Moral outrage

By devin, 26 April, 2014

I have a problem with moral outrage. 

On the one hand, I often believe in the causes people are outraged about. On the other, I get so sick of the way they treat the causes as God's own truth. Let's pick an example cause: people being angry because they want a higher minimum wage.

I think the best salespeople truly believe in what they're selling. So it's a good thing that people really believe that there should be a higher minimum wage. On the other hand, the argument that a higher minimum wage would lead to less jobs has its merits too.

When people are morally outraged, they demonize the other side and act uncharitably. That is an unforgivable philosophical sin. When people stop viewing their opponent's argument charitably, they're  shutting down debate just for the sake of shoring up support among their base. Undecided bystanders will feel compelled to agree for fear of looking stupid or like they don't support the cause.

Maybe your strong belief will make you a more persuasive orator and debater on behalf of an important issue, bringing about positive change. But maybe you'll make it harder for mediators and bystanders to find the truth behind the issues and work the argument through in their own mind. And once you step back from the issue at hand, that should ultimately be everyone's goal.

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