far as to find ways to destroy other creatures out of his reach who had virtually no effect on his life to no benefit to himself whatsoever simply because he knew they existed.
    • Kiriha Aonuma of Digimon Fusion starts off as this due to misinterpreting his father's last words. He sees Taiki as a worthy opponent and allies with Nene because of their powerful Digimon. The second arc brings him to realize that he misunderstood his father, accepting the relatively weak Dracomon as he understands that strength doesn't just mean power or force. A villainous example comes in the form of Dorbickmon, who believes that dragon Digimon (a group in which he includes all reptilian Digimon) are superior to and should lord over all other Digimon due to being more powerful.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dragon Ball Z: Vegeta believes the Saiyan race is the most powerful in the universe and that Earthlings are weak and inferior to them. His transition to Majin Vegeta is largely because of this belief, saying (in the English dub) "It's survival of the fittest. The strong will survive, and the weak shall perish!" Even Goku pointing out that during their battle they may have inadvertently revived Majin Buu is dismissed by Vegeta, saying (though he hardly believes it himself) that the two of them have evolved far beyond even Kaioshin's expectations to the point that Majin Buu is not a concern anymore (though he is quickly proven to be very wrong on that). Vegeta once executed his partner Nappa for being too weak to fight against Goku, a "commoner", and once in a filler flashback, he shrugged off Nappa telling him that it was Frieza that wiped out their home, responding that everyone that was killed by Frieza (which included his own father, the King of Saiyans) simply didn't have the strength to survive.
    • Dragon Ball Super:
      • Zen'O wishes to destroy the universes who fall below a certain level of stability and order in their universe (on a scale of 1-10, about a 7). Out of the 12, only 4 made the mark (Universe 7, home to the Z-Fighters, got the second-lowest score (though painfully justify when one remembers that monsters like Frieza and Buu were around.). As such, the 8 others had to fight for their lives when Zen'O remembered Goku's idea for a multiversal martial arts tournament and used that as a way to justify which universe should live, with the prize being a wish from the Super Dragon Balls. Except it's all subverted — it's all a Secret Test of Character to see if mortals would wish for the return of the various universes that were wiped out upon defeat. If the mortal was selfish, Zen'O would destroy everything. However, the winner, Android 17, wished for everyone to be brought back, and thus validating what Zen'O believed and both being happy that mortals could grow to care for others beyond their universes.
      • While far less malevolent than most examples, Jiren came to hold this viewpoint after an unnamed evil-doer slaughtered his village and kicked the collective asses of him, his teacher, and all of his friends when they tried to defeat him.
  • Fairy Tail:
  • Every bad guy in Fist of the North Star is either this or just a raving psycho. It's a Mad Max style world after all.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • There are Father and his Homunculi, and Kimblee, who is an ideological and philosophical Social Darwinist. He doesn't believe that weak people should be automatically killed (though he does enjoy blowing up people regardless of how helpless they are), but he believes violence is the only way to solve philosophical disputes; whoever is alive at the end of the day was right.
    • There are also non-villain examples. Olivier Mira Armstrong is General Badass and leads the Briggs fortress border troops, who are the most badass soldiers in all Amestris, up against the freezing conditions and an extremely aggressive Drachma. Her credo is "survival of the fittest", which she applied to everyone, including herself, and sticks to it:
      "Don't you get it? My men aren't going to come and rescue me. Because if I die here, I'm not worthy to lead them anyway."
  • Gundam:
    • Gihren Zabi from Mobile Suit Gundam believes that the strong should rule and the weak should simply get out of the way. This idea governs most of his actions throughout the show, and lead to his ultimately assassinating his father and seizing control of Zeon for himself.
    • Lord Fezearl Ezelcant from Mobile Suit Gundam AGE believes that the only way to create a perfect world is to wipe out the weak. It doesn't matter to Ezelcant if you're caught in the middle of an attack on a Federation colony, suffering from the overwhelming poverty within Vagan, or dying from diseases due to Mars Ray exposure. If you do not have the will to survive or the willpower to do anything to have the means to do so, you don't belong in his utopia and you deserve to die. What makes this hilarious is that he states that he thinks peaceful and kindhearted people will come out of this, rather than hardened survivors — thus proving that Social Darwinists don't always understand the very idea they're putting their faith in.
    • The Leader of the PLANTS from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Chairman Patrick Zala, actively believes that Coordinators, genetically modified humans, are a different species from Natural-born humans. This leads him to actively pursue the death of every single Natural on the planet Earth. (His aggression towards Naturals likely stemmed from his wife being killed in an event before the series by the Earth Alliance, who was not pleased that Coordinators had been able to grow their own food.)
  • Koichi Shidou from Highschool of the Dead, when he kicks a student off a bus after he sprains his ankle, saying that the weak don't deserve to live in this world.
  • Hirogaru Sky! Pretty Cure discusses this trope. Each of the villains believe in a might makes right mindset, but they all have a different view on it.
    • Kabaton believes that strength should be used as a way to bully others and force them to do what you want.
    • Battamonda believes that others should fight weak people and that the weak cannot exist.
    • Minoton is the most noble of the four, using strength as a way to get stronger.
    • Skearhead follows the trope the closest, strongly believing that the weak should serve the strong.
  • Holy Corpse Rising: Amala and her mooks enslave a village and confiscate all the food, killing anybody who attempts to take some. However, if anybody actually succeeds in taking some, she rewards them by inviting them into her inner circle. As she puts it, only people with the strength and will to eat deserve to eat.
  • This is what the Second Stage Children believes in Inazuma Eleven GO: Chrono Stone, they are of the Evilutionary Biologist variety as they believe that anyone who isn't blessed with the Second Stage Children genes should be killed and they are therefore in the way of the evolution of mankind.
  • The Green King, Nagare Hisui, in K: Return of Kings has this philosophy (Struggler variant) as his basis for wanting to give everyone in the world superpowers and turn real life into one big free-for-all fighting game. When he explains his view to the Silver King, who has close, first-hand experience with Those Wacky Nazis, the Silver King recognizes it for what it is and refuses to join him, at which point Nagare declares war.
  • Kirari Momobami, the Straw Meritocrat Big Bad of Kakegurui. She's an Absurdly Powerful Student Council President and heiress to the wealthiest family in Japan who singlehandedly created a caste system in the Academy of Adventure based around wealth and gambling, outright extorting the student body by enslaving anyone who can't afford to pay their "dues". She thinks of the school as her own personal aquarium, and delights in watching her "fish" devour each other.
    Kirari: Fools should be looked down on. The weak deserved to be exploited. Just follow your heart and do what you like. It's okay for you to do so. You're a completely free person.
  • Kill la Kill:
    • Satsuki Kiryuin holds to the mantra of survival of the fittest so strongly that she literally decides her Absurdly Powerful Student Council by a "Naturals Election", which is held exactly as you'd think it would be.
      Satsuki: All students have the right to attack all other students! Secret meetings, scheming, backstabbing, anything goes! Seven days from now, reach the schoolyard alive, and then use your strength to lay claim on your social standing once again!
    • It turns out to be a bit more complicated than that; her reasoning for promoting this mentality was to have the strongest allies to stop her mother Ragyo's insane scheme. She needed strong-willed people for her plan to work. She relaxes on this much more at the end and she can live a normal life. She's also just using it as an excuse... as she's already essentially selected the winners: her Elite Four and Ryuko Matoi. She's just using it to train them. None of the other students EVER had a chance... as none of them had powerful enough tools.
  • While the King Bulblin of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was a pragmatist who believed in fighting for the strongest side, his counterpart in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2016) openly despises the weak and declares that his strength alone gives him the right to whatever he wants. Losing two duels straight against Link nearly causes him to lose his mind.
  • Mazinger Z: The Dragon Baron Ashura is a Jerkass Justifier who uses the "survival of the fittest" like an excuse/justification to make whatever he wants. In a story arc of the Gosaku Ota manga alternate continuity, Baron Ashura manages kidnapping Kouji and tries to talk Kouji into joining him (or her. It. Whatever). When Kouji retorts he has no interest in becoming a criminal, Ashura goes in a What Is Evil? Might Makes Right angry rant, uttering that in the nature the weak succumb to, the will of the strong and the strong survive. That is how the world always did, does, and will work, and "good", "bad", "peace", "justice"... are meaningless, empty words human beings came up with because they are too cowardly to accept reality and too weak to protect themselves.
  • One Piece:
    • Captain Morgan seems to think that the fact he struggled to earn his rank gives him the right to kill anyone who questions his orders or opposes his methods.
    • Arlong the fishman, who thinks the physically superior fishmen should rule over the weak and puny humans. He was also subject to this trope from the other side, having been a victim of racism since he was a child.
    • The Celestial Dragons basically run around getting away with whatever they please because they can. Whatever they please includes murder, slavery, with the World Government's and Marines' full support even if they're otherwise illegal.
  • In Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Corset says something along these lines when he's attempting to unleash Hell on Earth.
  • Paul, Ash's main rival in Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl, follows this philosophy to a T and it downright pisses off Ash. His very first appearance involves him capturing three Starly, finding which one has the best moves and stats, and releasing the other two. About halfway through the series, he released Chimchar for losing in a double battle, which would come back to bite him in the League tournament as Ash's Infernape. Interestingly, Paul's personality and actions are very similar to the part of the fandom interested in the metagame and tournaments, allowing him to act as a sort of meta-commentary on those players (both their less than savory attitudes as well as their valid points).
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: This is Kyoko's philosophy and she sees magical girls as the apex predator. Within magical girls, a weaker one must yield their territory to a stronger one or die.
  • The philosophy of Rurouni Kenshin's Big Bad Makoto Shishio is that "the flesh of the weak is the food of the strong" — and he drives his point home by taking a bite out of the hero. He is inevitably defeated, but afterwards, Kenshin observes that his victory has not truly proven anything — and that, if the one in the right is merely the strongest warrior, then Shishio was correct all along...
  • Tomonori Komori from Shadow Star is a sociopathic teenager who finds the modern world overly complicated, and so he intends to use his Mon to kill the educated and the sickly, effectively turning things back to the Stone Age, to create what he claims would be a healthy, pure society. Ironically, it's revealed some time after his death that he had a sickly mother he was taking care of and that he wasn't the healthiest of boys himself. He must've been bitter.
  • Inverted in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, as both Lordgenome and the Anti-Spirals purposefully try to force the human race not to evolve too much, and it is the heroes who ascribe to a more idealistic combination of Darwinism (with Spiral Energy being the power behind evolution) and The Power of Friendship.
  • In Tweeny Witches, Sheila believes that the value of life depends on magic and that those who cannot defend themselves deserve to die.

    Audio Plays 
  • In Saint Beast, Zeus believes that angels who are not "beautiful and strong" are not fit to serve him.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Boys, Billy Butcher, the series resident Anti-Hero, becomes convinced over the course of the comic that all supers will eventually have the power to rule over mankind through this trope, so during the comic's final arc, he tries to kill every human with traces of V in their system, even babies and asymptomatics. Of course, he also ascribes the trope on himself by giving Wee Hughie a chance to take him out first with a fight to the death.
  • The Chick Tracts assume that this is what the Theory of Evolution teaches.
  • The DCU:
    • In the Batman miniseries Batman and Robin Eternal, the villain 'Mother' believes that humanity will become stronger through pain once parents have been essentially eliminated so that their children can grow up away from their influence; she even claims that she and Batman are the same in that they both raise their 'children' to define themselves by tragedy and use it to become stronger, but Dick Grayson rejects this idea, informing Mother that Batman actually helps his 'children' realise how not to cope with tragedy by giving them an example of what not to do.
    • Niles Caulder turns out to be this at the end of Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol run. In fact, it's revealed at the end that he's planning a giant worldwide cataclysm that will enable the human race to emerge stronger as a result.
    • Superman:
      • In Superboy (New 52), the villain Harvest collects superpowered teens and forces them to fight each other to the death in an event he calls "The Culling", so that he can determine the strongest and rule over the survivors, who become his Ravagers. While Harvest is impressed by Superboy's power, he declares him a failure because he will not kill his defeated foes. Later, it's revealed that his real motivation is Fantastic Racism. He hates metahumans in general because his son was killed by a metahuman.
      • The villain Manchester Black from the story What's So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way? overlaps this with Might Makes Right. He and his group are the world's most powerful super-humans, so they should naturally have authority over the rest of mankind and are able to force them to obey their own morals and laws. Superman twists this trope around by not only being stronger than Black but by demonstrating why putting this theory into practice is a very bad idea.
      • This is the public justification that Lex Luthor uses for his Fantastic Racism towards Superman and subsequent attempts to murder him. Luthor argues that humanity has come to rely on Superman to protect them instead of fending for themselves (ignoring the fact that Superman fights threats that could wipe out all of humanity and possibly the universe without a thought), and that if wasn't for Superman humanity could be an intergalactic empire on par with all the other alien races that visit Earth all the time; therefore, it's okay for Luthor to cause deadly collateral damage in his war against Superman. Like everything else Luthor says or thinks, it's really a self-serving lie — when Luthor says that "Humanity is weak because it loves and respects Superman", what he means is that "Humanity sucks because it doesn't love and worship me".
  • Fables: Downplayed by Bigby. In "Werewolves of the Heartland", it's suggested he has less of an issue with the fact that werewolves are attacking, hunting, and eating humans, and more the "cowardly" half-assed way they go about it. A core tenet of his personal philosophy is that it's right to return any attack on either yourself or the people close to you ten-fold, making your enemies so terrified of a counterattack that they fear you into leaving you alone.
  • The Norwegian cult comic The Great Four: When the Dead Awaken features a social Darwinist Big Bad who is planning to start a new world war using Dieselpunk technology. When the heroes arrive to stop him, he offers them an ultimatum: If he defeats them, they will join him in his conquest. If they defeat him, he has a self-destruct ready to destroy his Supervillain Lair and will let them pull the switch, because if he was weak enough to be defeated his works weren't worth anything anyway. He actually seems content with losing until the heroes decide to leave the lair intact so his gasoline-driven undead minions can continue to 'live'.
  • Invincible: This was the entire social foundation of the Viltrumite Empire, the race that Invincible's father Omni-Man came from. Decades before the comic takes place, the Viltrumites had embarked on a massive cleansing of their entire society for this purpose, based on the teachings of a philosopher, with the survivors rebuilding their society for the sole purpose of conquest of the entire universe. However, this has disastrous consequences when the Resistance releases bioweapon that decimates the Viltrumites, leaving only a few hundred survivors that tries to keep the death toll a secret to keep the Empire intact. On top of that, the philosophy considered social bonds a weakness, despite the psychological need for it still being present, making the Viltrumites mentally unbalanced.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • Captain America: Even during the periods where the Red Skull has abandoned Nazism, he still believes in social Darwinism.
    • The Mandarin becomes this in the Iron Man arc "Haunted". He plans to release an airborne version of the Extremis serum (which has a fatality rate of over 97%) across the planet, believing that the small subset of humanity strong enough to survive will evolve into something superior.
    • Ultimate Vision: In Tarleton's proposed utopia, people would only breed with people arranged by the government, based on genetic compatibility.
    • There are several such characters in the X-Men works:
      • Magneto has some moments of social Darwinism, calling mutants Homo sapiens superior (or the even less accurate Homo superior, implying mutants are a separate species entirely). What makes his views especially ironic is the fact that it was born out of the persecution he suffered at the hands of the Nazis.
      • Apocalypse goes farther; besides vaunting the superiority of mutants, he believes in encouraging conflict to weed out the weak. Meanwhile, he isn't concerned for his own safety, assuming that he is the pinnacle of evolution. There are times, both in the main Marvel Universe and alternate timelines, when Apocalypse gets defeated and he's asked what makes him fit to survive. Sometimes, he seems entirely willing to die due to having been proved "unfit" under his own philosophy. It never lasts, because he's one of the X-Men's iconic villains so he has to come back to face them again.
      • Mister Sinister originated as a 19th-century eugenicist.
      • Professor Xavier in X-Men Noir is an actual psychiatrist, and as such his spin on this is unique: he believes sociopaths are the next stage in human behavioral evolution. Chief of Detectives Eric Magnus, meanwhile, believes the criminal element is hereditary and genetic — and has to be contained or eliminated for the good of society. Emma Frost, an old student of Xavier's, combines the two ideas as warden at Genosha Bay but also feels sociopathy is communicable.
      • The aforementioned Apocalypse's adoptive father Baal, leader of the Sandstormer raiders, was a big believer in "survival of the fittest" and passed on this worldview to his son.
  • Venus Bluegenes in Rogue Trooper fits this trope in her initial appearance. She believes that GIs are inherently superior to humans, and killed the rest of her crew as she thought them inferior.
  • Star Wars Tales: In "Extinction" from the first volume, Darth Vader says to the Dark Woman when she comments about the Jedi being almost extinct that it's how things work in nature — weaker species make way for stronger ones. She counters that some species though are hardier than he thinks and thrive in out of the way places before returning (like the Jedi).
  • In The Transformers: Monstrosity, Scorponok is presented this way. At one point he rhapsodises about Cybertron's energon crisis, which he has worsened, because it will apparently turn Cybertron into a "vast, savage arena" where the strong survive and the weak are killed.
  • The Decepticons in Transformers (2023) seem to espouse this trope, with Starscream in particular railing into the Autobots both for being weak and for protecting weaker beings, even shooting up a hospital just to mock Prime's defence of the humans.

