What is a sufficient wrong for generating a sufficient amount of outrage?
Where is the outrage for families separated by a killer who immigrated illegally?
Where is the outrage for veterans not getting the treatment they need?
Where is the outrage against election meddling?
Where is the outrage against federal spying of private citizens?
Where is the outrage over a conservative President treating women as objects?
Where is the outrage over a supposedly anti-war President using drone warfare?
One of the easiest things for us to do is to tout our own moral outrage over a choice moral incongruity. It can make us feel better for having spoken up. It can also make us feel better for having publicly posed for good and against bad.
But it’s so hard to be consistent when we allow our judgments to be determined by loyalties to anything other than the truth, or when we place trust in the wrong people and institutions.
We assume that an outrage we do not observe is simply not felt, and we conclude that we have the moral high ground. It is easier to spot when someone distant from us has violated a moral principle, more difficult to spot when moral principles are broken by those we trust.
The less we trust a person or institution, the less we listen to them. At some point we stop listening to them altogether. This results in failing to see when they are outraged. If I never trust news source X, and instead listen to news source Y, which is in competition with news source X and wants me to believe that Y is more trustworthy than X, it will be easier for me to believe X when X tells me that Y is not covering something outrageous.
Often we are told that “________ news” or “_______ media” isn’t covering an event at all, when all we have to do is merely turn to that station or Google the event with that news source’s name, and we will see that they are indeed covering the event.
As if news media only existed to give us reasons to be outraged. As if a single person has the ability to quantify outrage.
But whenever you hear the claim that people of a particular persuasion aren’t upset about something indecent or unjust, do you ever look it up to see if it’s true that they aren’t? What outlets of information have you already decided to ignore? If you ignore them, how will you know that they exhibit no outrage?
When you ask the question, “Where is the outrage?”
The answer is often, “in the places you’re determined not to look.“