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With Us or Against Us

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"If you're not with me, then you're my enemy."
Darth Vader, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Describe With Us or Against Us here, or you are my enemy!

In a nutshell, this is a form of extremism that actually acknowledges there's a gray area in between black and white, but goes on to say that gray is just as bad as black simply because it doesn't oppose black as strongly as white does.

In fiction, a Writer on Board will hammer this point home through the use of Strawman Politicals and Demonization to show that not being on the side of right is bad, no matter what other side you take. The only hope of these people is to turn to the side of right as fast as possible.

The Knight Templar and The Fundamentalist are characters prone to holding this particular belief due to their belief that they are "right" and the other people are "wrong." An Evil Overlord is also a likely candidate seeing all who surround him as either pawns to serve their purpose for him, or obstacles that must be removed at all costs. Totalitarian regimes love this trope if your subjects have this mentality, they will beg for your protection thus, it is a common theme in Dystopian fiction.

No True Scotsman and Category Traitor are two of the most important tools for people trying to enforce this trope. Claiming that no true member of a certain community, political allegiance or other identifiable group would say or do something, and that anyone who does is a traitor or sell-out, is a great way to silence dissent or pressure people into agreeing with you.

Truth in Television, as anyone who has gone to a Flame War on a political or religious (or anti-religious) Message Board can attest. The Other Wiki can attest, too. The phrase "if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem" is frequently used as a more polite-sounding version that nonetheless amounts to the same thing. With that said, No Real Life Examples, Please!. The Fundamentalist is in every kind of belief that can be named, so they're all as bad as non-belief—so there's no need to pick out the crazies who think anyone who has or does not have pineapple on pizza should die or anything.

Note, this trope is not about whether any particular side is right or wrong, even the middle side. It's just about the views of people that the only right answer is their side, and nothing else.

Sub-Trope of False Dichotomy. See also Black-and-White Insanity, Activist-Fundamentalist Antics, and We ARE Struggling Together. May lead to Neutrality Backlash.

No Real Life Examples, Please!


Examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • In the Chick Tracts, anyone who does not agree with Jack Chick's particular breed of fundamentalist Protestant Christianity is doomed to burn in hell. Even other Christians who have slightly different views are completely evil.
  • Forever Evil (2013): The Crime Syndicate deals with any dissenters with extreme prejudice. Including their former alternate universe.
  • Mighty Avengers (2013): During Last Days, Steve Rogers declares as such to the Mighty Avengers. Either they're helping him hunt down the Illuminati, or they're the enemy. The team don't support either group, and decide to Take a Third Option.
  • When Steve Ditko took a heavy turn into Objectivism, his heroes started to preach his viewpoint. That Mr. A Alan Moore sings about? That was one of Ditko's, who claimed that man can either be good or evil with no in-between.
  • Spider-Man: Brand New Day has The Extremist. To him, you are either with the heroes or with the villains, and anyone who dares to criticize superheroes or even laugh at them is evil and schemes to blur the line between good and evil— and therefore, must be eliminated. He even tried to kill the guy who made a website dedicated to laughing at Spider-Man—who happened to be Peter Parker, himself.
  • Supreme Power sees its version of Nighthawk, reimagined as an African-American, espouse this view, believing the world to consist of masters and slaves and slaves who don't fight against the masters are with them. It's one of the ways in which the fanatical black supremacist becomes a Boomerang Bigot.
    "A long time ago, my dad heard Malcolm X speak at a church in Memphis. He said that during slave days, you had the house Negro, and the field Negro.
    The house Negro lived in the master's house, ate the same food as the master, lived in a warm room, usually in the basement. If the master got a cold, he was right there to help out, all cheerful and friendly because he wanted his own life to be good, and that meant making the master happy.
    The field Negro ate whatever scraps the dogs didn't eat, lived out in a cold shack, was beaten and kicked — and when the master got sick, he prayed every day the master would die. Didn't matter if the master was technically a nice guy or not. The master represented the system, and it was the system he hated."
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye:
    • If all his other methods fail, Prowl will try this option, even trying to use it on Ultra Magnus when the guy tries to call him on his BS before Megatron's trial.
    • Getaway, as well. He spent a year going around the crew, asking who sympathised with Megatron, and who would side with Rodimus in a coup, wiping their memories if they gave an answer he didn't like. When the time comes, he has the people who disagreed kicked off the ship.
  • The Ultimates (2015): During the Civil War II tie-in, an increasingly driven Carol Danvers begins saying this to the team. She doesn't get beyond "or" before America decides to declare herself against Carol, via the medium of a chair to the head.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The world in the Apocalypse film series is divided into who's believing who is God: Franco Maccalusso or Jesus Christ. Neutrality on the issue is brutally dealt with by the One Nation Earth agents and officers.
  • Avatar: Colonel Miles Quaritch while fighting Jake Sully at the climactic battle of The Tree of Souls.
    "Hey, Sully, how does it feel to betray your own race? You think you're one of them? It's time to wake up."
  • In Ben-Hur (1959), this mentality is what drove Messala to sentence Judah Ben-Hur to slavery. Messala wanted his friend Ben-Hur to turn in the Jews who were speaking against him and the Roman occupation. Ben-Hur refuses, so Messala tells him, "You're either with me or you're against me." Ben-Hur replies, "If those are my choices, then I am against you."
    • Given that it was made in The '50s, this is likely a reference to McCarthyism, in which many Hollywood people were ruined for declining to name Dirty Communists alleged to be among them.
  • The 1944 British film The Halfway House was made during the Second World War and and while it isn't directly a war film has a firm patriotic tone. This trope is particularly important with the lone character from a neutral country, the Irish Terence who is urged by everyone including his English girlfriend not to accept a promotion to the Irish embassy in Berlin. In the end he decides against it and is even implied to join the British armed forces.
  • In Magnum Force, the renegade cops, whose idea of justice is premeditated murder of the accused, try to use this to make Cowboy Cop Harry Callahan join them: "Either you're for us, or you're against us."
    Harry: I'm afraid you've misjudged me.
  • In The Matrix, this is explicitly stated; any human seen in the Matrix who the Resistance hasn't unplugged can, at any time, become an indestructible monster capable of killing an entire team in seconds. An Exact Words twist comes up in the sequels; Some Machines, such as Seraph and the Oracle, are not inimical towards humans, and Smith actually finds a way to download himself to a Resistance fighter and raise havoc in the Real World.
  • Parodied in Monty Python's Life of Brian, where the splinter groups against the Romans hated each other as much as the Romans. While this was originally intended as a satire on the increasingly-fractured British Left in the late '70s (the Pythons were all for Labour at the time, although John Cleese has since become a Lib Dem), it turns out that the Jews in Jesus' day really were quite fractured and always squabbling against themselves instead of the Romans.
  • From Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides:
    Pirate: You're either with us or against us!
    Philiip: I am neither with you, nor am I against you!
    Pirate: Can he do that?
    Jack: He's religious; I believe it's required.
  • Revenge of the Sith: When Anakin Skywalker-cum-Darth Vader throws that line at Obi-Wan, he simply responds, "Only a Sith deals in absolutes" (which, ironically, is itself an absolute) and ignites his saber.
  • In The Rock, Captain Frye makes this claim to Major Baxter during the Mexican Standoff. Baxter hesitates, then draws on General Hummel, but spins and shoots Captain Darrow instead. He takes a bullet for his trouble.
  • Played for Laughs in Street Fighter when tensions arise between Bison and Sagat's men after Bison welshes on a debt by paying with his worthless "Bison dollars" which he believes will be valuable after kidnapping Britain's queen, and Sagat in turn presses Bison's Berserk Button by calling him a raving lunatic and throwing it in a fire. Ryu and Ken wander in at the absolute worst possible time, with Ryu grabbed by Sagat and Ken grabbed by Bison, and we get this exchange:
    Bison: You're either with us... or against us!
    Ken: Uh... is that multiple choice?
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction: Harold Attinger's rant, his last words, at Cade Yeager are him going of about how "there are no good or bad aliens, just us or them, and you choose them!" This only paints him before his death as a massive Hypocrite as he was completely fine with letting so many of "us" die for his greed and prejudice towards Transformers.
  • In X-Men: First Class, Sebastian Shaw attempts to convince the young mutants on Xavier's team to join the Hellfire Club, and he warns them:
    Choose freely, but know that if you're not with us, then by definition, you are against us.

    Music 
  • 'Which Side Are You On?,' the classic union-organizing song from the 1930s.
    They say in Harlan County
    There are no neutrals there
    You'll either be a union man
    Or a thug for J. H. Claire

    Professional Wrestling 

    Radio 
  • On The Coodabeen Champions, one-eyed Collingwood fan Digger once complained about how the umpires were running the game: "The way they were umpiring, you would have thought they didn't care whether Collingwood won or they didn't!" Tony pointed out that they weren't meant to care, prompting an angry rant.

    Religion 
  • Played with in The Bible. It's not so much as "us or them" as Jesus saying that neutrality on Him simply does not exist. Anyone who does good deeds is "for Him", even if they're an atheist, because God Is Good. Anyone who does evil deeds (i.e. sin) is "against Him", because sin is basically "an offense against God", even if that person worships God. In other words, it is impossible not to choose a side because your actions choose it for you, rather than you making a conscious decision on the matter. This is distinct from salvation, which only comes through accepting Jesus', including His Divinity, sacrifice and resurrection, in faith.
    • Luke 11:23: "He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth."
    • Luke 9:50 features an inversion: "Jesus said to him, "Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you." For context, this verse refers to a man who was casting out demons in Jesus's name, but was not among the disciples. So the disciples told him to stop. Thus, the above quote.
    • James 4:4 is a warning to spiritual adulterers:
      "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

