Created By: Koveras on June 12, 2013 Last Edited By: Arivne on January 27, 2014
Nuked

Evils Of Neutrality

When refusing to take sides causes more harm than even being outright evil.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
— Attributed to Edmund Burke

Party A is in conflict with party B, and both request help from party C against the other. C, however, refuses to take sides and instead tries to either mediate the conflict or just walk away from it but fails and ends up escalating the conflict even more somehow, resulting in the destruction of both A and B, C themselves, or even innocent bystanders (or all of the above).

This trope lives on the cynical end of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. Contrast Reconcile the Bitter Foes, which lives on the opposite side. Compare Kingmaker Scenario, Neutrality Backlash, False Dichotomy, Omnicidal Neutral. Compare/contrast No Points for Neutrality.

Examples

Video Games
  • Almost every Reasonable Authority Figure in Dragon Age II who tries to mediate the mage-Templar conflict without taking one side or the other throughout the game ends up dead, leaving both sides free to go after each other's throats with no interference in the endgame.
  • The neutral/lone wolf path in The Witcher sees Geralt murder even more people and leaving behind even more chaos and destruction than the other two—and people will call him out on that. In general, refusing to get involved in conflicts in this game often leads to the innocent suffering and the guilty getting out scot-free (while getting involved commonly leads to open bloodshed).

Western Animation
  • Parodied in Futurama, where Zap Brannigan becomes convinced that the Neutral Planet is the greatest threat to the Democratic Order of Planets in the galaxy.


Will go under the Neutrality Index.
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • June 12, 2013
    DunDun
    I honestly think the Example As A Thesis is worse without names.

    Shouldn't the Dragon Age II example go in No Points For Neutrality? Or is that trope more for the technical/mechanical aspects of this concept?
  • June 12, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    We got something similar in the making already: Pacifism Backfire.
  • June 12, 2013
    313Bluestreak
    Compare Neutrality Backlash where refusing to take sides doesn't end well for the neutral character.
  • June 12, 2013
    Koveras
    @DunDun: I don't think my write-up falls under Example As A Thesis, since it describes the entire formula of the suggested trope, not a single exemplar. And as for Dragon Age II, it features no Karma Meter, so it cannot, by the definition of that trope, fall under No Points For Neutrality.

    @Paradisesnake: Ah, thanks. But after reading through its write-up I found that it's currently defined as party A avoiding a confrontation with party B, only to be forced into an even bigger conflict later on. Maybe we could merge my proposal into that YKTTW by expanding the latter to setups with 3 parties involved?

    @313Bluestreak: Thanks, I'll add it!
  • June 12, 2013
    xanderiskander
    I'm pretty sure I've seen this in works before, but I'm having trouble thinking of specific examples. This is a pretty cool trope though! I'll keep trying to think of some.
  • June 12, 2013
    Generality
    Suggested quote:

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
    -- Attributed to Edmund Burke
  • June 12, 2013
    MorningStar1337
  • June 15, 2013
    MetaFour
    • Parodied in Futurama, where Zap Brannigan becomes convinced that the Neutral Planet is the greatest threat to the Democratic Order of Planets in the galaxy.
  • November 18, 2013
    Koveras
    Bump.
  • November 18, 2013
    Arivne
    Divided the examples by media type.
  • November 18, 2013
    Koveras
    Thanks, though I hardly see a point with just three items on the list. :D
  • January 27, 2014
    Koveras
    This never went anywhere, so discarding it...
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=90398oeovr5w1sum6e953iog&trope=DiscardedYKTTW