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Epidemic Outrage

Outrage; It's the new Zen

Outrage; It’s the new Zen

In Needful Things, Stephen King wrote about a villain manipulating a town into destroying itself by sowing discord among the residents. He encouraged them to perform small acts of chaos, but according to a plan he devised to maximize the effects by targeting existing fault lines in the small town culture. Old feuds resolved into an uneasy truce, old wrongs buried but not forgotten, vengeances delayed but not abandoned are all given new energy by these seemingly small acts until the town literally blows itself off the map.

Does this seem familiar to anybody else?

Is there any facet of our lives today free from conflict? Yesterday, I read a story of a man getting a ticket on a New York subway because of the way he was sitting. Apparently somebody found it objectionable. People are marginalized, ostracized, and demonized because they like the wrong book, the wrong music, or wear their hair wrong. Differences that used to be glossed over and ignored, or, God forbid, actually appreciated, are now cause for division and strife. Everybody is mad at somebody for something.

Even people on the ‘right side’ of a cause ( The right side is the one I agree with, naturally) are caught up in this escalation of outrage, calling out those who don’t meet their standards of commitment as unworthy. While only a few go so far as to engage in unethical behavior, many more, if not a majority, seem perfectly willing to denigrate and dehumanize those on the other side of the issue. And some use deliberately dishonest tactics to do so.

For example, how often have you clicked on a shocking headline, only to find that the contents of the article did not even come close to justifying the headline? Do you think that it is an accident?

I suspect not.

But even though the article does not support the headline, there are plenty of commentors ready to believe and engage in debate based on it. And of course defenders rushing to answer the attack. Meanwhile the facts are completely ignored by both sides.

Again, I don’t think its an accident. I see a hidden hand at work, with the goal of fracturing our society. Distrust of the police is rising rapidly even though the vast majority of officers are honest, hard working men and women. But every headline we see trumpets the few exceptions to that rule. Any event which can be made to fit a narrative is twisted in service of that narrative and pushed until the next incident arises. Some idiot took a shot a George Zimmerman the other day and the headlines was that Zimmerman was involved in a shooting.

Seriously? Involved in a shooting? That’s what they chose for a headline?

I haven’t been posting political stuff for awhile because I’ve gotten too caught up in the anger factory and I’m tired of being angry. Yes, the federal government is worthy of outrage, as is much of our current culture. but it’s not worthy of my outrage anymore. Debate is only possible when people listen to each other, and right now, very few people are listening. They are just waiting their turn to screech about the latest outrage.

Because it’s all manufactured. The screechers on both sides are serving the same masters whether they know it or not. Note carefully, I’m not drawing any moral equivalence between sides; there is still a right side and a wrong side. But when the partisans of both sides are playing out of the same reprehensible playbook, then they are really on the same team, i.e. Team Chaos. One side uses deception to make their case; the other side decides it must use the same tactics to make it’s case, otherwise it will lose. At that point, the truth is lost regardless of which side wins the fight. And if the truth is lost, then neither side has won anything.

So who is winning? That’s the big question. Who stands to gain from the increase in distrust, disharmony, and chaos? Who wins when the people no longer trust their government? Who wins when religion is discredited along with every other thing man has developed to maintain civilization? Who wins when the global village blows itself up?

I’m a Christian and I see the actions of the Enemy writ large on the earth today. That’s my take. You may see something different. You may see entropy increasing as a law of nature. That’s cool. I’m not trying to convince anybody of anything. That’s not my job. My job is to stand against the Enemy, and right now that means reducing the disorder and chaos. Or at least, not adding to it. And failing that, I am to stand against the Enemy, not conquer, not defeat, not fight, but stand.

This post is the start of that.

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