    Fan Works 
  • Hama is shown to be a Type 2 in Absolute Trust. Having spent years trapped with other Waterbenders from the Southern Water Tribe in Water's Wail, she had learnt Bloodbending in order to escape, but didn't bother to try freeing the other 39 Waterbenders or trying to come back to Water's Wail at any point in the thirty years she spent terrorizing and experimenting her Bloodbending on innocent Fire Nation civilians.
    The others had seen enough Bloodbending to learn it on their own. If they were too weak or didn't have the stomach to use it, than why should I save them?
  • In Child of the Storm, HYDRA subscribe to this philosophy, both in terms of their ambitions for the world — the strong will survive and the strong will rule — and internally, with Baron von Strucker reflecting at one point that Baron Zemo, his hypercompetent second-in-command serves him for only as long as he believes that Strucker is the strongest.
    • Expanding on Zemo, he believes that it is natural for the strong to rule the weak, and when accused by T'Challa of being A Nazi by Any Other Name, is insulted. As he explains, in his view the Nazis were fools obsessed with cosmetics like race — as he puts it, while they would have looked down on T'Challa just because he's black, Zemo sees him as an equal (and far superior to any Nazi) because of his skills and intellect.
    • Dracula adopts this philosophy in terms of his minions, with it being observed that while he's a Benevolent Boss to his competent servants, he has a very low tolerance for incompetence.
    • Lucius Malfoy also comes into this way of thinking later on, for the most part shedding his normal Fantastic Racism. He still thinks wizards are naturally superior as a whole to Muggles, but because of their power, not their blood, and admits that there are plenty of the latter who can — through gaining powers or natural skill — come to exceed wizards.
  • Megami no Hanabira has the Chaos representative for the story, Shusui Naito. Naito holds a variation of the meritocratic sort: while he believes that the ones on top deserve to rule, the ones presently ruling are an exception. Society, according to Naito, has created a self-perpetuating system that is a farce of a meritocracy, where people get in because of arbitrary things like inherited wealth, skin color, gender, or otherwise, and otherwise-deserving people never get the chance to shine. While the man might have a point, it's hard to take his side when his fix for the problem is to unleash the Demon Summoning Program to everyone and ignite what amounts to the mother of all race/class wars.
  • In a contrasting portrayal when compared to the usual, in the Avatar fanfic, Children of Gaia, Earth is portrayed as one, plus Well-Intentioned Extremist, always working the evolution to benefit the strongest and don't even mind people mining her (a rather interesting subversion of Gaia's Lament). She's, in fact, proud of humanity's resourcefulness and drive to survive (having witnessed the heartbreaking extinctions of her various other children over millions of years). So, she gets very offended when she learns about how Eywa rules the Na'vi–viewing it as a kind of mass Mind Rape–and supports humans in their campaign against the spirit of Pandora.
  • The Immortal Game has both Titan and his Dragon, General Esteem, who both believe that power is the only thing that matters and that only those with power have the right to rule.
  • Ace Combat: The Equestrian War has Red Cyclone as a Racism Theorist; he wants to create a world where only the strong live while the weak are mercilessly slaughtered.
  • Pony POV Series:
    • Fluttercruel gives a big speech claiming that kindness and compassion go against nature's law, as they cause the unworthy to survive by compelling others to waste time helping them. She demonstrates by showing Fluttershy the following sights in the Everfree Forest: several weak deer getting left behind by their herd and eaten by wolves, two trees trying to crowd each other out for space in the soil, two male rabbits fighting to the death for the right to mate with a female, and a mother spider allowing her hatchlings to eat her alive. Her efforts backfire when, instead of accepting the harsh truths of nature, Fluttershy goes mad from the revelation and declares that "if nature isn't fair...I'll make it fair!" With the power of the Elder Horn, she transforms into Nightmare Whisper and tries to make Equestria a utopia in which all ponies are de-aged into foals living in an illusionary paradise, made by her own hooves.
    • Strife, Anthropomorphic Personification of Natural Selection, a more realistic version of the Social Darwinist. She is a Blood Knight who has no intention of letting her prey escape, and she knows that she is far more powerful than any mortal, but she at least fights battles personally instead of wiping her foes out instantly, because she believes every being has the right to prove itself and fight for its survival. When she's not being an antagonist, her usual duty is to help populations survive by engineering situations that force them to improve and grow stronger. She is disgusted by beings who wantonly kill without giving the victims at least a chance at survival, saying that spits on her Concept.
    • As a child, Queen Chrysalis was taught by her father, a hunter, about the nature of predator and prey. She took it to heart, using the logic of survival of the fittest to justify her having to drain others of their emotions to survive. She considers Changelings to be the ultimate predator, since they can feed on the love of any being, and believes they, and by extension her, are destined to rule over all other beings.
    • The Griffins used to have this mindset but gave up on it when they realized it was crippling them. They explain that only allowing the strong to rise prevented their smarter members from expressing their valuable ideas. Also, working together and with other races helped them achieve things that even the strongest of them couldn't do on their own.
  • In The Great Slave King, the strong ruling the weak ends up becoming the Slave King's modus operandi.
  • As befitting a War God, Ares from The Princess of Themyscira believes in the strong ruling over the weak, which to him means gods directly lording over mortals.
  • In Oblivion, the Gorgon sisters' father was this, and raised his daughters to believe that "those with power rise over those without, and crush them from above" and that "the weak cannot expect mercy or second chances." To this end, he and his wife trained their children hard so that they will be strong enough to survive in the world when they reach adulthood. It's implied that he has a Freudian Excuse that gave him this outlook on life.
  • In the Puella Magi Madoka Magica fic Flashes of Light, Homura scorns her past self for being weak. Not coincidentally, this past self is also much saner than her.
  • In Incarnation of Legends, Susanoo's desire for a warrior country where the strong trample the weak akin to Kali's Telskyura frame him as this, though even he has a strong love for his children.
  • The Bridge:
    • King Sombra declares he will purge the Crystal Empire of the weak and useless.
    • Godzilla Junior's evil Mirror Universe counterpart considers himself and his teammates to be the top of the food chain, with their power giving them the right to do whatever they want and kill whoever they want. While there are heroes that are more powerful than him, he applies his intellectual superiority by calling in his allies to gang up on them and win with teamwork.
  • In Harmony Theory, Nightmare Umbra attacks people to force them to prove their strength and worthiness to survive by fighting back. She eventually judges the entire world to be unworthy and wants to drive the ponies to extinction.
  • Wheller gives us the original villain Prince Maelstrom, another brother to Celestia and Luna, a God of Chaos only slightly predating his father Discord because his father BECAME Discord after Queen Gaia* died. Maelstrom describes his chaos using this trope, intended to induce strife to promote the strong and cull/subjugate the weak. He opposes Discord's chaos as it is simply a World Gone Mad.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines:
    • Paul, as per canon, thinks the only Pokémon worth anything are those he considers strong enough.
    • The Bloodline King and his minions believe bloodliners to be stronger than baseline humans. They further believe that because of this power, they deserve to rule the world, and have control over both Pokémon and ordinary humans.
    • Orre has a serious case of this.
    • The Reset Version of Sabrina is this as well, though she handles it a bit differently. Sabrina's social Darwinism isn't restricted to 'Superior Races' and recognizes strength in fields beyond raw strength, such as superior intelligence or artistic talent. She also doesn't operate under a doctrine that losing automatically means you are weak. In her eyes as long as you are skilled at something, you are fine. If not, you deserve death.
      • She takes this even further when she gains access to Ash's memories of the original timeline, hunting down anyone she saw as 'weak' in Ash's memories and killing them if they still hadn't accomplished enough.
      • Interestingly, she sees Ash as strong even in the original timeline, pointing out that even occasions where he didn't explicitly win badges in Gyms such as Cerulean and Celadon still saw him accomplishing some greater deed to earn them.
  • Equestria Girls: Friendship Souls: Las Noches, and to a lesser extent all of Hueco Mundo, runs on this. Tirek, as possibly the most powerful Hollow/Arrancar to ever exist, is at the top of the hierarchy, and position in the Espada below him is determined by strength (though in some cases useful abilities can compensate somewhat for lack of raw power, like with Squirk and his Garganta creation skills, Grogar's technical skills, etc.). Part of the reason he goes with this approach is because he wants strong warriors to fight the Quincy and Soul Reapers.
  • The Black Emperor: Conversed. Lelouch as Zero tells Cornelia that Britannia isn't completely wrong in their darwinistic beliefs as countries have risen and conquered, fallen and been conquered since the dawn of civilazation and will continue to do so till its twilight age. The problem is just how extreme they are in doing so, preferring the stick over the carrot way too much that it causes dissent rather than loyalty.
  • Percy Jackson: Spirits: Amarok firmly believes in the right of the strong to do as they wish to the weak.
  • Triptych Continuum: Downplayed by Princess Luna. When interacting with modern ponies she has a habit of trying to estimate how long they would have survived the world in which she and Celestia grew up, and she notes that it's hard to respect ponies which even her most generous estimates can't give so much as a minute's likely lifespan in Eris. However, she admits that her harshness is something of a character flaw, and that this soft and easy life is what she and her companions fought to win for ponykind.

    Films — Animation 
  • King, the leader of the Rogues and the Big Bad of Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure, is a wolf who espouses such views. He is obsessed with the purity and strength of himself and his Rogues and is quick to mock any perceived weakness.
  • Commander Rourke of Atlantis: The Lost Empire fits this to such an extent that he invokes Darwin by name.
    Rourke: Get off your soap box, Thatch. You've read Darwin. It's called "natural selection". We're just helping it along.
  • In A Bug's Life, Hopper and his grasshoppers are basically a pack of smug bullies who terrorise an ant colony into giving them food on the basis that they're bigger and stronger bugs. We also see Hopper applying his brutal logic towards his underlings as well and murdering them just because they voiced a desire for something else other than what he decided. He lives by instilling fear towards everyone. Their beliefs get turned on them in the end when the ants rise up against them, and Hopper meets his well-deserved death at the hands of a predator even bigger and stronger than him: a common goldfinch.
  • Dinosaur: Kron is implied to be something like this. He even lampshades this when the herd is fleeing from the carnotaurs (an example of actual natural selection pressures).
    Aladar: [concerning Baylene and Eema] But the others in the back! They'll never make it!
    Kron: Then they'll slow down the predators!
    Aladar: [outraged] You can't sacrifice them like this!
  • Ice Age:
    • Sid, a (mostly) incompetent ground sloth, subverts this when he outwits a sabertooth cat (one whom, to be fair, isn't very competent either). While repeatedly jumping on his victim, Sid shouts "Survival! Of The! Fittest!" and finishes with: "I don't think so..."
    • A straight example appears in the fourth movie in the form of Captain Gutt, who believes that the best way to survive in an ever-changing world is by pillaging and plundering and is such a Narcissist that he openly claims that he is the best because he can and will do it.
  • Koati: The main villain Zaina is leading all the animals on a Fatal Forced March south of Xo, and is unwilling to help any animals who run out of stamina. Contrast that with most of the residents of Xo, who immediately help others if they see a need.
  • The Lorax (2012): Upon becoming a Corrupt Corporate Executive, the Once-ler adopts this mindset to rationalize his actions. In a cut song titled "Biggering", he goes farther and compares his company to an animal that must ruthlessly fight for survival, regardless of what it destroys.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks: The Dazzlings' Villain Song "Let's Have a Battle (of the Bands)" encourages this mindset, with the lyrics saying things like it doesn't matter who you hurt in your journey to prove you are the best and that people should compete against each other instead of working together. In general, The Dazzlings spread this behavior through their Mind-Control Music and Hate Plague. It doesn't matter to them who wins; they are Emotion Eaters who feed on the negative emotions generated by the conflicts.
  • Pokémon: The First Movie is a somewhat strange example of the trope, due to the shifting of roles between the Japanese and English versions of the film. Both Mew and Mewtwo have shades of this in the Japanese version, though it is Mew, the hero, that is more of a Darwinist; in fact, it's Mew that offers the suggestion that the two sides fight without their abilities. In the English version, Mew shows none of these traits, leaving Mewtwo as the sole Darwinist.
  • The Sword in the Stone invokes this. Merlin tells Arthur that the concept does exist in the animal kingdom (he has transformed himself and the boy into fish for the day), but that among humans it's counterbalanced by the potential of the weak to use their "intellect" to outwit the strong. When they get attacked by a gigantic fanged pike, Merlin has Arthur prove his point by using a discarded arrow to jam the bigger fish's mouth open, distracting it from biting down long enough for Arthur to escape.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 28 Hotel Rooms: During an argument regarding politics and the woman's working for a corporation, she defends it by saying in life, you must do anything to get your food, with the strong living while the weak die. The man, hearing this, is aghast. It's unclear how serious this is, though.
  • 13 Minutes: Müller claims it's just the "right of the strong" in response to Elser's objection at Germany conquering Poland.
  • Absolutely Anything: The Council members believe in crushing weaker lifeforms, and thus condemn Neil since he doesn't use his powers for this.
  • Alien:
    Ash: You still don't know what you're dealing with, do you? Perfect organism. It's structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.
    Lambert: You admire it.
    Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor... unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.
  • In An American Werewolf in Paris, Claude gives a speech saying he hates institutions like hospitals and charities because their only purpose is to extend the lives of the weak, in turn weakening the human race as a whole. Combined with Fantastic Racism, he also considers werewolves like himself to be superior to ordinary humans. It's helped by the fact he is a neo-Nazi who deliberately infected himself with lycanthropy and then his friends to form a Superior Species.
  • Assault on Wall Street: Crooked banker Jeremy Stancroft gives Jim a rant to this effect, dumbing down all of capitalism to "the strong survive, and the weak die off". Jim takes out a picture of his dead wife, asking him "like her?" Stancroft quickly changes his tac after an Oh, Crap! expression.
  • It's not made explicit, but Jack Napier seems to embody this in Batman (1989), both before and after he becomes the Joker. Throughout his life, he bullies, victimized, and even murders people who are not as bold or clever as he is, simply because he can (although this could also be strictly For the Evulz). Later, as the Joker, he almost seems to think of himself as a god (he did "rise from the dead", after all) and shows even less regard for his fellow human beings, telling photographer Vicki Vale that "We're not like regular people. We're artists." Finally, at the parade, after luring in thousands of people by promising them $20 million in dollar bills, he casually informs them: "And now comes the part where I relieve you, the little people, of the burden of your failed and useless lives." He then subjects these "inferior" beings to several parade balloons full of poison gas.
  • Bloodthirsty: Vaughn tells Grey that only the strong survive in the world, urging her to prove her strength through crushing a mouse in her hand (she does after initial hesitation). Later he justifies killing humans by saying it was really "culling", as they're overpopulated.
  • A running theme throughout multiple stories in Cloud Atlas. Hugo Weaving's character(s) echo the phrase "There's a natural order to things" in various contexts.
  • Trevor Calcote, alias 'Viking', in Cold Pursuit. He believes it is the right of the strong to dominate the weak. He gave his son a copy of Lord of the Flies for his fifth birthday, and regards it as a manual for living your life by.
  • The Comedy: Swanson expresses this view while talking with a woman at a party, claiming people gave up feudalism too fast, that some are just naturally superior with the rest being akin to drones (though he insists this isn't a racist thing, and some black guys are among the elite). He adds that Hitler had some good ideas on this line, though not the mass-murdering part. It's probable he's just saying this to shock though, and the woman didn't seem to take it seriously.
  • Mentioned in the Holocaust docudrama Conspiracy (2001). When Heydrich finishes the conference, he echoes the Nazi views on evolution as he gloats that the genocide of the Jews will "advance the human race to greater purity in a space of time so short Charles Darwin will be astonished". He would be. Evolution doesn't work that way. Darwin would have been horrified.
  • The Craft: Legacy: Adam advocates destroying the weakest so the strongest will thrive to his group.
  • Downfall (2004) has a scene where Adolf Hitler gives a speech about his Social Darwinist beliefs, in which he explains at length that compassion violates the laws of nature and that society can only prosper when all weak elements are ruthlessly removed from it. Hilariously enough, these views are immediately shown to be hypocritical and self-serving when, after giving said speech, he receives news that Himmler has begun talks for surrender with the advancing Anglo-American Allies and launches into a furious rant — apparently, the whole "the strong must survive at the weak's expense" thing doesn't really apply when Hitler himself is in the weak position.
  • In D-Tox, the killer hates cops and targets them because they protect the weak, who he views as a social disease that should be exterminated. He claims this is simply "nature's way", longing for a day when their blood will run in the streets.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness: Most of the villains justify themselves with this philosophy.
    • Seith says it's right that the strong prey on the weak, claiming weaker people exist only for him to kill.
    • Vimak blames his own family for being killed with an avalanche, saying he plans to kill everyone living still in their village then build a stronger one in its place. He says the strong preying on the weak is how its always been, with nature working this way.
    • Shathrax meanwhile aims to build a new society with the strong hunting down the weak until only they are left.
  • Fight Club: Tyler wants to destroy modern capitalism and indeed civilization entirely as he believes that it makes people weak. By ending it, they'll be forced to evolve or die.
  • In First Knight, the villain Malagant is a firm believer in this, and cannot understand his rival King Arthur's philosophy that it is the duty of the strong to help and protect the weak. He hypocritically calls Arthur a tyrant for trying to stop him from terrorizing the weak peasants.
  • In Five, Eric believes that the reason he and others survived the atomic blast is because they have a natural immunity, and believes that they have a duty to hunt out other survivors and rule the Earth as a superior breed of humankind; likening them to the people who survived The Black Death in Europe.
  • The Great Dictator: Garbitsch. Right before the barber's famous Rousing Speech that closes the film, Garbitsch gives an evil speech in which he preaches about how might makes right and the strong will conquer the weak.
    Garbitsch: Victory shall come to the worthy. Today, democracy, liberty, and equality are words to fool the people. No nation can progress with such ideas. They stand in the way of action. Therefore, we frankly abolish them. In the future, each man will serve the interest of the State with absolute obedience. Let him who refuses beware! The rights of citizenship will be taken away from all Jews and other non-Aryans. They are inferior and therefore enemies of the state. It is the duty of all true Aryans to hate and despise them.
  • The House That Jack Built: Jack's philosophy as expressed is partly something like this. He notes destruction is natural (comparing people with tigers and sheep, he being in the former) and thus dislikes religion for trying to hold back people's "inner tiger", wanting strong people let loose to destroy the weak. Jack's wish would be for humans to grow more into tigers rather than sheep. He discusses The Lamb and The Tyger poems by William Blake on this theme (his favorite being of course the latter). Verge is disgusted by this, calling him an Antichrist.
  • Howl (2015): Adrian reveals that "survival of the fittest" (and "the most willing to run away") is his overall attitude. As the crisis continues, he expresses clear contempt towards Ged and Jenny for being elderly. He tells Joe they should simply leave the weak and run when it's possible. Later, he leaves Joe and Ellen while escaping, locking them inside to die. His philosophy is disproven when Ellen is the only one to live because Joe sacrificed himself on her behalf. Adrian meanwhile is lost in the forest and gets killed by the werewolves since no one was around to help him (or likely would).
  • In In Time, rich businessman Phillipe Weis says the system where the rich live forever and people die if they go broke fits the policies of "Survival of the Fittest" and "Natural Selection". He's so obsessed with Darwinism that the password to his vault is "12021809", Charles Darwin's birthday.
  • The Island (1980): Dr. Windsor is the pirate tribe's liaison with the modern world. Having stumbled upon them years ago, Windsor admired their primitive brutality and formed a partnership with them, sending vacationing boats towards the tribe, resulting in men and women being butchered and raped, and children kidnapped and brainwashed into joining the tribe. Afterwards, Windsor helps cover the disappearances up and takes some of the spoils for himself. He sends hero Blair Maynard and his son Justin to that fate, and later mocks Blair about his slavery and impending death and how Justin will be made the next pirate captain, describing the tribe as an "anthropologist's dream" and a Petri dish.
  • James Bond:
    • Skyfall: Raoul Silva is a type 5. Using Animal Metaphors, he relates a childhood story to a captive 007, describing how he spent time with his grandmother on an island, where she taught him how to rid the island of its rat infestation by capturing them in oil drums. He utilizes the image of the trapped rats turning to cannibalism as a metaphor for what the life of a spy does to its participants — namely himself. He even describes himself and Bond as the "last two rats standing." In the climax, after killing Silva, Bond throws it back in his face with "Last rat standing".
    • Hugo Drax in Moonraker, who planned to use a lethal nerve gas to wipe out all humans on earth and repopulate it with the ones he chose as superior beings. His evil plan reeks of the A Nazi by Any Other Name flavor, capped off with his intention to repopulate the world with only the human beings he chose as "superior beings." The book had him as a former Nazi in Soviet employ who wanted to show the Brits that Germany was greater through destroying London while making money doing it (by betting against the British pound).
    • A View to a Kill: Carl Mortner, The Dragon to Max Zorin, is a Josef Mengele expy and Evilutionary Biologist who partook in a Super Breeding Program to create Super Soldiers for the Nazis during World War II. His thinking regarding selective breeding has shades of Social Darwinism, commenting on how his principles on horse breeding can also be applied to create the "ideal" human. In fact, he did indeed create a generation of extremely intelligent psychopaths, Zorin being one of them. This is not surprising, as the real Nazis also believed (and attempted) that.
    • The Living Daylights: Brad Whitaker not only sculpted waxwork figures of himself dressed as various tyrants like Adolf Hitler and Attila the Hun out of vanity, he also praises them as "surgeons who cut away society's dead flesh."
  • In A Jolly Bad Fellow, Professor Bowles-Otterly advocates the death penalty for those he considers useless to society, such as gossips, petty bureaucrats, etc. Once he develops a Perfect Poison, he starts putting his beliefs into action.
  • Jurassic World: Hoskins tells Owen early on that nature is filled with war for survival, and he laments that human society has often been free of it, speaking contemptuously of the tourists (clearly implying they wouldn't survive in the wild). After the pterosaurs attack them, Hoskins grins in delight. He shows open admiration of the Indominous rex and velociraptors as efficient killing machines, calling them "nature's gifts" (just before he gets killed by one of the raptors).
  • Some of the villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe follow this viewpoint to varying degrees, often with their own spin on it.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger: The Red Skull abandons the Nazis about a third of the way through the film, not because he necessarily disagrees with their viewpoints, but because he believes himself to be a literal Übermensch, having surpassed humanity. He fully believes this gives him the right to freely kill and dominate other people, and can't understand why Cap holds to his values the way he does.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron: Ultron initially embraces a Well-Intentioned Extremist version of this trope; having been created to bring "peace in our time" he initially intends on using his engineered extinction event to root out the weak, and guiding the strong himself. However, when he's abandoned by the Maximoff twins, and his new body is taken by the Avengers, he drops all pretense of altruism and decides to simply wipe the slate clean so he can rebuild alone.
    • Avengers: Infinity War: Thanos is actually a subversion. One of the key factors of his plan to wipe out half of all life in the universe is randomness, seeking to make sure it's fair and dispassionate to everyone, not to ensure survival for "the worthy" or "the strong". He also considers simply erasing half the lives to be an act of mercy.
    • The Green Goblin in Spider-Man: No Way Home has progressed to this from the extremely violent and vengeful Never Be Hurt Again characterization he had in Spider-Man. His core philosophy is that powerful beings like himself are gods who have risen above human moral fetters and have an absolute right to do as they please, and that any showing of kindness, mercy, or altruism is weakness stemming from remaining traces of humanity. He is also disgusted by weakness of any sort and reacts to it with extreme scorn and contempt, berating Norman Osborn for his resistance and refusal to let the Goblin take over, and later brutally beating and very nearly murdering MCU-Peter for attempting to cure Norman of the Goblin personality, before deciding to kill Aunt May instead once he determines that she is the reason why MCU-Peter won't let go of his humanity. Lastly, when MCU-Peter announces that he's going to kill him, the Goblin seems elated at the prospect, and makes it clear that he believes MCU-Peter has the right to do so by virtue of having shed the last of his humanity and proving himself a superior being.
  • In The Matrix Reloaded, the Architect despises humans at any cost, regardless of imperfection.
    The Architect: Hope. It is the quintessential human delusion. Simultaneously the source of your greatest strength and your greatest weakness.
  • No Escape (1994): Marek doesn't believe in anything except the Law of the Jungle as a basis for society.
  • In Piranha 3DD, David Hasselhoff, playing himself, refuses to help rescue people from the piranha-infested waters, saying he's letting natural selection choose the survivors.
  • The Postman: The Holnists, who are racists, set up a feudal system and have their leadership based on who's the strongest.
  • Rampage (2009): Bill blames overpopulation for the world's ills in the first movie, claiming that he must "cleanse" people. This is later retconned starting with the second film which has him instead emphasize blame on wealth inequality and cries for the people to overthrow their country's banks, conglomerate CEOs, and government. However, Rampage 3 acknowledges Bill's Social Darwinist past and makes a brief explanation of his political change during a filmed rant.
  • The villain of the 1946 film The Spiral Staircase cites this as his reason for killing women with any sort of physical defect, such as the mute heroine:
    "There is no room in this whole world for imperfection. What a pity my father didn't live to see me become strong, to see me dispose of the weak and imperfect of the world, whom he detested. He would have admired me for what I am going to do."
  • Star Trek Beyond: Krall believes that struggle makes you strong, and loathes the Federation's idea it comes from unity, though his people seem pretty united themselves.
  • Star Wars:
  • In Wall Street, Gordon Gekko's philosophy is Social Darwinism of the economic kind. Several of his quotes are "It's a zero-sum game, somebody wins, somebody loses" or "In my book you either do it right or you get eliminated". His entire "Greed is good" speech is of a Social Darwinist nature. However, he only applies this trope to companies: weak people don't die, they just don't succeed in business, which is a fairly basic tenet of capitalism. Of course, he's more than willing to cheat to win if he can't succeed on pure talent (although, given his character, he'd probably just attribute that to his intellectual superiority).
    Gekko: The public's out there throwing darts at a board, sport. I don't throw darts at a board. I bet on sure things. Read Sun Tzu, The Art of War. "Every battle is won before it's ever fought." Think about it. You're not as smart as I thought you were, Buddy boy. Ever wonder why fund managers can't beat the S&P 500? Because they're sheep — and sheep get slaughtered. I have been in the business since '69. Most of these Harvard MBA types, they don't add up to dog shit. Gimme guys who are poor, smart, and hungry. And no feelings. You win some, you lose some, but you keep on fighting. And if you need a friend, get a dog. It's trench warfare out there, pal.
  • Jordan Belfort and all of his underlings at Stratton Oakmont in The Wolf of Wall Street. You're either rich or you're a loser with a miserable life. And if you lose money buying penny stocks from their firm, then it's your fault for being dumb enough to believe their bogus sales pitches.
  • The World of Kanako: Kanako has traits of type 6. She has the habit to choose people who show a lot of weakness (Ogata and the narrator) and then to manipulate them by giving them the feeling they can overcome their weakness and fear, only to completely ruin their lives.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: En Sabah Nur takes this to an extreme level, as always.
    Apocalypse: Together, we will cleanse the Earth for the strongest.