    Tabletop Games 
  • Forgotten Realms has a paladin Order of Samular. Once they hunted a demon and an elven community that happened to be between them — surprise! — didn't allow a little army of human heavy cavalry to crash through their territory just so... "thus allying themselves with the evil tanar'ri." More than a generation (human) later elves were still upset about the resulting bloodbath and paladins "wary of elves and their unknowable, inhuman ways."
  • Warhammer 40,000 demonstrates what happens when you mix this trope into a setting that runs on Black-and-Grey Morality. The results, from the Imperium of Man and Tau Empire, are not pretty. In the Horus Heresy novels, this kind of view is expressed by many who are joining the traitors.
    Tarik Torgaddon: If those are my choices, then I am against you.
    • During the Horus Heresy, there was a planet called Bastion which tried to stay neutral in the big war and invited representatives from both the Emperor and Horus to make a case for which side to join. Unsatisfied, Horus ordered Bastion to be obliterated. The message to other planets was simple: you even consider allying with the Imperium, and you die.
    • Pretty much the exact opposite situation occurred with the Forge World of Xana II. While a hive of scum and villainy by Forge World standards, they decided to stay neutral during the Heresy as they already had significant territory and stood to gain little. The Warmaster secured their support with promises of relics and freedom of research, and they promised him Ordinatus Minoris Engines in return. The Loyalists attacked just as the handover began, and although they succeeded in destroying or capturing all three Ordinatii, the assault both got their Navy Battlegroup shot to hell by the Xanatite defense fleet and broke open the high-security prison of Anacharis Scoria, Dark Archmagos. Taking command of the defence with his personal force of enhanced combat robots he annihilated over half of the Astartes assault force and committed the planet firmly to the Traitor cause, where it has supplied the Traitor Legions for over ten thousand years. Good job, Dark Angels.

    Theater 
  • The Crucible: "A person is either with this court or against it, there be no road between."
  • Pretty much said word for word in Love In Hate Nation by Susannah to Miss Asp as the girls destroy Nation and threaten her into joining them.
  • In A Man for All Seasons, Thomas More does not like King Henry VIII's actions, but rather than complain, he keeps his mouth shut and refuses to say anything one way or the other. Unfortunately, Sir Thomas is widely known as one of the wisest and most honest men in the kingdom, and his silence makes his position on the issue pretty obvious to everybody. King Henry then lays down the gauntlet, and makes everyone in England swear an oath affirming his support of the King's actions, prompting the film's main conflict.

    Web Original 
  • Dream SMP: This Trope is pretty much the Eggpire's entire principle. While they do try and convince people who don't like the Egg to like it, they especially detest people who are neutral towards it, as it implies that the Egg has no influence on them.
  • The SCP Foundation thinks that the Global Occult Coalition are hypocritical Knight Templar who think Murder Is the Best Solution when it comes to the anomalous, but stories focused on them show they're really more of this trope. They're perfectly okay with anomalies as long as they aren't dangerous or don't break the Masquerade.
  • Title Pending: When Cameron brings up that jumping to sign the contract before even seeing it may not be the best idea, Bayden asks if he's against him them without letting him finish. Cameron reluctantly agrees to follow along.

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • Lock-up actually says, "If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem." (Throughout the episode, he also blamed the "liberal media," as well as "gutless police, mindless bureaucrats, and coddling doctors" for society's problems, so he's really more of an outright criticism of conservative argumentation.)
    • In a different episode, Poison Ivy is also shown to have this view, and she also says the above sentence almost exactly the same way: Anyone who isn't treating plant life like they would their own children, to her, is someone who must be destroyed, hence why she is at odds with Batman before he even does anything.
  • In one episode of Daria Jane begins dating a guy named Nathan who is really into 1940s nostalgia, to the point that she begins dressing in 40's styled clothing on a daily basis. Eventually, Nathan proves to be a Straw Fan after his passive aggressive insults to Jane's clashing wardrobe leads an exasperated Jane to state "it's a fad, it's just for fun." Nathan counters about how he's one of the true believers left after everyone else moved on to a new fad, and Jane is either with them or against them. Jane kicks him out after he makes a disgusted comment about her owning sweatpants.
  • Zapp Brannigan in Futurama views the Neutral Race this way. "With enemies you know where they stand, but with Neutrals, who knows?" Therefore he decides to crash the Planet Express ship into their capital. "Another heroic battle in the war between Good and Neutral!"
  • Demona says this in the pilot of Gargoyles: "If you are not my ally, then you are my enemy."
  • The Legend of Korra: Used repeatedly throughout Book 2, usually by Korra herself, most frequently on Mako when he's less than one hundred percent supportive of her efforts to get someone, anyone to fight the Northern Water Tribe's occupation of her homeland.
    • It also gets turned against Korra when she gets between a group of Northern and Southern Water Tribesmen about to fight one another. The Southerners get angry at her for not taking their side.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), this is the main reason the Shredder takes on the Turtles for the first time, with them having turned down his offer to join him after learning who he really was, he declared this. And anyone who is his enemy, he destroys without mercy.


 
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Yunnan and Olivia are forced to serve their wicked king.

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