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Virtue Is Weakness

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"Honesty is fatal, it should be taboo
Diligence a fate I would hate
If charity means giving, I give it to you
And fidelity is only for your mate."
Mordred, "The Seven Deadly Virtues", Camelot

Compassion, generosity, mercy, honesty, honor, loyalty, justice, friendship, and love. It is through these values by which people are able to cooperate and society is able to function.

One way to show a bad guy really Kick the Dog is to express his distaste for these virtues. It's not that he absolutely can't comprehend good; he understands exactly what goodness entails, and views it as an unnecessary burden that would hold him back and a weakness to be exploited in others. Though it is possible for the bad guy to share both of these tropes, in that the villain may not understand it at first, but later on, might scoff at such a concept with ridicule.

This is a very common subject when the Big Bad is confronted by the hero and tries to Break Them by Talking. It's also common for the villain to give a short speech about this when the hero is confronted with the choice of killing the villain and refuses to kill him. The hero usually responds by it is from good where his strength comes and that it's through the power of goodness that a diverse species as humans were able to succeed. Depending on where the work falls on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, the hero may be vindicated... or not.

Belief in this is a telltale sign of being The Sociopath, The Unfettered, or The Social Darwinist who sees empathy for others as a bad trait in favor of a literal struggle between life and death. This can be one of the Jerk Justifications for a character to be a Jerkass with a Lack of Empathy. The Unapologetic may justify themselves for not apologizing by believing that remorse makes a person weak. Someone who holds grudges and never accepts apologies sees forgiving someone as a sign of weakness. A lot of the time, this tends to be the rationalization of someone who thinks It's All About Me. Cynically interpreted, one who believes this can be seen as the Übermensch. This may also be invoked by an Anti-Hero to justify fighting dirty to win, by any means necessary.

For some explanation of why this view is wrong, see our analysis page.

See also Straw Nihilist, who believes that good is pointless rather than a weakness (though it's not uncommon for many villains to believe both). Supertrope to Love Is a Weakness. Contrast Evil Virtues, where evil displays virtues/morals in order to be effective. Compare and Contrast Good Is Not Soft and Beware the Nice Ones, in which a virtuous character actively demonstrates the (potentially fatal) error in this thinking. Expect bad guys who believe in this trope to attack whoever the hero loves as psychological warfare.


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  • Agent Ali: Aaron Edison thinks that emotions and enthusiasm (as well as health) interfere in labor force, leading him to make a Mind-Control Device to do away with these "obstructions of progress". When Dr. Tong outcries his invention as inhumane and threatens to fire him, Aaron takes control of his mind to make him resign as CEO and transfer the position to Aaron.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Baccano!: Claire Stanfield has a weird inverted way of looking at this. Specifically, he believes virtues like mercy and compassion are strengths that only the truly strong are privileged to possess since they can afford to let them backfire without worry for themselves. And he's the strongest guy around.
  • Death Note: When Soichiro chooses to try to arrest Mello rather than kill him with the Death Note as Light expected him to do, despite the fact that Mello had kidnapped and traumatized Sayu, Light is annoyed and openly declares it an act of stupidity. Light's way of thinking comes back to bite him hard when, later on, he mocks Soichiro in front of his former assistant Matsuda, which pisses Matsuda off, enough to fly into a fit of rage and shoot Light's right hand, preventing Light from writing into the Death Note, and then shoots him four more times for good measure.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • When Goku attempts to allow Captain Ginyu to leave if he will only apologize and promise to never hurt anyone again, Ginyu mocks him and says a soft-hearted person will never defeat him.
    • Freeza has nothing but disgust and contempt for Goku for showing mercy to him, and even goes so far as to mock him for it point-blank. In Resurrection 'F', he says that Gohan choosing not to kill any of his Mooks actually makes him sick.
    • Vegeta is a firm believer of this, to the extent that during the Buu Saga, he let himself be enslaved by Babidi's magic because he wanted to rid himself of the feelings he had developed for Earth and his family. By the end of the series, he realizes otherwise and has embraced virtues like love and friendship, though he's still in the Good is Not Nice camp.
    • The Saiyan race as a whole believe traits like compassion, forgiveness, love, and even family bonds to be weaknesses. They call it "going soft" and it's part of the reason Vegeta despises Goku for so long; he's a Saiyan who gained incredible power in spite of these "weaknesses".
  • Duel Masters: Duels sometimes become real and the monsters inflict real damage. Since Shobu doesn't want to hurt anyone, he tries to avoid attacking directly and instead get his opponent to surrender if he is in a position to win. Sometimes this works, other times his opponent or a bystander will mock him for being weak and refuse to acknowledge his victory unless he actually attacks.
  • The Fate Series' take on Gilgamesh has a complicated view on this as he's canonically mocked and praised virtues, which seems to vary depending upon the person he's talking to.
    • In Fate/Zero, Gilgamesh at first sees Rider as a fool for challenging him for the Grail, but ultimately comes to view him as a Worthy Opponent upon seeing the strength of his convictions and his bonds of loyalty and friendship with his warriors. He even goes so far as to spare the life of Rider's Master Waver simply because his loyalty to his Servant/king was so strong, praising him for it. As for Saber, while he mocks her desire he does find a fascination for her convictions and willpower, as well as her stubborn refusal to ever be his, which is why he's attracted to her.
    • In Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works], Gilgamesh defeats Berserker with ease because he wouldn't stop shielding Illya from his attacks. Gilgamesh mocks him and says if Berserker had just abandoned the child to her fate and attacked him full force, he might have stood a chance. He also mocks Shirou and Rin for wasting time trying to save Shinji's life when killing him would have accomplished their goal faster (stopping him from being the host of the Holy Grail). In both these cases, he sees Illya and Shinji as beneath notice (Illya is an Artificial Human whose only purpose is to be the Grail, and Shinji is a pretty despicable human being) and wouldn't see why anyone would fight to save their lives.
  • Gate: Emperor Molto Sol Augustus shows contempt for Japan's policy of caring for and rescuing as many citizens as possible, unlike his Empire which doesn't care about "peasants" and will sacrifice as many men as needed to achieve victory. He declares that in spite of Japan's superior military might, their compassion is a sentimental weakness that can be exploited. The Empire fails to find a way to exploit it and loses.
  • Inuyasha: During the later part of the series, Naraku states outright that just seeing Inuyasha and his companions show mercy to Kanna, who he had sent on a Suicide Mission to kill them, actually makes him sick.
  • Naruto: As part of his Breaking Speech on Hinata during the Chunin Exams preliminaries, Neji tells her that her kind and compassionate nature makes her weak and unfit to be the heiress of the Hyuga Clan. It almost gets through, until Naruto snaps her out of it.
  • It's a common theme for the villains of One Piece to share this sentiment; some of the best examples are:
    • Don Krieg from the Baratie Arc considers sympathy, pride, and honor as signs of weakness and is willing to kill anyone in his crew for showing it.
    • Crocodile and a few Baroque Works Officer Agents during the Alabasta Arc see camaraderie beyond professionalism and a common goal as a sign of weakness. Crocodile and Daz Bones now softened their view a bit.
    • Pre-timeskip, Bellamy mocks Luffy for believing in his dreams, and declares the present is all that matters. He gets one good punch in the face for it. Post-timeskip, he got over it and even thanks Luffy for giving him a reality check.
    • Post-Timeskip shows Hody Jones laughing at Princess Shirahoshi for not hating him while knowing that Hody was the her mother's real killer the whole time, because that would go against her mother's wishes. Speaking of which, Hody and his crew would see any of their fellow merfolk and fishmen attempting peace with the humans as traitors.
    • Vinsmoke Judge -a.k.a Sanji's father- is a firm believer of this. He considers Sanji feeding common folk — "rats", as he calls them — to be disgusting, as "royalty should never serve commoners" in his mind. He's also not big on mercy, believing that those with power have a right to brutalize the weak. The worst, and possibly most self-destructive part? He considers being a chef a worthless profession, certainly not one fit for "royalty." All his children bar Sanji share this mindset because he engineered them in-utero no have no "weaknesses". It would seem none of them have heard the old adage "armies march on their stomachs." Ironically, when his supposed allies the Big Mom pirates decide to kill him and his children, he devolves into a blubbering mess begging for someone to save him.
  • Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl: Paul is firmly convinced that befriending one's Pokémon is a waste of time, and regularly abandons any Pokémon of his that he considers weak or doesn't meet his expectations. This bites him in the ass when Ash takes in a Chimchar he abandoned, raises it into an Infernape, and defeats him in the Pokémon league with it.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, shortly after Madoka's best friend Sayaka becomes a magical girl, Madoka talks about it with Homura. Madoka mentions Sayaka's primary virtues- she's kind, she's brave and she's selfless- only for Homura to bluntly state that those qualities make Sayaka ill-suited to being a magical girl. Homura turns out to be right, as Sayaka ends up falling into despair and becoming a witch.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: During Pharaoh Atem and Thief King Bakura's battle, Bakura suddenly has his monster Diabound fire energy blasts at the citizens. Bakura mocks the Pharaoh as a fool when he has Slifer the Sky Dragon shield the citizens, giving Bakura the advantage.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: While she was a villain, Reggie MacKenzie claimed that love and other human bonds are nothing but shackles.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Jack Atlas, who is even more of an asshole than his anime counterpart, challenges Yusei to a duel. Yusei tries to decline as he is trying to get his unconscious friend Sect to a hospital, but Jack forces him to duel and mocks his friendship, saying friends are nothing but shackles. When Jack makes his final attack, Yusei is about to activate his facedown card but notices Sect is falling into a river and jumps away to save him, losing as a result. Jack examines Yusei's abandoned cards and sees that his facedown card would have destroyed Jack's monster if it had been played. Instead of acknowledging Yusei as the true winner, Jack throws the card away and mocks Yusei for putting his friend above victory.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Jim Gordon's sociopathic serial killer son James Gordon Jr. believes that empathy is a weakness.
  • The Big Bad in the first Blacksad comic book is a notorious Corrupt Corporate Executive who murdered his mistress (Blacksad's former girlfriend) in cold blood and uses his vast wealth to put himself above the law. When Blacksad tracks him down to exact vengeance, the bad guy taunts him that he doesn't have it in him to perform a Vigilante Execution because Blacksad is held down by his moral scruples. The villain prides himself on being The Unfettered. Blacksad blows his brains out, noting afterwards that he wouldn't have been able to go through with it if his target wasn't such a Smug Snake about it.
  • Usagi Yojimbo: "What fools, who mistake honor for weakness." Usagi usually gets called a coward when he refuses to fight, in this case in a duel for other people to bet on with an opponent who is clearly not on Usagi's level but has been goaded by his agent. Unbeknownst to him, his "agent" knows exactly how good Usagi is and doesn't want to share the winnings.
  • Judge Dredd: In a prequel story it is shown that Judge Fire tracked down two Dark Judges who had gone rogue, one of whom was a female colleague that he was infatuated with. When he confronts them, he kills her sycophantic subordinate on the grounds that "love is a crime".
  • Mega Man (Archie Comics): Xander believes Mega Man is weak because he refuses to kill him.
  • In My Little Pony: Feats of Friendship, Swift Foot (and the Thracians as a whole) considers friendship to be a "vile lie" and a "weakness", which she hopes to expose by ruining the Feats of Friendship.
  • Superman:
    • In Two for the Death of One, Lord Satanis firmly believes that Might Makes Right, and he derides Superman as a fool for protecting people instead of lording over them.
      Superman: You killed them? Just like that? Satanis, you're filth!
      Satanis: Hardly, Superman. I am simply one who acknowledges his destiny. I am one who hungers for power and will do whatever must be done to sate my cravings! But you could never understand that, could you? You possess great powers, yet you squander them away helping mindless dolts who could never appreciate what you do for them.
    • In Rebirth story The Killers of Krypton, a weakened Supergirl is wrestling with Splyce when all of sudden the alien villain incinerates a little girl who was just running by. Seeing Supergirl's horrified expression, Splyce mocks her compassion. Kara angrily retorts compassion isn't a weakness, and in spite of being weakened, rips Splyce's tentacles off.
      Splyce: Your affection for the weak is baffling! And it is your downfall!
      Supergirl: Caring about the vulnerable isn't a weakness! [ripping Splyce's tentacles off] It is my biggest strength!
    • The Phantom Zone: General Zod believed he could launch a successful coup because a desire for peace and fellowship had surely made Kryptonians weak and pliable. He discovers his error when his army is quickly crushed.
      "But like many before him— and since— the General mistook peace for complacency, and mercy for lack of resolve. Now, as Krypton defends its tradition of tranquility, Zod discovers his error...
    • The Plague of the Antibiotic Man: Amalak believes Superman's unwillingness to kill anyone is a sign of weakness and stupidity. He even gloats that Superman and Supergirl should have killed him when they had the chance because he does not intend to waste his second chance to kill them.
      Amalak: '"'Last rites'? Come on, Superman— You do not really mean that! It is against your personal code to kill any living being! And that will be your undoing! You two should have killed me— when you had the chance! You will not get another!"
  • The Brood in X-Men. The known "Mutant Brood" are born with empathy; mutant Brood are quickly eliminated by normal Brood who see love, empathy, and friendship as a virus or a deadly disease that must be eradicated, as these mutant Brood are seen as a threat to Brood society. The only empathic Brood allowed to live would be No-Name of the Warbound and Broo.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Retail, Stuart, Josh, and Brice all are of the mindset that blind loyalty to upper management is more important, and things like empathy, loyalty to fellow employees, and common sense are weaknesses, causing them to constantly butt heads with Marla. Josh ends up fired by Marla after she finds out he lied about getting a better offer from Delman's to get a raise, then gloated about it after he gave his two weeks' notice; later, Brice is forced to eat humble pie after finding all the flaws in this mindset (and finding out just how much worse retail can be after a stint as Mina's assistant manager) and Marla and most of the staff quit abruptly once they find out Grumbel's is going into bankruptcy, leaving Stuart with only a skeleton crew to run the liquidation sales.

