The SCP foundation is an world wide organization given the task of protecting the world from dangerous anomalies. These artifacts or individuals pose a threat to the normalcy of our reality, and are contained at specially designed facilities to be studied. This research usually requires prisoners, referred to as D-class. These prisoners are considered disposable individuals who are used in experimentation with SCPs, in order to determine the extent of its abilities and powers, and how much of a threat it poses. D-class are taken from various countries around the world with ties to the foundation, who send them death row inmates and individuals scheduled for execution, or simply undesirables who these countries would consider convenient to disappear.

Foundation members are the good guys of the world protecting it from the horrors not seen by normal society, but their methods are often atrocious. Researchers often force disposable people to participate in dangerous experiments, which often end in a slow, horrific death or at the least permanent injury. D-class are often subjected to prolonged torture and suffering depending on the SCP, and are made to undergo other experiments if they are lucky to survive. They are given no sympathy or mercy from staff, who see them as easily replaceable stock. Its one thing for people to not empathize with a John Wayne Gacy or Hitler-like characters, but many of these prisoners come from nations with various ethical standards. This can include a woman who was sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for an affair, or a student revolutionary from China, and other people who would be protected under human rights laws, or even children. At the end of the year, the foundation routinely executes all surviving D-class in order to make room for new batches, as these people would be an inconvenience to release into society after their sentenced term.

The callousness of the researchers and other staff members seems odd. These are people who can ruthlessly send a man or woman to a horrible death, and then go home to their families to maintain a normal life without any side effects. They can take part in regular society and seem decent, good people while at the same time work for an institution that practices industrialized murder. While one can justify to themselves that it is done in the name of world security, its hard not to portray this as psychopathic behavior. How can one rationalize this contradiction while still maintaining the good guy image?


2 Answers 2


Frameshift challenge: You ask how the SCP Foundation can be seen as the good guys given all the stuff they do, but the SCP Foundation are intentionally not supposed to be seen as good guys. They are intentionally written to be seen as "the lesser evil" according to most of the authors. SCP Foundation is fundamentally a horror series, and part of that horror isn't just whatever creepypasta-inspired object the Foundation has contained. It's that the framing device that this universe is set around revolves around a bunch of dubiously ethical scientists whose motivations at best are "the greater good" and at worst "for science". Many researchers (Dr. Clef, Dr. Kondraki, Dr. Bright) are sociopaths or worse. The Foundation-verse regularly falls into "Humans Are the Real Monsters", which is a common horror trope.

I can think of several good examples of "the Foundation are not the good guys". Note that these are all not examples where the Foundation has to do horrible things for the greater good or to prevent the end of the world from happening like SCP-231 and Procedure 110-Montauk or kidnapping babies on an industrial scale for containment procedures that involve the sacrifice of innocents, but are based on in-universe selfish, misguided, or needlessly cruel reasoning:

Dr. Montauk, the researcher for which the procedure was named, came up with Procedure 110-Montauk after losing his brother and blaming it on the Children of the Scarlet King. The Foundation at that time had also captured SCP-231-7, the last of the child brides of the Scarlet King. So he came up with Procedure 110-Montauk as a torture procedure described as a phony research protocol in his darkest moment because he wanted to see SCP-231-7 suffer as much as humanly posssible, projecting his hatred at the Children of the Scarlet King as a whole onto an innocent child. A member of the Children of the Scarlet King notes that the fact that Procedure 110-Montauk works at all was a fluke, it was created out of a place of such hate, rage, and evil that it thaumaturgically resonates with the Scarlet King and keeps him contained.

As a result, Procedure 110-Montauk isn't evil because it works, it works because it is evil.

Regarding all the "good" things the Foundation has done, I'm reminded of this Doctor Who clip. And this one, when it comes to the question of "what is evil".

Even Dr. Clef (the writer, not the character), one of the lead writers for the Foundation, thinks the SCP Foundation is evil

So the Foundation are not "good guys". Many of their motivations are based on personal curiosity or gain, but they try to justify it as in the name of the greater good. They merely happen to align with the reader's moral compass in that they don't want to see the world destroyed, and aren't as wantonly destructive or naïve as the Global Occult Coalition or Are We Cool Yet? They are at best less bad, and sometimes outright worse, than the anomalies they contain, something that has been pointed out in several entries. Much like Warhammer 40k it's not that the Foundation is good, it's that everyone else is worse. It's really not possible to frame the Foundation as unambiguous good guys given they are depicted performing actions that are intended to be offensive to modern readers and are frequently treated as not being in the moral right even if one excludes "lesser of two evil" situations.

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    It's a very good answer that unfortunately answers a question the asker didn't ask. How can an average SCP employee lead a regular, productive life knowing all (or at least a lot) of what you just wrote? Would they all need to be sociopaths, with no room for normal, mentally healthy individuals in the institution? Or can a normal person just persist in participating in that "lesser evil" that is nevertheless far more evil than necessary, and just go about their day disregarding this all?
    – SF.
    Commented Feb 2, 2021 at 12:48
  • @SF. It's a frame shift challenge. OP is asking how can the SCP Foundation be seen by the reader as the good guys despite what they do. They're missing the point in that the SCP Foundation are written such that they aren't intended to be seen as the "good guys" in the firsr place. OP isn't asking about how the employees of the Foundation in-universe justify their decisions, almost every SCP has the Foundation saying "what we're doing is awful but must be done" or exists in ignorance at the true scope of what the Foundation does. Or they end up shooting themselves. Commented Feb 2, 2021 at 16:16
  • It doesn't matter. This is not a literature analysis site, this is a writers advice site, how to achieve certain goals in writing. OP is not asking an explanation "how it happens" (in which case your answer "it doesn't" would be perfectly OK), OP is asking "how to make it so that it happens" - how to write in such a way as to subvert the current outlook, what plot devices to use to create a story which will make the reader see SCP as "good guys" despite everything they do - or at least that's what one should assume as intent of questions posted on this site.
    – SF.
    Commented Feb 2, 2021 at 16:24
  • @SF. Genre and author-audience interactions are a part of this site. The Foundation is specifically written such that their actions are offensive and horrifying to a modern audience because it is a horror setting, and "humans are the real monsters" is a big part of that. You can't have a group do these things and maintain audience sympathy. It would be like saying "this character is a sadistic bigot who enjoys torturing the innocent, how can they be seen as the good guys". To do that the author would have to fundamentally change how the Foundation works to scrub a lot of their dubious actions. Commented Feb 2, 2021 at 17:01
  • @SF. Additionally, if that was OP's intent with this question they need to edit it because it wasn't clear at all. The other answer to this question seems to be thinking along the same lines as this answer. Commented Feb 2, 2021 at 17:01

Keep in mind that SCP is at it's core a black comedy series, with the various articles getting a very clinical scientific reporting for an item that by all means would fit into a horror movie setting. The nature of the foundation's ethics leans strongly to "Good is not Nice" and the lore stresses that these actions are only justified because the alternative is letting even more dangerous artifacts becoming accessible to the general population and all the bloodshed that would be included in that outcome.

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