Moral Triage

  • Amitai Etzioni
Part of the Library of Public Policy and Public Administration book series (LPPP, volume 11)


People, whole communities, and even nations express moral outrage. They often do so indiscriminately, simply reacting to the latest news of bombings of hospitals in Yemen, honor killings in Pakistan, gang rapes in India, and so on. These expressions are not without effect, but the United States would be better served to first consider where using this moral voice might have the most real impact, and hesitate to use it when the subject of censure has made an atypical offense. This chapter shows that moral capital that is not well-directed is devalued and squandered, and asserts that we need to choose where to focus our outrage just as doctors decide how to treat multiple victims who need attention at once. In other words, we need a moral triage.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • Amitai Etzioni
    • 1
  1. 1.The George Washington UniversityWashington, DCUSA

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