    Fairy Tales 
  • How Jack Sought The Golden Apples: The two older princes scoff at Jack for wanting to find the cure to save their father (as opposed to gaining his favor), claiming that he'll never get anywhere with that attitude. It comes back to bite them when he's the only one to get a happy ending.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction, Alan Jonah doesn't have a high opinion of Heroic Sacrifices, as shown in Chapter 6. Word of God comments that Ni/Elder Brother associates goodness and love with weakness, and MaNi's behavior towards San-Who-Could-Have-Been/Youngest Brother shows this in Chapter 16.
  • Agreement and Disputation: At one point, Holmes tells Watson that only determinedly ruthless people accomplish anything in life. Watson retorts that they then usually get themselves killed by exasperating the populace. Later, after seeing Watson donate to a paper seller who lost much of his stock to wind, Holmes notes that it's no wonder he constantly runs short on money, given his softheartedness.
  • Double the Trouble: Krumple, the Kremling commander, considers the Kongs weak and feeble-minded because they care for family and friends.
    The apes had just left one very important detail. They were such weak-minded creatures, obsessed with family and friends. But Kremlings lacked such compassion for their fellow beings. It was a weakness, not a strength.
  • Fate: Kill: The town of Calla has policies like helping the poor and distributing food and supplies to people who can't afford it. Several merchants refuse to trade with Calla because they think Calla's policies make them weak-minded fools.
  • Fates Collide: Jaune Arc nearly effortlessly blocks Jaune Alter's attacks, until Alter aims at Arc's injured horse. Arc blocks the attack but creates an opening that allows Alter to knock his shield away. Alter calls Arc stupid and says protecting others makes him weak.
  • In Hearts of Ice, Cologne chides Shampoo for not killing Akane right after giving her the Kiss of Death, and even Shampoo regards herself as weak for showing compassion and unwillingness to kill.
    Shampoo had never killed anyone before. She knew she had it in her to do it, but deep inside her soul, in a place she didn't like to admit existed, she didn't want to. For an Amazon, these pangs of... mercy?... were an unforgivable weakness.
  • In I Against I, Me Against You, The Director tells Celestia this after he reveals his intentions to hold Canterlot hostage with the Mother of Invention:
    Director: Perhaps now you see the cost of letting your conscience take precedence?
  • The Kakashi Way: Danzo quite firmly believes that any kind of compassion or emotional attachment to others is a weakness — one he ruthlessly aimed to exploit against anyone he perceived to be a threat against his plans to become the next Hokage. As Hiruzen, Inoichi, Jiraiya and others dig into Danzo's personal records, they discover that his machinations resulted in many more casualties than they'd realized — for instance, he had a hand in the Kannabi bridge incident, targeting Team Seven because Minato "shared Hiruzen's weakness".
  • Kingdom Hearts 3: Final Stand:
    • A key factor in Orochi Mae's beliefs. In both How We Met and Radiant Garden Renegades chapter 5, he mocks Kaname to his face for his kindness and compassion; in the latter story, he goes so far as to commit suicide in front of him out of spite for said compassion.
    • The crux of Braig's beliefs. He even states as such in a rant to Sasuke in Re:Final Stand chapter 34, stating it's what he hated the most while he worked for Ansem and the guard:
      Braig: Always the same with you! Always about your pitiful loyalist ideals! I hate that about you most of all! I hated that about the guard, and I certainly hated that about Yamato and especially Kaname! Heck, even Sora is now getting on my nerves with all his talk about his friends being his power! People who fight for those other than themselves don't survive!
  • The Nuptialverse has a few examples:
    • Queen Chrysalis in Metamorphosis not only doesn't understand why Twilight still fights for them, despite all of them having cold-heartedly left her but is disgusted at the fact.
    • The sequel, Directions after Trixie is freed from the Alicorn Amulet, Olive Branch laughs at the idea that she would feel remorse over it. In the same story, Chrysalis in her second appearance gave Rarity a Shut Up, Kirk! speech on how the Mane Five got over their guilt in the wedding over the past year.
  • Pony POV Series: Makarov mocks Shining Armor for lacking the willingness to sacrifice his men to achieve victory.
  • Played more sympathetically in Rabbit of the Moon. Bell's innate kindness does him more harm than good when he's pitted against the turned Father Gascoigne. His attempts to reason with Gascoigne fall on deaf ears and Bell is left shaken and heartbroken when he's finally forced to kill him. Gehrman even warns Bell that his kindness is misplaced when dealing with maddened Hunters.
  • Reapers Among Fairies: Minerva uses Milianna as a hostage to try to force Erza and Ichigo to surrender, gloating that their compassion and desire to protect others is their weakness. This backfires when Ichigo points out that since he wants to protect others, he will not hesitate to do what is necessary. He uses a Flash Step to get right next to Minerva and stabs her to make her drop Milianna.
  • Remnant Inferis: DOOM: Marcus Black says he admires the Doom Slayer's strength and skill, and if Doom Slayer stopped protecting people, he would be a perfect warrior.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: The original Falla had nothing but disgust and contempt for both Luna and Complica, her own sisters, for their Nice Girl attitudes; she even went so far as to send Complica to her death, deeming her a disgrace to the chronofly species for her kindness. Of course, as a whole, the chronoflies were a peaceful, reclusive race, with Falla as the main exception.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, the Big Bad Commander Lyle T. Rourke shows complete confusion and frustration when his crew felt remorse for condemning Atlantis to death and mocks them for it.
    Rourke: Aw, you can't be serious.
    Audrey: This is wrong and you know it!
    Rourke: We're this close to our biggest payday ever and you pick now of all times to grow a conscience?!
  • Nidhiki tells his old comrade Lhikan this in BIONICLE: Legends of Metru Nui after he throws down his weapons in surrender upon seeing Nidhiki hold Vakama over the lava forge, right before dropping him anyways as a last "screw you" for his and Lhikan's troubled past together. Luckily, Lhikan is still able to save Vakama with a well-timed kick of his shield that gets him to safety. He likely gets it from his Bad Boss The Shadowed One, who views virtues like friendship and honor as shackles that hold one back and are only good for manipulating others to his side (like promising to help someone find his Only Friend in exchange for services...while secretly keeping said friend imprisoned deep within his own fortress).
