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The Social Darwinist

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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 that evolution in humans has ceased altogether.
Advertisement:propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('tvtropes_mobile_ad_1'); })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:
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 against 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. Despite it being nothing more than a Theme Park Version, this philosophy is still frequently held by both fictional characters and quite a few Real Life "successful" people. This is often coupled with the "logic" that since they are in charge they must necessarily deserve to be there.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Advertisement:propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('tvtropes_mobile_ad_2'); })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 In fact, actual evolutionary scientists posit that The Power of Friendship and general cooperation as the best survival strategy for most people most of the time, not to mention an evolutionary strategy that the human species specifically evolved to exploit.: 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.
Advertisement:propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('tvtropes_mobile_ad_3'); })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 Evolves, Kill the Poor, and Slobs vs. 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 controversial.note Back then, basically everyone assumed from the outset that Caucasians were superior. Whether or not the other races were homo sapiens was an actual issue. 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.
Contrast Underdogs Always Win, which takes this concept and flips it completely on its head.
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Demon of Digimon V-Tamer 01, who 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 Xros Wars 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.
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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:
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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.
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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 of individuals with distinct ethical and moral codes who are in constant conflict, forming bonds with one another and driving one another to improve.
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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.
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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.
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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".
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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.
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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.
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In 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.
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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.
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The Hive, one of the enemy factions in Destiny, 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, and beings prove their right to exist by warring against each other, with the strong destroying the weak. 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.
The collection of Grimoire Crds 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.
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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.
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Captain Wolf Larson of The Sea Wolf.
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Rudolf von Goldenbaum from Legend of 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".
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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.
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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.
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One of the justifications the protagonists of Suicide for Hire use for their business is that their clients are Too Dumb to Live.
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The Mesan Alignment in the Honor Harrington stories believe that their superior genetics mean that they should be running the galaxy.
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 Honor Harrington
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The Omar from Deus Ex: Invisible War. They're 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.
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.
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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.
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Superjail!: The Warden, in a flashback as a little boy, is forced by his Jerkass father to decapitate a puppy because it is "weak".
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Shoteka from Seeker Bears, Toklo's rival, tells him that weak bears should be killed or else the healthier bears would die as well.
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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.
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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).
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Asura in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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. 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.
Asura in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey 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.
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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.
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Inverted in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, where 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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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Kiriha Aonuma of Digimon Xros Wars 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.
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Many evil teams in the series have shades of this. In particular Cyrus of Team Galactic and his more... emotional counterpart Lysandre of Team Flare, who outright seek to commit mass-genocide. This isn't sugarcoated whatsoever. The former wanted to establish a utopia completely void of emotion, seeing it as a weakness that needed to be purged, by completely remaking it, the latter, an insane Nazi by Any Other Name who basically wanted to nuke the entire region.
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 Pokémon Diamond and Pearl (Video Game)
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In 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:
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Code:Breaker: Though not yet outright stated, Ogami's brother implies this is his group's ideal when he wonders why Ogami is protecting an ordinary (?) human.
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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.
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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.
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 Unbelievable
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Karales and Rei Hinomiya from Yumina The Ethereal.
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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) of the people he must destroy first to become President of the United States.
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The Vitality Curve strategy in corporation HR, or "rank and yank", where 10% of the work force is sacked every year to get rid of the worst performing employees (similar to what Mitch & Murray tried to do). In reality, after a couple of years, you tend to run out of genuinely incompetent staff and are left with what essentially becomes Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder, and continuing this policy leads to unnecessary corporate politicking and significant problems with workplace morale and performance instead of improvements in the workforce. Former Enron COO (later CEO) Jeff Skilling was a huge believer in this system and implemented it at Enron. This ended up creating a culture where presenting an appearance of success became far more important than actually serving the best interests of the company. Skilling would also infamously declare Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene to be his favorite book and the foundation of his management style (which caused a horrified Dawkins to publicly state that not only did Dawkins not endorse such behavior but that Skilling had completely missed the point of the book).
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 Glengarry Glen Ross (Theatre)
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The Fifth Elephant introduces Sergeant Angua's werewolf-supremacist brother Wolfgang, who leads a Nazi-esque gang of like-minded young werewolves.
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RWBY: Wouldn't you believe it, Yang's Missing Mom Raven is one of these. And not even Yang herself is exempt.
