Moral outrage amplified by social media at times leans toward mob rule.
Aristotle’s definition of anger (moral outrage)
“a desire accompanied by pain for an imagined retribution on account of an imagined slighting inflicted by people who have no legitimate reason to slight oneself or one’s own.”
But what of this “slight”? Is this justice-oriented or something intimated to lower the social status of those that offend? This begins to lean into the realm of ‘mob justice” because the voices of disregard are blunt, massive and hold little civilized regard or meaning.
Here is what Abraham Lincoln said in 1832:
There is, even now, something of ill-omen amongst us. I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the country; the growing disposition to substitute the wild and furious passions in lieu of the sober judgment of Courts, and the worse than savage mobs for the executive ministers of justice…Thus, by the operation of this mobocratic spirit, which all must admit, is now abroad in the land, the strongest bulwark of any Government, particularly of those constituted like ours, may effectually be broken down and destroyed.
He warns that mob rule can endanger democracy and justice. The ugly outcomes of this type of rule are more apparent today than 184 years ago.
Socrates stated in The Republic that this path takes democracy back to tyranny.
Our attention economy is hard-wired into social media design, so the danger now is even more stark and apparent.
Justice is a process, not the outcome.