Quotes / Neutrality Backlash

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, then you have chosen to side with the oppressor. If an elephant is standing on the tail of a mouse, that mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."
— Varyingly attributed to Nelson Mandela and to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, both champions against Apartheid in South Africa

"I hate these filthy Neutrals, Kif. With enemies you know where they stand, but with Neutrals, who knows? It sickens me."
Zap Brannigan, Futurama, "Brannigan, Begin Again"

"Dante once said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in periods of moral crisis maintain their neutrality."
John F. Kennedy, misquoting Dante

"But keep telling yourself that because politics is dirty, so very dirty, that you, precious, by not voting or informing yourself or participating in any way, are clean. Yeah, thatís it. Youíve kept yourself pure, because you havenít gotten your hands sullied by the gutter that is American politics. Well, you can keep telling yourself that. But, the truth is, if your hands arenít dirty, itís not because youíre pure. Itís because youíre not helping."
Bill Maher, Real Time with Bill Maher, on the low voter turnout of the 2014 election.

"There comes a time when silence becomes betrayal."
Martin Luther King Jr., ďWhy I Am Opposed to the War in VietnamĒ

"You're wrong, Mollari. Whether it was me or my world, whether it was a total stranger or your worst enemy, you were a witness! It doesn't matter if they stopped. It doesn't matter if they'd listen. You had an obligation to speak out!"
'G'Kar to Londo, Babylon 5: "The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari"

Sir Humphrey: Prime Minister, it has been put to me that as smoking is not a political issue the government must not take sides.
Jim Hacker: You mean we have to be impartial?
Sir Humphrey: Exactly!
Jim Hacker: Impartial as between the fire engine and the fire?

"I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: 'I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action'; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a 'more convenient season.' Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."
Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from a Birmingham Jail"