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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.
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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".
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Salazar Slytherin was a firm believer in this in the Harry Potter series. 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.
And 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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Deconstructed in A Frozen Heart, a Tie-In Novel to Frozen. 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.
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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).
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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 because 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.
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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.
Turns out? 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.
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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.
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In Tweeny Witches, Sheila believes that the value of life depends on magic and that those who cannot defend themselves deserve to die.
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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?
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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).
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The Mantid in World of Warcraft 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. They 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. All of this was justified 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.
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Torchwood: Children of Earth.
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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.
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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.
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Kron from the Disney movie Dinosaur is implied to be something like this. He even lampshades this when the herd is fleeing from the carnosaurs.
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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.
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Vulpes Inculta of Fallout: New Vegas claims that the reason main reason he butchered or enslaved nearly the entire town of Nipton is because they were too weak to prevent it, and therefore deserved it. If you decide to kill him, and establish that he was weak as well, his allies will send assassins after you. Guess that "Survival of the Fittest" argument only is applicable when it's convenient to them.
Legate Lanius, The Dragon of Caesar, is this to a much more brutal extent. If he rules the Legion and wins the Battle of Hoover Dam, he makes Vegas into a twisted Warrior Heaven where he puts the world to the sword. In his mind, violence will set the world free, breaking the weak and letting the strong truly thrive. He even uses you as proof, stating that being shot and left for dead forced you to become strong.
Caesar's Legion in general operate on a belief in survival through personal strength. In Lonesome Road, if you tell Ulysses that you killed Caesar, he'll respond that by the logic of the Legion, he wasn't strong enough to be a leader if he couldn't even defend himself.
The Legion also dislikes medical technology, because it allows the sick and weak to survive when they don't deserve to. Caesar readily abandons this belief when he finds out he has a brain tumor, and secretly keeps an Auto-Doc around to treat it.
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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.
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Used in the Batman miniseries Batman and Robin Eternal, where 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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[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, they're 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."
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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.
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The Order of the Stick: Helga Firehelm has traces of this, especially after The Bus Came Back which heavily expanded on her personality and backstory as a rebel against the rigid Dwarven society. After she killed Durkon with a Flame Strike minutes after he had been resurrected, just to finally get revenge on him for hurting her (while planning to just resurrect him again afterwards), Roy even tells her it's not a competition of who's currently got the better of who. Her answer?
Somewhat justified since she's a cleric of Loki, who's 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.
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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.
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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.
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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 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.
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.
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Flowey the Flower from Undertale 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.
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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.
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Telltale's The Walking Dead 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 it's own sake. So, outwardly he's a Struggler, secretly a Jerk Justifier.
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Neverwinter Nights 2's 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.
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Black Butler: Sebastian frequently sneers at humanity's weakness, vulgarity and paradoxically self-destructive behavior. Seeing being born a demon automatically makes him to be The Ace and The Sociopath, it makes some sense. Not to mention viewing humans as prey because he literally eats them.
From the anime, we also get a different flavor in Angela and Ash. Contrasting Sebastian, s/he scorns humanity's "impurity" and wasteful negativity, and tries to "cleanse the unfruitful, unnecessary and unwanted" from the Earth. With fire.
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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 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).
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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.
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In the 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.
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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.
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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 its 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.
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Morrigan of Dragon Age: Origins, who takes it to Stupid Evil levels at times.
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Ultimate Vision: In Tarleton's proposed utopia, people would only breed with people arranged by the government, based on genetic compatibility.
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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".
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Captain America: The First Avenger: The Red Skull abandons the Nazis about a third of the way through the film, not because he disagrees with their viewpoints, but because he believes himself to be a literal Ubermensch, 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.
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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 science they're putting their faith in.
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Luca Blight from Suikoden II is a particularly extreme and sadistic example.
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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 disagrees with their viewpoints, but because he believes himself to be a literal Ubermensch, 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 its 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.
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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.
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In 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.
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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.
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In Final Fantasy VII: Dirge Of Cerberus, Weiss the Immaculate announces that he will be slaughtering about half the population to "cleanse the world."
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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 backstabbery 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.
The sequel 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 the sequel, 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.
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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.
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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.
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13 Minutes: Müller claims it's just the "right of the strong" in response to Elser's objection at Germany conquering Poland.
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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.
