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Quotes / Pragmatic Villainy

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    Anime and Manga 

Rustal: Tell me something, Iok. Do you have any idea why I don’t attack the Outer Earth Orbit Regulatory Joint Fleet?
Iok: No, sir.
Rustal: While it’s true they’re acting under McGillis' orders, they are not revolutionary soldiers. If we're able to decimate Tekkadan, the revolutionary fleet, and McGillis himself, they would revert back to being obedient sheep before you could blink. What kind of a fool would I be, to waste potential military assets?
Iok: Wow. He’s thinking about what happens after the battle.

    Comic Books 

"More profit in slavery than massacre."
Frank Castle describing the logic of Cristu Bulat, The Punisher MAX

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    Fan Works 

The Horned King: I should kill you now, after all the trouble you've caused me.
Avalina: Well, if you're going to kill me, then do it! There's nothing stopping you!
The Horned King: [tightens his grip on Avalina's throat, but chuckles darkly after a moment] After all the trouble I've gone through to keep you? Then I would be the fool, child.

    Film - Animated 

Dracula: You have no concept of the harm of which I am capable... if only because I really hate to waste a life when it can be spent in servitude to me.
Batman: Life? Or living death?

    Film - Live-Action 

Don't kill him. If you kill him... he won't learn nothin'!
The Riddler, Batman Forever

We both know I'm not above killing children, but I'm not wasteful. I take life for specific reasons.
President Snow, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

It's mercy, compassion, and forgiveness I lack. Not rationality.
The Bride, Kill Bill

I never sold to Osama bin Laden. Not on any moral grounds - back then, he was always bouncing checks.

A city is made of brick, Pharaoh. The strong make many, the starving make few. And the dead make none.
Moses explains why he's "lenient" toward the Hebrew slaves, The Ten Commandments

    Literature 

I'm willing to make sacrifices in pursuit of a greater goal. That's not the same as condoning the rape and murder of entire steadholts. There was no profit to those actions. No purpose. It's unprofessional. Idiotic. And I have difficulty tolerating idiots.
Invidia Aquitaine to Senator Arnos, Captain's Fury

Roose Bolton: People fear you.
Ramsay Bolton: Good.
Roose Bolton: You are mistaken. It is not good. No tales were ever told of me. Do you think I would be sitting here if it were otherwise? Your amusements are your own, I will not chide you on that count, but you must be more discreet. A peaceful land, a quiet people. That has always been my rule. Make it yours.

It is impossible for the Empire to make an appreciable gain so long as this gain is a loss to every other nation on Calernia. To remedy this, we must discard the traditional lines of allying only to Evil polities and make it so that it is in the interest of other powers for us to rise.
Extract from ‘The Death of the Age of Wonders’, a treatise by Dread Empress Malicia, A Practical Guide To Evil

We don't need this. Only a savage would kill an elephant to get a small steak for his breakfast.
Zabulon, regarding a curse of mysterious origin that seems set to level Moscow, Night Watch

The funny thing about it was that Sekula didn't want to harm the woman. That was how they had remained hidden for so long, when others had been hunted down. They did not hurt people unless it was absolutely necessary - or they had not until Sekula's investigations had added a degree of urgency to their quest.

When your enemies defy you, you must serve them steel and fire. When they go to their knees, however, you must help them back to their feet. Elsewise no man will ever bend the knee to you.
Tywin Lannister to Joffrey Baratheon, A Song of Ice and Fire

Darzin D'Mon: I used to know a nobleman who had the legs of his wife amputated. Said it was like clipping the wings off a parrot - it kept her from flying away. Said he didn't need her to walk for what he wanted her for anyway.
Kihrin: That's sick.
Darzin D'Mon: No, it was stupid. He bled to death one night when she bit off his testicles. Everyone has their limits. Break a slave, yes. Make sure they know their place, absolutely, but only a fool pushes a slave so far they have nothing to lose by killing their master - and then gives them the opportunity to do just that.
The Ruin of Kings, by Jenn Lyons

    Live-Action TV 

If you acquire a reputation as a mad dog, you’ll be treated like a mad dog, taken out and slaughtered for pig feed.
Roose Bolton, Game of Thrones

