The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Six Rules of Outrage

Outrage is an effective weapon. One that is wielded daily by the Left and less frequently by the Right. The game is simple—select something that offends you, for example, Donald Trump calling members of the murderous Latin gang MS-13, "animals." In righteous indignation, tell us all that humans should not be called "animals," make a very aggrieved face, call Trump a "racist," rinse and repeat. And be absolutely sure that your trained hamsters in the media repeat that meme over and over and over again.

Or maybe it's the current outrage du jour—the "ripping" of innocent young children out of the arms of their angelic illegal immigrant mothers and fathers. Make a very aggrieved face, call Trump a "Nazi," rinse and repeat. And be absolutely sure that your trained hamsters in the media repeat that meme over and over and over again.

But here's the thing. The outrage weapon is a cynical scam—pure and simple. And if you have half a brain you can recognize it immediately. Kurt Schlichter writes:
Look for the indicators. Is it something that seems unreasonably horrible? Well, like something that sounds too good to be true probably is, something that sounds too bad to be true likewise is probably not true either. Does Trump ordering screaming babies to be wrenched from their innocent mommies’ arms and cast into dungeons sound pretty extreme? Yeah, because it is. And it’s a lie.
But there's more too it than that. Here are the rules:

1. Use emotions, not facts, to drive outrage. In reality, facts get in the way and should be omitted whenever possible. It's extremely helpful if your allies in the media refuse to present facts or context that might conflict with the outrage narrative.

2. Change labels to obfuscate. Illegal immigrants—that is, people who illegally enter our country, something that is against the law—are re-labeled as "migrants" or "undocumented immigrants," thereby clouding the reason why they have been apprehended in the first place.

3. Be selective. Direct outrage only at your political enemies, never at your allies, even when both your enemies and your allies have done the same thing that is now generating outrage.

4. Avoid or shout down inconvenient questions. For example, the fact is that the Obama administration separated illegal immigrant families and held children in holding pens (there are dozens of photos to support that statement). The question is—why weren't Democrats (or the GOP) outraged about it? That's a VERY inconvenient question and must be avoided at all cost.

5. Use ad hominem attacks, preferably calling the party who has committed the "outrage" (and even members of his or her family) a "racist" or a "Nazi." The reason for this approach is that when the facts aren't on your side, inflammatory language is a useful tool.

6. Finally, insist that morality is a sole virtue of those who are outraged. Anyone who tries to introduce facts that conflict with the outrage narrative, who doesn't use the right labels, who dares to ask inconvenient questions, or to push back against ad hominem attacks or outrageous allegations is characterized as less moral and less worthy. But only in the eyes of the outraged and their supporters.

Those are the rules, and maybe that's the worst outrage of all.