  • An old joke: two friends are trekking through the jungle and set up camp for the night. At one point, one of them sits bolt upright and says "Listen! I heard a sound. I think it's a lion." The other simply gets out of bed and starts putting on a pair of shoes. The first friend looks at the second friend incredulously and says "What on Earth are you doing? You can't possibly outrun a lion." The second friend looks the first right in the eye and says: "I don't have to outrun the lion."
    • Deconstructed in the Doctor Who story discussed below; while explaining the joke to a listener who didn't get it,note  the Doctor points out that while it's effective in a ruthless sort of way, it's effective one time only — who's the surviving friend going to outrun when the next lion shows up?

Examples by author:
  • In both the Tarzan series and his lesser-known sci fi Venus series Edgar Rice Burroughs depicted what might be called "eugenics utopias", societies that strictly regulated heredity. This ranged from rewarding "fit" births, forced sterilization and even killing people deemed unfit. In the Tarzan example, this has gone on for over 2,000 years, with the result that no crime exists. Burroughs firmly believed that all criminal behavior was caused by hereditary traits, and strongly supported eugenics, writing a nonfiction essay called "I See a New Race" which made clear this reflected his own views.
  • John Taylor Gatto (a former schoolteacher) has published works on the history of schooling and argued that social Darwinism was the point. School is based on a "mudsill theory" of man in which everyone but a small section of humanity is considered to be worthless. Darwinian competitions in school are supposed to flush out the trash, i.e. anyone who cannot fit into the environment and thrive.
  • Plato:
  • The Marquis de Sade expressed this viewpoint in his works, saying the strong should be free to prey upon the weak, while compassion and charity are bad. He said murder and rape should be legal: if the victim or their loved ones didn't like this, he generously allowed that they could take revenge; if the attacker wasn't strong enough to defeat them, well that was his problem (yet he himself was hardly strong enough to fend off one of his victim's fathers and narrowly escaped being shot by him). This was he thought simply the way Nature works, and thus society should too. His characters claimed the disabled, poor, and sick should just be killed or used as guinea pigs for medical research. Note that this was before Darwin's birth, though ideas of evolution already existed, which De Sade was possibly familiar with, since his view justifies this by claiming that destroying or exploiting the weak benefits the human race (in a crude proto-natural selection which many Social Darwinists held later). Laws which defended the weak, of course, his work denounced as "unnatural" and preventing a healthy exploitation/culling. At least one commenter has called him a Social Darwinist before the term existed, while others see parallels with later thinkers who held similar views.
Examples by title:
  • In And Then There Were None, Philip Lombard fits this category quite nicely. He freely admits to having left twenty-one African men to starve to death and is well-known for participating in quasi-legal activities. His justification is, "self-preservation is a man's first duty." However, this ultimately becomes his own undoing during the showdown between himself and Vera Claythorne at the end.
  • Animorphs:
    • Visser One subscribes to this philosophy, believing that morality is merely a 'shield for the weak' and that it is all about 'the hunger for power'. She kills several people just out of assuming they're as ruthless as she is. It turns out she doesn't totally believe this since she had a soft spot for the children she raised while on Earth. One of the reasons she took a less forceful approach to conquering Earth was to avoid endangering them.
    • Crayak's goal is to pit race against race, the winners growing stronger with each engagement until only one species is left which will then revere him as a god.
  • The Arts of Dark and Light: Theoretical science in Selenoth is advanced enough that an equivalent of Darwinian theory has emerged, aided perhaps by magical experimentation. In Savondir, this is part of the state's ideology, to the point that it sponsors eugenics programs.
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: The rules of succession in nobility work like this, with the added factor that children within a same family can be born with different amounts of Mana. The noble-born blue priests are actually children born with so little mana in regard to their family's standing that their parents aren't bothering to raise them as potential heirs.
  • Judge Holden from Blood Meridian preaches an extremist version of this. When asked how to raise children:
    "At a young age, said the judge, they should be put in a pit with wild dogs. They should be set to puzzle out from their proper clues the one of three doors that does not harbor wild lions. They should be made to run naked in the desert until..."
    "Hold on now," said Tobin. "The question was put in all earnestness."
    "And the answer, man," said the judge. "If God meant to interfere in the degeneracy of mankind, would he not have done so by now? Wolves cull themselves, man. What other creature could? And is the race of man not more predacious yet?"
  • Caging Skies: After the Nazi annexation of Austria, the school system begins to teach what they believe: all life is a struggle for existence, theirs is the highest race, with most being "semi-apes" who must be wiped out as a threat, while mixing with them is the worst of all, since it diminishes this "superiority". Everyone has to do their part as a soldier in the struggle, not only through fighting, but breeding since the Aryans' birth rate has fallen.
  • Catch-22 ultimately boils down to this, as the American soldiers justify committing war crimes as Catch-22 gives them the right to do anything they can't be stopped from doing.
  • Catwoman: Soulstealer: After learning that the Lazarus Pit can heal people, Selina asks Nyssa if Maggie can use it to cure her cystic fibrosis. In response, Nyssa says that it's natural selection and the Pit won't be provided to "useless" people like Maggie. This convinces Selina to steal the Pit's formula so she can make one for Maggie herself. Even earlier, Selina notes that the League really likes its trainees fighting each other when competing (including them throwing rocks at people ahead in hopes of slowing or stopping them), to weed out the weak so survival of the fittest takes place, saying (after learning about it in biology) that they take Darwinism pretty far. It's also possibly their motive for plotting against Gotham, viewing it as corrupt, thus possibly weak and unfit to remain existing according to their Social Darwinist philosophy.
  • Several superpowered characters living in Academy City in A Certain Magical Index believe the powerful rule and the weak are just fodder and playthings for them. Shizuri Mugino used to be like this, but after her Heel–Face Turn, she's done a full 180 turn in attitude. Having grown to love and respect Shiage Hamazura, the Badass Normal who managed to defeat her, she learns about how Academy City allocates funds to people with promising powers while denying them to people with weak powers or none (like Shiage), assuming they are worthless. Mugino gets angry and declares that Shiage may not have any powers, but he is definitely not worthless.
  • Quoth Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol: "If they would rather die, they had better do it, and thereby decrease the surplus population." And you'd better believe this comes back to bite him later on.
  • Crom, god of the Cimmerians in the Conan the Barbarian stories. He breathes life and strength into his followers at birth, but after that, they're on their own. Any plea for help is more likely to be punished than rewarded.
  • The Courtship of Princess Leia: Isolder argues certain people are most genetically fit to rule, as with social carnivores, and this being the right way of doing things (he's a prince himself, making it an unsurprising view). Luke of all people thinks this might have some merit to it, distasteful though the idea may be. Leia (herself a princess, of course) disagrees strongly with this (the Alderaanian monarchy was far more limited than the one Isolder's from), plus she was adopted and thus can't claim "superior" royal blood (he doesn't realize this, from his comments — oddly, as she's Luke's sister, who's not royalty).
  • In Courtship Rite, the entire population of the world of Geta are Straw Meritocrat Social Darwinists; the native life of the planet is mostly not edible, and famines are historically common. Cannibalism is part of their way of life, in which people with less kalothi (worthiness to survive) go to feed those of higher kalothi in times of need. The end of the book reveals that in the far future they have become a different species. The idea of Social Darwinism is so ingrained in their culture that even one character who is a self-proclaimed "vegetarian" and openly advocates an end to the "sacrifices" believes in eugenics. She doesn't think carriers of genetic disorders should reproduce.
  • Cradle Series: Due to rampant Asskicking Leads to Leadership, this is common, often mixed with blatant hypocrisy and Moral Myopia. The grand prize, however, goes to Seshethkunaaz, the King of Dragons. He was raised by humans, and loves them as powerful and unique individuals. But his adoptive brother was executed for murdering someone far weaker than him, which Seshethkunaaz considers unnatural. So while he loves humans, he hates human civilization, and believes that by destroying society and making everyone fight for everything, everyone will benefit. His domain is a horrific land of barbarians where the strong steal from the weak and then declare bloody oaths of vengeance if the weak dare to fight back. That sort of thing happens in the rest of the world too, but his domain is so bad that even the rest of the world considers it the worst place to be human.
  • In Darkover Landfall, humans arrive on Darkover as the survivors of a crashed starship — fortunately a colony ship, unfortunately meant for another world altogether with existing infrastructure. Fewer than 70 women survived who might be capable of childbearing. The medical practitioners deliberately decided not to make any special effort to save any woman who looked like dying in childbirth, on the grounds that their gene pool wasn't large enough to include the weak. Definitely an example of a Racism Theorist — and this is presented as an I Did What I Had to Do situation. An especially bad example because 70 females is nowhere near enough genetic diversity to sustain a population.
  • In The Dark Side of the Sun, after the new security guy reaps the rewards of Fantastic Racism and being Too Dumb to Live, an alien witness comments:
    Hrsh-Hgn: Intelligence is humanity's prime survival trait, therefore it is as well that those who don't show it be weeded out.
  • In Destiny's Star by Elizabeth Vaughan, the protagonists are sent to the land of The Plains, where the inhabitants are a Proud Warrior Race. They do not have doctors or healers, as anyone who gets sick or injured are immediately killed unless magical healing is available. The heroine gets a broken leg but survives by persuading them to wait until she completes a sacred duty first. Her leg is eventually magically healed.
  • The Discworld novels contain quite a few of these characters.
    • In Wyrd Sisters, Lady Felmett repeatedly describes those not as ruthless and tyrannical as her as "weak".
    • In Interesting Times, the Agatean Empire's entire ruling class is more or less like this, although with very specific rules. It's perfectly acceptable to assassinate your own parents, but not the Emperor himself — the "correct" move is to put him in a position where you have leverage.
    • Carpe Jugulum has Count Magpyr and his family, who through most of the book speak condescendingly of every other species on the Discworld, view humans only as prey for vampires, and look down on other vampires who haven't overcome traditional vampire weaknesses like they have. Appropriately, it's revealed that the "weaknesses" of traditional vampires are actually survival mechanisms that keep the vampires safe from their main predator: hordes of angry peasants.
    • The Fifth Elephant introduces Sergeant Angua's werewolf-supremacist brother Wolfgang, who leads a Nazi-esque gang of like-minded young werewolves.
  • Domina: One of the Fictional Political Parties, the Kongeegen (usually just called "the Kongs"), are this. While they don't get much attention, they're part of the reason that there are so many gangs running around killing each other all the time, as they prefer it that way.
  • Doom Valley Prep School: Doom Valley Prep is a fairly firm believer in the Struggler part of social Darwinism. They allow extreme bullying, blame the victim for not being strong or smart enough to stop it, and will give students extremely dangerous tests and detentions that can end in death. But the school also realize that cooperation is a useful tool. The teachers are impressed by Princess Ella because she uses her position and money to gain willing allies and minions. And after a secret test, they told the weakers students who had failed, that they should have allied themselves to stronger students, as friends or useful minions. Then the teachers chastised some of the bullies who didn't use the test to gain willing allies or even unwilling minions. Survival and success is all important, how they achieve it is secondary.
  • In The Dresden Files, this trope largely defines the Winter Court. Winterfae consider killing someone over an insult to be admirable and even attractive, as we see firsthand in Cold Days. Along with the psychopathic, sexually violent urges forced on anyone who taps into Winter's power. It turns out that they have a very good reason for this — they also value loyalty to Queen Mab, and they're trying to recruit as many strong soldiers as possible for an endless war against the horrors beyond the veil. Summer Court exists to prevent them from hurting other people.
  • Deconstructed in A Frozen Heart, a Tie-In Novel to Frozen (2013). Prince Hans's father, the king of the Southern Isles, is a mix of the Straw Meritocrat, the Struggler and the Weakness Punisher types. Thinking his sons should be "lions, not mice," he deliberately lets them torment each other and picks favorites amongst them so they'll compete for his affections. However, this causes his sons to develop serious psychological issues, while also leaving the entire Westergaard clan dysfunctional. By the end of A Frozen Heart, his toxic influence has corroded Hans into becoming an unfeeling and ruthless man, driving him to dehumanize others (including Elsa, Anna, and the Duke of Weselton) in his quest for power.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Salazar Slytherin was a firm believer in this in the books. Lord Voldemort (his direct descendant and heir) and the Death Eaters have great shades of this philosophy as well (fitting, as they were expies of Hitler and the Nazis). They believe that magical strength and purity is in the blood, and therefore Pure-Bloods are more powerful than Half-Bloods or Muggleborns (Mudbloods). In later days, as Pure-Bloods grew fewer and fewer, they didn't care too much about Half-Bloods, so long as you weren't a Mudblood, but they were still out to remove all Mudbloods and subjugate the Muggles because they believed that it was their right as wizards to reign over the less-powerful.
    • Gellert Grindelwald and Albus Dumbledore fought for the subjugation of the Muggles specifically For the Greater Good (which was actually Grindelwald's slogan) in their younger days. Grindelwald carried on, but his partner had a falling out after an altercation between him, his brother, and Grindelwald, which resulted in the death of his sister and changed him forever.
    • In another vein, the Elder Wand itself may be an item promoting this. As a wand of immense power, nigh-unbeatable by any challenger who is not the rightful wielder of it, its owner would consistently grow stronger and stronger (barring an opponent killing its owner in a secretive way, which was common occurrence) until in theory, it would reach the pinnacle of its power (a wielder who would never be beaten and die peacefully) where its power would vanish as there would no longer be a rightful wielder.
  • Courtmother Rhiallon from Heralds of Rhimn. She expresses distaste for Courtfather Snow’s choice to take in "weak" children, and insists that her stronger court would ruin his if they started an open feud.
  • The Mesan Alignment in the Honor Harrington stories believe that their superior genetics mean that they should be running the galaxy.
  • In Illegal Alien by Robert J. Sawyer, the Tosoks justify their genocidal actions this way, saying that if they aren't divine creations and with their periodic hybernations leaving them vulnerable to sneak attacks, it is simply "survival of the fittest" to attack and kill other species (with the exception of the faction that Hask and Seltar are from, who try to stop it).
  • Industrial Society and Its Future: Kaczynski's ideology has shades of this. One objection he has to modern medicine for instance is that it might keep alive people who have "bad" genes, thus spreading them in the human population rather than them being weeded out by natural selection over time. However, he rejects using eugenics against this, saying it would only increase the power of the “system” which in his view only oppresses humanity. Instead, he wants pre-industrial living again where people who have such genes will die out over time.
  • Into the Drowning Deep: Egomaniac Hunter Michi thinks endangered species are fair game since if God didn't want them killed by humans, he would have given them superior means of surviving.
  • The Legend of Drizzt: Most Drow culture and morality is entirely Social Darwinist. They kill all disabled babies at birth, practice eugenic selective breeding, believe themselves a Superior Species with the goals to enslave all Underdark races and exterminate their elven cousins while seizing their wealth. To that end, they are constantly struggling with each other, and Drow noble Houses frequently exterminate others (or attempt it). It's permitted so long as a House is completely wiped out. Failures, with surviving accusers, result in the government wiping out the attacking House. It extends to their laws in general, where though punishments do exist the real crime is getting caught by the authorities. They have a strict class society with commoners oppressed servants of nobles, and many non-Drow slaves as well. Males are also deemed inferior to females, kept in a subordinate position. All this is meant to make them fierce and strong, but in fact it's self-destructive, preventing them from ever fulfilling their supposed greater goals. Lolth, the evil god they worship who commands this, doesn't really care about the greater goals as them constantly fighting each other is what she finds pleasing. Drow are mostly a cruel, suspicious, treacherous people as a result, constantly prone to back-stabbing even family when it serves them and disdaining compassion or love as weakness. Because of this, they're unable to achieve organization larger than city-states, thus an empire capable of their supposed goals is beyond reach anyway.
  • Rudolf von Goldenbaum from Legend of the Galactic Heroes firmly believes in this trope. One of the most infamous laws he passed after he established the Galactic Empire was the so-called "Inferior Genes Exclusion Law", which essentially involved the killing of people deemed to possess "inferior genes".
  • LoLo Apollo: I'm Afraid of Americans: This is Nick Trophy's ultimate goal, a world where every day is a brutal fight for survival, with himself lording over and reveling in the endless struggle for power:
    He would drag them all down into the pit, and he would reorder the system so that nothing could exist within order. All the chaos, and the violence of beasts, would be ensured as part of the code then, and Death, in Nick’s Earthly Kingdom, would be the Exalted Mother — hated, feared, and yet, unerringly served. And he would, in a world without peace, without peace by design, reign as a wild, black pharaoh for eight billion years, the final master of the world, the ultimate winner of every game there is to be played.
  • Lord Marksman and Vanadis: Duke Thenardier, one of the main antagonists of the first five volumes, is this due to his upbringing by his father. He killed all of his siblings to rise to power and holds no sympathy for anyone he considers weak besides his son, which is why he decides to raze Alsace to the ground in Volume 1 and levies ridiculously high taxes on anyone he considers useless or weak.
  • Monster: A Novel of Frankenstein: Victor Frankenstein justifies his actions, including his horrific experiments, by way of saying that the strong prey on the weak.
  • Mortal Engines has Municipal Darwinism, a system by which the inhabitants of mobile cities justify eating smaller mobile cities, stripping them down for spares, and selling their inhabitants into slavery. Large cities eat small cities, cities eat towns, towns eat suburbs (all of the above are gigantic and mechanized). Everyone picks on "static" settlements, which form the Anti-Traction League and fight back with hordes of airships and suicide bombers. This is not a sustainable "ecology" since there isn't much in the way of outside resources coming into the system. The real ecosystem takes energy from the sun via plants, the cities don't do much of that.
  • General Zaroff's excuse for hunting others for his amusement in "The Most Dangerous Game" stems from the fact that he believes that the people that he hunts are weak and that he is strong. The other excuse is that hunting animals was starting to bore him.
  • In The Mouse Watch, this is the reason given for one character's Face–Heel Turn.
    Digit: The fact is, there's nobody more important than yourself. Nature demands the survival of the fittest. You have to take care of number one. Everything about the Watch being as good as all of its parts is sentimental nonsense. In the end, it's every mouse for itself.
  • CEO Nicholas Wyatt in Paranoia is this personified, viewing anyone who doesn't measure up as unworthy of surviving in the corporate world. This makes his total loss to Goddard at the end of the book rather fitting.
  • The Postman: Holnists, who firmly believe that the strong should rule the weak, the only possible law is the law of the jungle and idealistic principles are only good for fools.
  • The Psychology of Time Travel: Margaret, the leader of the Conclave, belongs to the Weakness Punisher and Struggler types. She has no tolerance for mental "weakness" and either fires or conditions the employees who don't meet her standards. Her attitude spreads through the entire Conclave, creating an environment full of time travellers with reduced empathy and competitive spirits.
  • The future dystopia in Red Rising runs according to this philosophy. Democracy is scorned because of how it allows the "weak" a say and instead, society is rigidly stratified with castes genetically engineered to look differently, with the highest caste, the Goldes, being tall and muscular "gods" with Supernatural Gold Eyes. Within the Gold caste itself, leaders are selected according to Social Darwinism by use of The Spartan Way — the first night in, pairs of student trainees are put in a room together and only one is allowed to leave alive. After that, students take part in a deadly version of Capture the Flag in which proctors do nothing to prevent cheating let alone abusing or killing opponents. The goal is so that whoever comes out alive or (better yet) wins the game will be the best leader on account of being the most clever and ruthless.
  • In Refugees, some of the alien Benefactors are convinced that the humans are a genetically-flawed species and must be interbred with others to make them stronger.
  • The Reluctant King: In one of Jorian's folk tales, a criminal explains himself with such a philosophy. His sole motive in robbing or killing people is always to see who's stronger, and it gives him satisfaction finding that it's him.
  • Wolf Larsen in The Sea Wolf.
    Wolf Larsen: The big eat the small. The strong eat the weak. The lucky eat the most and move the longest, that is all.
  • The Secret Agent: The Professor has views like this, wanting to crush those he considers weak (even though he himself is not really strong in any way).
  • Shoteka from Seeker Bears, Toklo's rival, tells him that weak bears should be killed or else the healthier bears would die as well.
  • The Ship Who...:
    • The Ship Who Searched has a minor character (Haakon-Fritz) who fits this. He actually belongs to an organization called the Neo-Darwinists. When the archaeological team he's on is attacked by a pack of alien wolves, his response is to bolt for the nearest building and lock the door, leaving the rest of the team out.
    • The villains of The City Who Fought are the Kolnari, social Darwinists who, like the Fremen, have grown up in an extremely harsh environment. They're so dedicated to this that they are well into the Stupid Evil category — when they take over a Space Station and station residents start picking them off and infecting them with a Synthetic Plague, the Kolnari leader Belazhir sees no reason to hunt for the perpetrators or provide medical care to the sick. Clearly they are weak, and the weak die to leave the rest stronger! He even deliberately spreads this illness to the rest of his people, with absolutely catastrophic effects as an entire generation dies. In the aftermath, one of his sons is soft and would have been culled for this weakness, but there are so few Kolnari left that Belazhir simply allows him to take an action that will probably kill him.
  • In SilverFin, Randolph Hellebore is obsessed with weeding what he sees as weakness and uses his son as a test subject for his theories.
  • Starship Troopers: The Federation, and Rico himself.
    • Commenting on the planet Sanctuary:
      Sanctuary is going to be fully settled, either by us or by the Bugs. Or by somebody. It is a potential utopia, and, with desirable real estate so scarce in this end of the Galaxy, it will not be left in the possession of primitive life forms that failed to make the grade.
    • And commenting on the human wars of the past:
      Without debating the usefulness or morality of planned parenthood, it may be verified by observation that any breed which stops its own increase gets crowded out by breeds which expand. Some human populations did so, in Terran history, and other breeds moved in and engulfed them.
  • The superhumans in Star Trek: The Eugenics Wars are superior in every measurable way. Both they and the scientists that created them believe that this makes them the natural next step in human evolution and more worthy of inheriting the planet.
  • As mentioned above in Film, in Star Wars Legends this appears to be at the core of the Sith philosophy, and their code is built around mastering the Force to remove their limitations. Every trial that they face is to be faced head-on, and if they break, then they never deserved power in the first place. It is notable that very few actual Sith follow through on this philosophy. Actually, the Rule of Two is the same logic, as the Master could expect innumerable assassination attempts by the apprentice, for only by seizing power could any Sith Lord prove he was a Master.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime:
    • Monster society as a whole believes in this to at least some extent, as Asskicking Leads to Leadership and Rank Scales with Asskicking is engrained into their very beings: The stronger and better an asskicker you are (plus the willingness to use said capabilities) directly ties into your ability to grow into an even stronger and better asskicker with plenty of new powers. Even monsters who take a more nuanced view on equality and valuing those weaker than them still understand strength above anything else is necessary, if only to deter those who would abuse their own strength on those they love.
