quotations about neutrality
Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
ELIE WIESEL, Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, New York Times, December 11, 1986
You can't be neutral on a moving train.
HOWARD ZINN, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train
Personally, I think neutral is just another way of saving your own ass at the expense of someone else's.
LAURELL K. HAMILTON, Narcissus in Chains
Men who profess a state of neutrality in times of public danger, desert the common interest of their fellow subjects; and act with independence to that constitution into which they are incorporated. The safety of the whole requires our joint endeavours. When this is at stake, the indifferent are not properly a part of the community; or rather are like dead limbs, which are an encumbrance to the body, instead of being of use to it.
JOSEPH ADDISON, The Freeholder, February 3, 1716
A bridge has no allegiance to either side.
LES COLEMAN, attributed, Geary's Guide to the World's Great Aphorists
The duty of holding a neutral conduct may be inferred without anything more, from the obligation which justice and humanity impose on every nation, in cases in which it is free to act, to maintain inviolate the relations of peace and amity toward other nations.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address, American Daily Advertiser, September 19, 1796
Dante once said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.
JOHN F. KENNEDY, at the signing of a charter establishing the German Peace Corps, June 24, 1963
Neutral men are the devil's allies.
E. H. CHAPIN, Living Words
Neutrality is no favourite with Providence, for we are so formed that it is scarcely possible for us to stand neuter in our hearts, although we may deem it prudent to appear so in our actions.
CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon
Impartiality is a pompous name for indifference, which is an elegant name for ignorance.
G. K. CHESTERTON, The Speaker, December 15, 1900
Indeed, it is impossible to be neutral. In a world already moving in certain directions, where wealth and power are already distributed in certain ways, neutrality means accepting the way things are now. It is a world of clashing interests -- war against peace, nationalism against internationalism, equality against greed, and democracy against elitism -- and it seems to me both impossible and undesirable to be neutral in those conflicts.
HOWARD ZINN, Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology
Nor must we always be neutral where our neighbors are concerned: for tho' meddling is a fault, helping is a duty.
WILLIAM PENN, Some Fruits of Solitude
Irresolute Princes, to escape immediate danger, commonly follow the neutral path, in most instances to their destruction.
NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI, The Prince
The rights of neutrality will only be respected, when they are defended by an adequate power. A nation, despicable by its weakness, forfeits even the privilege of being neutral.
ALEXANDER HAMILTON, The Federalist Papers, November 23, 1787
Whatever neutrality is, it is not very useful to anybody, and time is running out. If we do not do useful things whenever it is possible or necessary to do them, we shall soon be totally departed from the human scene, and forgotten, or remembered only for having disappeared.
WILLIAM SAROYAN, An Armenian Trilogy
Neutrality may be useful, but it's useful like eunuchs are useful. Once you cut off their balls they grow big and strong, but you can never be sure if they will serve the harem or the master.
VAUGHN SHERMAN, Sasha Plotkin's Deceit
Neutrality, as a permanent principle, is as much as the abandonment of the position to be a power on earth ... because, to permit other powers to regulate the condition of the outward world, is as much as to grant a charter to those powers to regulate the foreign affairs of the indifferent power arbitrarily.
LAJOS KOSSUTH, Kossuth in New England
The peace-loving nations must make a concerted effort in opposition to those violations of treaties and those ignorings of humane instincts which today are creating a state of international anarchy and instability from which there is no escape through mere isolation or neutrality.
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, speech in Chicago, October 5, 1937
A wise neuter joins with neither, but uses both, as his honest interest leads him.
WILLIAM PENN, Fruits of Solitude
He who remains neutral in a contest should lose his effects, whichever party wins.
AULUS GELLIUS, attributed, Day's Collacon