    Nidhiki: Compassion... was always your weakness, brother. (drops Vakama)
  • The Incredibles:
  • Titan in Megamind shoots down Roxanne's belief that there's good in everyone after she tries to reason with him.
    Titan: You're so naive, Roxy. You see the good in everybody even when it's not there. You're living in a fantasy! There is no Easter Bunny, there is no Tooth Fairy, and there is no Queen of England! This is the real world, and you need to wake up!
  • Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School: Revolta spies on Dracula using his cape to shield the Mummy from the rain. She says in disgust that she used to admire the classic monsters, but now they have become soft. She aims to take over the world and eliminate all forms of kindness.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Alien, Ash expresses an admiration for the extra-terrestrial monster which is stalking and killing off the Nostromo's crew. He prizes it for being a remorseless predator who survives because it is "unclouded by delusions of morality".
  • In Batman & Robin, Mr. Freeze zaps Robin, forcing Batman into a Sadistic Choice: "Chase the villain or save the boy." He concludes, "Emotion makes you weak. That's why the day is mine. I'll kill you next time."
  • Blade Trilogy:
    • In Blade (1998), Deacon Frost taunts Blade about his humanity and escapes from him in one scene by throwing a little girl into traffic and forcing Blade to waste time saving her.
    • In Blade: Trinity, Drake also taunts Blade about his humanity and escapes from him in one scene by throwing a baby into the air and forcing Blade to waste time catching him.
  • The Dark Knight Trilogy:
    • Batman Begins has Ducard trying to talk Bruce into executing a criminal during his martial arts training, arguing that Bruce's compassion is a weakness that his enemies will not share. Bruce counters that that's why compassion is so important since it's what makes him different from his enemies.
    • In The Dark Knight, once Gotham's top crime bosses call a truce to take down Batman, they discuss the fact that Batman does not kill and how it is a reason to not really fear him at all. Batman later proves the mafia leader, Sal Maroni, wrong by dropping him from a non-lethal, yet quite painful height.
  • In Downfall (2004), Adolf Hitler gives a speech during one of the dinners in the bunker that he believes it is natural and right that the strong should kill off the weak, citing how apes bash in the skulls of smaller ones during fights. He calls compassion towards other people a "natural sin" and morality a human flaw. Although humorously enough, after giving this speech, he receives news that Himmler and his forces have surrendered to the advancing Anglo-American allies (who are certainly the "strong" in this situation) and flies into an explosive rage, calling him a traitor with no morals. A rather meta case of Moral Myopia.
  • In Flash Gordon (1980), as Flash is going to be executed, Dale is crying. Ming the Merciless and his daughter have this exchange:
    Aura: Look! Water is leaking from her eyes!
    Ming: It's what they call "tears". It's a sign of their weakness.
  • In Godzilla: Final Wars, Ozaki holds back when sparring because he doesn't want to hurt his teammates and cares more about saving people than fighting the bad guys. His teammate Kazama angrily lectures him that his compassion is holding him back. Later, when Kazama is Brainwashed and Crazy, Ozaki defeats him without killing him. A grateful Kazama admits he was wrong before pulling a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • This is more distaste for one virtue, but in The Karate Kid (1984), Sensei Kreese delivers a denigrating speech about mercy to his students.
    "Mercy is for the weak. We do not train to be merciful here. If a man faces you, he is the enemy. An enemy deserves no mercy."
    • This of course comes back to bite him in the rear. After a student is permanently banned from future competitions when he forces the kid to show "no mercy" in the climactic POINT SPARRING TOURNAMENT, followed by his vicious assault on his senior student for failure to win (and then his humiliating defeat at the hands of a most definitely merciful Miyagi), his students all leave him and the third film in the trilogy shows him bankrupt and ruined as a result. It goes to the point that it takes Johnny inadvertently training a new generation of bullies in Cobra Kai for Kreese to swoop right in and take the dojo back - all because, even as Johnny attempted to move on from the happenings of three decades ago, he couldn't shed the old Cobra Kai creed: "strike first, strike hard, no mercy".
  • Jonah Hex (2010): When Turnbull uses Lilah as a shield, Jonah cannot bring himself to risk shooting her and surrenders. Turnbull mocks him, saying his inability to sacrifice anyone to achieve victory is his weakness.
  • In A Knight's Tale, Adhemar calls William weak when he shows mercy to Sir Colville after the latter is injured during their second tilt.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • In Man of Steel, Faora-Ul gives Superman a speech about this combined with rantings of social Darwinism.
    Faora: You're weak, son of El. The fact that you possess a sense of morality and we do not give us an evolutionary advantage. And if history has proven anything, it is that evolution always wins.
  • During the Final Battle of Mystery Men Casanova Frankenstein holds Mr. Furious' girlfriend hostage and says that it's easy to get the best of people when they care about each other. He then demonstrates he doesn't by activating his staircase's lethal security system while several of his mooks are in its path.
  • The Postman: The Holnists' third law says "Mercy is for the weak", and boy does General Bethlehem live it out. He doesn't expect it himself at the end as a result, but then he's spared by the Postman. Then he tries to shoot the Postman after this, but is shot himself. This is all part of the Holnists' cruel Social Darwinist ideology.
  • The Princess: Julius is convinced that kings must rule brutally, and sneers at the princess' father ruling with compassion toward his subjects.
  • Various Sith in the Star Wars universe believe that the Jedi's adherence to their Code (which promotes self-control and peaceful conflict resolution) is what makes them weaker than the Sith themselves (who give lip-service to valuing freedom from restraints above all else while being just as dogmatic and order-obsessed in their own way as the Jedi).
  • Superman II. During the battle in Metropolis Superman spends a lot of time saving people from falling debris. General Zod shares an observation with his fellow villain Ursa.
    General Zod: This "Superman" is nothing of the kind. I've discovered his weakness. He cares. He actually cares for these people.
  • The Third Man: This attitude is implicit throughout Harry Lime's speeches to Martins, especially on the Ferris wheel.
    Lime: Victims? Don't be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare?
  • What Keeps You Alive: Jackie tells Jules that her conscience and emotions only make her weak.


