The typical line of the Heroic Neutral
to the Wide-Eyed Idealist
or any Good aligned characters
, this is taking the belief that an issue is someone else's problem only
and shoving it on others. Upon encountering another character who is trying to get involved in a bad situation to try to resolve it positively, the speaker will frankly state that it isn't their problem... they may even go as far as to state it is none of their business and they'll probably just make everything worse.
Sometimes, the speaker is right. Intervention really will make everything worse.
Interfering in a situation you simply don't understand, even with the best of intentions, can often produce considerable harm. Outsiders often have no clue why
things work the way they do in a situation or a place, and thus their attempts to help
can produce results ranging from nuisance to catastrophe.
Politicians beholden to Realpolitik
will tell any more idealistic politicians or citizens this as well. Of course, it's important to remember that characters with this belief are not necessarily Stupid Neutral
: if they see a way it could affect the idealist, they will praise the idealist's foresight if they can explain how it is in their interests to act... but they will scold ignorance of why they are acting even if it is in the character's interest by chance. It can also be from friends trying to explain to a hero with Chronic Hero Syndrome
that if they keep going after every problem in a world full of problems that doesn't affect them personally, they are going to crack up.
Compare Bystander Syndrome
, Not in This for Your Revolution
Anime & Manga
- The story The Frogs and the Lobsters in Mr Horatio Hornblower has Hornblower, with a detatchment of the British Army, fighting with the royalist French army against Republican forces, and told several times that it is not their fight. Hornblower later hears the same thing in Lieutenant Hormblower while assualting a Spanish fort in Haiti during a Haitian rebellion.
- Transformers: Age of Extinction: There's a version with Brains, an Autobot captured by humans and forced to reverse engineer cybertronian technology to create transformers for the humans. He noticed Megatron exerting his influence over the Galvatron project, and eventually taking over it and he chooses to do nothing about it as the humans imprisoned him, tortured him, and melted his friends down in front of him. When the problem manifests itself as a threat to Humanity, Brains just dismisses it under this trope.
- The Crusade in Forgotten Realms. Cormyrean king and his supporters wanted to go out and meet Tuigan Horde's forces head-on. Many others who weren't affected, didn't want this. Even Dalesmen who were closer to the Horde wanted to wait and watch or try to solve the trouble in any way not involving their southwestern "friends" — whom they tend to distrust, and for good reasons. Not that Cormyr itself was united about the issue: the Royal Magician and guilds claimed that until proven otherwise, the political development half a continent away from their borders is neither their business nor a valid cause for expenses a large military campaign would need.
- This becomes a major conflict in the first chapter of Corpse Party 2: Dead Patient. When Ayame's group gets a Distress Signal from another isolated group of survivors, Ritsuko doesn't want to leave their barricaded room to try and help them. She's so determined to stick to this that she throws Chiyomi out for arguing and locks the door, with Ayame being left to decide who to side with.
- Conservapedia actually has MYOB (Mind Your Own Business) as one of its unwritten rules, if somebody complains about how another person was treated by a sysop.
- A lot of the government-sponsored superheroes in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe have this attitude in regards to problems or crimes that have happened in other countries, as long as those problems or crimes haven't spilled over into their own country. Some of these government heroes actually get hostile to "invading" foreign heroes who pursue criminals across national borders.
- Note that this is not entirely irrational. What one nation or group considers a crime, another may not, and the policy at least has the advantage that it tends to keep local problems from sucking in everyone. 'Good fences make good neighbors' is sometimes good policy.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: This is Sokka's attitude regarding any side quest that doesn't involve their main mission, like for example Katara's trying to help the Fire Nation village in "The Painted Lady", unless it's extremely personal.