How Selective Outrage Diverts Discussion of Real Problems

December 9, 2017
Posted in Opinion
December 9, 2017 Tim Preuss

How Selective Outrage Diverts Discussion of Real Problems

I come from the political “right”. What I mean is that I like free markets, limited government, adherence to the Constitution, and so on. I’ve spent years taking shots at the left. The left, at least to me, is defined by regulated markets, large government, a fluid view of the Constitution, etc.

As a person of the right, I actually find it more entertaining to take shots AT the right. The right tends to be less emotional, more grounded in reality, and more consistent. The right is more fun to debate than the left. The right is a more worthy opponent. When I come across an issue where the right is wrong on, it is my responsibility to call it out. As the saying goes – clean up your own house first.

A common complaint against the left is their selective outrage. They are outraged when X happens involving Y, but not when X happens involving Z. It is a huge problem and undermines any valid arguments they’re actually making.

For instance, following the shooting of Michael Brown, the left became outraged over police killing black teens. Thousands of people swarmed the streets in nearly every major city across America. Police were labeled as racist and every other bad word imaginable.

Yet, little time has been spent covering the daily deaths of black teens across America at the hands of drug gangs in our inner cities. Sites like HeyJackass.com document the rate of crime in Chicago, which as of today has a 2017 total of 639 homicides and 3411 shootings. Where is the left on this issue? I mentioned Chicago crime statistics on a near daily basis on my Monday-Friday podcast, but rarely heard anyone in mainstream media mention them.

Why? Selective outrage. It makes the outrage over the death of Michael Brown seems phony and manufactured. MSNBC hosts aren’t losing any sleep over black teens dying, whether they’re killed by police or gang members.

The left may have some valid points when it comes to this issue. Many people rightfully (I believe) recognize that the militarization of police is a slippery slope. Why police forces are sold bayonets by the federal government is beyond me. Tanks patrolling American cities seems like something out of an apocalyptic novel, but it is reality. The fact that America has far more police-involved deaths than other countries is lost. Instead of listening to these valid arguments and reasonable points of conversation, the selective outrage overshadows it. We never get down to the root of the issue.

The Michael Brown story is typical of the left. They are outraged about one thing, while neglecting to address the larger issue. But selective outrage isn’t just limited to the left. We on the right have to be cautious about falling into the same trap.

A contentious issue for the past few months has been NFL players kneeling or sitting during the national anthem. Initially, this measure was taken by three or four players. When Donald Trump tweeted about the protest, more than 200 players began kneeling. By almost all right wing pundits, this was seen as a blatant act of disrespect towards the flag itself and American veterans. The intention behind the kneeling did not matter, it was the act itself.

However, none of these pundits express any outrage about the American flag being made into underwear. Boxers with the stars and stripes are regularly being wedged between people’s butt cheeks, yet THIS is not seen as a sign of disrespect?! I saw a picture on Instagram of a beach towel that had the American flag on it. On top of it was not just a person’s butt, but also a few drinks, a phone, and a plate of food.

 

Let’s ask this – is it more disrespectful to sit during the national anthem, or to have the flag around your ass? Remember – intention doesn’t matter. Why is the right outraged about one but not the other? Selective outrage. Regardless of the issue, when the outrage isn’t consistent, it undermines perhaps an important argument.

The Michael Brown story should have been about the detrimental effects of the welfare state, the drug war, America’s failing public schools, and more. Instead, it was turned into “police are racist”, and none of the underlying issues were addressed.

The protests of the national anthem story should have been about the detrimental effects of the welfare state, the drug war, America’s failing public schools, and more. Instead, it was turned into “the NFL hates America”, and none of the underlying issues were addressed.

Neither side has actually gone in and even identified the problems with America’s inner cities. The deaths of young black people, whether at the hands of police officers or gang members, are merely a symptom of the problem. The problem is that millions of Americans are impoverished, and legally limited to types of jobs that are illegal. Let’s break this down a bit.

Government schools have provided an incredibly poor education to people in inner cities. In many cases, these public schools are more like day care centers for teenagers, rather than educational institutions. In many cities, the graduation rate is less than 50%, and even those who graduate are faced with minimal job prospects.

Minimum wage laws prevent those educated in poorly run public schools from obtaining jobs they are qualified for. It is illegal for an employer to hire someone whose labor is worth $5/hour, which is what labor from an inner city high school graduate is actually worth. Therefore, these people turn to other areas of work – illegal labor, which means drug dealing in many cases. Gangs run these businesses, often fighting each other over turf, with many innocent lives lost in the midst.

Of course, family should be an easy answer to these problems, but the welfare state has steadily eaten away at the nuclear family, which has a mother AND father. Through generations of welfare, mothers are taught that they don’t “need” a father for their children, which leads to mothers being overwhelmed with the responsibilities of parenting on their own. The children suffer, succumb to poor schools, find a place in gang life, and become either another statistic in homicides, or another statistic in prison populations. Rack your memory – did any primetime news programs discuss these issues?

In order to tackle these issues, we’ll need to put our emotions and the day-to-day news aside. We must recognize overall patterns, and what role our government has played. These are not “easy” issues to tackle, but they are at least “simple” to understand. Until we actually focus on the problems, selective outrage will continue.

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Tim Preuss

Tim Preuss is the founder and CEO of Preuss Media LLC. Along with writing for PreussPodcast.com, he hosts the Tim Preuss Podcast Monday through Friday, available on iTunes, and regularly interviews prominent personalities within the liberty community.
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