By Authors:

  • The Marquis de Sade and his characters often mocked or dismissed compassion, mercy, etc. in favor of cruelty and killing for the sheer pleasure that it brought them, viewing the former as denying this for no good reason.

By Title:

  • Discworld: Carcer, the Big Bad of Night Watch is basically convinced that morals and laws are just arbitrary lines in the sand that lesser people draw to pretend that they're safe, and hence, he can do whatever the hell he likes - he's a man who, if he wanted to know the time, would stab you to death and take your watch rather than simply ask you. Vimes doesn't take kindly to that way of thinking.
  • Voldemort of Harry Potter considers love, friendship, and anything related to compassion a weakness. And then does his darndest to prove his point by using these traits in other people as a weapon against them. Justified by his loveless upbringing and the fact that he is extremely powerful in areas of Black Magic that require you to genuinely want to hurt people, so being anything other than a remorseless sociopath would severely crimp his style.
  • In The Impossible Virgin, a Modesty Blaise novel, Brunel is a cold-blooded criminal mastermind who regards the compassionate virtues as weaknesses that he's glad not to share. He understands how they work well enough to manipulate his opponents with them (including at one point luring Modesty and Willie into a trap), which just makes him more sure that they're a weakness to be avoided. Even loyalty doesn't mean anything to him; he feels no loyalty to anyone and prefers to rely on fear and greed in controlling his subordinates, which is what gets him killed in the end.
  • Exploited by the Big Bad in the Rogue Squadron series. She releases a bioweapon on Coruscant that causes Cruel and Unusual Death to aliens, but that can also be easily cured with large quantities of bacta medicine. Her plan is to let the Republic bankrupt itself trying to cure the millions of citizens dying horrific deaths in front of them since, unlike The Empire, they're too compassionate to simply write them off as a loss.
  • The protagonist of The Secret Place by Tana French believes that friendship is a weakness. His point of view is partly influenced by the fact he grew up with people who wouldn't have supported his ambition to have a career in the police force. Not a villainous example, but he does get some character development with regard to this attitude, too.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish remarks that Eddard Stark's honorable nature is his greatest weakness even though he treats it as his armor. This comes back to bite Ned when Cersei Lannister and Littlefinger exploit that Good Cannot Comprehend Evil and capture him, leading to his public execution by the new king Joffrey.
    • This is a common belief that is passed down through the current Lannister family after current patriarch Tywin Lannister's father ended up dealing with a rebellion from two other powerful vassals due to them also seeing him as weak. Even the otherwise good-intentioned Tyrion considers honor to be a way to death.
      • On the other hand, this view has also bit them pretty hard in the ass, as they're facing even more rebellion because now all of Westeros's nobility is composed of Lannister victims, people who are friends with Lannister victims, people who are afraid of becoming Lannister victims in the future, people who hate the Lannisters on principle for their cruelty and treachery, and the occasional shady and unreliable ally (who are only on the Lannisters' side because the Lannisters enable them to be evil, and are also being picked off in retribution for being evil). It certainly didn't help matters that Cersei never quite internalized the message that being Stupid Evil is a bad thing. Tywin himself is also murdered because of this view; he abused Tyrion until the latter snapped and killed him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The A-Team:
    Col. Decker: [The A-Team] think as one, feel as one, and act as one. But with a wounded man in their midst, they cease to be that. The good of the unit becomes the good of an individual. And that will be their undoing.
  • The Book of Boba Fett: The whole first season revolves around a hard-core Wretched Hive causing mayhem because of this trope. Boba Fett, after killing Bib Fortuna and taking over the remains of Jabba the Hutt's cartel, spends the season seeking to become the planet's main Wasteland Warlord (or "Damijo") by approaching other criminal elements of Tatooine and offering them alliances with mutual benefits and no funny business, and every single one of them tries to kill him because they just are unable to compute that someone offering an alliance without putting a blaster to your face and making An Offer You Can't Refuse does not equal "weakling you can kill and rob".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Quentin Travers regards Giles' fatherly love for Buffy as a distraction and weakness, outright declaring it "useless to the cause."
  • Game of Thrones: Cleaving to virtues like love, honor, and justice comes at a very high price for several characters, but others use it to inspire Undying Loyalty from those around them.
  • In Lois & Clark, after Lex Luthor analyzes Superman through a series of tests of his strength and speed, he remarks to his servant that he has found the chink in his armor; the fact he has morals.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, once Sheldon Cooper realizes that his girlfriend Amy had been making him more compassionate and open-minded he goes and attempts to break up with her, realizing that she had been weakening the strength of his own values of stubbornness and complete disregard for others' opinions.
  • Doctor Who:
  • In The Flash (2014), while Leonard Snart/Captain Cold acquires a "cold generator" that allows him to hurt the Flash, he considers his real weakness to be his focus on saving people instead of beating the bad guy. Snart uses this to his advantage by derailing a train and forcing the Flash to save everyone, then attacking from behind while the Flash catches his breath.
  • Sherlock:
    • Discussed in "A Scandal in Belgravia", with Sherlock asking his brother is his lack of caring about others is a good or bad thing.
      Sherlock: Look at them. They all care so much. Do you ever wonder if there's something wrong with us?
      Mycroft: All lives end. All hearts are broken. Caring is not an advantage, Sherlock.
    • Ultimately averted in the series when Sherlock is able to return from clinical death because he cares about John Watson.
  • Smallville:
    • Lionel Luthor believes in this wholeheartedly, and he has been teaching this to his son Lex his whole life. Lex initially tries not to follow and to be genuinely good at first, but later on, everyone's constant rejection of his attempts at goodness leads him to gradually embrace his selfishness and exploitation of others.
    • The events of the Season 8 finale, where his splitting Davis and Doomsday from one another leads to Jimmy's death at Davis' hands, leads Clark to adopt this belief. He states to Chloe afterwards that caring too much about other people limits his ability to save them.
      Clark: I've always tried to forget I was an alien or a creature. I've always tried to pretend I was human. I was raised to believe it was my Kryptonian part that was dangerous, Chloe, but I was wrong. It's my human side. It... It's the side that gets attached, the side that makes decisions based on emotions. That's my enemy. And Davis proved that to me.
      Chloe: So, because of some psychopath, you're gonna cut the rest of us out of your life? Clark... human emotion is what made you the hero that you are today.
      Clark: They're what's stopping me from being the hero I could be. It's what the world needs now.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Space Seed", when Marla McGivers asks to be excused from seeing her captain and the other officers executed, Khan comments, "I had hoped you would be stronger."
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Déjà Q", Q is banished from the Q Continuum and stripped of his powers, but given the choice of what species to exist as and where to be deposited. Knowing he'll be mercilessly hunted by the countless races he's antagonized over the years he chooses to become human and be deposited on the Enterprise, later explaining that humans' capacity for forgiveness and compassion are "weaknesses of the breed" that he could exploit for his own safety. Picard counters that these are the species' strengths, and it turns out that showing a little human "nobility" is what ends up getting Q reinstated with his brethren.
  • Explored extensively in Supernatural. Because it's such a Crapsack World, the boys are literally damned if you do, damned if you don't; in one example, the brothers waste valuable time returning a young boy who was the victim of a monster to his surviving family, much to Castiel's consternation since he believes it's a sign of weakness. Unfortunately, the boy was infected by his experience and ends up eating his surviving family, so Castiel was right ... but it's hard to say the boys should have killed the child "just in case."


