In Dante’s great poem, the neutrals, those who in this world had never taken a side, occupy the mouth and vestibule of Hell. There they swirl unceasingly in clouds of red sand, their faces bitten by wasps and hornets. They pursue in a blind fatal way a flag which never stays for a moment in one place.
Dante denies them the moral dignity of a place even in hell itself. “Heaven will not have them, and the deep Hell receives them not lest the wicked there should have some glory over them”—lest the wicked, that is, looking at these neutrals, should be able to feel that there were souls worse than themselves.
And what was the sin of these neutrals? Oh, simply this: they had never taken a side. They had spent God’s precious moment, which is our life, they had spent it watching which way the wind was likely to blow.