Empathy is Overrated

Matt Y says he 'cannot empathize' with Tucker Carlson's wife, who was frightened last night when Antifa's DC chapter "Smash Racism" busted in her front door after surrounding her house. The move wasn't 'tactically' wise, he says, but it doesn't affect him on a human level.

Empathy in politics is generally unhealthy; it leads to injustice fairly reliably, as it makes the person we feel for more into a victim who deserves redress, or the person they're accusing into a villain who deserves utter destruction. Or, if we should happen to feel for the violator, it makes his crimes minor things that should be brushed away, and his victims persons of no special account. Whenever people tell me they wish there was more empathy in politics, I assume that means they are the sort of person who should be humored rather than heeded.

That said, Matt raises another good point about empathy by his lack of it. We can't rely on people to have empathy for those that they think of as enemies, and Carlson's wife -- whose name he probably doesn't even know, and who has done nothing other than be married to a guy whom he hates -- is going to get tossed in that camp. Whatever happens to her, eh, that kind of thing happens to bad people. They have it coming. Divine justice, he'd have said back before the Party mandated that people stop talking unironically about God (with a few specific exceptions).

An appeal to empathy is overrated. Patrick Henry knew where to appeal in such cases:
Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope.

If we wish to be free... we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us!
Henry was right. It might be your house, next.


Christopher B said...

Thus, "They won't like living under the new rules."

E Hines said...

It might be your house, next.

In Texas, they'll find it a hard slog. Bust in our front door, indeed....

Eric Hines

raven said...

Even in the Puget Sound, protesters busting in someones door would be a poor idea, possibly a terminal idea.

Texan99 said...

i don't really care whether he can empathize with her or not; I already knew he was a jerk. Luckily, we have laws against battering down the doors of political opponents regardless of whether the perpetrators or media commentators are empathy-challenged.

E Hines said...

we have laws against battering down the doors of political opponents

We have laws against battering down doors, regardless of whose. They're just better and more broadly enforced in some States than in others.

Eric Hines

Grim said...

All I am saying is that if it's ever my house, "He wasn't home but his wife was" is going to turn out differently for the door-breakers.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I don't think empathy is what he is lacking, even though he says that he can't "identify with her plight in any way." A grade-school child can imagine what it would be like to have angry people trying to enter your house and what that would feel like. Yglesias is certainly capable of the act at some level.

What he is saying is that he chooses not to recognise the humanity of a political opponent. He chooses to not expend the small amount of energy it would take to do so.

douglas said...

Boy, AVI- you've got a point there. And I thought being called sociopathic was bad, but you may be right- and in which case there is something a level down from sociopath.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I work with sociopaths all the time. Whether liars are morally worse is a question I have been unable to answer these many years. Sociopaths are in some ways helpless in their lack of morality - there are some human characteristics they were simply not born with, as a man might be born blind or without an arm. They are dangerous - sometimes very dangerous - because they do not have the same conscience as others.

But M. Scott Peck defined evil as "malignant narcissism" decades ago, and I think he was right.

raven said...

M.Scott Peck was popularly known for "The Road Less Traveled", but " People of the Lie" was at least as important, IMO. That was a scary book- when one is in that field one comes in contact with some very odd people.

"All I am saying is that if it's ever my house, "He wasn't home but his wife was" is going to turn out differently for the door-breakers. "
Good wife!