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Juken Sentai Gekiranger This is part of the philosophy of Rinjuken Akugata note Confrontation Beast Fist Evil Style, one of the two forms of Fantastic Fighting Styles featured in this series. Similar to Boukenger, the Monsters of the Week are made by having a group of Mooks fight each other in a harsh and brutal sparring session. The winner gets promoted and gains the ability to turn into a beast themed form. Martial artists following this path also get more powerful by oppressing and hurting those weaker than themselves, which in most cases are innocent civilians.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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On The Knick, Herman Barrow, the hospital administrator, is a committed social Darwinist. He's an equally committed racist. Still, the show is set in 1900 New York, making it more Fair for Its Day than not.
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Universe at War the Hierarchy have decimated millions of worlds before coming to Earth, they believe that they are killing off the weak and they are superior to all.
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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.
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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.
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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. As 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...just becoming a Retired Monster. Steven ACTUALLY KILLING HER, and having to use an absurd amount of power and a McGuffin to raise her from the dead? Just gets her to finally be impressed by Steven. She remains a Face only because she's extremely loyal, and was told to play nice.
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Yawgmoth, from Magic: The Gathering. 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 millenia 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 than 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.
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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:
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Perhaps the best example of this character on 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.
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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.
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In Wyrd Sisters, Lady Felmett repeatedly describes those not as ruthless and tyrannical as her as "weak".
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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.
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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.)
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Ice Age:
Sid, a (mostly) incompetent sloth subverts it and outwits an (albeit also fairly incompetent) sabertooth cat. 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.
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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:
Khan 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 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.
Star Trek: The Next Generation:
The Q Continuum from 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:
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Bigby of Fables has shades of this. 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, citing Israel's bombing of civilian targets as an example. Don't bother asking - being the The Big Bad Wolf, Bigby is the source of a lot of Values Dissonance.
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Kamen Rider:
Ryubee Sonozaki from Kamen Rider Double, as seen with the Gaia Impact in the end of the series. His plan is to unleash a wave of energy that will kill everyone on Earth that isn't compatible with the Gaia Memories, leaving only the "chosen" to rule whatever remains, with himself as leader thanks to his daughter Wakana being the "Earth's Priestess", that is, the one who initiated the impact in the first place. Then Jun Kazu steps in after Ryubee's death and tries to launch the Gaia Impact himself.
Kamen Rider Gaim:
The Rival Kaito Kumon, AKA Armored Rider Baron, presents an unusual Jerk with a Heart of Gold spin on this trope. On the one hand, he sided with a group that's willing to let the Alien Kudzu take over Earth because he feels it'll cull the weak. On the other hand, rather than advocating Might Makes Right, he believes that the weak have a duty to become strong enough to stand up on their own two feet so nobody can push them around anymore. He doesn't boast about his own strength, but believes that only those who seek out strength are worthy of respect; the strong who oppress the weak are the enemy, while the weak who do nothing about it are beneath notice. The Fansubbers at Æsir have noted that this makes Kaito's dialog very difficult to translate accurately. Kaito's attitude is illustrated rather clearly in Episode 2, where he finds a young boy stuck in a tree and too scared to climb down. Kaito tells him that he can either jump down himself, or stay in the tree all day; when the boy jumps, Kaito catches and congratulates him, saying that he can take care of himself from now on.
The series also deconstructs the concept in the form of the Overlord King, Roshuo. After gaining the power of the Forbidden Fruit on his homeworld, he imposed social darwinism as law, only to have his entire civilisation crumble into infighting and leave him as ruler of a desperate few Always Chaotic Evil subordinates. By the time of the series, he clearly realizes that he made a dreadful mistake and condemned his species to extinction.
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The DonPachi series has Colonel Longhena.
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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.
Paul, Ash's main rival in the Diamond and Pearl arc, 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, which makes one wonder if he was meant to be a Take That! toward them.
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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.
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In Girl Genius Vole, the traitor of the Jägars is this. He 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.
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In The Great Slave King, the strong ruling the weak ends up becoming the Slave King's modus operandi.
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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.
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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 philospher, 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.
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The eponymous creatures from Werewolf: The Apocalypse 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.
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In Donald Kingsbury's 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Light Yagami in Death Note develops from a Well-Intentioned Extremist into 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. Naturally, 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."
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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 back in his face with "Last rat standing".
