Outrage is everywhere today, on the political left and right, with old people and young people, people of all races and economic backgrounds. We may live in the first period of human history where every demographic feels that they are somehow being violated and victimized. From the wealthy billionaires who have somehow convinced themselves that their 15% tax burden is simply oppressive. To the college kids who hijack stages and scream threats at people because their political views differ from their own.
Most people believe that people are becoming more polarized. According to the data, this is actually not true. People’s political beliefs are not that different than they were a few decades ago. What is changing, the data indicates, is how we deal with the viewpoints that make us uncomfortable.1
It isn’t that our beliefs have changed, it’s that the way we feel about people we disagree with has changed.
In short, people have become less tolerant of opposing opinions. And their reactions to those opinions has become more emotional and outrageous."
"Part of the problem here is that outrage is addictive.
We enjoy feeling a certain moral superiority over others. We enjoy feeling as though we are on the right side of history and we have some meaningful moral crusade to fight. And in this sense, there’s a weird pleasure and satisfaction among the anger. Even as these moral battles upset us, they feed our growing sense of entitlement: the feeling that we deserve a better world that we’re not getting, that we are somehow better than the life that has been given to us.
And when you have everyone on all sides feeling both entitled and victimized, along with an endless supply of information to reinforce one’s own ideological bubble at the click of a mouse, then things get messy."