Martha Nussbaum on Anger and Revolutionary Justice @UChicago

When there is great injustice, it is very tempting to think that righteous anger is the best response, and even a necessary response. On the other hand, it is noteworthy that the three most successful revolutionary freedom movements in the past century have been conducted in a spirit of non-anger (distinct from, though sometimes joined to, non-violence): Gandhi’s independence movement, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s role in the U. S. civil rights movement, and Nelson Mandela’s freedom movement in South Africa. Studying the thought and practice of these three leaders, I argue that non-anger is both normatively and practically superior to anger, and that an analysis of the structure of the emotion can help us to a deeper understanding of why this is so.