Sunday, August 9, 2009

moral outrage

The gospel's insistence on forgiveness is both profound and pragmatic, but we cannot fully appreciate either until we realize how routinely moral indignation leads to a replication of the behavior that aroused the indignation. Moral outrage is morally ambiguous. The more outraged it is, the less likely it is to contribute to real moral improvements. Righteous indignation is often the first symptom of the metastasis of the cancer of violence.
Gil Bailie, Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroads. New York: Crossroad, 1995. 89.


ms said...

seems like a tough book, or rather a book of ideas hard to absorb, at least by these recent posts

brtom said...

Not so tough ... but the problem may be that yr not getting any of the context that produced these nuggets.

This one addresses an issue I feel in myself and see in other people. Both the "left" and the "right" seem to need to broadcast this "moral outrage" and "righteous indignation." As if it feels good to be a victim, to be on the right side of an injustice. It feels so good that we may even be justified in hitting back ... and more ... justified in taking not just an eye for an eye but a life for an eye. So violence accumulates, escalates. And it all began when we felt ourselves to be justified by our victim status.

ms said...

maybe, but i don't get it. It's a tired old punch line -- I don't want to be a part of nay clud that would admit someone like me as a member -- but it's not really funny. Probably I'm not getting the context...but as i read nad think what comes, I see more the divergence between the dogma i was taught and still at some level i believe -- maybe just bc i don't know what else to believe? -- i feel a tired despair, empty, nothingness. True there are other times it seems there's some hope - not sure where it comes from but perhaps it doesn't matter. I can't really explain, certainly not intelligibly or succintly. I have a growing still sense that i am missing, but also not sure what that is or that the things i was taught are an appropriate way to approach life today ... i'm blabbing. Too many questions, old answers i'm certain are no longer valid if ever they were, lost.