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The three chairmen in Strange Little Band fit this trope. This influences the way they run Triptych.
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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".
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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.
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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.
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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 constantly 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.
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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.
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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.
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The sequel 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 the sequel, 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...
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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.
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Star Trek: The Original Series:
Khan 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 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.
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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. However, this effort completely backfires. Instead of accepting the harsh truths of nature, Fluttershy instead has a mental breakdown over 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.
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Though one can't expect bunnies to have heard of Charles Darwin, officers of Efrafa's Owsla in Watership Down 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 many of the badly-overcrowded does fail to sustain the pregnancies that result.
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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.
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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 government's and Marines' full support even if they're otherwise illegal.
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Tomonori Komori from Narutaru 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.
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Pokémon has a G-rated version in Silver, the rival from Pokémon Gold and Silver. He sees anything he considers "weak" as worthless, and is exceptionally abusive and ruthless towards Pokèmon and humans alike. Especially when it comes to his own Pokèmon. Oh, and he's only around 11 or 12 years old. It's thought that he inspired Paul, mentioned in the anime folder above, in the anime several years later. It's revealed in the remakes that there's a reason for this. He was abandoned by his father, Giovanni, after the defeat of Team Rocket at the hands of Red, when he was only around 8 or 9 years old. Seeing his father as weak and a coward, he vowed to become stronger at any cost. He gets better, however.
Many evil teams in the series have shades of this. In particular Cyrus of Team Galactic and his more... emotional counterpart Lysandre of Team Flare, who outright seek to commit mass-genocide. This isn't sugarcoated whatsoever. The former wanted to establish a utopia completely void of emotion, seeing it as a weakness that needed to be purged, by completely remaking it, the latter, an insane Nazi by Any Other Name who basically wanted to nuke the entire region.
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In SilverFin, Randolph Hellebore is obsessed with weeding what he sees as weakness, and uses his son as a test subject for his theories.
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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.
Mr. 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.
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Emperor Charles zi Britannia in Code Geass has this philosophy — though 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. Subverted, as this was all a facade by the emperor himself.
Not really; 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.
It may not seem so simple, but Charles likely does perceive himself to be at the top of society, and 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.
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General Zaroff's excuse for hunting others for his amusement in The Most Dangerous Game stem 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.
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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.
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Jack Chick assumes that this is what the Theory of Evolution teaches.
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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.
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In Saint Beast, Zeus believes that angels who are not "beautiful and strong" are not fit to serve him.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 book rather fitting.
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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).
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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 because he constantly manages to find ways to avoid her killing him.
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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.
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Ebenezer Scrooge: "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.
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In The Dark Side of the Sun by Terry Pratchett, after the new security guy reaps the rewards of Fantastic Racism and being Too Dumb to Live, an alien witness comments:
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This is also the nominal philosophy of the Closed Fist in Jade Empire.
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In 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. Realistic natural selection might well have either wiped them out altogether or forced them to cooperate in a more rational manner. Lolth, their patron deity, tells them to knock it off whenever they fall below a certain point in population. And yes, this makes the drow a race that officially survives on Deus Ex Machina.
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".
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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.
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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.
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Downfall has a scene where Adolf Hitler, played beautifully by Bruno Ganz, discusses this concept at length. After spending a good portion of the movie walking around looking like the dignified old captain of a sinking ship, he does need to remind you that he's still the same psychopathic asshole you know and love. Hilariously enough, after giving the below speech, he receives news that Himmler has began talks for surrender with the advancing Anglo-American Allies and launches into a furious rant - guess the whole "the strong must survive at the weak's expense" thing doesn't really apply when "the strong" in this case is someone other than Germany.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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."
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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.
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It must be born in mind that, while views such as the above have been defended based on Darwinism, so has virtually every idea. Just five years after Darwin published On the Origin of Species for instance, his own co-discoverer Alfred Russell Wallace argued evolution led to the more altruistic people surviving in the long run, as groups which had such traits were fitter than those without them. Modern evolutionary biologists have said the same. Wallace felt that humanity would eventually achieve a utopia where everyone was one race and no need existed for government or laws. Anarchists argued the same thing— in fact, among the earliest uses for "Social Darwinism" was by an anarchist essay asserting the idea, in stark contrast with how the term is now used. Liberal reformers, socialists and others naturally got in on the game too, claiming evolution supported their ideas (Marx praised Origin, for one). It was only much later that the phrase had become associated with a "might makes right" philosophy and similar ideas. There is still a great diversity in terms of what people will claim the implications for evolution on society are, and it's frequently nothing like this trope.