Weyoun: Then our first step is be to eradicate its population. It's the only way.
Dukat: You can't do that.
Weyoun: Why not?
Dukat: Because! A true victory is to make your enemy see they were wrong to oppose you in the first place. To force them to acknowledge your greatness.
Weyoun: Then you kill them?
Dukat: Only if it's necessary.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Sacrifice of Angels"

Hypodermic Sally: Come on! You telling people to stop killing is like Colonel Sanders telling us to stop eating chicken!
James March: I'm not familiar with your military friend and his fondness for poultry, but my killing days are over. I thought the Ten Commandment Killings were the beginning of my work, but it turns out that they are the epilogue. The torch has been passed and I feel... complete. But this is a practical decision, not an emotional one: this is our home. Frankly, it's the only one we've got. None of us know what is waiting for us beyond this place if it no longer stands. Perhaps, without these walls to protect us, we would be forced to move on and face the judgement of our maker.
Iris: If we can't stay in business, all bets are off. We'll have to sell - or get evicted.

[Angelus has just murdered Jenny Calendar and posed her body in Giles' bed]
Spike: Are you insane?! We're supposed to kill the bitch, not leave gag gifts in her friends' beds!
Drusilla: But Spike, the bad teacher was going to restore Angel's soul.
Spike: What if she did? If you ask me, I find myself preferring the old Buffy-whipped Angelus. This new, improved one is not playing with a full sack. [Angelus just smirks] I love a good slaughter as much as the next bloke, but his little pranks will only leave us with one incredibly brassed-off Slayer!

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    Tabletop Games 

You might ask why Lilith would choose to take revenge on Caine, rather than on the Almighty, who both cursed Lilith and indirectly caused the death of Lilith's children by cursing Caine. The answer is simple: Lilith is anything but stupid. The Almighty, if He is even still involved in the World of Darkness at all, is so beyond even Lilith's reach that trying to take revenge on Him would be pointless. Lilith knows what eventually became of Cappadocius, after all. Caine, on the other hand, is readily accessible to someone with Lilith's resources and determination... and honestly, he really deserves to meet his end.

Contrary to what you might expect, King Breweries does not cook up monstrous vats of Wyrm-tainted beer that turn hordes of brewskie-swilling fratboys and football fans into ravenous, ichor-dripping monstrosities (at least, none that aren't already in that state). Remember, King sells a lot of beer, and if a six-pack were enough to turn a customer into a slavering fomor, either the country would be neck-deep in boojums or somebody at the Food and Drug Administration would have done something about that state of affairs. After all, Pentex has pull, but not quite enough to cover up something of that magnitude.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Subsidiaries: A Guide To Pentex

It is not that Vampires must dwell in secret, but rather that there are often better ways of doing things, protocols to be observed, and duties to be attended. To feed too widely or too wildly is oft considered inappropriate. Just as the nobles of the land have a duty to their serfs even though their lives are nothing to them, the shepherd must tend the flock even though he feeds upon them. Vampires have a duty to watch over the lesser creatures that surround them — firstly, to protect them so they may provide a steady flow of sustenance but more importantly to give their flock something far greater than each other to admire, something to cause them to know terror, awe, and majesty. Men need kings, they say, but kings need Vampires.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Night's Dark Masters - A Guide To Vampires

    Theatre 

I'm reviewing the situation,
I'm a bad 'un and a bad 'un I shall stay.
You'll be seeing no transformation,
But it's wrong to be a rogue in every way.
I don't want nobody hurt for me
Or made to do the dirt for me.
This rotten life is not for me
It's getting far too hot for me.
There is no inbetween for me
But who will change the scene for me?
Don't want no-one to rob for me,
But who will find a job for me?
...I think I'd better think it out again!
Fagin, Oliver!

    Video Games 

If he dies, he dies a martyr. I want him kept alive.

