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This is an Outrage! And Assorted Musings

June 3, 2009 Leave a comment

I have heard the term ‘moral outrage’ tossed around for years by democrats, republicans, independents, greens, communists, probably even some pandas – everyone uses it. I’m still not sure what it means. I have, however, gathered that a ‘moral outrage’ refers in general to something the speaker finds immoral and wants to create a big ruckus about. It is also commonly used in sentences such as, ‘This moral outrage of (thing I don’t really like) is inexcusable and should be prosecuted under the law!’

Actually, you can copy/paste that last bit as a template and save it. Use it whenever you want to make your disgust seem more haughty and justified, and your indignation sound more indignant.

But while you’re at, please try to stop once in a while and remember that this is (mostly) democracy. For future reference, you need not be alarmed if the moral zeitgeist does not pander directly to your notions of ethical behavior. This is only normal in a democracy, and there is no need to panic.

On a somewhat related note, most people who adopt a western way of thought find it hard to believe nowadays, but democracy used to be considered a form of governance fit only for degenerates and radicals. It was thought that the common person couldn’t possibly be intelligent or wise enough to govern themselves, so the job must fall to a member or members of the elite class. Another fear was that democracy would surely degenerate into mob rule; this dystopic vision of a world run by gangsters and pointless laws enforced by angry masses kept the monarchies of the world alive and kicking for many years.

Human nature remains essentially the same, no matter what political system is being kicked around as ‘the best’ at the time; we are creatures of the herd. So I am inclined to agree with the monarchs of eons past; democracy is the endowment of power to the herd, and the herd can’t always be trusted. But who can be trusted? The elite? No; the elite are simply members of the herd who have nicer shit. Sometimes they also stand apart in that they are top in inbreeding; but that was mostly during the time of the monarchs.

In short, the monarchs were right to say that the people can’t be trusted to govern themselves without seriously effing it up; they were just wrong to put themselves on a pedestal above the people. We are all people. At the moment, I’m not sure what form of government I think is ‘best’. In fact, it seems to me that there is far to much emphasis on choosing one and defending it with Utopian zeal. Perhaps the diversity of our race calls for us to stop thinking in such absolute terms. Perhaps it would be alright if we had one nation of communists, one nation of fascists, one nation of anarchists, one nation of capitalists; I really can’t say. But be assured that for every one of these systems, there are radicals willing to put forth a defense.

In any case, I would like to posit that people act essentially the same, whether their king be this man or that, this philosophy or the other. We all gather into social groupings for common benefit. We may organize these groups differently, but the motives are the same; seek shelter, bundle together in winter. And, changes to these groups are made not through legal channels, but through cultural forces that often go ignored at the time. We tend to think that unfamilliar systems won’t work, for this reason or that, but ultimately it is people that make the fiber of society. All you need is consensus. We tend to identify ourselves in terms of nationality, philosophy, law; but we are not made of laws, we are made of carbon. We are human, one and all; socialists, capitalists, believiers in the monarchy; human.

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