    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Drow generally hold this belief, thanks in part to a goddess who thinks Chronic Backstabbing Disorder is the only way to live.
    • Devils (literally) embody this belief, being Lawful Evil fiends who live in a society defined by a tyrannical hierarchy, in which every baatezu is willing to twist and exploit the rules to their advantage while doing anything possible to screw over their rivals. For example, in the aftermath of the Reckoning, a civil war that split the Nine Hells into two factions in yet another failed attempt to unseat Asmodeus, the Lord of the Nine punished the conspirators in various ways, cursing some with hideous forms, or unseating others. But Asmodeus also deposed Geryon, who had remained loyal to him and served as The Mole amongst the conspirators, perhaps because that sort of Undying Loyalty wasn't a desirable trait for an archdevil.
    • Mercykillers from the Planescape campaign setting are zero tolerance on injustice. Their credo is that "mercy is for the weak, and the merciful should be punished" - they prefer to exact brutal, final punishments for criminals, and viewed mercy as a weakness to be purged from the multiverse.
  • This is one of Black's traits in Magic: The Gathering. It rejects all virtues that won't help it reach its own personal goals and ambitions; Black isn't necessarily evil, but it doesn't care about morals.
  • Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer: As the Chaos Space Marines say it best, "Sanity... is for the weak!" Given that one of their gods is a literal embodiment of excess in every way, shape, and form, they actually gain favor with him (her? It's complicated.) by corrupting the virtuous and the faithful. The others aren't much better, like the Chaos god of disease, plague, and love being very generous with his gifts of boils and pestilence, while the god of backstabbers, mutants, and sorcerers is hope incarnate. And then there's Khorne, who was the god of martial valor before becoming an enraged berserker who doesn't care if his followers, their enemies, or non-combatants shed blood in battle note .
    • "Mercy is a sign of weakness" is a common motto/thought of the day in 40k. In the video game Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine, it can be found engraved on the butt of artillery shells.
    • The Dark Elf society is revolved wholly around making sure the Druchii are as ruthless as possible to not only the slaves but to their own kin as well. Anyone caught showing even the slightest act of compassion towards others often find themselves with a knife to their back as their society is a brutal martial society where mistreated slaves serve as labor so they focus on killing better.

  • In Camelot, Mordred sings a song called "The Seven Deadly Virtues", saying that courage, purity, honesty, humility, diligence, fidelity, and charity are "ghastly little traps" fit only for those more foolish than he.

    Video Games 
  • Adam Smasher from Cyberpunk 2077 believes this as part of his larger Might Makes Right transhumanist philosophy, bordering on Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad. Virtuous choices cause him to see you as a pathetic weakling at best, a morally-offensive wretch at worst (he finds the idea of mercy in particular disgusting on a fundamental level). Conversely, being a ruthless Anti-Hero is pretty much the only way to make him acknowledge V in any sort of positive manner.
  • In Dawn of War, we have a memorable exchange between Shas'O Kais and Davian Thule, where Kais calls Thule a madman for his complete disregard for casualties, and Thule bitterly responding that Kais is weak for caring about the lives of his men that much.
    Shas O'Kais: Do the deaths of your soldiers mean so little to you? Are you that mad?
    Captain Davian Thule: Do the deaths of yours mean so much to you? Are you that weak?
  • In Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires. You can make Liu Bei— whose canonical obsession with ruling with Benevolence runs through his other officers as their hat— Evil, so to speak. If you make his Fame "Evil", he will eventually get a cutscene where he regrets being so virtuous.
  • Fire Emblem Warriors has a rare heroic example with Takumi; he finds asking for help to be humiliating, and in his boss intro quotes, outright declares that "Mercy is for the weak."
  • Kai Leng from Mass Effect 3 looks down at Shepard and is insulted when the Illusive Man said that Shepard is to be admired for his/her skills. Never believing that Shepard is his equal which later bit him in the ass with an Omniblade to the gut.
    • Javik, who saw the rest of his species wiped out in a futile war against the Reapers in the previous galactic cycles, makes it clear that he would much prefer Shepard fight dirty, as he did. Unlike the example above, his reason of being this is purely out of desperation to make it out alive alongside his race (he was born around the near end of the Cycle, which means that his people were already on the losing side of the war), as opposed to Kai Leng's arrogance and pettiness.
      Javik: Stand amongst the ashes of a trillion dead souls, and ask the ghosts if honor matters. The silence is your answer.
    • Somewhat played with as, when pressed, Javik admits that the Protheans' decision to conquer the other races of their era and force them to become part of a homogenized monolithic empire was their greatest mistake, and the more diverse coalition Shepard is building is much better suited to fight the Reapers. Ruthless though he may be, he's a pragmatist above all else.
  • In Mega Man Battle Network 6, one scenario baddie says that Lan's Fatal Flaw is that he's too nice. Lan responds with "Being nice is a good thing!"
  • Persona 5: Kunikazu Okumura grew up in a poor household, due to his own father being a kind person, but a rather bad businessman who was always in debt. This experience gave him the mentality that "virtue and sentiment are for losers", resulting in him becoming a Corrupt Corporate Executive who overworks his workers, forces his daughter into an arranged marriage with an abusive asshole, and collaborates with a conspiracy to use the cognitive world to cause a series of accidents and use the social unrest to expand their power and wealth. Ironically, the conspiracy in question, particularly Masayoshi Shido, likely believes in more than even him, seeing how it's to the point where they were willing to throw him under the bus as part of their Frame-Up, with Shido also expressing his beliefs as The Social Darwinist.
  • The Mercykillers in Planescape: Torment embody this. They're a faction of Knight Templar Bounty Hunters who believe that evil should be punished at any cost. A common misconception resulting from their name is that they believe in Cruel Mercy when in reality they seek to kill mercy itself because they see it as a weakness.
  • Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones: The Dark Prince is a perfect example of this, regularly complaining whenever the Prince is anything but selfish, arrogant, and amoral.
  • Sly Cooper:
  • Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric: Shadow views Sonic's reliance on his friends and teamwork to be a sign of weakness; he even goes so far as to pick a fight with Sonic and Tails solely because of this.
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series game Judgment Rites, Dr. Breddell pretty much sums up Nietzsche's "Slave Morality" as a reason to ignore Kirk's pleas.
    Breddell: Morality! It is an invention designed to make lesser people feel superior. The universe is full of moral people, and for the most part they are deadwood. People who are preoccupied with morality never make history.
  • Strasse in Wolfenstein: The New Order dismisses compassion as a "pointless instinct, not fit for the master race."

