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America’s Outrage Culture: How Did We Get Here?

If you haven’t noticed American society is becoming rather unhinged.  The outrage culture in America has reached a boiling point.  When adults can’t even have a conversation without shouting down the opposition or name calling we have a serious problem.  Look at how kids bully each other these days?  They are mimicking the learned behaviors they see all around, coming from ADULTS!

It seems that every week, we are bombarded with news stories designed to elicit an all-too-familiar emotion: outrage. Americans are constantly offended.  Conservatives like to think that it is only individuals on the left who have been infected by the outrage epidemic, but they are not immune. Outrage exists on both sides of the political spectrum, mainstream and lesser-known media outlets take full advantage of this reality. If we aren’t careful, we may allow this new culture to change our society so drastically that we embrace tribalism and choose to interact only with people who are exactly like ourselves.

There are likely many different ways to define outrage culture. However, Urban Dictionary has an apt description:

“When people play the victim card and bend over backwards to be as offended as possible when they really aren’t. Using hissy fits, political correctness, character assassination, and a false sense of moral authority, the outrager hopes to gain power and public recognition for their brave act of justice as well as a sense of control over their meaningless existence.”

Outrage culture is marked by a tendency for people to become overly offended at the slightest occurrence. It could be an offhand remark about race that someone assumes to be a microaggression.  Then there are those that are seeing this outrage and are walking on eggshells so they do not offend anyone.  Many Americans are opting to stay quiet in an intensified culture of political correctness fostered by activism and often biased media coverage.

A hefty majority — 66 percent — believe that they must “be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble.”

We live in a culture where anything you say is misconstrued and taken offensively to at least one person or group out there.

As human beings go about defining and expressing our values, our values have a funny way of, in turn, defining us. C. S. Lewis put it this way: “we are what we believe we are.” If observing how a culture behaves enables us to discern and interpret its values, it is inescapable that, in recent years, moral outrage has stealthily but authoritatively emerged as America’s newest and most central core value.

Our society has been hijacked by political polarization to the point that being offended is more of a crime than actually saying something offensive is. Both the left and right are so bad for it, and it makes it more infuriating when both deny it. It’s ruining our comedy, our interactions, and our society.

PLEASE – do not give in to the outrage culture. Stop and think for a second, “is this actually offensive? Is this actually an issue? Should I actually go on Facebook and rant about this?” I guarantee you 90% of the time it’s not. Simply move on and put your time and effort towards things that actually matter.




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