Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Politics of Anger

It is the dark, dim period between autumn and winter and a not so young man's thoughts naturally turn to anger. Anger at all the shameless greed to which the latest TV ads pander. Anger at the fact that so many people are still unemployed this close to Christmastime. Anger at the indifference shown to our current economic situation by our nation's leaders. Anger at the way our police seem to be becoming more like the corrupt Latin American police we profess to despise and anger at the fact that no one seems to worry about such mundane problems as drug abuse, domestic violence and crime.

As usual, there are many on the Right and Left who would contend that the solution to all this is to get angry. And indeed, inspiring anger is usually the first step toward motivating people to seek political reform. But anger alone is not enough. Discipline is far more important for anger ultimately means nothing if it is not channeled in an useful direction.

Indeed, if the last two decades have proved anything, it is that anger is a bit overrated as a motivational force. For example, there was plenty of anger expressed by the Right over the Checkgate scandal in the 1990s –- yet little followthrough when it came to voting out the politicians responsible for that scandal. More recently, we saw plenty of anger expressed by the Left about the intrusiveness of the TSA scans –- but again, little effort to follow through with actual actions such as protests or boycotts.

Anger can be a powerful motivational force; that is true. But one can walk into any prison in this country and find plenty of people who are full of anger. And many of the people who are there end up there because of actions born of wrath. Moreover, you can walk into any battered women’s shelter and find plenty of people there who are victims of another person’s anger. Which means that anger can be a force for evil as often as it is a force for good and it certainly explains why Anger is numbered among the Seven Deadly Sins.

Control is the key. Not anger.

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Blogger Bluejay said...

You've commented on my blog about this, Tonio, and I've responded, if you're interested.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Tonio Kruger said...


7:00 PM  

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