Perhaps you think I'm some thug that'd stab a barkeep for his last copper at closing time. That it? That is not my way, as long as I am able to tax him instead.
Axle Devrie, Neverwinter Nights 2

Cave Johnson here. Just wanna let the cafeteria staff know to lay off the Soylent Green. I'm holding a memo from the President, and it turns out that Soylent Green is... (paper rustling) let's see here... doubling in price. Now, listen up - I don't care how good people tastes. This stuff is costing me more than lobster, so we're going back to fish sticks.
Soylent!Cave Johnson, Portal 2: Perpetual Testing Initiative

Zagara: I have always wished to feel protoss snapping in my claws. May I?
Kerrigan: No, Zagara.
Zagara: Surely you do not think to show mercy?
Kerrigan: Violence is a tool. I use it when I have to. But a leader uses the right tool for the job.

Merrick, a Guardsman's life is to die. My job has always been to send them where they can die. I am not afraid to spend men, but I never waste them. ... So, you can continue with your attempt to kill me, but killing you Merrick would be very... wasteful.
Lord-General Castor, Dawn of War

Eliphas: You allow them to escape, Lord Araghast?
Araghast: Because it serves me, Eliphas! If we kill them now, we waste the value of the traitor in their ranks. Your vengeance can wait.
Dawn of War II: Chaos Rising

"My people need security and profit. Under Hellscream, we got a whole lot of neither."
Trade Prince Jastor Gallywix (explaining his reason for joining the rebellion against Garrosh Hellscream), World of Warcraft

Ryuji Goda: You've got some unfinished business, don't ya?
Kazuma Kiryu: What do you mean?
Ryuji Goda: The bombs, buddy.
Kazuma Kiryu: You're saying you didn't put them up to it?
Ryuji Goda: That one's a Jingweon special. Wasn't my idea. I got nothin' to gain from this city burnin' down.
Kazuma Kiryu: What's that supposed to mean?
Ryuji Goda: Kamurocho's gonna be mine soon. I want it lookin' pretty for me. Who needs ashes?

Woodes Rodgers: I should have sailed there myself. One of my slave galleys would be more than capable of making a swift journey.
Laureano Torres: Slave Galley? Captain, I asked you to divest yourself of that sick institution.
Woodes Rogers: I fail to see the difference between enslaving some men and all men. Our aim is to steer the entire course of civilization, is it not?
Laureano Torres: A body enslaved inspires the mind to revolt. But enslave a man's mind, and his body will follow on naturally. Efficiently.

    Web Animation 
"I want humanity to fear the Faunus, to know that we demand respect! I do not want to start a war with the humans that we cannot win!"
Sienna Khan, RWBY

    Web Comics 

While I admire the scope, Mr. Koronada is new at this. He's making an amateur's mistake. You don't kill the people you're stealing from. You want them alive and productive so you can steal from them again and again.
Sam Starfall, Freefall

Opal: What, no "The only one who gets to kill them is me!" tirade?
Vekter: What? No way, that's stupid. These guys are tough as hell. I'll take victory anyway I can get it.

Elan: But wait! You're on your way to help save the world. You might die regular-honorably and betray Loki's teachings!
Hilgya Firehelm: Yeah, but I'm doing it for petty, self-serving reasons. I like my chances.

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    Web Original 

Because there's no use in murdering you and your heathen
You can grow my wheat for me after you're beaten

    Western Animation 

There is no profit to be made in the destruction of the planet. It is very bad for business.

M. Bison: Not having your sense of morals, I had to weigh the pros and cons of saving you.
Guile: And?
M. Bison: Self-preservation narrowly won out over the pleasure of watching you burn.

My dear, I desire only money and power. Unpresentable employees provide me with neither.
Shere Kahn, TaleSpin

I know Hank...he'd fight us to the bitter end. Hell, it would be if he were at the Supreme Court telling Judge Scalia against my best customers. Do you know what that could do to my business? It ain't worth it.
King of the Hill, Tom Hammond, choosing his reputation as a businessman over a Pyrrhic Victory.

Ezra Bridger: (to Seventh Sister) If you were gonna kill me, you'd have already done it.
Seventh Sister: Kill you? I have no plans to kill you...Yet.

This has gone too far. The Ducks almost cost us the world today. And, without the world, who would we larceny against?
The Chairman of F.O.W.L. DuckTales (2017)


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