Moral outrage is a part of human nature. But it’s worth keeping in mind that the punishment that it triggers is sometimes best explained not as a fair and proportionate reaction, but as a result of a system that has evolved to boost our individual reputations — without much care for what it means for others.
When people publicly rage about perceived injustices that don’t affect them personally, we tend to assume this expression is rooted in altruism—a “disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.” But new research suggests that professing such third-party concern—what social scientists refer to as “moral outrage”—is often a function of self-interest, wielded to assuage feelings of personal culpability for societal harms or reinforce (to the self and others) one’s own status as a Very Good Person.
It isn’t that our beliefs have changed, it’s that the way we feel about people we disagree with has changed.
In short, people have become less tolerant of opposing opinions. And their reactions to those opinions has become more emotional and outrageous.
A very worthwhile post in this era of conflict and constant moral outrage. One of the quotes highlighted:
“I don’t know of a civilization in the history of the world that’s been able to solve its problems when half the people in a country absolutely hate the other half of the people in that country.”
There’s too much downside in sharing any opinion that could easily be misinterpreted online. Even facts are dangerous to share if they don’t align with what people want to believe.
The problem with this is, the most successful people in an industry tend to have some of the most valuable insights about it. So you lose a lot when they are silenced. And also, if they keep those insights to themselves, it makes the powerful more powerful. It means useful information remains amongst insiders. Interesting comments on the other side of outrage culture.