    • Vega "The Power" is a mutant human who takes this mindset and filters it through Blue-and-Orange Morality. Due to his Dark and Troubled Past growing up as a reviled monster who had to eat anything he could get his hands on (including eventually humans) while on the streets, he genuinely believes that strength overrides anything else. If you're strong, you shouldn't care for the opinions of those weaker than you and instead make them stepping stones to your growth (figuratively and literally) while loyally serving those stronger than you until you surpass them yourself or someone stronger comes along to kick them off the hill, at which point you serve them loyally. He sees no problem with being a Team Killer because his Cannibalism Superpower ensures their strength is still being put to use. He'll switch loyalties at the drop of a hat if sufficiently impressed by the enemy's power and turn in his resignation with attempted murder as a final test of his own growing strength. The only thing that surpasses his belief in strength is his belief in survival as he will never fight a losing battle and use any method to escape and get stronger for the possible rematch.
  • Trapped in a Dating Sim: Otome Games Are Tough For Us, Too! has a Alpha Bitch noblewoman who echoes type 5. She tells Marie's crying friend Yulia, who just lost her boyfriend to war, to Quit Your Whining, explaining that War Is Glorious and that Yulia should be happy that such an honorable man was interested in her, before revealing that several men who courted her were injured or killed, saying she has no interest in such weak men as the hospitalized ones. All of this, with the final straw of calling Marie's boyfriend ugly, crosses Cute Bruiser Marie's Rage Breaking Point and sends her into an Unstoppable Rage rampage, before afterwards deciding to volunteer at hospitals instead of attending classes.
  • Troy Rising: The Horvath believe and practice this. They cull undesirable genetic lines among their own people and try to do the same to humans by releasing five genetically engineered pathogens into Earth's atmosphere. The first one is a nematode (tiny worm) that starts by producing a pimple on the inner left wrist. If it's not treated with some basic tools (sanitizing and bandaging the small wound), the infestation spreads quickly, and the person dies. Thus, they seek to cull those who they see are careless, stupid, or economically disadvantaged. The other four are viruses, each targeting specific genetic traits. For some reason, the final virus targets anyone who doesn't carry the gene for blonde hair, with an estimated 90% casualty rate across the globe. The Glatun are already aware of the pathogens and have come up with a cure. Except their rules state that Earth has to officially request aid for them to intervene.
  • Subverted in Tuf Voyaging with the planet S'uthlam. The dominant religion believes that man can someday evolve into God, but they emphasize random mutation over struggle as the driver of evolution: as such they encourage everyone to multiply as much as possible to increase the opportunities for mutation. By their third appearance, they're planning to conquer the neighboring systems for more living space, so Tuf gives them a superfood that could satisfy their dietary needs, and carries a Sterility Plague, though he estimates that between 0.3 and 0.7% of the population will be resistant, and natural selection will enable the population to recover eventually.
  • Sylvester, the protagonist of Twig, is a variant on the Struggler with an emphasis on community and social bonds. Acknowledging that humans are at their core a social species, his belief is that through the conflicts caused by individuals holding different beliefs, stronger bonds, and connections are created as ideas are challenged and developed, and thus humanity advances and avoids the twin dangers of "stupidity and stagnation." He therefore sees a perfect world as one made of individuals with distinct ethical and moral codes who are in constant conflict, forming bonds with one another and driving one another to improve.
  • While Governor Kraft in Victoria: A Novel of 4th Generation War never invokes Darwin, his philosophy has strong elements of this: welfare is cut off in the Confederation and those who don't work shouldn't expect to eat; (voluntary) euthanasia for the unfit is encouraged; and War Is Glorious because it sifts the wheat from the chaff and destroys illusions and false ideologies, leaving only truth and righteousness standing. To be fair, he defends these beliefs in a post-apocalyptic society, where there simply aren't the resources to care for everyone; also, there's a neo-Nazi faction in the same setting who emphasize this even more, and he thinks they go too far with it.
  • Villains by Necessity: Kaylana's religion seems to believe in something like this, since she tells the Good god Mula that conflict isn't just inherent to nature, but also society, with the strong thriving as the weak die. However, it also advocates balance, as if either Good or Evil wins, this will destroy the world, which is the threat in the book.
  • The Artilleryman in The War of the Worlds (1898): "I mean that men like me are going on living — for the sake of the breed. I tell you, I'm grim set on living. And if I'm not mistaken, you'll show what insides you've got, too, before long. ... All these — the sort of people that lived in these houses, and all those damn little clerks that used to live down that way — they'd be no good."
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Tigerstar and other villains say that weak cats should either look after themselves or die.
    • In Crookedstar's Promise, Crookedstar and Oakheart's mother Rainflower arrange for the latter to be mentored by their father Shellheart... though it's uncommon for parents to mentor their children in the series. When questioned about it, she declares that only the strongest mentors could train the best apprentices — right in front of Crookedstar.
  • Watership Down: Though one can't expect bunnies to have heard of Charles Darwin, officers of Efrafa's Owsla are given full mating privileges, suggesting that Woundwort wants only his strongest bucks to father the kittens in his warren. Subverted by Nature itself, as the badly overcrowded environment does fail to sustain the pregnancies that result.
  • Whateley Universe has Crucible, a Well-Intentioned Extremist Struggler, who goes around making people 'live up to their potential' by using hypertech to deliberately cause disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and meteor strikes. To him, what is a few thousand deaths and tens of thousands of lives ruined if it manages to make a hundred or so people 'rise to the occasion' and become more heroic, more aware, and more thankful for their lives?
  • The Dark One from The Wheel of Time. This clearly backfires because his chief servants, the Forsaken, fight with each other as much as with Rand al'Thor — except that he actually seems to like that, too. He is the personification of not only evil, but also chaos and paradox, after all.
  • Who Needs Men?: Anglia's ideology proclaims that their all-female society is a higher stage of evolution than two-sexed humanity. They are the stronger, the inheritors of the world, and so the vestiges of the obsolete species must be wiped out to make way for progress and development, and prevent the possibility of them regressing into lower forms of life.
  • Shadow Stalker of Worm is the selfish type, embracing a twisted Might Makes Right philosophy more to justify her own general sociopathy than out of any genuine ideology. Sharing this philosophy with a mentally fragile Emma played a major part in Taylor's backstory.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Nietzscheans in Andromeda are a Human Subspecies originally developed by an Evilutionary Biologist and his followers. Their descendants have evolved into a Proud Warrior Race obsessed with the preservation of their genes and divided into constantly warring "Prides." While usually adversarial to the protagonists there are some willing to form alliances with them, albeit in the form of a long-term Enemy Mine situation. Unlike most examples they also tend to be caring parents (protecting their genetic legacy) with children one of the few things they'll sacrifice their lives for.
  • Almost every bad guy in Babylon 5.
    • The Shadows, known as the Lords of Chaos, espouse a Social Darwinist attitude and manipulate the younger races into interstellar wars to promote chaos and disorder where the strongest rise to the top (it's their way of "helping"). Their Armor-Piercing Question, "What do you want?", embodies this by defining the answerer entirely by their own drives and ambitions.
    • The faction of PsiCorps led by Bester also believes this. One has to wonder how they would react if they learned that the development of telepathy was not the result of evolution, but genetic tampering by the Vorlons...
    • The Season 1 episode "Infection" involves an alien war machine that is one of the last surviving relics of the Ikarran civilization. It turns out that the machines were created to defend the Ikarrans from invaders, so they were programmed to destroy anything that wasn't "pure Ikarran". However, the definition of "pure Ikarran" was set by dogmatic politicians and religious leaders rather than scientists, who probably could've told them that there's really no such thing as "purity" in species genetics. Since no actual Ikarran lived up to their definition of "pure Ikarran", the machines ended up wiping out their own civilization.
    • The title character in the episode "Deathwalker" is yet another case of this. Her species, the Dilgar, invaded multiple other races in a war a few decades ago, during which she was apparently the alien equivalent of Dr. Mengele. However, the Dilgar were defeated and driven back to their own planet. Their star went supernova, wiping out the Dilgar on their home planet. She claims that the other races earned the Longevity Treatment she developed by driving her race to extinction, but is actually attempting to get revenge by giving them a serum that requires Human Resources to make, thus driving them into chaos if her ship hadn't been vaporized by the Vorlons.
    • The episode "Acts of Sacrifice" has Ivanova trying to negotiate with the Lumati, an alien Planet of Hats species who strongly believe in Social Darwinism; when they discover Downbelow, the "slum" of the station, they approve the "segregation" of "unwanted" elements and agree to grant the desired treaty as well as implement the same system on the Lumati homeworld. When Ivanova tries to correct their misinterpretation, they gently chastise her for her unnecessary modesty.
    • In fifth season episode "Secrets of the Soul", all members of the Interstellar Alliance are supposed to be sharing medical information. The Hyach are holding out on Dr. Franklin. He discovers there was once another sentient species on their planet, the Hyach-do. There was some interbreeding. The Hyach passed religious laws that prohibited the interbreeding and eventually wiped out the Hyach-do. After they became an interstellar race, the Hyach censored this part of their history from official documents. Over time, their birthrate slowed. Dr. Franklin discovered that the Hyach needed a genetic component from the Hyach-do. By committing genocide, the Hyach may have eliminated their own race also. It isn't revealed if the Alliance found a solution for them.
  • Being Human (US): Liam believes exterminating vampires is simply helping Nature along after most get killed by a virus.
  • The Boys (2019): Stormfront, hands down, is A Nazi by Any Other Name with her Super Supremacist agenda; to her, the slaughter of non-powered humans is an obligation. Even worse, she is an immortal Nazi scientist('s wife).
  • Charité at War plays in the last years of Nazi Germany in a hospital and thus makes a major theme of the perversion of the medical profession for the sake of Social Darwinism. A mother is willing to give up her Down Syndrome daughter for probable euthanasia, Professor de Crinis teaches about sorting out "unworthy lives" as if it were the most normal thing in the world, and Artur, an aspiring young doctor, takes no issue with testing a new vaccine on disabled children. Then there are the methodical mass murders of "undesirables" (disabled, mentally ill, homosexuals, Jews, ...) for the sake of "race purity", of which most people are aware on some level, although they are either unable to acknowledge the horrible truth or just plain say nothing. Protagonist Anni starts out as one of those but has to reconsider her passive compliance when her own daughter is born disabled.
  • The Bad Future Overlord version of Wyatt Halliwell in Charmed (1998) often invokes this trope. His morality was twisted by having to constantly fend off Elder Gideon's attempts to kill him whilst holding him in captivity, presumably until he finally killed Gideon himself. He rules both the mortal plane and the Underworld with an iron fist. His brother Chris has never been able to sway him to good or escape his target list, because of his philosophy that power rests Above Good and Evil.
  • Cleverman: Jarrod gives this as his motive for experimenting with DNA from Hairypeople to use in enhancing humans (including himself and his child, without his wife's knowledge), while claiming humanity's near a tipping point and only the fit will survive as a result of climate change related disasters.
  • Crisis on Earth-X: Supergirl's evil counterpart Overgirl thinks she has the right to rule over the humans and thinks that everything weak should be purged. This isn't surprising, since like the other mirror versions of the heroes, Overgirl is a Nazi.
  • Dark Angel: The Familiars cult believes they are meant to replace baseline humans as a result of their superior breeding. Ames White even mocks the idea that "the meek shall inherit the Earth" explicitly.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Sutekh the Destroyer from "Pyramids of Mars" takes this trope to an extreme. He wants to wipe out all life so nothing can evolve that can threaten him, despite being a Physical God who is capable of destroying planets and who not even the Time Lords can stop.
    • "Survival" deconstructs this trope/worldview in several ways, most notably by turning the Master into an essentially Social Darwinist villain — all the other characters are exploited for his own survival. He manipulates The Dragon, Midge, by playing on Social Darwinist beliefs — a specific comment on Thatcherism in 1980s Britain. There's also a bullet-headed Territorial Army type who's a determined believer in this type of philosophy, only to completely fall apart when he finds himself thrown into an environment where he has to actually practice it. It doesn't end well for him. Ultimately, the 'weaker' characters who work together and are able to overcome their purely individualistic/survivalist instincts do okay, the 'stronger' ones who can't and fall into this trope die or meet fates worse than death.
    • Daleks in general are genetically programmed (by design) with the innate desire to kill all 'disgusting and inferior' life forms, which usually means all other life in the universe, but also their own species and even themselves when they experience a moment of weakness or discover a cosmically rare moment of empathy. While they have succeeded at surviving through the genocide of those around them, they have utterly failed at everything else; left screaming in their own indomitable husks, they are little more than rage-filled player characters on god mode, unable to achieve anything without cruelty and slaughter.
    • Lady Cassandra is a "racial eugenicist" and "weak people are scum" mix. Since she recognizes Rose as a pure-blooded human like her, Cassandra might be a parody/deconstruction of your stereotypical white supremacist and conservative villain. This is further supported by the fact that she looks down on people who simply lack wealth. In a bit of a subversion, she does like the people who remain loyal to her, showing that while she has grown mentally disturbed and homicial, she still isn't a complete psychopath either.
  • Extraordinary Attorney Woo: Min-woo is a Straw Meritocrat who seeks to show that he's superior to other lawyers. This leads to him using underhanded tactics like withholding information from others, posting negative comments online, and advocating that others be punished for misdeeds. This grates on Myung-seok, his supervisor, who doesn't believe in operating in such a fashion. Min-woo eventually agrees to sabotage Hanbada from the inside in exchange for a position at Taesan, a larger firm.
  • A French Village: The Milice leader Janvier gives his godchildren a hammy speech expressing his views, saying humans are animals living by one law: dominate or be dominated. In order to dominate, he says they all must do terrible things, and blames his side's defeat on not doing enough of them.
  • The Handmaid's Tale: In a meeting with the other Commanders, Joseph Lawrence cites Darwin himself in The Descent of Man to implicitly argue that women are inferior. Oddly, despite them being part of an ultra-fundamentalist Christian regime, no one appears to have a problem with this (most American fundamentalists completely reject evolution, and view Darwin as evil). It's left unclear if he really believes this or is just making himself look good for the rest so they won't grow suspicious. Subverted, though, considering that the book is about the female superiority over males in the mate selection process. It was also edited by Darwin's wife and daughter before publishing (this may have been an inside joke from Lawrence).
  • Sylar of Heroes. Even he himself defines his actions in terms of evolution. Interestingly enough, he'll generally leave normal people alone as long as they don't stand in his way.
  • Frank Underwood in House of Cards (US). He is determined to destroy the traditional American safety nets (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) in favor of forcing all American citizens regardless of poor health or disadvantage to just get a job so that the weak can be eliminated. Frank also has no qualms about the many heinous acts he commits (murders, defamation, betrayal) or the people he must destroy first to become Florida Man.
    Underwood: A lion does not ask permission before he eats a zebra. Lions cannot talk and zebras will not listen.
  • Into the Badlands: Baron Chau is a firm believer that the strong will rise to the top, no matter what.
    The Widow: Five-eight-four-three. That was my number in your Cog pens. I was 13-years-old, we were herded like animals, jammed in until we could barely breathe. Torture and rape were a way of life. So please don't lecture me on the virtues of the system. Because I've experienced it firsthand.
    Baron Chau: And yet, here you are, a Baron. You know, Quinn was a Cog too. The strong always rise to the top. That's always been the case with any species.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Greater-Scope Villain Foundation X tends to display this sort of motivation whenever they take the stage themselves. In their first appearance in Kamen Rider Double, their agent Jun Kazu takes another villain's plan, meant to convert all humans into Energy Beings using the power of Gaia Memories, and rewires it to instead kill everyone who isn't compatible with them.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim: Kaito Kumon is an unusual example of this trope in that he doesn't think that survival of the fittest should be applied to society, but that it's simply true that it is, and those with power crush the powerless underfoot as a fact of life. Because he's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, this often comes across as support for social Darwinism, but his final battle with Kouta makes it explicit that he despises this state of affairs and wants to create a new species to replace humanity, one that can be both powerful and compassionate. The series also demonstrates exactly where this trope leads in practice with the Overlords, whose king Roshuo was once a firm believer in it and used the Forbidden Fruit's power to grant his race powerful bodies. By the time of the series, the Overlords have dwindled from a race of billions to just Roshuo himself and five Always Chaotic Evil subordinates, while Roshuo has fallen into a deep depression, clearly realizing that he made a dreadful mistake.
  • The Knick: Herman Barrow, the hospital administrator, is a committed social Darwinist. He's an equally committed racist.
    Barrow: The poor are just weaker than us.
  • The Last Ship:
    • Amy Granderson, Acting US Secretary of Defense, is revealed to hold this view. She's taken control of Baltimore with help from the Maryland State Police and excludes everyone but those whom she deems useful from coming into her safe zone. The rest are either left to die or given a "medicine" which actively kills them. The bodies are used as fuel to power the city. She explains to Dr. Scott that in the Black Death, the intellectual elite of Europe died along with the rest, which Granderson claims extended the Dark Ages over a century (historians would actually say the opposite, that the Plague helped end them, but never mind) and so in her mind, she's actually saving civilization itself by taking in people like them now while using the rest for their survival.
    • Sean Ramsey's movement also invokes this idea, claiming those immune to the virus like him have been "chosen", so his aim is to breed a master race immune to everything, while the rest die off. However, he's not satisfied with the rest just dying off on their own, but tries to destroy the cure and actively kill all those people who haven't yet been infected, thus dipping into Nazi-like behavior.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: "Design" has Lorraine hold this worldview, and she taught her daughter April the same. In the pair's philosophy, everybody will screw you over whenever possible. Therefore, you'd better do this first. Anyone who falls for their cons just deserves the result-survival of the fittest. Lorraine's ex-husband/April's father also has a eugenics program that she worked for hoping to breed more intelligent people, who he fears are dying out. He even married Lorraine solely to have a "fitter" child.
  • Any number of psychos on Millennium (1996) fill the bill. The imprisoned Serial Killer in "The Thin White Line" is a prime example.
  • Murder in the First: Erich Blunt goes on a rant along this line, claiming the murder of a few people doesn't matter as the world is very overpopulated and they must "cull the herd".
  • The Outpost:
    • Tiberion Shek says the only thing that exists is strength and weakness, listing himself as among the strong (implying it gives them the right to do whatever they wish with other people).
    • After seizing control of the Outpost, Jarris restricts food rations to his men and those he believes will be of use to his new regime. Anyone else is to be left to starve.
  • Lionel Luthor expressed sentiments of this sort in Smallville, but it's his Alternate Universe counterpart, Earth-2 Lionel who truly embodies this. Having risen to become the most powerful man in the world, Earth-2 Lionel maintains that "it's got to be survival of the fittest," a principle he ruthlessly applies to himself and his children, encouraging them to plot against one another and himself to see who deserves to be the true heir to the Luthor name. In a Bad Future in the regular timeline, President Evil Lex Luthor is one as well, plotting to nuke the world so that he can rule over the strongest of humanity's survivors.
  • Pick an advanced race in Stargate SG-1. Any advanced race (except the Asgard). The omnipresent reasoning for keeping most of humanity at medieval level or below.
  • Star Trek
    • Although justified in-universe, the Prime Directive seems to apply this to non-warp-capable civilizations in dictating (in effect) that they should be allowed to go extinct rather than having their "natural evolution" interrupted.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:
      • In the Backstory of the episode "The Conscience of the King", a dictator of a space colony, when faced with starvation, ordered half the population executed so the rest of the population wouldn't starve to death before the relief ships arrive. This could have been a Shoot the Dog scenario in an I Did What I Had to Do situation, but he chose people based on some sort of genetic superiority basis determined by him instead of more random means. What's particularly sad was that the relief ships arrived months ahead of schedule.
      • Khan from "Space Seed" is the epitome of a Social Darwinist. He is himself is the product of genetic engineering designed to create stronger, faster, more perfect humans, and feels it's his right to dominate the whole galaxy due to his genetically engineered awesomeness. He fails due to his genetically engineered ego.
      • In "Friday's Child", the Klingon agent Kras comments disdainfully on the Federation's offer of medical assistance, arguing that Klingon ways are more in line with the local culture because they believe that the sick should die and the strong should survive.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
      • In "Encounter at Farpoint", Q accuses humanity of being a "grievously savage" 'child' race and says they must be removed to make room for more "worthy" species.
      • In "The Enemy", Bochra informs Geordi that Romulan babies with birth defects are killed because they are a waste of resources. In general, any form of weakness is not tolerated in Romulan society, and this is alluded to in Star Trek: Picard:
        Narek: You find vulnerability and brokenness beautiful?
        Soji: Is that strange? To find beauty in imperfection?
        Narek: It's certainly not very Romulan.
    • In Star Trek: Voyager, we meet Species 8472, a strange lifeform that lives in fluidic space, a strange aquatic dimension in which they are the only lifeforms. Because of this, they are highly xenophobic and, when the Borg decide to come knocking one day, they decide that all lifeforms on the other side must die. After kicking their Collective asses first. In fact, it's not uncommon for one of their kind to say that "the weak will perish".
  • Super Sentai:
  • Torchwood: Children of Earth.
    Denise: And now the time has come to choose [the children which are to be given over to the 456], and if we can't identify the lowest-achieving 10% of this country's children, then what are the league tables for?
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "The Obsolete Man" what little is given of the State's motives to kill people falls into this, since they execute anyone too old, sick or disabled so they can't provide useful labor (along with any from abolished professions or who have forbidden beliefs, in a more general totalitarian vein). Given the Chancellor says that Hitler didn't go far enough, this is unsurprising.
    The Chancellor: It's not unusual that we televise executions, Mr. Wordsworth. Last year in the mass executions, we televised around the clock. 1300 people were put to death in less than six hours!
    Romney Wordsworth: You never learn, do you? History teaches you nothing.
    Chancellor: On the contrary, history teaches us a great deal! We had predecessors, Mr. Wordsworth, who had the beginnings of the right idea.
    Wordsworth: Yes, like Hitler.
    Chancellor: Yes, like Hitler.
    Wordsworth: Also Stalin.
    Chancellor: Stalin, too — but their error was not one of excess. It was simply not going far enough. Too many undesirables were left around, and undesirables eventually form a core of resistance. Old people clutch at the past and won't accept the new. The sick, the maimed, the deformed... They fasten onto the healthy body and damage it, so we eliminate them. And people like yourself — they can perform no useful function for the State, so we put an end to them.
  • In Unbelievable, the Serial Rapist, whose crimes the police is investigating throughout the series, relates a worldview similar to this in conversation with one of his victims: some men like him are "wolves" who just do whatever they want to.
  • The Walking Dead (2010): Alpha, leader of the villainous Whisperers group, orders Frances to leave her crying baby to be eaten by walkers, calling it "natural selection". Later she states anyone incapable of surviving doesn't deserve to live, advocating for the strong to weed out the weak. Civilization itself fell, in Alpha's view, as a result of its weakness. All this is in her view necessary for survival given the very Crapsack World everything has become after the zombie apocalypse happened. She also loathes communities which exist without resorting to her extremes, wanting them destroyed on principle as she feels they're doomed because of their "weakness" too.
  • World on Fire: Dr. Voller defends killing disabled children when Nancy Campbell confronts him over it citing "natural selection" and necessary "progress" to stop hereditary diseases. When she retorts that progress means protecting the weak, he notes that many American and British intellectuals, including even Winston Churchill, also support eugenics but just don't have the stomach to take it this far. When she says that's no defense, he claims it's merciful for them and objectors shouldn't try to stop it.

