One thing I could always count on through the years is that there was no shortage of things to be outraged over, or about. Off the cuff.
You could go back to the 80’s or the 90’s, even the 70’s, there has been plenty of reasons to be outraged. But I suppose the numero uno has always been government malfeasance or sheer abuse of power. Probably because it seems a consistent staple in the fabric in all the discontent we see playing out. The left and right both have their use for that blame.
By blame I am referring to the scapegoating of all problems to government’s door. There is a good case to be made for that blame.
However, what amazes me is the amount of fodder for outrage that can be found everywhere. I suppose I may be guilty for seeing and looking for it.
Any outrage meter I had was broken years ago.
But I refuse to give in and just laugh at it all in ignorance. No, there is a rightful place for humor and jokes on government, politics and agendas. Though there is something to be said for seriousness about it, too. One cannot and should not lose all seriousness at the price of a good laugh.
That has been another pet concern. Humor is great tool as well. But everything should not be seen only through that filter. Humor has limits.
So when you come down to the seriousness of all the problems, then outrage is the logical emotion to have about it. Not making a case for it, just that it has its benefits.
When people get outraged they do things like open a window and scream into the night that “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” What that exercise can spawn, beyond quick relief, is another matter.
Often problems are not seriously addressed until enough outrage has been generated by them. In other words, it serves a purpose.
Outrage can lead to finding solutions and doing things a different way. Moral outrage is an additional component. You’ve heard of righteous anger. These are added components which can justify those outrage emotions.
Sure outrage can lead to more outrageous acts too. So discipline is needed about how we channel it. We certainly don’t want to turn into reactionary victims of our own outrage. That would seem pointless.
So in the political sphere, it seems that outrage can be very useful. We tend to react to what offends us. There is nothing wrong with that. Though being offended can become a crutch. For instance, the left is offended by everything and then they justify an entire counter political agenda based on their superb ability to be offended — by anything.
But astonishingly, as bad as all that sounds, they manage to be fairly effective by being offended. And what they are offended by mostly is anything or anyone that disagrees with them. It becomes very easy then to turn those offenses into power. That begets addiction.
We should probably develop the same skill at turning our outrage into something useful. As long as that outrage is reasonable and justified that is. But in general, most of our outrage is justified where much of Leftists’ sense of being offended is not. Theirs is fabricated or exaggerated for the purpose of weaponinizing it in their political agenda. The rest of us just don’t think and operate the same way.
If I only saw my outrage as a means to some political ends, I’d be chasing my tail. It seems like circular logic; meaning you desire to be outraged to accomplish your political objectives. That can get very dicey. Though that is what the left does with their ability to be offended. They seek it, use it, extort it and benefit from it. Therefore, it becomes as desirable and useful to them as a fork to eat a salad. It also creates an ego the size of Manhattan.
If safe spaces were the solution to their being offended, then there could not be enough of them, or enough room for them, in the world. But they aren’t. Safe spaces become just another tool in their arsenal to agitate and outrage the rest of us, which in turn feeds their pompous ability to be offended, which in turn feeds their political agenda, which in turn feeds their lust for more power. But that outcome was always their destination and goal.
As much as I actually do not want to be outraged, I really resent my justified outrage being turned into a cudgel and tool used against me. I resent my outrage being weaponized against me. That offends me. Get it?
I would much rather find real useful ways to channel my outrage into useful purposes, like solutions. Not just a political agenda. Lord knows we have enough moral and righteous outrage out there to build a Tower of Babel. But that is not the goal of outrage. Nor should it become only a means.
Remember years ago when Bill Bennett coined the phrase “where’s the outrage?” He had a point. When we lose our ability or no longer become outraged, then something is wrong with us, and society. His point is that people were not outraged by what was happening. They were becoming desensitized to what they were seeing. And that cannot be good. We shouldn’t say “that’s just the times” and ignore it. (or just laugh at it) We cannot lose our outrage, yet we cannot misplace it either.
So remember first that we are justified to be outraged, and two that we should not dismiss or waste it. It is of value. When outrage is gone, all sorts of bad things can happen. But when we fail to properly acknowledge or place it, the same effects can follow.
Instead we should see our outrage as a teaching aid. It is telling us that things aren’t right and not what they should be. It is telling us that a course correction is needed. To dismiss or ignore our outrage is to become an accomplice to its source – wittingly or unwittingly.
And if the Left at large is offended by our outrage, so be it.
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