Shame is Useless

The Left in this country has got to stop trying to make people feel shame. The Right has got to stop trying make people feel shame.

Shame isn’t useful. It doesn’t move the needle socially, if it ever did, and needs to be dismissed as an ancient emotional state, like “having the vapors.”

I don’t believe most folks want others to feel shame out of a simple sense of projection (that they themselves feel shame). I believe many on the left and right think that shame is one of the emotions that keeps the guardrails on society. That shame can be used to make people act in the way they want them to.


Shame is exactly like love in a relationship. It’s not an emotion that is all that meaningful to feel alone. If one person loves another but the second person feels no love, then love isn’t actually there. It’s a one way dead end.

Shame only works if everyone in a society decides to feel shameful about an action. All it takes is one person to laugh instead of feeling shame, and the whole thing collapses.

Shame is a tribal emotion, and no matter how many flags we buy from China, the US just isn’t a working tribe. If you have to do something more complicated than tailgating, the tribal model collapses.

I know this is hard to accept, since so much is invested in the shame economy, so many people make their livings at the keyboard or pulpit wagging fingers. But shame will never bring us to a better world.

If you tell someone to feel shame for getting an abortion or voting for Trump, they will feel lots of things, but I guarantee shame won’t be one of them.

So if not shame, then what would make a better world with better people? Well, equally enforcing laws would work. And changing laws you don’t like.

It will be hard but the future is a long, hard, painful slog. Buckle up.

Text above from men who will never feel shame.

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