Anger in the moral maze
I appeared on the first of the new series of BBC Radio’s Moral Maze to discuss the morality of anger. With outrage and concern over over the language being used in today’s acrimonious political debates, we discussed whether anger can ever be of value or whether it invariably leads to bad consequences.
It can be constructive if it’s harnessed to redress an injustice, but what if this objective is actually fuelled by the destructive desire for revenge? Is there a moral distinction between anger expressed in solidarity with the oppressed and anger directed to punishing our enemies? Is it always virtuous to control our anger? George Orwell defined the English character as one of extreme gentleness, “where the bus conductors are good tempered and the policemen carry no revolvers.” Is that national character now changing? Is it too late to recover it? And should we even try?
I was joined by fellow panellists Matthew Taylor, Mona Siddiqui and Tim Stanley to interrogate our guests: editor of Spiked Online, Brendan O’Neil, psychotherapist Mark Vernon, Hope not Hate’s policy officer Rosie Carter and history professor Thomas Dixon.
You can listen to the show here.