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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.
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Super Sentai:
Creator King Ryuuwon from GoGo Sentai Boukenger is certainly one of these; his method of creating a Monster of the Week is to have his soldiers fight and kill each other, then promote the one who survives.
Juken Sentai Gekiranger This is part of the philosophy of Rinjuken Akugata note Confrontation Beast Fist Evil Style, one of the two forms of Fantastic Fighting Styles featured in this series. Similar to Boukenger, the Monsters of the Week are made by having a group of Mooks fight each other in a harsh and brutal sparring session. The winner gets promoted and gains the ability to turn into a beast themed form. Martial artists following this path also get more powerful by oppressing and hurting those weaker than themselves, which in most cases are innocent civilians.
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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.
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Fairy Tail:
Laxus had this philosophy before being beaten by Natsu and Gajeel and realizing that deep down he wasn't much of a Social Darwinist to begin with. He literally cast a spell that would destroy anyone he saw as an enemy, and not a single person was hurt in the town. This includes the very guild members he claimed were "weak".
A more extreme example is Jiemma, the Guildmaster of Sabertooth, who is willing to publicly humiliate and kick out of his guild any member who so much loses one battle. He even beat and subjected his own daughter, Minerva, to Training from Hell when she was only a child, who is not the least bit sad when he ends up being kicked out of the guild after apparently killing Sting's companion Lector, and only got a hole through the chest for his trouble (although he survives). He ends up letting himself get turned into a demon for greater power and tries to kill Sting and Rogue for "defiling" his guild after they decide they like The Power of Friendship, and he gets killed for it.
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Alien:
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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.
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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).
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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.
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In Young Justice, Vandal Savage claims that he formed the Light to advance humanity's evolution both on Earth and throughout the cosmos.
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General Gismor of Drakengard 2, who hides it behind a facade of Knight Templarism.
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In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, The Dazzling's 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.
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The Skaven and the Greenskins (Goblinoids) in Warhammer. Also the Dark Elves, to certain extent.
The Word of God is notoriously ambiguous whether all greenskins represent the same species or if Snotlings, Goblins and Orcs are actually three separate species. The authors of the game just mention that the greenskins never stop growing before they die...
Life is cheap if you have fur or green skin. This trope makes sense in this concept.
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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.
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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.
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The Red Skull abandoned Nazism, but he still believes in social Darwinism.
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Into the Badlands: Baron Chau is a firm believer that the strong will rise to the top, no matter what.
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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.
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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.
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The Doctor Who serial 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 Eighties 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.
Sutekh the Destroyer 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.
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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. 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.
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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.
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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.
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The RPG Sufficiently Advanced features a Social Darwinist faction that isn't averse to giving natural selection a helping hand.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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God Hand has Azel, the Devil Hand, rival to Gene.
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In Marion Zimmer Bradley's 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.
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Satyajit Shyamalan from Birdy the Mighty: Decode is one, and believes that the next step on humanity's evolutionary path is to use a super weapon 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.
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 Birdy the Mighty (Manga)
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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.
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 Irritability (Webcomic)
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Any number of psychos on Millennium fill the bill. The imprisoned Serial Killer in "The Thin White Line" is a prime example.
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 Millennium
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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.
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Almost all Nietzscheans in Andromeda — even the non-villainous ones, who are generally "good guys" only in that they exist in a state of permanent Enemy Mine.
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Kamen Rider Gaim:
The Rival Kaito Kumon, AKA Armored Rider Baron, presents an unusual Jerk with a Heart of Gold spin on this trope. On the one hand, he sided with a group that's willing to let the Alien Kudzu take over Earth because he feels it'll cull the weak. On the other hand, rather than advocating Might Makes Right, he believes that the weak have a duty to become strong enough to stand up on their own two feet so nobody can push them around anymore. He doesn't boast about his own strength, but believes that only those who seek out strength are worthy of respect; the strong who oppress the weak are the enemy, while the weak who do nothing about it are beneath notice. The Fansubbers at Æsir have noted that this makes Kaito's dialog very difficult to translate accurately. Kaito's attitude is illustrated rather clearly in Episode 2, where he finds a young boy stuck in a tree and too scared to climb down. Kaito tells him that he can either jump down himself, or stay in the tree all day; when the boy jumps, Kaito catches and congratulates him, saying that he can take care of himself from now on.
