by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The assumption that anger confers moral force suffuses the contemporary culture war. Elements of both the “alt-right” and the “woke” Left profess a belief in the moral legitimization of wrath. Partisans spend a considerable amount of effort adjudicating who is allowed to feel a given amount of grievance for what, but more energy could be spent exploring the moral limits of rage in the first place.
In a recent New York Times column, the novelist Jennifer Weiner makes a case for anger. …
… On both a personal and a political level, indulgence in anger can be both corrosive and paralyzing. Wrath can blind us to the dignity of other human beings, and a politics of vengeance based on collective guilt can all too often become an incentive for new injustices. At the end of Great Expectations, the adult Estella makes a leap of moral insight beyond the facile psychology of revenge. She turns to her childhood friend Pip, who long had been infatuated with her: “suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be.” The greater virtue is in understanding and reconciliation.