Another day. Another dollar. Another delusional attack by the outrage machine.
Some of you may be familiar with the latter term. It's gradually become part of our political vernacular, both in social media and the outside world.
While there's no formal definition, the outrage machine can be best described as the concoction of manufactured outrage against an individual, group or political ideology. The source of this agitation can be anything from a social media post to a perceived historical grievance. When enough people have either accepted a particular narrative, or have been whipped into a near-frenzy, they'll work together in a collective fashion to try to erase someone's personal, political or social media influence.
Some efforts succeed. Others fail. Still others leave lasting impressions of a type of derangement syndrome that never truly go away.
Here's a recent example that happened in Canada.
On Aug. 29, Conservative MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay retweeted a video of an interview conducted between Liberal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and billionaire businessman George Soros. The discussion occurred in 2009, when Freeland was a journalist working at the Financial Times. In the two-minute clip, Soros expressed his support for then-U.S. President Barack Obama's efforts to build stronger ties with China and felt this alliance could lead to, in his words, a "new world order, a financial world order."
Findlay highlighted this discussion as one in which Freeland listened intently to Soros's analysis "like student to teacher." It was an attempt to be amusing, and draw an imaginary line between two individuals with similar political viewpoints.
Unfortunately, the video's original source was reportedly linked to conspiracy theories and other hateful propaganda. When the outrage machine caught wind of this, its members gotâ€¦ wellâ€¦ outraged.
They suggested Findlay, like some other Soros critics, was attacking the financier for being Jewish, wealthy and powerful. Accusations of anti-semitism started to circulate on social media. Some wondered why Conservative leader Erin O'Toole hadn't spoken out or reprimanded her.
Within a few hours, Findlay took down the original tweet. "Earlier today, I thoughtlessly shared content from what I am now learning is a source that promotes hateful conspiracy theories," she tweeted that afternoon. "I have removed the tweets and apologize to anyone who thinks I would want to endorse hateful rhetoric."
Her apology was clearly genuine, but it didn't satisfy the outrage machine mob. Political progressives felt it wasn't sufficient. When O'Toole decided the apology would stand on its own merit and no further action would be taken, some suggested he and the Conservative Party were peddling in the same anti-semitic and conspiracy theory waters.
OK, let's stop this tidal wave of outrage right here.
Criticism of Soros's left-wing politics and activities isn't always rooted in anti-semitism. In fact, mainstream criticism of the Hungarian-American billionaire businessman rarely has anything to do with his religion. If it did, Israel's foreign ministry certainly wouldn't have denounced Soros in July 2017 because he "continuously undermines Israel's democratically elected governments" and gives money to organizations "that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself."
Rather, it has everything to do with his ideology and the causes he funds.
Soros founded the Open Society Foundations, which support ultra-progressive ideas and are fiercely critical of conservative leaders, parties and governments. He's provided significant funding to liberal/progressive organizations like the Tides Foundation, America Votes, Priorities USA Action and Media Matters for America. These groups, in turn, support abortion, climate change, euthanasia, gun control, left-wing politicians in the U.S. and beyond, legalized marijuana and same-sex marriage, among other things.
A few conservatives and libertarians may agree with Soros on one or more pet issues, but the political differences are vast and unmistakable. That's why most mainstream right-leaning thinkers, commentators and activists oppose him.
Yes, there are a small number of screwballs who have a different agenda. Some friends and associates in politics and the media focus way too heavily on their meagre influence, and they should really stop doing this. Those fringe elements don't represent mainstream thinking on the political right, and shouldn't be linked with us now or ever.
The same principle should follow when mainstream liberals and social democrats are linked together with fringe groups on their side of the political spectrum. That's not justifiable, either.
As for Findlay, she made a mistake. She likely focused on the Freeland-Soros interview from a reputable British newspaper instead of the controversial source that circulated it. She quickly apologized, which is why O'Toole opted to leave the matter alone.
Hardly the first public official to ever gloss over something on social media, truth be told.
Alas, facts and logic don't matter to the outrage machine. There will always be something else that creates anger, frustration and rage in modern society, and its members will surely find it.