The series also deconstructs the concept in the form of the Overlord King, Roshuo. After gaining the power of the Forbidden Fruit on his homeworld, he imposed social darwinism as law, only to have his entire civilisation crumble into infighting and leave him as ruler of a desperate few Always Chaotic Evil subordinates. By the time of the series, he clearly realizes that he made a dreadful mistake and condemned his species to extinction.
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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.
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Kill la Kill:
Satsuki Kiryuuin 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.
Turns out it is 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 four main allies, and Ryoko. 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.
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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.
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League of Legends has the entire city-state of Noxus, who 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 read: the country's leader.
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.
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Commander Rourke of Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire fits this to such an extent that he invokes Darwin by name.
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 Atlantis: The Lost Empire
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In The Matrix Reloaded, the Architect despises humans at any cost, regardless of imperfection.
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 The Matrix Reloaded
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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.
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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.
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Tigerstar and other villains in Warrior Cats say that weak cats should either look after themselves or die.
In Crookedstar's Promise, Crookedstar and Oakheart's mother Rainflower arranges 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.
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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.
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Who is John Galt? Well, whatever else he is, as the poster boy for Objectivism he is certainly this.
 The Social Darwinist / int_dd3fe595
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 Atlas Shrugged
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Red Dead Redemption II: 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".
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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.
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The Tevinter Imperium runs on this principle according to Fenris 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.
In the next game we find out it's a little more complicated than that. In the highest levels of power blood magic actually marks you as weak, a confession you couldn't make it on your own. They also have the usual political games of any legislative body, and individualistic backstabbers like Fenris' former master tend to suck at alliances and coalition building. Of the three magisters in the game, only one is a blood mage.
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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.
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In Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Corset says something along these lines when he's attempting to unleash Hell on Earth.
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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.
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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.
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 Conspiracy (2001)
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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.
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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.
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Filth Biscuit: Lucy LeDarc, the protagonist of "I Pwned My Love" sees others as obstacles or pawns in her struggle to 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.
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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.
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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.
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Judge Holden from Blood Meridian preaches an extremist version of this. When asked how to raise children:
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 Blood Meridian
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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.
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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...
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X-Men: Apocalypse: En Sabah Nur takes this to an extreme level, as always.
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Also sharing the universe of the previous entry are the Lasombra: one of many vampire clans in Vampire: The Masquerade. Unlike the werewolves, they completely revel in promoting social Darwinism. The hold to it 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 below.
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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 Armour-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 title character in the episode "Deathwalker" was 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.
Another episode had 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.
One alien species constructed an indestructible killer robot to wipe out all "impure" members. It found out, unsurprisingly, that there is no such thing as "pure" and ended up killing all of them for "impurity".
In 5th 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.
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Bass from Mega Man believes he alone is the most powerful robot in the world.
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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.
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The City of Heroes' main bad guy, Lord Recluse, 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 may have been inspired by the Nazis, who recommended Klingon Promotions and frequently assigned the same task to two or more officials to see who got it done first, promoting infighting. This did not help in making The Trains Run on Time. 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?
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The Decepticons from Transformers 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 values 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.
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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.
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Ryubee Sonozaki from Kamen Rider Double, as seen with the Gaia Impact in the end of the series. His plan is to unleash a wave of energy that will kill everyone on Earth that isn't compatible with the Gaia Memories, leaving only the "chosen" to rule whatever remains, with himself as leader thanks to his daughter Wakana being the "Earth's Priestess", that is, the one who initiated the impact in the first place. Then Jun Kazu steps in after Ryubee's death and tries to launch the Gaia Impact himself.
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The Postman: The Holnists, who are racists, set up a feudal system and have their leadership based on who's the strongest.
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Star Trek: The Next Generation:
The Q Continuum from 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:
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The following is a list of statements referring to the current page from other pages.

 The Social Darwinist
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Characters as Device
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Philosophy Tropes
 The Social Darwinist
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The Jerk Index
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This Index Is Not an Example
 The Social Darwinist
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Villains
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The Social Darwinist
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The Social Darwinist
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The Social Darwinist
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The Social Darwinist
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