5th March 2017
What I find fascinating about the forces of empathy is the way they used their claims of superior understanding as a way to fend off arguments they didn’t like and facts they didn’t want to hear. I think this is often a problem for experts. They think they know, understand and feel their subjects so much better than everyone else that they can’t be argued with. It’s how intellectuals end up being owned by their theories and it’s how some historians become advocates for the subjects they study.One can really see how this kind of empathy corrupts music critics. They become bitter and angry partisans for their favorite artists against all detractors. That’s probably okay for music critics, but it’s a really dangerous mindset for economists and other policymakers. Your empathy gives you a sense of ownership of someone or something, but it can also result in that someone or something having ownership of you.
We see this a lot with respect to immigration. The bleeding-hearts are so sympathetic to the plight of e.g. kids who were born in this country and so (formally) citizens, or brought here when very young, and who now face having their parents (and perhaps themselves) sent back to a ‘home country’ that they never knew, that they forget (or ignore as unimportant) the fundamental fact that they are here illegally. They bitch and moan about the Heartless Government breaking up families without reflecting on the fact that the actual family-wreckers are the adults who chose to put their kids in the position of being criminals.