This Is the Hollowed-Out World That Outrage Culture Has CreatedThe race-baiters, the man-hating feminists, the abortionistas, all of these cannot be touched: they are shameless. Shame requires both an objective, external moral code and a conscience. When the moral code is Consequentialism, there is no conscience required. Atrophy of the conscience results, and shamelessness is inevitable.
Shamelessness. That’s the key.
Shamelessness is what our system is actively selecting for. You might even say we’re breeding for it. You have to breed for it, when you think about it. What normal, well-adjusted person would sell their soul, exaggerate their worst tendencies, suppress their self-awareness, just to get attention? What sane person would willingly subject themselves to a system that flays and mocks and criticize and screams? Who finds being yelled at or publicly derided simply a cost of doing business (poorly)?
A shocking amount of people, it turns out.
Unfortunately, none of them are the people you might hope for. The cartoonist Scott Adams, apologizing during a major incident over a minor flap a few years ago, wrote that “Ideas are society’s fuel. I drill a lot of wells; most of them are dry. Sometimes they produce. Sometimes the well catches on fire.” People like Adams—valuable cultural contributors—are losing the ability to take creative risks. A good person who happened to have said something dumb in an email once, or took a private naked photo, might have their willingness to drill those wells (as Adams put it) utterly destroyed, while others—due to their calculated shamelessness and delusional imperviousness—continue to operate with impunity, untouched.
Just look at Donald Trump. A Yale Professor is driven to resign over the microaggressions in an email while someone like him can stand on the national stage and spew ignorance and hate.
It’s a hollowing out of our world. The good employees are quitting and the terrible are made intractable and untouchable. The people who thrive are the ones who we wish would go away, and the people we value most as cultural contributors lurk in the back of the room, hoping not to get noticed and hurt.
At this point, everything in-between—vulnerability, nuance, truth—may as well not exist. When our culture encourages the fakeness and stupidity and trolling it is supposedly trying to rail against, there is no room for anything else.
And with these incentives we have decided to create, it’s almost certain this point will fall on deaf ears. It’s too subtle to cut through the noise.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Excerpt of the Day
This is who profits from perpetual outrage: