There used to be a bumper sticker that read, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” I think it should be updated to: “If you are outraged, you’re probably a knucklehead.”
Outrage Culture is the Left’s latest attempt to end an argument they can’t win. Leftism wrecks economies and endangers America’s historically unique commitment to individual liberty. Since every leftist ideal from socialism to disarming the populace is a threat to our founding ideals, and since any open debate will expose that threat, the Left spends an inordinate amount of time inventing new strategies to try to force the opposition into silence.
Political correctness is such a strategy: If you don’t use our words, you’re evil. Calling people racist, white nationalist, white supremacist and Hitler — another strategy: as if the only possible reason you could want to enforce the rule of law at our borders is because you don’t like brown people! Pretending to take jokes seriously is yet another strategy. And so on.
This sort of aggressive shut-uppery is in itself a violation of American values. In this great land, we should be able to say, think, debate anything we damn well please. Plus shut-uppery romanticizes the unsaid thing. It threatens to make repugnant philosophies like racism cool because they’re forbidden.
But more than anything, shut-uppery makes the Left stupid. When it works, it means they don’t have to test their ideas against opponents of good will. They don’t have to listen, just rant. They can become as insulated, one-sided and willfully ignorant as an editor at The New York Times.
Now, with the speed of the internet, the bias of social media, and the thuggery of the mob to help them, the Left has adopted this new tactic: instant outrage. Whole news days are wasted on over-reactive garbage meant to instill fear and enforce silence.
People in what the Brits call the Chattering Classes chatter a lot. We talk all the time, write, blog, think out loud. Sometimes we say things we later reconsider, sometimes we put things awkwardly, sometimes we make untoward jokes, sometimes we might even be, horror of horrors, wrong — that even happened to me once.
To react to these events with outrage may succeed in silencing your opponents but it also turns you into a fool.
Last week, the left wing hate site Media Matters came after me, Michael Knowles and Matt Walsh, labeling The Daily Wire a “cesspool of hatred and bigotry.” Hilariously, the ploy backfired when they put their own insulated foolishness on display. After reviewing seven months of our podcasts, the MM louts could come up with nothing even remotely hateful about us. In fact, reading my quotes, I couldn’t help reflecting what a lovely guy I was.
This week, the same group of social gangsters came after one of their favorite targets, Ben Shapiro. In explaining the disaster of controlled economies, Ben, who works about seven jobs, made a remark that could be taken out of context to sound like a zing against workers with two jobs. Ridiculous. But oh, the outrage.
Acting Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli, when asked an incredibly empty-headed series of questions on CNN about the poem on the Statue of Liberty, opined that the poem was an attack on European classism. This was twisted to mean America is only welcoming to European people. Nonsense. But… outrage!
In opposing the atrocity of abortion, Congressman Steve King made some goofy comment about the fact that there’s rape and incest in every family tree. He was referring to the ubiquitous fact of conquest and rape in human history. Well, okay, way to say the quiet part out loud, Steve. Still, it’s hard to be outraged at even a gaffe like that when Democrats support the extermination of children on the verge of birth.
Because, of course, the true target of Outrage Culture is debate itself. King was arguing for the lives of the least among us. Cuccinelli was arguing for the rule of law at the border. Ben was arguing for economic freedom, a lynchpin of personal freedom.
Maybe in making those arguments, they said something awkwardly, maybe not. But if you’re outraged, you’re not paying attention to the real debate. If you’re outraged, you’re bullying the opposition at the price of your own ignorance. You think you’re winning, but you’re actually being transformed into a gormless nitwit who will follow bad ideas straight into slavery.
That’s the whole point of the outrage, knucklehead. That’s what it’s for.