    Web Animation 
  • In Danganronpa: Despair Time, this turns out to be the primary reason why Arei is such a bully. She grew up with two older sisters who bullied her relentlessly, to the point of hospitalizing her, just because they thought it was funny. She eventually got back at them, framing them for various incidents, and managed to get them sent to reform school. The entire situation left her with the impression that being kind will only get you taken advantage of, and that the only way to get ahead in life is to trample on others before they trample you. This also turns out to be deconstructed; Arei doesn't want to believe any of this, and wants to be kind and to have friends, but she doesn't know if such people can really exist, especially not with how she's acted in the past.
  • In Dingo Doodles's Fool's Gold series, the Foreclaimers consider empathy to be a defect, incompatible with their society's concept of efficiency, and Lack of Empathy to be a good trait.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: Episode 26 begins with a monologue on the matter by the Emperor. Back during the times he was personally leading humanity to the stars, he found that compassion and empathy were hindering his progress, to the point of being directly opposed at times. So he got rid of them, even if it meant no longer being human, so he could be the leader humanity seemed to need. But now, the galaxy and humanity itself are crueler and worse than ever, so he realizes he desperately needs them back, because it's now more than ever that humanity needs a little, well, humanity to stop circling the drain to oblivion.
  • When told that the titular character of Nomad of Nowhere saved his soldiers from a forest fire, Don Paragon's first intent is to exploit the Nomad's moral compass to help capture him.
  • Sonata in Turnabout Storm mentions feeling pity for others (in other words, compassion) as a weakness. There's a catch though: She doesn't see it as a weakness of character but as one in a pragmatic sense. Continuing with her blackmailer schemes became difficult when she started to realize how much damage she was causing to others.

  • At some point in Girl Genius, Gilgamesh Wulfenbach complains that every time he tries to be reasonable or show compassion, other people see it as weakness and attack him, forcing him to beat them up instead (in the process of doing exactly that). Then it clicks for him that the same happened to his father - until he was worn down to the point where he stopped trying to be reasonable because he didn't think it would work.
  • In Kill Six Billion Demons, this is part of the catechism of the God-Emperor Mammon, who had his entire clan assassinated during his rise to power because "I didn't need them anymore."
    "Know this! The great dragon paid three hundredweight in silver to rid himself of earthly ties. But a burden a hundred times that did he cast off in blood. Ia! Such is wisdom!"
    • Ironically, Mammon himself has gone partway senile with old age and has forgotten much of his own 'teachings': He remembers killing his brothers but has lost the Gold Fever and ambition that inspired him to kill them in the first place, and feels immensely remorseful over his previous actions.
      "You know, I'm quite certain now — it must have been important to me at some point."
    • Incubus is another example amongst the Demiurges. As a straight-up Satanic Archetype, Incubus only values strength and sees the ability to kill as the only positive thing in the world. When he grants Allison his 'help' the result is her growing an Enemy Within who represents her pure, unfiltered power-lust and has none of Allison's positive qualities.

