Delusions Of Neutrality YKTTW Discussion

Delusions Of Neutrality
(permanent link) added: 2011-08-16 03:55:05 sponsor: Xzenu edited by: randomtroper89 (last reply: 2014-07-11 06:56:10)

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Hobo: Broccoli is part of an evil plot to put a lawn gnome in the white house!
Man: No it isn't.
Woman: Both those views have been expressed with a straight face; Therefore, I have to treat them as equally valid!

It is so easy to say that Both Sides Have a Point and that we should simply remain neutral. No matter what the "controversy" is about, no matter what the sides really are. Is one side a obvious Windmill Crusader who think that all Jews are aliens invaders from another Time Cube who should all be exterminated? And the other side is the rest of mankind, simply going "uhhh... nope?" Well, lets just sit back and relax, treating both sides as equally valid!

This trope is often played for Rule of Funny: Highlighting an amusing Windmill Political by giving it credit that it so obviously does not deserve, or letting the local Jerk Ass mistake himself for the Only Sane Man. Other times it's Played for Drama, as the Only Sane Man or innocent victim is subjected to the uncaring hordes of people who wrongly believe themselves to take a "neutral" and "unbiased" standpoint.

Closely related to Golden Mean Fallacy, but also very different from it. A person who is doing Golden Mean Fallacy takes a position claiming that the truth must be somewhere in the middle - between the two alternatives. One side want to exterminate the Jews, and the other side is against genocide? We should only kill half of the Jews, or put them in concentration camps without killing them. Both sides should be happy with that compromise. A person with a Delusions Of Neutrality doesn't take sides at all. In the extreme example above, he doesn't advocate having a little bit of a holocaust. Instead, he's bragging that he's neutral and unbiased. Willing to listen politely to both sides without giving preferential treatment to either side. Not like one of those biased anti-genocide fanatics who treat Those Wacky Nazis as if their opinions wasn't as vali as everyone else's.

A person who take this standpoint may also hide behind the claim that Culture Justifies Anything.

Real Life examples are restricted to people using this trope in speeches and such - whether they are right or not is too much YMMV.


  • George Orwell wrote about this in his essay Looking Back on the Spanish War: 'When one thinks of the cruelty, squalor, and futility of War—and in this particular case of the intrigues, the persecutions, the lies and the misunderstandings—there is always the temptation to say: 'One side is as bad as the other. I am neutral'. In practice, however, one cannot be neutral, and there is hardly such a thing as a war in which it makes no difference who wins. Nearly always one stands more or less for progress, the other side more or less for reaction.'

Web Comics
  • In this strip of I Drew This, the public give the protagonist a headache by taking this standpoint in "controversies" between insulting insanity and common sense. See page quote.

Web Original
  • The "Ban Left Marriage" episode of Radio Inside Scoop (pretend to) appeal to this attitude in the audience.
  • The Onion had one particularly creepy article where politicians took this position on massive child sex abuse, out of fear of alienating pedophile voters.

Real Life
  • Invoked by Ronald Reagan in one of his speeches: I urge you to beware the temptation of blithely declaring yourself above it all and labeling both sides equally at fault.
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