In the age old debate between what is right and what is wrong, the point is often made that something can be legally right but morally wrong. A good example is coming up.
Then sometimes the question is asked, who decides what is morally wrong and morally right? In other words the spectre of 'moral authority' rises over stories in which legality and morality are distinguished. However in the example coming up you won't find any questions being asked about who or what is the moral authority behind people's outrage.
Of course we live in the modern age, the 21st century, so we in the West have moved a long way from publicly shaming people as a punishment. Why, we scarcely believe in punishment any more. Also, in the modern age, the 21st century, freedom of choice is everyone's right. Individuals have the power to do their own thing so long as other people are not hurt. But wait, in the example coming up shame plays a huge role. So much shaming applies that an apology is given. An apology for doing something which is legal, popular with many and a matter of exercising free choice as an individual. But, no individualism is not quite as significant as we may have lulled ourselves into thinking.
Here is the example, courtesy SMH.
Hero does something legally right and few people discuss much as a possible moral wrong.
Years later there is an accidental alert to the action.
Social media places hero in the metaphorical stocks and Twitter supplies the rotten eggs and tomatoes.
Hero bows to the pressure from self-appointed moral crusaders (who never name by what authority they act).
Suddenly a past time giving pleasure to many - hunting - is ruled out of possibilities for individual choice to be exercised.
Never underestimate the power of the collective!