In The Dark Knight, the Joker adamantly believes that Gotham is only holding itself together because of the laws imposed on them or because of Batman:
You see, their morals, their code, it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these... these civilized people, they'll eat each other.
Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos.
I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. Hmmm? You know... You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying!
And so forth, plus the various social experiments used on Gotham.
At the end of the film, we get the following exchange:
The Joker: We really should stop this fighting, otherwise we'll miss the fireworks!
Batman: There won't be any fireworks!
The Joker: And here... we... go!
[Silence. Nothing happens. Confused, Joker turns to look at the clock, which shows that it's past midnight and neither ferry has blown the other up]
Batman: What were you trying to prove? That deep down, everyone's as ugly as you? You're alone!
In short, The Joker was wrong, Batman was right, Gotham is still worth defending, human will triumphs. All well and good.
What confuses me is that The Dark Knight Rises seems to prove time and again that The Joker was 100% correct. The second the police and Batman are unable to defend Gotham, the people literally stage a cheap French revolution and overthrow what little order the city has, and had Bruce not been destitute and kidnapped he would have been thrown out or killed along with everybody else. Within a month they've developed a cartoonish parody of a courtroom in which citizens are literally tried and executed exclusively because they were on the side of law and order, all while the downtrodden people of Gotham cheer them on. Basically validating everything The Joker said about their morals and laws getting cast away in an instant when their order gets disrupted by Bane, up to and including the quotes provided.
Was The Dark Knight Rises intended to show that The Joker was right?