There are two different kinds of culture of, shall we say, "making people want to do right or wrong" or "regulating how they ought to feel after the fact." These are guilt culture, and shame culture.
Shame culture is the most direct:
In a culture of shame, anyone deemed to have perpetrated a disgusting or terrible act is openly mocked, taunted and derided. People are accountable insofar as that if they never want to be called "fuckin' disgusting sick torturing fuckheaded bastard torturer shit human being," they had better do something tangible and worthwhile to make amends. (In practise I would rather have omitted "bastard" for reasons I'll explain later. We don't want to attack someone's family arrangement for no good reason.)
Shame culture informs me when I scream "Shame on you!!" at a guy who's carrying an anti-gay sign. It's a direct form of action, and it serves to warn others that what this fuckhead is doing is wrong and morally repellent. Shame is nasty, but it is nonviolent, and should fall under protection as freedom of speech. The judicious (emphasis) dispensation of shame is empowering and instructive.
Because the people who are the most disgusting, and most deserving of shame, are likely within the same set who will apply the law in any possible way to silence and harm people like me who express their informed and (in theory) protected opinions, I will explain further. Shame is not meant to be insulting, nor should it constitute an attack on character. (Weird, huh?)
Shame is intended to vilify a person for something REALLY REALLY LAME they did in the course of being a fallible human being. Anyone who heaps shame on one who has made restitution for their fuckup, is themselves deserving of shame for "excessively being an asshole".
On the other hand you have guilt culture (which is normally preferred by religious organizations):
Guilt culture typically comes with a set of rules drummed into one. Contravention of these rules could result in no punishment whatever if the offending deeds never come to light. But knowledge that you have broken such-and-such an edict serves (in anyone with a conscience) to light a tiny, inexhaustible flame inside a person, that will always always remain to bug them.
Guilt culture is all around us. I am sure many people feel these tiny internal flames without questioning the mechanism they sprang from. People who operate on guilt culture lines wouldn't yell at a guy with an anti-gay sign. But they might go write a letter to the editor (I ended up doing both). Of the two cultures, this is the passive-aggressive one.
Now the fun part: Chris' Modern List of Shameful Public Figures (surely incomplete).
These people and their insane followers are at the least, deserving of shame vomited forth from yours truly:
- George W. Bush (unqualified to be president, responsible for actions of his government including torture, and allegedly rape and murder)
- Donald Rumsfeld (responsible for actions of his government including torture, and allegedly rape and murder)
- Rush Limbaugh (propagates hatred)
- Gordon Campbell (pretends to have moral authority after his ridiculous drunk-driving conviction)
- Stephen Harper (responsible for leading Canada down a road of moral and financial ruin and utter un-Canadian-ness)
- Certain fanatical elements in the IOC (responsible for serially disrespecting almost innumerable members of BC's community)
- Those fucking professional anarchist protesters (who show everyone we're too childish to rule ourselves, which but for their actions and similar would be arguable)
- more to come... unless I move onto something far more life-affirming... which I will. :)