Quotes: Black and White Morality

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    Comic books 

"Soon there will be war. Millions will burn. Millions will perish in sickness and misery. Why does one death matter against so many? Because there is good and there is evil, and evil must be punished. Even in the face of Armageddon I shall not compromise in this. But there are so many deserving of retribution ... and there is so little time."
Rorschach, Watchmen

    Film - Live-action 

"Only a Sith deals in absolutes."
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

    Literature 

"Among the Alps and Pyrenees, perhaps, there were no mixed characters. There, such as were not as spotless as an angel might have the dispositions of a fiend."

"There's no greys, only white that's got grubby."
Granny Weatherwax, Carpe Jugulum

    Live-action TV 

"Two players. Two sides. One is light. One is dark."
John Locke, Lost, discussing...backgammon?

"By G'Quan, I can't recall the last time I was in a fight like that! No moral ambiguity, no hopeless battle against ancient and overwhelming forces. They were the bad guys, as you say, and we were the good guys. And they made a very satisfying thump when they hit the floor."
G'Kar, Babylon 5, "A Late Delivery From Avalon"

    Music 

If everyone would go for peace,
There'd be no need for war
But we can't ignore the Devil
He'll keep coming back for more
Clint Black, "Iraq and Roll"

The villain goes to jail while the hero goes free.
I wish it were that simple for me.
David Crosby, "Hero"

    Theatre 

There are precious few at ease
With moral ambiguities
So we act as though they don't exist
The Wonderful Wizard Of OZ, Wicked

    Video games 

"I always find it's easier the see the world in black and white. Grey? I don't know what to do with grey."
Garrus Vakarian, Mass Effect 2, after reconsidering killing a traitor.

    Web animation 

"If the zombie genre were a school, Dying Light would be the good little boy who irons his uniform every morning and is the first to tattle on the rowdy boys when they start getting too self-aware and ironic."

    Web original 

"The helicopter lands, leading a nearby oldster, one Hugh Palmer, to exclaim, 'Oh, thank God!' This remark proves that Hugh isn’t a film critic, for out of the 'copter emerges Steve Seagal. However, it does indicate that the old-timer is a Good Guy. For in the wonderful simplicity of the world of Steven Seagal, the lyrics of the old Hercules cartoon series theme song ring true: '…People are safe when near him /only the evil fear him.'"
Jabootu on On Deadly Ground

"There is no gray area in Rand’s philosophy. There can’t be any exceptions to the rule or qualified statements such as “The government can be a force for good, but…“ No, it is either black or white, good or evil, hero or parasite. You need to be wary of any philosophy that is so simplistic or tries to so easily lump others in the ‘us‘ or ‘them‘ camp."
Miles Antwiler on Atlas Shrugged Part II: The Strike

"Bad people are inherently bad. Good people are justified in what it takes to stop bad people. And it's that simple. The world divides into good people, who are either smart (i.e. agree with the Doctor) or foolish (i.e. don't agree with the Doctor), and bad people, who all work for the Master. And that's just how people are. Bad people want to hurt us. And we have to stop them."
Dr. Phil Sandifer on Doctor Who ("The Mind of Evil")

"It’s a nice touch that the Cigarette-Smoking Man is watching a black-and-white Second World War movie. One of the primary themes of The X-Files is that the legacy of the Second World War is much more controversial than traditional historical narratives allow. Of course the Cigarette-Smoking Man likes to remember it as black-and-white."
Darren Mooney on The X-Files, "One Breath"

"Somewhere between these two sets is where you’ll find the DS9 crew with lots of shades of light and dark (some call it ambiguity) and as such the are far more interesting than the Voyager crew that have no flaws and thus are loaded with them."
Joe Ford on Star Trek: Voyager, "Living Witness"

Chris: Really though, how much of an asshole do you have to be to go “Oh, he has some of Lex’s DNA, that will surely make him evil. Fortunately he also has mine, which will definitely make him good.”
David: Genetic morality, baby! Nature, not nurture! People are either inherently good or evil, it’s not even their fault. Is Clark Calvinist or something?
Chris: I think he’s just a jerk.
—Chris Sims and David Uzumeri on Smallville ("Scion")

"What Civil War gave weight and import to just comes off overly simplistic and Manichean here. The heroes are good and the government and citizens who have genuine concerns about them are easily shown to be wrong because they're being influenced by Darkseid."
Julian Finn on Smallville, "Patriot"

"If life has taught me anything, it's that people can be put into convenient boxes and have NO SHADING of any kind. Everyone knows this, except for the evil people because they are evil and only evil."

"There are only three kinds of people in Bill O’Reilly’s world: good hardworking Americans, pinheads—people who are not actually malevolent but who are too stupid to understand the way the world really works—and evildoers."

    Real life 

"Every Highlander naturally knows something of the history of his own clan, but usually a good deal less about other clans, except that they were, in contrast to his own, of course, treacherous and bloodthirsty."
Fitzroy Maclean, Highlanders

"There is black and there is white, and there is wrong and there is right, and there is nothing, NOTHING in between."
Alan Moore on Mr. A

"I have no empty heroes. My goodies are good, and my baddies are bad. There are no schizophrenic goodies or sympathetic baddies. And children like it that way; it's not confusing. And they want the goodies to defeat the bads."

"'But that's the point!' Is the single defense I get when I alienate myself at dinner parties by my negativity. It's supposed to be mindless, I'm told. And then those professional types who are safe in loving Star Wars where they might be attacked for reading the latest Robert Silverberg or Thomas M Disch sf novel, explain to me as carefully as one would a retarded child, that Star Wars is a return to the worship of the Eternal Verifies: honor, truth, fighting Evil. All black and white."
Harlan Ellison, "Luke Skywalker is a Nerd and Darth Vader Sucks Runny Eggs"

"And some of them end up dying because I write military fiction and in military fiction, good people die as well as bad people. Military fiction in which only bad people — the ones the readers want to die — die and the heroes don't suffer agonizing personal losses isn't military fiction: it's military pornography."

"To the primitive mind, everything is either friendly or hostile; but experience has shown that friendliness and hostility are not the conceptions by which the world is to be understood."
Bertrand Russell, Mysticism and Logic

"Ultimately, not Christ, not Marx, not Freud, despite the pretensions of each, has the final word to say about the fact of being human. And those who take solemnly the words of other men as absolute are, in the deepest way, maiming their own sensibilities and controverting the evidence of their own senses in a fashion which may be comforting to a terrified man but is disastrous to an artist."
Gore Vidal, "Norman Mailer: The Angels are White"

"The principle of the movement is whoever is not included is excluded, whoever is not with me is against me, so the world loses all its nuances, and pluralistic aspects that have become too confusing for the masses."
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

"What we are looking at is good and evil, right and wrong."
George H.W. Bush, speech made at Pearl Harbor, October 28th, 1990