05 January 2022

Outrage ain't right

“Reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions”
  – David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature (Book 3, Part 3, Section 3)


Enough of the outrage!

I hear your passion, your judgment, your indignation, your disgust. All because I'm unwilling to agree with you.

Outrage is easy to hear because it is pure passion speaking out. Loudly.

You say it over and over again, but nothing changes. The same happens when you use this tactic with foreign-speakers who don't understand your English!

I can hear your judgment that you are right and I am wrong. But mark this, judges don’t always get it right. 

In fairness, judges have a really tough job – although you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise given that most humans cast judgments with extraordinary ease.

I hear your frustration, but your outraged outburst is futile in its endeavor to move me.

You are operating as if outrage is merely an emotionally-colored coat that clothes reason. But maybe, the emotion is simply a cloak that blocks out reason – if there is any reason there at all.

Outrage is not evidence of reason, but evidence of desperation. It is a condescending, even denigrating assertion: 'if you think differently from me, you’re an idiot'.

You see, despite your outrage, there is a possibility that you might be wrong.

Yeah, I know, that’s tough to hear, isn’t it? So I’ll say it again. Quite simply, despite your passion, you may not be right!

Yes, you most definitely have a right to speak. But having that right to speak does not mean that what you speak is right.

You even have a right to speak with the tone of righteous outrage – but the truth or otherwise of your argument is unchanged.

Reason does not lead emotion. Reason is the quiet, faithful servant to the impetuous, headstrong master.

In a car, emotion is the powerful motor driving the wheels while reason endeavors to steer the wheels.

In a metaphor imagined by Jonathan Haidt, reason is the rider (or mahout) trying to steer an elephant.

Yeah, yeah, I can see you getting steamed up.

Yes, I still hear your outrage because you’re sure that you’re right.

Of course you are!

Outrage is the over-confidence bias made manifest. Confidence in our judgments is reliably higher than the accuracy of our judgments.

Oh, so now you’re even more ticked off.



Shutup, you won’t let me get a word in edgeways. You shout the same thing over and over again, you bellow in righteous indignation.

You know what, I’m done with your hubristic, insolent, prejudicial, condescending intolerance.

Your outrage is beyond the pale, it is outrageous.

I won’t tolerate your intolerance.


Oh, yeah! Me too.

That ain't right.








No comments:

Post a Comment