  • In addition to being quite the misanthrope and troll, Boyd Rice includes many of his social Darwinist views in his lyrics. It's more apparent in his essays, though, in which he makes a very good case for Social Darwinism.
  • When you take the lyrics and music video of Pearl Jam's "Do the Evolution" together, it seems to be a satire of this attitude.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin and Hobbes:
    • Calvin tries to justify behaving badly multiple times by saying it's a dog eat dog world and might makes right, claiming that's just how Nature works. Invariably, he's shown up when Hobbes does something like push him out of the way, smugly citing his ethos back to him. Calvin then says it only applies to him, not everyone else.
    • Also, one Imagine Spot has him fantasize about Susie getting chased down by a deinonychus then devoured along with other kids, citing this as natural selection at work keeping overpopulation down to justify it being a good thing, as the weak and stupid are weeded out as well.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Triple H's Evolution was based on a very strange interpretation of Darwinism that began with assaulting Tommy Dreamer for no reason whatsoever. Eventually Randy Orton decided that to Triple H, the word evolution meant "Me" and Triple H agreed without irony.
  • Alex Shelley, from Generation Next on, even after his Heel–Face Turn induced run against the very group he created, of the struggle archetype. He's come to hate backstabbing, cheating, ambushes, and all else against the ROH Code but endures it all because he believes that those who can't handle it don't belong, and that prevailing while sticking to the code will be best for the future of not just ROH but the business overall. Since Generation Next he also continues to bring young talent into the promotion with intent to help them get better, again with the belief that if they get to good for him to hang with he should no longer be around.
  • Jon Moxley has this view on professional wrestling, as he intimated when Sami Callihan announced his arrival to CZW. Since rationality isn't exactly Moxley's forte though, his idea of "survival of the fittest" was lighting the arena on fire and seeing who is still alive among the ashes.
  • Sheamus seems to have adopted this as his credo since his Face–Heel Turn in early 2015, noting that he's physically bigger than most other WWE Superstars and expressing his desire to rid WWE of its "insects."

  • The RP Survival of the Fittest derives its name from this. In the games, only one student is allowed to survive, making the use of the term literal. Characters such as Danya, Steve Wilson, and V3 participant Adam Reeves exhibit Social Darwinist tendencies. Considering that the first two organised and put into execution the program, that's a given.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Clans of BattleTech have been bred for war for centuries using intensely competitive rituals to determine whose genes get passed on and whose don't, and believe this makes them worthy of ruling the Inner Sphere. Naturally, they get whipped by the "inferiors", who recognize that you can still be of use in combat over the age of 30. The story of the Clan invasion could be a deconstruction of the whole thing. While their rituals and codes of honor helped perfect the Clans' fighting technique, they forgot many of the pragmatic realities of war. Meanwhile, the Inner Sphere realms were all too familiar with them, thanks to their constant bickering, possessive, petty leaders. In essence: the Clans didn't "breed for war", they bred for ritualized honor duels and paid for their Crippling Overspecialization with strategic failure.
  • Changeling: The Lost suggests that DMs who want to make the Summer Court more morally grey include elements of this trope. Such an interpretation, however, is still a logical extension of Summer's canonical traits: only letting physical strong warriors have leadership positions, referring to low-ranked members derogatorily, drawing on powers in combat that harm themselves in addition to the enemy "[because] they will be able to fight through" the pain... You get the idea.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Drow are a Planet of Hats of Always Chaotic Evil Social Darwinists, due to a spectacularly poor choice in patron deity (a demonic spider-goddess) and living in underworld caves whose native fauna make them nearly a Death World. This does ensure that drow who survive are more dangerous, particularly to each other. The book does acknowledge that realistically speaking, natural selection should have either destroyed them or forced them to stick together, but Lolth is an obsessive micromanager who punishes both the drow who don't backstab enough and those who backstab too much and risk their civilization destabilizing. Yes, that does make the Drow a race that officially survives thanks to Deus ex Machina.
    • The Githyanki are a race of Scary Dogmatic Aliens and Proud Warrior Race Guys who take the "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link" mentality well beyond its logical conclusion, killing any gith they perceive as weak in a tradition they call the "termination of the frail". Of course, their leader also kills off any Githyanki she thinks are too strong because they might overthrow her.
    • The Book of Exalted Deeds (a book about good characters) has a passage about this mentality, saying "The idea that creatures too weak to better themselves deserve their low position is a hallmark of evil dogma." and continuing with "Good characters reject this notion completely, recognizing that most poor and needy people are the victims of circumstance, not of their own weakness or failings."
    • The now-dead god Iyachtu Xvim used to be a Social Darwinist who didn't like helping the weak like some of the more goody-two-shoes gods, believing that they were directly responsible for their situations and didn't deserve help.
    • The Eberron setting's Children of Winter are a Druidic sect who believe that the world passes through distinct season-like stages and the recent occurrence of the Mourning is a sign of the dawning of Winter. Thus, if the sapient races are to survive until the Spring, the weak must be culled from the herd. To this end, they propagate natural disasters (famine, plague, etc.) and interfere with efforts to alleviate them. In theory, they are Well Intentioned Extremists. In practice, most DMs tend to use them as handy "guys you can punch in the face without feeling guilty".
    • The Fated (or the Takers, as they are colloquially known) from the Planescape setting believe that constant struggle promotes the worthy and dooms the unworthy. The Fated refuse to use anything they have not taken for themselves, including sincerely and freely given aid, because they believe doing so promotes weakness. That said, they aren't hypocrites; many Fated have died refusing medical assistance after battles, because accepting it would violate their principles, and if you manage to take something from a Fated, they'll either shrug and let it go, or resolve themselves to become strong enough to take it back.
  • Eclipse Phase has two factions who act like this. The Ultimates are a group of militant ascetics who strive for perfection. While the Exhumans are Singularity-chasing psychopaths who often assume truly horrific morphs and some of which try to be the top of the food chain.
  • Two examples from Exalted:
    • Lunars have been known to apply this to the societies, both human and beastman, that they set up. Generally, if a nation they've been shepherding is going well, they'll stop giving it covert (or, in some cases, overt) assistance and watch to see what happens. Oh, and for the setting in question, they're good guys, who made colossal sacrifices to stop The Fair Folk from wiping out reality 800 years ago.
    • Cecelyne, one of the Yozis, was responsible for the principle of law in Creation, but it's suggested her ideas, even as a Primordial, were a bit... off. Now that she's been made into a Yozi, her idea of "law" has twisted to "whatever benefits the strong so that they rule over or drive out the weak." Oh, and her chosen are the Dark Messiah caste. Be quite afraid.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Yawgmoth. An unusual example is his nemesis Urza, a protagonist eugenicist; calling him "heroic" would admittedly be a stretch. Urza is such a Darwinist that he actually sides with Phyrexia after spending millennia trying to defeat it when he actually visits the place, since Phyrexia is everything he ever wanted as an artificer and as a Social Darwinist.
    • Vorinclex from New Phyrexia is a social Darwinist as well, to the point of objecting to society at all. The only thing that matters is that ability to kill those weaker. Green and Black, despite being enemy colours, love social Darwinism.
    • The green-blue Simic Combine from Ravnica had shades of this. They engineered plagues to kill off the weak and sold cures to the highest bidder.
    • Dromoka is a nicer example than most. She does at least respect and protect her charges, but you either toughen up or become her lunch, as she suffers no "weak links". Her eponymous clan is a meritocracy for this reason. Still miles better than the rest of Tarkir.
    • Nicol Bolas subscribes to this philosophy wholeheartedly, where he's the strong and everyone else is the weak. It helps that he's the oldest and potentially strongest Planeswalker in existence, and one of the two surviving Elder Dragons, so most of the time, he's right.
  • In Mythender, Mythic Norden is all about this, considering the gods themselves to be subject to improvement through competition. It's made good use of the Mythenders for this, since in their deicidal crusade they have to draw on Mythic power, which eventually turns them into gods in turn. So either a god will prove its strength by killing the Mythenders coming for it, or it will be replaced by a new god that has proven itself more powerful.
  • In Rocket Age, the cult of the Fanged Mother on Venus believes that the strong should dominate the weak and the only ethical thing for the strong to do is to cull the weak to sate the Fanged Mother's thirst. Needless to say, most Venusians aren't happy with a death cult turning Venus into any more of a Crapsack World.
  • Sufficiently Advanced features a Social Darwinist faction that isn't averse to giving natural selection a helping hand.
  • Clan Lasombra of Vampire: The Masquerade completely revel in promoting social Darwinism. The hold to it is so strong that the clan's ultimate goal is creating a world purged of the weak and owned solely by the strong. They're not averse to bringing about Hell on Earth to accomplish that either. During Gehenna, this mentality finally bit the Lasombra in the butt; centuries of backstabbing resulted in their numbers too depleted to maintain autonomy as a Clan, just like Sparta in Real Life.
  • The Skaven and the Greenskins (Goblinoids) in Warhammer. Life is cheap if you have fur or green skin. Also the Dark Elves, to a certain extent.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Both the Imperium and the Eldar view all other races and each other as less evolved and inferior.
    • The Orks also do this, with their culture based on warfare and toughness.
    • Dark Eldar are almost exactly the same as the Orks, except replace size and toughness with skill and cunning. Dark Eldar society requires all of its members to be Crazy-Prepared Magnificent Bastards, or they'll be backstabbed and betrayed by even more ambitious and cunning rivals and underlings. As such, Dark Eldar kabal society is constantly shifting around as warriors, dracons, and archons climb up the ladder... or get kicked off it.
    • Chaos worshipers. One of their mottos is "purge the weak".
    • In the backstory, Cardinal Bucharis, who started the Plague of Unbelief, preached a philosophy of the strong conquering the weak to justify his conquering himself a mini-empire. The beginning of the end of his reign was when his invasion fleets lost their momentum and started failing to conquer new worlds. Once he was no longer seen as strong...
    • There exists a school of thought within the Imperial Inquisition called the Istvaanians. Dark Heresy notes that they may be the oldest school of thought in the Inquisition, with their ideas going all the way back to the dawn of mankind. They believe that the Imperium grows stronger through conflict. If a certain Imperial sector is currently enjoying peace, they might stir up a conflict, just to make sure the populace are on their toes. They may also set up a "crucible of fire" to ensure that only the strong survive. They will monitor any conflicts they start for particularly strong, cunning, and/or ruthless candidates to strengthen the Imperium. Behold, the only people in the setting who would argue that the Imperium's problem is that it's not fighting enough wars.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse:
    • The eponymous creatures have definite shades of this, in that their leadership is decided by challenges. These can be non-violent challenges but rarely are. The cake is taken by the Get of Fenris tribe, who think being tougher than everyone else is the only worthwhile goal in life.
    • The Ratkin (wererats) and Ajaba (werehyenas) are extreme social Darwinists. The former were tasked with killing humans when the human population grew too large, and the latter kill humans who are old, sick, or weak.
  • Werewolf: The Forsaken has this as the central creed for the Predator Kings. They believe that anything that cannot defend itself has no inherent right to live. This goes to the extent that, unlike the other two Pure Tribes, they aren't angry about Father Wolf's death — if he was unable to prevent his children from killing him, then he deserved to die.

