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"Gotham's time has come. Like Constantinople or Rome before it, the city has become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice. It is beyond saving and must be allowed to die. This is the most important function of the League of Shadows. It is one we've performed for centuries. Gotham must be destroyed."
Ra's al Ghul's decoy, Batman Begins

Perhaps society A is a Crapsack World, and the idea is to either destroy it or to get people out of it. Perhaps society A is actively falling apart, and the idea is to simply let it fall apart. Whatever the case, some would claim that society A is beyond saving.

This could be said by a Well-Intentioned Extremist who genuinely feels this way, it could alternatively be used by some other variety of villain as a mere rationalization, or even... a form The Plan in which perhaps the intention isn't to destroy it/let it collapse/get people out of it after all, but to simply convince people that this is the idea. Also, it could be a heroic character using this justification, though that would probably tend to evoke moral ambiguity by its very nature.

In any case, the EXPRESSED idea is that the society is beyond saving, whatever the REAL idea may be.

Needless to say, this is a fairly popular attitude in Real Life, no matter the facts, and for the sake of avoiding arguments, there will be No Real Life Examples, Please.

Compare Put Them All Out of My Misery and Soiled City on a Hill.

Examples of It Is Beyond Saving include:

Comic Books

  • This happens in the Batman Story Arc "No Mans Land," where an earthquake hits Gotham City and the US government decides to wall it off and make it no longer part of the US instead of trying to save anybody in Gotham.
  • The Ninth Doctor expresses this opinion about Earth in Supremacy of the Cybermen. He's been infected by the upgrading process and there's only one human left alive. Time to blow up the planet.


  • As implied by the page quotation, this is the attitude towards Gotham expressed by the League of Shadows in Batman Begins, or at least by its leaders. Batman's disagreement with it drives much of the movie's story.

 Bruce: Gotham isn't beyond saving. Give me more time; there are good people here.

Ducard: You're defending a city so corrupt we have infiltrated every level of its infrastructure.

  • Star Wars
    • The Confederacy of Independent Systems from Attack of the Clones uses this rationalization in a deleted scene. Arguably a subversion, as Dooku was secretly working for Chancellor Palpatine to create a conflict that would give Palpatine more power.

 Dooku: We don't recognize the republic here, senator, but if Naboo were to join our alliance, I could easily hear your plea.

Padme: And if I don't join your rebellion?

Dooku: The republic cannot be fixed, m'lady. It is time to start over.

    • The Sequel Trilogy, The Last Jedi in particular, seems to take this stance with regards to the Jedi Order. At the end of the day, despite all the legends, the Jedi bought their own hype and allowed themselves to be wiped out at the height of their power by someone who'd been right under their nose for over a decade. After a failed attempt at resurrecting the Order, Luke Skywalker was prepared to end their legacy.

 Egon: Something terrible is about to enter our world and this building is obviously the door. The architect's name was Ivo Shandor. [snip] In 1920, he started a secret society. After World War I, Shandor decided society was too sick to survive. He had nearly a thousand followers. They conducted rituals on the roof. They intended to bring about the end of the world. Now it may happen.



  • Noah's flood and the Greek version uses this as well.
  • In Poul Anderson's Technic History science fiction set in the 31st century, during the waning days of the Terran Empire, Dominic Flandry of the Imperial Naval Intelligence Corps has noted that he's just doing his best to stave off the inevitable collapse of the Empire.
  • In The Dresden Files book Summer Knight The Summer Lady plans to use powerful magic to end the cycle of life and death, thus ending the pain that comes with death. Of course, in the short term this plan will kill off most everything currently living.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy. By the time Hari Seldon created the science of psychohistory it was too late to save the Galactic Empire - at that point it was so decadent that its fall was inevitable. All he could do was to try to arrange conditions so a new Empire could rise in 1,000 years instead of 30,000.
  • In famous French writer Julien Gracq's book Le Rivage Des Syrtes, in the end, the highest ranked government officials, depressed by the decadent and apathetic country of Orsenna they live in, decide not to prevent the on-going war with the military highly superior country of Farghestan (a war that would certainly lead to utter defeat and destruction), just so they can put an end to Orsenna as they know it.
  • In Atlas Shrugged, John Galt and his followers feel this way about America. He is headhunting as many talented and intelligent people as possible with the intention of convincing them to not to join an enterprise, but rather a "strike" where skilled workers withdraw their skills from the market and engage only in unskilled labour. The intent is to destabilise the economy and government and for Galt and his followers to eventually fill the power vacuum and remake society in line with their ideals. Opinions are divided as to the morality of his plan.
  • In H. Beam Piper's The Cosmic Computer, the existence of the titular supercomputer was covered up because it had predicted that the Terran Federation was inexorably declining, and that the decline would accelerate into a rapid collapse if the prediction became generally known.

Live Action TV

  • By the seventh season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Klingon Empire has had more than its share of corrupt and insane leaders, in spite of the stated Klingon beliefs regarding honor and courage. Ezri Dax's solution is to let the Klingon Empire, as it is then, die off instead of trying to fix things from within, reasoning that the Empire's governing system would just create more corruption in time anyway. This is a strong contrast to the previous Dax, Jadzia, who had a very romantic view of Klingon culture.
  • This is H.G. Wells of Warehouse 13's opinion on humanity and her motive for trying to bring about a new ice age using an artifact known as “the world’s first weapon of mass destruction.” H.G. was brought out of a hundred year stasis encased in bronze, which she had asked to be placed in due to her becoming mad with grief and hate following her daughter’s murder. H.G. had hoped to wake up in a better world but soon comes to the conclusion that things have only gotten worse and declares the only way to save the world is by “destroying the parasites eating it alive.”
  • After four hellish centuries of fighting the Last Great Time War in Doctor Who, the War Doctor eventually came to this conclusion about Gallifrey and the Time Lords, feeling that his people had become no better than the Daleks. Fortunately, an encounter with his future selves and Clara Oswald convinced him otherwise.

Tabletop Games

  • This is the position the Craftworld Eldar held about the collapsing eldar empire in Warhammer 40000 right before the fall of the eldar. They promptly decided to leave their homeplanets, leaving the debauched majority of their kind behind. Soon after leaving, the fall occured, which literally squicked Slaanesh into existence, claiming the majority of the eldar empire with it. The few eldar who remained who survived did so only by taking shelter in the webway, where they became the Dark Eldar while the ones who escaped on the craftworlds barely managed to escape in time to survive the whole ordeal.

Video Games

  • Lucian, the villain of Fable 2, plans to use The Spire to wipe most of the world out and start fresh, creating a world where death and despair won't exist.
  • Half Life: After 2 days of fighting, the US Military decide to pull back and commence air strikes. Once they're finished retreating, they detonate a thermonuclear warhead at the center of the base.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • In the season finale for season 3 of ReBoot, the city of Mainframe has been trashed so heavily by MegaByte's rule that even Bob finds it hopeless to actually save the city. His solution is to intentionally lose a Game, corrupting the system past the brink and causing a total systems failure, gambling that the User reboots the system from backup, restoring things to the way they were, instead of reformatting, which would annihilate everything completely. It works.
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