    Web Original 
  • An anonymous comic from 4chan parodies and deconstructs this. Two characters agree that morality is weakness and that everybody should just be an asshole to each other, and ends with a conga line of people backstabbing each other while yelling, "HURR HURR WE'RE FREE".
  • Dream SMPnote :
    • By Season 2, Dream grows to see having attachments (e.g. pets, prized weapons, friendships) as a weakness and starts cutting them off so that he could not be controlled through them, as they have arguably been by other members of the server (e.g. the Pet Wars started over Sapnap being a Chronic Pet Killer, which pissed off the owners of the pets, among other things). In an attempt to reunite the server under his control, he then begins to collect everyone else's attachments (i.e. stealing treasured items and kidnapping beloved pets) as blackmail in a secret vault, where he and Tommy and Tubbo confront each other over Tommy's discs, Cat and Mellohi (a months-long animosity and cause of conflict between the two sides). Unfortunately for Dream, this doesn't work out and even backfires on him when half the server teams up to confront him during the Season 2 finale, discovering his attempt at blackmailing the entire SMP. Moreover, by cutting his friends out of his life, the only ally Dream had left was Punz, a mercenary who was Only in It for the Money, and betrayed him as soon as Tommy paid him more than Dream did. This eventually leads to the loss of two of his canon lives, as Tommy gets his revenge on him for putting him through a massive Trauma Conga Line, and his imprisonment in Pandora's Vault.
    • By the time the "Las Nevadas" plotline in Seasons 3 and 4 rolls around, a now-jaded Quackity seems to have adopted this attitude in a classic case of Became Their Own Antithesis, thinking of attachment and trust as weakness in an attempt to Never Be Hurt Again after enduring a long Trauma Conga Line. It is painfully clear that he's a Hypocrite about it and still has a Hidden Heart of Gold (unlike Dream, who lacks both the trauma-induced viewpoint part and the heart of gold), and it doesn't work out for him in the end.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: In "A Jones for a Smith", Stan Smith expresses the view that people should solve their own problems and asking for help of any kind is a sign of weakness; when Hayley starts choking on a piece of turkey sausage, Stan goes so far as to forcibly hold Francine back from helping her, leading to Hayley nearly dying.
  • Archie's Weird Mysteries: In "Misfortune Hunters", Reggie and Veronica aren't very impressed by Betty's altruism. Veronica explicitly warns her that she'll never get anywhere in life. As the episode goes on, their comments progress to more sympathetic concern about people taking advantage of Betty due to her trusting nature.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Fire Lord Ozai refers to Aang's unwillingness to kill him as a weakness and tries to exploit it to kill Aang. Of course, Aang uses his newly-acquired Chi-bending to render Ozai unable to firebend, which, to a raging egotist gooned on the power of firebending, is a Fate Worse than Death.
    • Ozai pulled this twice on Zuko in rapid succession. First, when Zuko talked out of turn during the war room (to speak against a We Have Reserves plan to throw new recruits away as a distraction), Ozai made him fight in an Agni Kai against himself on the justification that since Zuko did it in Ozai's war room, it was an insult against Ozai himself. When Zuko could not bring himself to fight his own father, Ozai burned Zuko's eye and sent Zuko on a seemingly unwinnable Snipe Hunt to capture the Avatar.
    • Just like her dad, Princess Azula also scoffs at the idea of love and trust. Furthermore, she scoffs at the idea of Long Feng being a Worthy Opponent towards her.
    Long Feng: You've beaten me at my own game.
    Azula: Don't flatter yourself. You were never even a player.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: Being the embodiment of destruction and hatred, Zarm takes a dim view of anything more positive.
    • When the four Planeteers he corrupted in "The Conqueror" break loose and reunite with Gaia and Ma-Ti, he calls it "sentimental slop" and asks what happened to their strong selves.
    • In "Summit to Save Earth", he distracts Gaia at a crucial moment by nearly killing the Planeteers. After striking her down, he sneers at her, saying that by saving them rather than herself, she made a wrong choice. He's clearly aware that she loves them to the point of sacrificing herself for them, but he doesn't respect it in the slightest and only sees it as something to exploit.
  • In the short Education for Death, Hans' teacher is horrified when he expresses sympathy for a rabbit killed by a fox in a story. Instead, he claims that the fox is to be admired and the rabbit hated because according to the Nazis, Might Makes Right. After being the class fool for a day, Hans becomes a fanatic who screams that he hates the Rabbit. He eventually grows up to become just another mindless Nazi robot who is "planted no seed of laughter, hope, tolerance or mercy."
  • Gargoyles: David Xanatos had to ally himself with the heroes to save his fiancee, and after succeeding, he said that love was his only weakness. Goliath is sick to hear this.
    Xanatos: So now you know my weakness.
    Goliath: Only you would regard love as a weakness.
  • Infinity Train: Grace Monroe has a train-specific variant of this. All passengers have a glowing number tattooed on them, which can go up or down. This is the train's way of quantifying how much Character Development you've had; it goes up if you decide to ignore the lessons you're supposed to learn, and if it hits 0, then the train has judged that you're mentally healthy and you may leave. Grace believes, and has led her cult to believe, that the number is a Dragon Ball Z-esque power level and hitting zero means you die. By observation, she knows that the number goes up when you act like an asshole and down when you act nice, she's decided that virtuous acts are worthless and even detrimental.This misconception originated when Simon asked her what the numbers meant, and she made something up rather than admit she had no clue. She's utterly horrified when Amelia tells her the true purpose of the numbers.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the episode "The Return of Harmony", Discord manages to emotionally break the mane six (right before hypnotizing all but Twilight) by explaining how the virtues represented by the elements of harmony are weaknesses. Specifically, honesty causes others to know things you don't want them to know, laughter hurts the feelings of the one being laughed at, kindness opens yourself up to being abused by others, generosity prevents you from getting the things that you want, loyalty means nothing when you can't be in two places at once and have to choose between two loyalties, and in general harmony is pointless as its own elements lead it to collapse on itself.
    • Mixed with Blue-and-Orange Morality, the Changeling Queen Chrysalis only sees love as a food source and laughs at the idea of actually loving someone.
    • Lord Tirek, the Big Bad of the season 4 finale, "Twilight's Kingdom - Part 1", during his Breaking Speech to Discord, Tirek dismisses his brother's befriending ponies so many years ago as a sign of a weak mind. More generally, he considers friendship just another form of imprisonment.
    • Cozy Glow shows a complete disregard for the values of friendship, her mind solely focused on the "power" side of it.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): The episode "Bubblevicious" does this for laughs (Bubbles is out to prove that she can be "hardcore") with a Shout-Out to the Karate Kid example listed above:
    Talking Dog: Bubbles.. have mercy...
    Bubbles: Mercy is for the weak!!! (WHAM)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Anakin Skywalker, as his eventual transformation into Darth Vader progresses, becomes increasingly alienated from the Jedi, especially after they pull a Kangaroo Court on his padawan Ahsoka Tano and would have executed her if he didn't intervene, scoffing their values as hypocritical. For example, when Anaxes is targeted to be bombed by Admiral Trench to deny the Republic a victory, Trench initially refuses to cooperate in order to disarm the said bomb in the fear that Dooku will kill him. When Anakin threatens him, he scoffs and discusses how compassion and mercy are the virtues of a Jedi, at which Trench gets his prosthetic limbs cut off with Anakin deriding them as weaknesses, and later kills him after all is said and done.
  • Static Shock: In "Consequences", Static battles Puff and Onyx and has to protect the civilians from falling debris and stray attacks. He asks the two to move the fight out of the city, but Puff mocks him, saying heroes are so soft. Fortunately, Rubberband Man shows up to lend a hand, and they manage to defeat the pair.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In the episode "Requiem," The Shredder outright tells Splinter that he views Splinter's compassion as a weakness Shredder himself lacks.
    Shredder: Your weakness is that you care about others. I have torn all weaknesses away and become all powerful.

    Real Life 
  • Adolf Hitler is on record saying that humanitarianism is a form of stupidity, as he wanted to eliminate all the "inferior" races of the world and populate it with pure-blooded Aryans. Then, there's his approach to geopolitics. He saw everyone else as land-grabbing empires who would turn on each other if they smelled weakness; for example, he expected the US to gobble up British possessions in the Americas if the homeland fell, and the British to do the same to French colonies in Africa. This, of course, didn't happen.
  • Several societal injustices and systemic problems can be traced back to the cynical systems designed to keep corrupt and sociopathic people in power and screw over the many others who have the moral constraints that stop them from just doing what every they deem necessary to gain as much power as possible.
  • In the Soviet Union, a point was made to replace "conscience" with "consciousness" in schools. As opposed to the above-mentioned Hitler, who thought that humanitarian feelings were idiotic, Soviet Communists held them to be evil. After all, such feelings might lead to one hesitating to shoot a class enemy, or informing on one's parents.


Video Example(s):


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?

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Example of:

Main / TaughtToHate

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