    Video Games 
  • Depending on the route and your affiliation in Armored Core, Jack-O may be the Protagonist or Antagonist. Regardless of which one, you will learn that Ravens who fail to live up to his expectations die a lot sooner than Alliance Ravens.
  • Baldur's Gate III:
  • This is the Riddler's MO in Batman: Arkham Asylum. Who cares if people die in his traps? If they're not smart enough to figure them out, they don't deserve to live. Really, he's doing a public service.
  • The entire realm of Inferno in Bayonetta follows this rule, unlike Paradiso and its very rigid hierarchy. A constant battle for power reigns supreme here. There is a ruler for the realm in the person of Queen Sheba but other than that anything is free game down there.
  • Andrew Ryan from BioShock has shades of this, what with his version of Ayn Rand's Objectivism. He even builds an underwater utopia so that the weak do not keep the strong down. Someone still has to scrub the toilets in Rapture; even if Ryan brought down only the best and the brightest people that fit in with his ideology, people who were once captains of industry back on land were no better than average there and were disgruntled when they had to work menial jobs that someone's gotta do. On the other hand, Ryan had a fairly broad definition of "strong." For example, he met one of his best friends, Bill McDonough, when the man was installing the plumbing in Ryan's apartment. Ryan had only paid for tin pipes, but McDonough was using brass ones and paying the difference out of his own pocket, as he took a great sense of pride in making sure none of his work ever leaked. The next day, Ryan hired him as his general contractor and made sure to bring him down to Rapture when the city was built.
  • Lord Recluse, the main bad guy in City of Heroes, has founded his entire evil organization on Social Darwinism... to the point where he actively encourages every faction to fight against every other faction and backstab each other freely. It's a wonder his plans for world conquest go anywhere when all the bad guys are busy killing each other off instead of fighting the heroes.note  This does explain why the majority of your enemies in City of Villains are not, in fact, heroes. While Recluse adheres to Survival of the Fittest, he doesn't let it consume his organization. Anarchy and insubordination are stamped out pretty quickly if they interfere with his plans — one of the few things Villains in his city can't do without restraint is attack civilians. Who else is going to pay Recluse his taxes?
  • Kane from Command & Conquer: Tiberian Series infuses humans with Tiberium to make them evolve. This is actually more evolutionarily-literate than most examples, as he's trying to make it so they can adapt to Tiberium to allow them to survive on Tiberium-covered worlds instead of just making them tougher or smarter. The tougher part happens but it's more a side effect.
  • Mortimer McMire, The Hero's rival in the Commander Keen games, believes that he is the most intelligent being in the universe and that gives him the right to wipe out all the lesser beings. His IQ is 315; Keen has an IQ of 314. Mr. McMire believes Keen can die with the rest, simply because his IQ is one point too short.
  • Diablo IV: Lilith makes it clear that she hasn't returned to save mankind, but to put them through trials by fire so the survivors might reach their hidden potential and become the army meant to end the war between Heaven and Hell. She says this as a pack of wolves eats a feeble monk in front of her.
  • Destiny:
    • The Hive take this trope up to Omnicidal Maniac levels. The central tenet of their Religion of Evil is something called "the sword logic". In a nutshell, existence is the ultimate good, beings prove their right to exist by warring against each other, and whichever side is destroyed in the struggle forfeits that right. If they can’t protect their own existence, logic says they didn’t deserve it in the first place. Not only does this purge weakness from the universe, hastening it towards its "final shape", but thanks to the Hive's dark magic, the universe actually acknowledges their proofs of strength, turning them into Reality Warpers.
      "Only by eradicating from ourselves all clemency for the weak can we emulate and become that which endures forever. This is inevitable. The universe offers only one choice and it is between ruthlessness and extinction."
    • The collection of Grimoire Cards detailing the Hive's backstory all but states they learned this philosophy from The Darkness itself, which is something between an Eldritch Abomination and Sentient Cosmic Force and is ultimately the Greater-Scope Villain of the series. Let that sink in.
  • Deus Ex Universe:
    • At the end of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Sarif talks about "survival of the fittest" and how "some people will be left behind". However, he's a Honest Corporate Executive and the closest thing to a Big Good the game has, and he's referring to the few people who are completely incompatible with augmentations, which he honestly wants to make available for everyone.
    • The Omar from Deus Ex: Invisible War are a Hive Mind of transhuman cyborgs that consider themselves the future of the human race and plan to replace humanity the old-fashioned way: Wait and let their evolutionary superiority speak for itself. In three of the endings, the Omar see themselves either replaced by the Helios system or exterminated by the Templars or Illuminati — they're vindicated in the fourth ending if all three conspiracies are defeated, as humanity drives itself to extinction and leaves them to inherit the Earth.
  • In Dirge of Cerberus, Weiss the Immaculate announces that he will be slaughtering about half the population to "cleanse the world".
  • The DonPachi series has Colonel Longhena.
  • Dragalia Lost has this in the Light Agito boss, Kai Yan. He's introduced killing everyone in a mixed-race village, believing racial harmony makes people weak and that only one race will be the strongest, contrasting his enemy Luca who believes in racial harmony.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Morrigan of Dragon Age: Origins, who takes it to Stupid Evil levels at times. Specifically, she's been raised to despise people she considers to be weak and helpless, and will encourage the player to screw over peasants who should know better than to let themselves get screwed over. By contrast, she's a bit more approving when dealing with people who value ambition and standing up for oneself.
    • The Tevinter Imperium runs on this principle according to Fenris (who's something of an Unreliable Expositor, since he was once a slave there) from Dragon Age II. Only mages can become nobility there, and only the strongest mages become the movers and shakers in the Imperium. In practice, this means that every magister is a Blood Mage since blood magic is too powerful an advantage to pass up. Any mage that didn't use blood magic would quickly be enslaved by another mage with fewer qualms. Dorian in Inquisition reveals that it's a bit more nuanced; Tevinter views blood magic using your own blood as completely uncontroversial, but using someone else's blood is illegal (though it's still unofficially widely practiced by those desperate for the power boost) and in the highest echelons, blood magic is seen as a crutch and a tacit admission of weakness. Tevinter also has the same sort of political struggles as the rest of Thedas, and any mage who thinks they can substitute raw magical power for diplomacy is in deep trouble.
  • General Gismor of Drakengard 2, who hides it behind a facade of Knight Templarism.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The Altmer (High Elves) have this as an active belief, particularly when under more extremist leadership like the Thalmor. They believe that they descend from the Aedra and that the diversity of all other races of Mer is the result of "degeneration". They actively try to breed themselves back into their ideal, including killing undesirable progeny. (They believe in reincarnation, and killing them frees their spirits to potentially be reincarnated in better forms, but still...) And don't even try to bring up the races of Men around them...
    • House Telvanni of Morrowind operates on this philosophy. It is a society of self-interested Evil Sorcerers who believe that the powerful define virtue, and that personal independence trumps all other considerations. In Telvanni society, there are no rules and the only way to advance is to murder the person ranked above you. Telvanni "law" automatically stipulates that if you get into a quarrel with your neighbour and successfully murdered them through either magic or treachery, then clearly your argument had more merit to begin with. Indeed, you can waltz into a Telvanni wizard tower and slaughter the occupying wizard and all his servants, and most other Telvanni won't be too concerned as, by their reasoning, it was the wizard's fault for having crappy security.
    • Molag Bal is the Daedric Prince of Corruption and Domination. As such, he's pretty keen on the idea of the strong dominating the weak. In Skyrim, he goads you into killing the Vigilant of Stendarr who accompanied you into his House of Horrors because "Weak. He's weak. You're strong. Kill!" In Online, he serves as the Big Bad and ultimately commends the player for defeating his armies and, ultimately, himself.
  • In Fall from Heaven, the Doviello follow this trope. One of their leaders, Charadon, leads a pack of wolves to ravage his own family's village in order to find the strongest and fiercest members of his tribe (the survivors who fight off the wolves). He even forbids the Doviello from forging their own weapons in favor of scavenging them from defeated foes or relying on their natural strength. That said, Charadon's counterpart, Mahala, downplays this by recognizing that Charadon's dogmatic belief in the rule of the strong is wearing the Doviello down in pointless conflict while the "weaker" races are rapidly advancing their technology and making the Doviello's brute strength obsolete.
  • Fallout:
  • Far Cry 5: Jacob Seed believes that humanity has become soft in the modern age and that the strong should subjugate and cull the weak.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Ashnard from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance combines this with being a Blood Knight. Ashera from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn tops him in believing all sentient life is too flawed and must be destroyed to start again. This is the same person that split herself into the goddesses of Order and Chaos because Chaos was her weaker half.
      Ashnard: You? Cut me down? Heee... Good. If you possess the strength to do so, then so be it.
    • Julius from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War is also this, to a degree. The Child Hunts are meant to root out the weak to create the citizens and nobles of a new Lopto Empire.
      Julius: Only the strongest will survive, and they will become the ideal citizens for Loptyr's new world.
  • In For Honor, Apollyon believes extensively in this, and her entire objective is to plunge the world into an endless war — not necessarily to show who is strongest but simply to let everyone become who they "truly" are. She also abides by this in how she treats her soldiers and enemies; a group of deserters who surrender are executed for being "sheep," but several among them who fake their surrender to get close and try to kill her are spared. A group of Warborn Vikings who are taken prisoner are executed, except for those who were shown to be the most ferocious and brutal warriors, which she orders released. She ends up destroying some but not all the Vikings' seed and food reserves to force them to fight each other for the remainder, and eventually invade the (until-then neutral) Dawn Empire for supplies. She assassinates the Dawn Empire's Emperor and turns his Daimyo loose on each other in the swamps to hunt down and kill each other to see who is the strongest, and lures the Empire's armies, her own rebellious Knights, and the Warborn into a massive three-way battle while trying to get revenge on her in order to force them into a colossal, endless war driven by mutual hate and distrust.
  • God Hand has Azel, the Devil Hand, rival to Gene.
    Azel: In a world where only the strong survive, only the strongest of the strong rule.
  • A rare good example is Threo/Sarasa from Granblue Fantasy. Her wild upbringing led her to base her entire worldview on the law of the jungle, where the strong eat the weak. Which is why she wants to be the strongest in the world, so that she won't have to feel fear or grief ever again like she did as a kid. Her natural human compassion does stop her from the more negative aspects of this trope, though they still surface at times (notably when she nearly left a child get killed by a monster, believing the kid should be strong enough to take it on if he wants to live).
  • Halo: The Precursors are sort of like this, as they became the Flood seemingly to test out humanity (who were an advanced interstellar empire a long time ago) and the Forerunners. The ones who could defeat the Flood are the ones who are worthy to inherit The Mantle of the Responsibility. Well, that might have been their original plan anyway. Nowadays, their goal is some combination of revenge and a wish to assimilate all sentient life.
  • Benny from I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream is a Social Darwinist who killed Private Brickman for not being strong enough; when the rest of his squad (Tuttle, Thomas, and Murphy) stuck up for Brickman, he killed them too. He eventually decides to save a child from certain death and earn the forgiveness of his squadmates in the good ending.
  • The Lugovalian Empire from Infinite Space more or less works in this way, as seen with the throne succession. Apparently, this mindset even works on its citizens, given how strong they are.
  • The Struggler variant is also the nominal philosophy of the Closed Fist in Jade Empire. People grow stronger through surviving and overcoming challenges, and so a practitioner will make people's lives miserable to strengthen them, or will help people learn to help themselves; where an Open Palm practitioner would free slaves, a Closed Fist practitioner would encourage the slaves to rise up and kill their oppressors themselves or perish in doing so. However, being a violent jerk who embraces Might Makes Right and preys on anyone too weak to oppose you is also a valid expression of the path.
  • Knight Eternal: Zamaste is a nation that prides themselves in strength, and Primrose states that Keller's goal of healing the weak and less fortunate is looked down upon in her culture. Unfortunately for Primrose, this means she's discouraged from pursuing her artistic interests, since those are seen as weak.
  • League of Legends:
    • The entire city-state of Noxus live by the notion that only the strong survive. Somewhat unusually is that their definition of strength includes both mental and physical prowess. It doesn't matter if you overpowered or outsmarted your superior, if you defeated them then you earned their position. The two Noxians who exemplify these are Darius (physical prowess) and Swain (mental prowess): Darius, with his contempt for weakness essentially Klingon Promotion'd his way up through the ranks until he became the leader of Noxus' armies; Swain, on the other hand, used manipulation and misdirection until he became the Grand General of Noxusnote . It gets murky if you read into the details, where it's strongly suggested that lack of conflict has bred a lot of Jerk Justifiers and Straw Meritocrat nepotists in Noxus, with very few people honestly believing their creed anymore. Darius killed his way through the Army command staff not because he wanted the job but because he thought most of them were dangerously incompetent, while the events leading to Riven's exile show that they're not afraid to simply kill everybody indiscriminately if that's what it takes to win. Also, their reanimation of Sion and Urgot show their willingness to ignore the whole 'only the strongest survive' maxim if it's not their strongest who survived.
    • Riven is a non-villainous, or at least Noble Demon, example. She believes that a real social Darwinist would be a Graceful Loser when they were not the strongest, rather than, say, gassing an entire battlefield, and despises the current Noxus for being purely self-serving.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, the latest reincarnation of the Demon King Ganondorf espouses this belief, as he justifies causing The End of the World as We Know It by expressing his hatred of Hylians for being peace-loving and weak under "insufferable" light, and his intent to correct it by making life a constant struggle for survival filled with darkness and monsters In Their Own Image.
  • This is the prevailing philosophy of the city of Magnagora in Lusternia. As the bastion of the Taint (essentially a combo platter of nuclear power and creepily visceral body horror), they believe themselves to be genetically superior to all other civilizations. Their most prosperous race (the Viscanti) inbreeds extensively to maintain its "purity", and they have no moral qualms about attacking, enslaving, and eating so-called lesser beings. They also encourage backstabbing, assassination and double-dealing in their aristocracy, reasoning that the survivors of any civil war will be stronger and cleverer than those that failed to defend against them.
  • Manafinder:
    • The nomads believe that those who cannot live without a barrier are weak and unworthy of life. Their society is also based on strength, where the weak must obey the strong. As a deconstruction, strong leaders like Lhania are not allowed to mingle too much with the weak commoners even if they want to.
    • Illia believes that the other deities are spoiling humanity with the power of the manastones, so she orders her followers to destroy the manastones to force humanity to live without them and rely only on their natural power.
    • Allaror believes that the world runs on survival of the fittest and that humans must constantly seek power to survive, but unlike Illia, he endorses the usage of manastones and divine blessings, since he sees them as means for humanity to adapt to danger.
  • Mass Effect:
    • According to Javik from Mass Effect 3, the Prothean civilization worked on this principle, calling it "The Cosmic Imperative", and it combines the natural and social forms. That is, they believed weaker species' societies would only get in the way of the strong and should be crushed. They were willing to uplift lesser races, but only as long as they had something to offer as slaves to the Prothean Empire; the "worthless" races were destroyed. For the Prothean client races, it's suggested that much of their cultural identity was wiped out as far as the official record since said person notes that Prothean wasn't just the name of his species or empire but applied to any citizen, Prothean or non, within that empire. Thus, if your species joined the Empire, you would stop being, say... an earthling and instead be a Prothean. It's even claimed that if another civilization was powerful enough to have defeated the Prothean Empire, they would have willingly subjugated themselves because obviously that civilization would have been superior. It's very much open for debate how true this is, as it never happened until the Reapers came and wiped them out.
    • The Reapers' effectiveness against the Protheans compared to the next cycle that Humans were part of is the logical conclusion of such social Darwinism (and is in-line with the true gist of Darwin's theory): the danger of homogeneity. Because the cycle that had Humans, Turians, Salarians, Asari, and countless other sentient starfaring species as neighbors in a galactic community instead of masters and clients like in the Prothean times allowed a heterogeneity of culture, science, philosophy, and strategy that might have been an advantage against the Reapers. A strong species or civilization doesn't have an optimization of traits for some arbitrary qualifier, but a diversity of traits for reality; so when a change happens, the largest array of potential adaptations to that change are available to ensure the species/civilization survives in some form. The extent of this advantage is unclear because the real difference between the current and previous Reaper invasion is the presence of Shepard, without whom the Citadel and thus the war would have been lost before anyone knew what was happening.
    • The Reapers are also this to an extent in that they like strong races because strong races make strong Reapers. Lesser races are still useful... until they're not.
    • Warlord Okeer from Mass Effect 2 also has elements of this. He's a krogan scientist, a member of a species that's been subjected to a genetic weapon that makes only one in every thousand births viable. He thinks this is still too many, as every krogan baby is then "coddled" and viewed as precious when they should be testing their mettle as warriors.
  • Mega Man:
    • Bass from Mega Man (Classic) believes that he alone is the most powerful robot in the world.
    • Both Serpent and Master Albert from Mega Man ZX display traits of this, especially Serpent. Other examples include Aeolus, who believes only the intelligent deserve to live, and Atlas, who believes mankind can only grow and evolve through suffering thanks to her past as a soldier from a country overrun by Mavericks.
  • The Big Bad of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Senator Steven Armstrong, is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to create a new America where the strong survive and the weak die. His motivations are very similar to the Patriots who wanted to socially engineer American evolution, the only difference being is that instead of information control he intends to use violence to achieve his goal (mostly because he feels that America is too far gone to "save" and the only option is to just burn it all down and start over). In any case, he seems to put a lot of emphasis on its freedom and claritive aspects, and genuinely believes he's making the country a better place since the people who would live in his envisioned utopia would be fighting and killing each other for what they personally believe, rather than for the cause of some government or other authority. Raiden calls him insane and says that he knows nothing of being weak, but he simply points out that Raiden did survive and take his life back with his own two hands. He is actually a rather atypical instance of this trope. The lack of hypocrisy is a start; when defeated he actually takes it pretty well. But what truly sets him apart is how this comes around: Jetstream Sam, who also subscribes to the same philosophy, decided to leave his blade to Raiden if he lost since that meant Raiden would be the better of the two, and this is how Raiden is able to fight back and kill Armstrong. Moreover, Raiden does embody and eventually accept the "fight and kill for what he believes in" part (if not the actual social Darwinism aspect), which is the reason why Armstrong takes the loss so well.
    Armstrong: You've guaranteed the status-quo will go on, for a while longer at least... War... will continue as an institution. As an industry. Men will fight for reasons they don't understand, causes they don't believe in... But at least I'll leave a worthy successor... You, Jack. You carve your own path, use whatever methods you see fit... You don't let legal bullshit get in the way. And if it costs a few lives? So be it... Deep inside, we're... kindred spirits... you... and I...
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: Bishop openly believes that the concept of civilization is a sham and that Might Makes Right. In most of the endings, this leads him to ruin and death when the Player Character's might proves stronger than the Big Bad's.
  • The New Order: Last Days of Europe: With the Nazis still around and being as powerful as they are, it's only natural there'd be a share of Social Darwinism going on. But the Burgundian System, invented by Himmler in his Burgundy territory, is this writ large and implemented into a government system that decides to provide all that hardship by itself. Even the chosen ubermensch suffer and are given basically nothing but pain and the bare minimum to survive, because The Spartan Way is the only way, and everyone else is enslaved, with things like being deliberately worked to death so they don't have to feed them when the inevitable famine comes happening to them. Burgundian systems tend to have negative population growth as the "weak" are purged. Himmler reaches the ultimate expression of this: the ultimate test of worth would be the end of the world, a thermonuclear apocalypse, and obviously only the Master Race could survive such a thing, so the only way to have the Aryans truly dominate the earth would be to let the nukes fly and burn civilization to the ground.
  • This is the defining character trait of Doomfist from Overwatch, and by proxy Talon, of which he is one of the ruling council members. Doomfist believes that humanity can only grow strong through conflict, and thus intends on plunging the world into an endless war so they can evolve past their limits.
  • Pokémon:
  • [PROTOTYPE 2]: Alex Mercer has decided that humanity is corrupt beyond saving, and thinning out the weak while turning the rest into Hive Mind "Evolved" is the way to go. Interestingly, he's completely not a hypocrite about this: when Heller has him thoroughly defeated and seconds away from being consumed, Mercer's only comment is a calm "Huh. Welcome to the top of the food chain."
  • Rave Heart: Niredia's culture is based on a hierarchy of strength and considers Klingon Promotion to be normal. Count Vorakia Estuuban considers the rest of the galaxy to be weak for rejecting this ideology and for not going along with his plan to invade Ursula. It's implied that this ideology is partially due to the planet's harsh environment, which would encourage a survival-of-the-fittest mentality.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2: Micah Bell III is this. He brags about how there are only winners and losers in life and justifies his selfishness as him being a "survivor".
  • Resident Evil:
    • HUNK's philosophy can be adequately summed up by his catchphrase: "Survival is your responsibility". The mission comes before anything else, and if you're in a dangerous line of work like his, only your own skill will keep you alive. If you expect him to abandon the mission to help you, you're in for a nasty surprise. He is not a hypocrite about this; when it briefly looks like he's not going to make it to extraction from Raccoon City, he tells the evac pilot to just take off and not risk his life for HUNK's sake and actually seems slightly irritated (though grateful) when the pilot refuses to do so.
    • By the time of the fifth game, Wesker has nudged into one of these. He'll give long speeches about his beliefs during boss fights, but — hilariously — your character will start getting annoyed with how much he drones on.
  • Rise of the Third Power: Under Emperor Noraskov's rule, the Arkadyan Empire prioritizes strength above all else. Crown Prince Gage states that his father would punish him if he ever admitted any kind of weakness or doubt. Worse yet, this means the empire can arrest anyone not just for dissent, but also for failing to conform to Noraskov's ideals of strength.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Chiaki, a rich-brat-turned-demon-queen of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne leads a faction of Darwinists under the reason of Yosuga. The main character even has the option of joining them and creating a true Social Darwinist world (as soon as you help her kill all the human-like slave race for being too weak). Unique among all the faction leaders, she is the only one to fight you even if you choose her Reason, as there can be only one ruler in the new world. Unfortunately, the world Chiaki is trying to create is logically impossible. Even if she succeeds and the world of Yosuga is created, there would still be some individuals who aren't as strong as others. By Chiaki's logic, these individuals would be unnecessary. Thus, her vision of a world without unnecessary things cannot be made into a reality.
    • This is also the Chaos philosophy in Shin Megami Tensei I, where in supporting Lucifer, you fight to eliminate God and create a world where the strong can freely prey upon the weak, and where demonkind are no longer bound by the restraints of God's creation. In Devil Survivor, this is not a belief system you can actively subscribe to. Setting demonkind loose on the world is the result of failure, not success.
    • In Devil Survivor 2, this is the philosophy subscribed to by Keita Wakui and Yamato Hotsuin, and the latter provides the opportunity for the Player Character to institute a world based on meritocracy and social Darwinism where the 'great' are given infinite opportunity for advancement. While said philosophy mostly reads like a 17-year-old's understanding of Ayn Rand filtered through his extremely privileged upbringing, Yamato is unusual in that he uses the series' traditional Law imagery even though he subscribes to a Chaos philosophy (similarly, his opponent Ronaldo follows the philosophy of Law, but uses the methods of Chaos). If you don't take Yamato's path, you'll have to defeat Keita and Yamato to finish the game, after which Keita will decide to follow you on the basis that if you beat him, you must know what you're talking about. So does Yamato, but only on a path where he isn't Killed Off for Real.
    • Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey:
      • Asura believes that civilization itself is a failed concept that takes man away from his "natural" state and that only in barbarism can humans live properly. His method for creating the "proper" world is the Delphinus Parasite, which erases civilized impulses and reduces victims to snarling violence.
      • In the Redux edition, if you complete the Womb of Grief and side with Chaos, the concept of violent social Darwinism is viciously deconstructed by taking it to its logical extreme. In the future Alex comes from, because everyone must battle against everyone else to prove they are more fit to survive, every single human on Earth save Alex is dead. You can respond by laughing and going right on with what you're doing (Old Chaos) or realizing your plan for humanity has some serious holes and deciding to make a world built on freedom instead of strength (New Chaos).
  • In Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, this is the Spartan Federation's hat, along with Crazy Survivalist. Expanded Universe materials show that weak children are killed (though Colonel Santiago makes an exception for her son).
  • The Zerg are revealed to be this in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, however they're a bit more complex version. Rather than the weak should be crushed, it's "we should be strong so we won't be crushed".
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Knights of the Old Republic demonstrates how Sith work like this when you enter the academy on Korriban. One does wonder how their system of backstabbing and "every man for himself" philosophy manages to outnumber and overwhelm the Jedi, who co-operate towards a common cause and don't kill half of their own people. It is mentioned that the Sith will always fail sooner or later because of this, but it's never actually shown in the game.
    • Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords revisits the academy and shows what happens when you have a bunch of Drunk on the Dark Side villains without any strong leadership to guide them: a very empty academy. You can actually directly cause this in the first game by playing the leaders against each other instead of taking a side (which is considered a light side action believe it or not); once they're both dead the academy collapses into anarchy and the few who don't kill each other off die fighting the party. It's worth noting that this is the game. Also in KotOR II, your Sink or Swim Mentor Kreia spends a fair bit of time unleashing a variety of threats on you so that you have to either strengthen to deal with them or die. If you go out of your way to help people you meet in sidequests, she criticizes you, saying that you're robbing them of the chance to overcome obstacles by themselves. Although she also criticizes you for being too harsh... It should also be noted that the original game is where the Sith Code originated, which writer David Gaider created by inverting the Jedi Code and taking inspiration from Hitler's book Mein Kampf.
    • To answer the question of how they manage to effectively counter the Jedi while killing half of their own, Star Wars: The Old Republic has the answer: they don't. The Empire is incredibly Fascist, but Inefficient, with their Fantastic Racism and Chronic Backstabbing Disorder screwing them over at every opportunity. Sith Warrior/Inquisitor player characters have the option to lampshade these self-destructive tendencies and try to enact reforms but it's ultimately a Foregone Conclusion.
  • Luca Blight from Suikoden II is a particularly extreme and sadistic example.
  • Tomb Raider I: Natla was a ruler of Atlantis who used the power of the Scion to create a race of mutants in order to kickstart the progress of evolution, believing that mankind was in weak and in a rut. She attempts to continue her work after being freed in the current time.
    Natla: Evolution's in a rut — natural selection at an all-time low. Shipping out fresh meat will incite territorial rages again, will strengthen and advance us. Even create new breeds.
    Lara: Kind of evolution on steroids, then.
    Natla: A kick in the pants. Those runts Qualopec and Tihocan had no idea. The cataclysm of Atlantis struck a race of langoring wimps. Plummeted them to the very basics of survival again. It shouldn't happen like that...
  • Undertale:
    • Flowey the flower describes the world in terms of "kill or be killed" multiple times throughout the game. At the end of the Pacifist route, this is revealed to be because his own decision to be merciful to his attackers in the past had no effect that his new, soulless self could appreciate aside from getting himself killed.
    • Played with in Toriel's case. Because she remained in the Ruins for years, she believes in "kill or be killed" in the Underground, which is part of why she's so protective. If you continuously refuse to retreat in her battle, she eventually screams, "What are you doing? Attack or run away!" Persist, and you can prove her wrong... for now.
  • Khamal Rex from Universe at War feels that if any species couldn't keep themselves from getting wiped out by the Hierarchy, then they didn't deserve to live in the first place.
  • The Walking Dead (Telltale) brings us William Carver, the despotic leader of a small survivor community. He believes that humanity needs to be "groomed" if it is to survive the Zombie Apocalypse, and routinely weeds out those he deems weak or incompetent, like Reggie. Beneath the very thin pretense, however, it is strongly suggested that he enjoys partaking in cruelty for its own sake. So, outwardly he's a Struggler, secretly a Jerk Justifier.
  • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus: B.J Blaskowicz's father openly spouts these beliefs long before the Nazis show up, stating that "the weak and the old are doomed", was horribly abusive to his son to "make him strong", and is an eager collaborator with the Nazi occupation. It's clear both by his behavior and the letters and documents you can find that expand on the setting that he's an incompetent, racist, abusive failure who blames all his shortcomings on everyone else. He doesn't even come close to living up to his own deranged ideals, instead relying on the racism of the establishment to take his side in everything.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • The Mantid are born from massive clutches laid by the Empress. The resulting Swarm then attacks the lands to the east, and are inevitably driven back by the Pandarens. Those who return alive are fully accepted into the Mantid Empire as adults. To the Mantid, the Pandarens' main reason for existing is to kill the weak swarm-born.
    • The Mogu believe that they are superior to other races in Pandaria, leading to abuses such as sending slaves to be fodder, destroying their cultural heritage, to even putting their dead slaves' souls into statues brainwashed to serve them. They justify all of this by the not-altogether-inaccurate belief that it is the Titans' will.
    • Garrosh Hellscream has displayed tendencies toward this, praising strength and one's ability to contribute to the Horde. When he attempted to empower his soldiers with Sha, he continually told them that only the strongest would be able to conquer the darker emotions and gain control of its strength.

