Neutrality is the tendency not to side in a conflict (physical or ideological), which may not suggest neutral parties do not have a side or are not a side themselves. In colloquial use "neutral" can be synonymous with "unbiased." However, bias is a favoritism for some side, distinct of the tendency to act on that favoratism.
Neutrality is distinct (though not exclusive) from apathy, ignorance, indifference, doublethink, equality, agreement, and objectivity. Double think being a potential antonym defending multiple (contradictory) views. Objectivity siding with the more reasonable position (except journalistic objectivity). Neutrality implies tolerance regardless of how disagreeable, deplorable, or unusual a perspective might be.
In moderation/mediation neutrality is often expected to make judgments or facilitate dialog independent of any bias, putting emphasis on the process rather than the outcome. For example, a neutral-party is seen as a party with no (or a fully disclosed) interest in a conflict, and is expected to operate as-if it has no bias. Neutral Parties are often perceived as more trustworthy, reliable, and safe.
Criticisms & Views
Neutrality implies not judging the validity of an opinion. Thus, a neutral person will provide a platform for all opinions, including irrational or malicious opinions.
Other Views include:
- Dante: "The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
- Woodrow Wilson: "Neutrality is a negative word. It does not express what America ought to feel. We are not trying to keep out of trouble; we are trying to preserve the foundations on which peace may be rebuilt."
- In the Supreme Court decision "Southworth v. The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System" based on the United State's First Amendment, the court decided some funding decisions should be made through a neutral viewpoint.
In Popular Culture
- Dictionary.com, neutral
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Neutrality
- IFRC.org, Our Vision and Mission, The Seven Fundamental Principles, Neutrality
- Dictionary.com, bias"
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary, bias
- Associated Students of Madison, Viewpoint Neutrality in Funding Decisions
- Business Dictionary, neutral party
- Investopedia, Emotional Neutrality
- Swissinfo, Armed Neutrality
- Brainy Quote
- Brainy Quote
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