Abuse neutrality is a stance often publicly adopted by those who do not wish, for whatever reason, to challenge abusive behavior. They may be avoiding confrontation out of fear (typically fear of change or fear of authority) or they may be actively supporting it while wishing to appear innocuous.
The situation in which this typically emerges can be summarized thusly:
- Person A: Person B is abusing (harassing, threatening) me!
- Person C: I see that you have a dispute with Person B, but I am going to remain neutral and attempt to see both sides of the argument.
This is often accompanied by free speech trolling:
- Person B: Person A and all those who agree with her are attempting to suppress my free speech!
The essential fallacy here is in assuming that any position is valid or acceptable simply because someone advocates it. People routinely advocate positions that cannot be tolerated in any civil society; failure to fight such positions – or even to argue that fighting such positions would be harmful – effectively promotes them, which discourages attempts to prevent abusive behavior and encourages abusers.
- "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." — Desmond Tutu (via)
- The administrator of social.targaryen.house used this argument against the idea of blocking an abusive user (but apparently relented within a few days).