    Visual Novels 
  • A Central Theme of the Danganronpa series is that talent comes with its drawbacks and doesn't make anyone better than everyone else, with the main cast of each series being a Dysfunction Junction filled with Broken Aces. As such, more than a couple of characters express views to the contrary which the players are led to believe are wrong.
  • Gilgamesh in Fate/stay night's "Unlimited Blade Works" scenario. The modern world is way more populated than the one he used to rule and thus the worth of the individual human has fallen drastically. Thus, he plans to spill the contents of the incomplete Grail onto the world; by his logic, those who survive the ensuing apocalypse will be strong and "worthy" enough of his rulership. This may be justified in the terms of the Nasuverse's backstory: the human race has gone waaaaay downhill since the days of Uruk. It's an established fact in Fate/Zero that ancient Babylonians were something of a precursor race with nuclear missiles and spaceships and all kinds of crazy stuff. Gil's reasoning is that mankind's decline is due to the population explosion decreasing the "worth" of a single human life, and given all the crazy supernatural laws that the Nasuverse runs on, he might actually be right about this.
  • In the visual novel Monster Girl Quest, there's a monster by the name of Cassandra who operates like this. She repeatedly kills people, then justifies doing so by saying only the strong deserve to survive anyway. Then, Luka's companion Alice turns one of Cassandra's own attacks back on her...and Cassandra then starts begging for help as she is about to be devoured alive by her own attack. Alice refuses; after all, by Cassandra's own logic, if Cassandra is killed now, then it's because she was too weak.
  • Karales and Rei Hinomiya from Yumina the Ethereal.

    Web Animation 
  • ATTACK on MIKA: Eiji's dad shows this attitude through his treatment of his wife and children: he marries his secretary and kicks his bedridden wife and Eiji out of the house; the former for falling ill, the latter for his bad grades and being adopted. The mother revealed that he actually didn't build the company, but inherited the company from his own father; he's actually a slacker who can't do things by himself.
  • Minecraft Endventures: Wrecker's philosophy is that killing makes one's "value as a being" increase.
  • In Red vs. Blue, Felix claims he has the right to kill anyone if they are too weak, slow, or stupid to survive. Ironically, it turns out the reason he kept his partner Locus around is that he knew Locus was stronger than him, and so Felix needed him to make sure he could survive his new line of work as a mercenary.
    Felix: Survival isn't a right, it's a privilege. It's earned. That's the one thing we've always agreed on. If they deserve to live then they'd be strong enough to stop us and smart enough never to trust anyone.
  • RWBY: Wouldn't you believe it, Yang's Missing Mom Raven is one of these, and not even Yang herself is exempt. Of course, as the series goes on, it becomes more and more clear that she's just a Dirty Coward desperately trying to find some way of justifying her fear-driven actions. It's especially apparent when she tries to justify joining Salem as necessary for survival, when she knows that Salem is an Omnicidal Maniac and she'd end up just as dead as her supporter as her enemy.
    Raven: The weak die. The strong live. Those are the rules.

  • Filth Biscuit: Lucy LeDarc, the protagonist of "I Pwned My Love" sees others as obstacles or pawns in her struggle to claw her way up from the gutter — specifically her childhood friend, incredibly loyal but dim-witted boxer Mick the Rock. Her philosophy, as she explains it to Mick, is pure Social Darwinism; which suits her, since she's also a textbook psychopath.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Vole, the defector Jäger, tried to kill Bill and Barry because they were soft (as in they were heroes instead of the nutters the Hetereodynes usually produced). He also wants a new pack of crueler, meaner, more psychotic Jägers to burn down Europa with, as he sees the current set of monstrous super soldiers to be pathetic lap dogs. However, he ends up getting his butt kicked pretty often and after he is rescued from being stuck in time for two years, he is completely broken of this mentality. He says that when he was removed, it felt like he was fighting nonstop for centuries, but it was "bad fighting." As such, while he is now much more physically imposing (and less human-looking), he also lost his bloodlust for this. According to Higgs though, this may qualify to be a Jägergeneral.
    • Doctor Dmitri Vapnoople is revealed to be one immediately after all his brain damage is undone. He's The Beastmaster who believes humanity should be regularly scoured by bigger, badder, more dangerous monsters every time so that the survivors will be sharper and sharper, and the weak will be cleaned out each time. And the second he's had a moment to gather his wits and creations he intends to get started with scouring the land with the best monsters he has.
  • Troll society in Homestuck is a Proud Warrior Race which encourages all younger members of the species to play deadly games and take justice into their own hands. The theory behind all this is that any troll who gets culled by this wouldn't be fit to be a soldier anyways, and those who do survive will be all the tougher for it.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, self-described Übermensch Galatea offers her take on this philosophy here, and then gets taught its shortcomings almost instantly.
  • The Ninja Professor from Irritability not only teaches a course on Survival of the Fittest but strives to make it as dangerous and difficult as possible to weed out the weak students.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: The Demiurge Incubus has a strong social darwinist streak of the struggler type. Himself a prime example of From Nobody to Nightmare, having gone from war refugee to Dimension Lord, Incubus inflames other peoples' ambition to rule and dominate others and believes existence itself is one big fight in which the ability to kill others is the only truth: To Incubus, there can only ever be one winner, and that is the one who can kill anyone else. He latches onto Allison as her Evil Mentor for this purpose, aiming either to use her to reach the top himself or to train an apprentice who can surpass everyone and 'win' on his behalf.
    Incubus: There are no heroes. There is no 'strength' in others. There is only me... And you. And your ability to keep breathing the air you did not earn. Now get up and fight. Or die like the worthless trash you are.
  • One-Punch Man:
    • Dr. Genus was, even as a child, disgusted by the weakness of man. His goal is to take over the world and replace the human race with his army of genetically engineered monsters. He gets really shocked when he discovers Saitama's incredible power came from training and not genetics or anything of the sort. When his most powerful experiment is effortlessly destroyed after failing to do any real damage to Saitama, he has a change of heart and decides to open a restaurant.
    • Suiryu, a very strong competitor in the martial arts tournament Saitama enters, is revealed to have this as his mindset, though it's unclear if he falls under Straw Meritocrat, Jerk Justifier, Struggler, or a combination of the above: He believes that any death of non-natural causes was because that person was too weak to survive it and thus all non-natural deaths are deserved. As a result, he comes off as a sociopath, showing zero concern for anyone but himself, as until Saitama, he had yet to encounter anyone better at fighting than him. Because of Suiryu's attitude, he has nothing but disdain for heroes and doesn't understand why they would rescue weak people to the point of self-sacrifice when they should be protecting themselves. These ideas particularly offend Suiryu's second-round opponent Snek, who is a professional hero and takes his job seriously. After being on the receiving end of this merciless philosophy though, and finally learning how it feels to be helpless against overwhelming power, he quickly and irrevocably changes his tune and vows to use his strength to be a hero himself.
  • The Order of the Stick: Helga Firehelm has traces of this, especially post-The Bus Came Back when her personality and backstory as a rebel against the rigid Dwarven society is heavily expanded upon. After she kills Durkon with a Flame Strike minutes after he has been resurrected, just to finally get revenge on him for hurting her (while planning to just resurrect him again afterwards), Roy even tells her that it's not a competition of who's currently got the better of who. Her answer? "Everything is a competition, the people who say otherwise are just losers who lose." She's also a cleric of Loki, whose entire religion is pretty much based on doing what's best for yourself, and screw the consequences for the rest of the world. She specifically began worshipping him as a means of rebelling against Dwarf society, since their entire society and even their souls are tied up into Honour Before Reason.
  • Brian and especially Angelo from Our Little Adventure enforce this way of thinking. None of their soldiers are allowed to grow above the 16th level without their permission and are secretly destroyed if they do so.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Sigrun seems to think the Norse gods are like this:
    • While she protects the weaker members of the crew without a second thought when they are in danger, she has also uttered the phrase "the gods hate weaklings".
    • When a combination of fever and low morale causes her to be unable to keep up with the two Farm Boy members of the crew, she treats it as grounds for I Will Only Slow You Down and believing the gods are punishing her for her recent failures by having her die of illness in a Forbidden Zone.
  • One of the justifications the protagonists of Suicide for Hire use for their business is that their clients are Too Dumb to Live.
    "If you swim with sharks, you may not get bitten, but don't act like it was an unforeseen tragedy when you do."


    Web Videos 
  • In Season 1 of Empires SMP, the God of Evil Exor is implied to be one according to "The Clash of the Great Stags", as it's stated that his followers held human sacrifices of people they deemed weak.
  • This trope is discussed by Philosophy Tube in the video "Marx vs. Darwin". Amongst other parts, the video points out that Darwin's descriptive terms for evolution in On the Origin of Species were used prescriptively by Spencer to create this trope, as well as by Galton to create the field of eugenics. She notes that Spencer's ideas actually predated Darwin's work, along with those of Thomas Malthus. Both claimed aid to the poor should be stopped as it would only cause overpopulation (Malthus added a theological side, since he was a minister). Malthus claimed this population growth would outstrip food supplies (which has been disproven). Karl Marx and other left-wing radicals who held much the opposite views also praised evolution, feeling it vindicated their views. They all held that evolution always led to improvement (an error as well). However, she also notes that views of eugenicists varied widely, while it also still exists (contrary to popular belief — mainly used against prisoners or trans people). While she is a Marxist, Abigail also admits that some Marxists endorsed eugenics as well.

    Western Animation 
  • In Adventure Time, Goliad picks up this philosophy after spending one day at a daycare and seeing force work where diplomacy fails to keep the children from running amok. Princess Bubblegum realizes how dangerous this train of thought is and tries to impress upon Goliad how a leader should care for its subjects by comparing leadership to the relationship between a bee and a flower. Goliad rejects this lesson and offers her own interpretation of the bee-flower relationship:
    "You're wrong, Princess. Bee cares not for flower. If getting pollen hurts or kills flower, Bee would not care. [crushes bee] Bee is stronger than flower. [reanimates bee] Goliad is stronger than Bee. Goliad is stronger than all..."
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Fire Lord Ozai shows signs of this. He even says to Aang in the finale that the Air Nomads deserved to die because they were weak. Likewise, apparently the reason he hated his son so much was because he was weaker than his sister. In a deliciously ironic twist, Ozai is rendered utterly powerless in the finale, with Aang stripping him of his ability to Firebend. To Ozai, this must be a Fate Worse than Death.
    • There are hints dropped that, in general, the extremely militaristic Fire Nation culture tended toward this trope, albeit not to the same extent as Ozai and other members of the royal family, hence why Zuko has so much self-hatred for most of the series for perceiving himself as the weaker sibling. His becoming Fire Lord at the end of the series helps change this way of thinking for the better, and seems largely done away with by the time of The Legend of Korra.
  • Daffy Duck of Looney Tunes fame became this under Chuck Jones' pen, a self-proclaimed self-preservationist who will do anything to save, or simply indulge, his own hide, especially if means taking down a certain rabbit.
    Daffy: Survival of the fittest, like they say... and besides, it's fun.
  • Lord Viren in The Dragon Prince talks a lot about how he wants to make humanity strong through dark magic and his supposed pragmatic mindset in taking hard choices. This is later subjected when Viren reflects that he just wanted excuses to kill and exploit all the magic creatures he wanted, not caring for collateral damage, and that it's his fault things got worse.
    Viren: History is at a tipping point. If we make strong choices, we will take back the land that is rightfully ours, but if we are led by a child king...
    Soren: Will he make bad choices?
    Viren: He will make weak choices.
  • My Little Pony:
    • In the My Little Pony 'n Friends episode "Baby, It's Cold Outside", a penguin king tries to freeze the world, claiming only the worthy would survive. When he freezes his own son by accident, he at first claims it was his son's fault and that he was unworthy, but he eventually has a Heel Realization, saves his son, and stops his plan.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic goes even deeper. Lightning Dust is the Jerk Justifier. Do your best, disregard the rest? Her. So what if anyone else gets hurt? Rainbow Dash is not pleased.
  • Deconstructed in Samurai Jack. The Daughters of Aku were raised in an abusive environment that left them with this mentality, but while it's fine on paper, it's the exact opposite as while they were taught that Virtue Is Weakness, it was counterproductive, especially when they're on the defensive and are psychologically conditioned not to protect each other. Also, when they see a stag approach his mate, they assume he's another minion of Aku that will devour the female deer, only to be baffled when the two start nuzzling with affection. Their training involved brutal punishments for failure, and they never had any choice from the get-go, all while being deprived of any love and affection. After spending time with Jack, Ashi slowly realized how WRONG this mindset was when she finally confronts her mother.
  • Perhaps the best example of this character in The Simpsons is Montgomery Burns. A sociopathic industrialist, he has no qualms about resorting to all kinds of crimes — including murder — in order to succeed in business (and, in fact, advises a classroom full of students to forget about romantic attachment and even disown their own families in order to not be distracted from making money). Yet Mr. Burns is arguably a deconstruction: he's a physically feeble and borderline senile elderly man who depends heavily on his personal assistant Smithers, his hired goons and his gang of evil lawyers to do his dirty work. Never more blatant than in an episode showing what happened to him and Abraham "Grampa" Simpson during World War II; marooned together on a tropical island in the Pacific, Burns insists that the two of them not struggle for survival as equals, but fight like animals to determine who is superior, with the loser becoming the winner's servant. Abe immediately kicks his ass.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars has the villain Pre Vizsla, who has incredibly murderous disdain for any being he perceives as weak. When Darth Maul kills him, he accepts his death, as Maul proved himself the stronger warrior.
  • Jasper from Steven Universe believes in this lifestyle. Though as evolution is not a part of Gem biology, she instead has an intense hatred for deformed Gems including Amethyst to the point of attempting to shatter her, even after she proved she was no threat to Jasper. She is taken down with a combination of the "weaker characters team up" and the "disabled character shows them up" variant by Steven and Amethyst fusing to form Smoky Quartz. If that weren't enough, she also refuses Steven's attempts to fix her Corruption, under the belief that she deserved it for failing to destroy the Crystal Gems and avenge both Earth and Pink Diamond. Scarily enough, she never gets better from it, she just becomes a Retired Monster. In Steven Universe: Future, Steven actually killing her, and having to use an absurd amount of power and a MacGuffin to raise her from the dead, just gets her to finally be impressed by Steven. She remains on the heroes' side only because she's extremely loyal, and was told to play nice.
  • Superjail!: The Warden, in a flashback as a little boy, is forced by his Jerkass father to decapitate a puppy because it is "weak".
  • Transformers:
    • The Decepticons all appear to be Social Darwinists. Megatron in particular is a stout Social Darwinist both in his views on "flesh creatures" and on other Transformers — "Lesser creatures are the playthings of my will." For some of the Megatrons throughout the years, this is why they keep Starscream (or one of his expies) around. Megatron knows Starscream was plotting to take over, and staying one step ahead of him is proof that he is a Magnificent Bastard worthy of ruling the Deceptions, but if Starscream manages to usurp him, then he deserves to lead.
    • The Dinobots, especially their leader Grimlock, value only strength and hates weaklings. The only thing separating them from the Decepticons is that they hate those who abuse their strength more than weaklings.
  • In Young Justice (2010), Vandal Savage claims that he formed the Light to advance humanity's evolution both on Earth and throughout the cosmos.
    "Fifty thousand years of life, and nothing ever troubled me as much as the founding of the Justice League. Dedicated to maintaining society's calcified status quo, the League would protect mankind from disaster, crime, tragedy of any kind. Had you never heard of the survival of the fittest? In essence, you 'heroes' sought to protect humanity from its own glorious evolution."


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Social Darwinist, The Eugenicist, The Strong Should Dominate The Weak, Social Darwinism, Social Darwinists


The Fox and the Rabbit Lesson

The core belief of Nazism is visualized in class as a strong fox eating a weak rabbit. When Hans shows sympathy for the poor rabbit, he is ridiculed and humiliated by his teacher and classmates. Afraid of Hitler and his goons' reactions, and witnessing the "correct" answers given by his peers, Hans soon repents his answer and declares his hatred towards the rabbit for being weak and cowardly. Satisfied, Hans' teacher then applies this lesson towards German politics, namely that Germans are the superior race and should conquer or destroy all who oppose them. Though antisemitism isn't explicitly mentioned, it's quite clear who the rabbit is supposed to be.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / TaughtToHate

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