It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog. With the absolute venom of political bs, as well as other life events, I have felt that I have nothing to offer until such a time as people calm down. I’ve seen some introspection from people – it lasted a few days after a person who cares about other people tried a mass killing of GOP congresspeople and staffers.
Today I reached my limit. I saw an article on Facebook that was posted by many of my friends. That it seemed to strike such a chord with my friends has left me extraordinarily concerned about just how far they’ve fallen. I will note that all are those I consider to be good people. People who are filled with emotion about things. Which is both good and bad.
What was the post? It is one of the purest and most unapologetic examples of narcissistic egotistical superiority I have ever witnessed. It is titled, “I don’t know how to explain to someone why they should care about other people.”
Sure, one look at the title by itself and think, “This is a person who is asking for help. This is someone who is interested in trying to figure out how to communicate with those she disagrees with.”
Nope. It isn’t about that at all. Rather, it is a personal declaration of how great of a person she is. How happy she is to do things that others object to. And how terrible anyone who thinks differently is. But she goes even further – those who disagree with her will not even be allowed to explain why they think differently.
“I cannot have political debates with these people. Our disagreement is not merely political, but a fundamental divide on what it means to live in a society, how to be a good person, and why any of that matters.”
The Authoress Confuses “Inability” with “Lack of Desire.”
I wrote in the past about what “I can’t understand” means in a political context. It means, “I have no desire for another viewpoint.” This is egotism.
It is telling that the writer stated that she has no interest in why a person may not want to pay and extra 4.3% for a fast food burger. She further frames the issue as wondering why people are unwilling to pay “a little more” so that Americans can access healthcare. I’ll go with a personal example: if “a little more” to her is an extra $20k dollars per year for a lesser health insurance plan, then of course she doesn’t want to hear about the financial destruction that may be “a little more” to her, but not to everyone.
She states no desire to learn of these things. I understand her position, the issues facing the poor, etc. I have sought out these opinions and want to know about them because I can either: (1) change my mind; or (2) understand the other side.
Why can she not have a debate? The only conclusion I can draw is that she is simply uninterested in hearing another side. She says why she is uninterested. She makes it clear: those who disagree are immoral, bad, cruel.
The Writer Does Not Care about All People – Just her own Side
The writer stated in her article: “I don’t know how to convince someone how to experience the basic human emotion of empathy.”
I will be frank with you, Ms. Chadwick: you are not empathetic. You are anti-empathy. “Empathy” is the act of using your imagination to put yourself into another person’s shoes. “Empathy” is not the act of putting yourself into someone’s shoes that you want to support but stating an unqualified refusal to place yourself in the shoes of someone whose perspective you cannot handle.
You are anti-empathy. Inherent in “empathy” is placing your own ego, impressions and outlook aside. Period. I can certainly empathize with you since you have described your own interests quite nicely. And yes, I tend to think quite frequently that I am better than others. So I actively seek to check this, and associate with those whom I disagree.
To empathize with you, I merely need to picture myself as self-aggrandizing, morally and intellectually superior, and with a strong sense of outrage and condemnation for those who are facing struggles you refuse to even imagine. Oh – and the need to show everyone how much of a better person I am.
The writer does not feel “empathy.” She picks and chooses who is worthy of trying to identify with. Empathy is designed to help someone else and is an utterly selfless act.
Sympathy is Different: Sympathy is For the Sympathizer
The Authoress expresses not empathy but sympathy. Sympathy does not require imagination to place yourself in the shoes of others. Instead, sympathy merely allows a person to tell herself how she would feel.
Consider the difference between feeling sympathy and expressing sympathy. A person can watch, for example, an ISIS beheading video and use imagination to feel a sense of horror. It is a personal thing.
Expressing sympathy is a different thing. Sympathy is expressed so that people know how much of a caring person you are because, by jove, you can use your imagination and tell people that you feel pity and sorrow and compassion for people. “Oh, that is terrible. This is horrible.” And expressions of sympathy are, by and large, self-serving.
Sympathy is the tool for the lazy egotist who wants to show others how wonderful she is without actually helping. Oh, yes, you can feel for the plight of others. And you will tell people that you feel for them. That doesn’t solve a damned thing, but you get pats on the back.
Imagine a person who, for example, feels some sympathy for a fast food worker. That person then leaves a tip for the fast food workers and leaves. A person is empathetic and leaves a tip for them because it helps and then leaves. This person is content with the personal knowledge that she did something more because it made her happy to help people.
Versus what I see here. I am convinced that Ms. Chadwick would give a needy child the shirt off of her back – and tell everybody that she did it and have video to prove what a good person she is. I am convinced that Ms. Chadwick would be content to pay a sum in taxes that would still leave her able to pay her bills, without looking at those who really ARE living on low margins. I am convinced that Ms. Chadwick would not open a business of her own and employ people because she would have to actually sympathize and empathize with workers, competitors, customers, vendors and everybody else. Businesspeople who are not in tune with everybody don’t last.
Here’s a key question for Ms. Chadwick: can you understand why a person who can no longer afford the health insurance he has before could be upset at being told what a horrible person she is for not wanting to pay more? If not, you are not empathetic. You are not sympathetic. Nobody who states a distaste for learning about the circumstances of others meets the definition of either. Sympathy and empathy are not subjectively selective.
Ms. Chadwick Lacks Empathy but Insists She Has Empathy where Others do not
Ms. Chadwick bemoans the “selfish, cruel people” and “unimaginable callousness.” Ms Chawick claims, “I can’t debate someone into caring about what happens to their fellow human beings.”
Ms. Chadwick says that she does not care for all of her fellow human beings. She cares for SOME of her fellow human beings and is clear in her animosity towards others. Would an empathetic person say, that there is an “I’ve got mine, so screw you” attitude?
I’ve got plenty of friends on the right, too. And not from any of them have I ever heard that the sick and the poor should go screw themselves. Rather, they have their own reasons for being against those ideas for which Ms. Chadwick claims to stand for.
Why do I say, “claims to stand for?” Because she has already claimed that she is empathetic and this is demonstrably false. Thus, what I am seeing from this article is a person who is kidding herself and others. I see a person who is judging the character of people on the basis of whether or not she agrees with them. I am seeing a person who is grandiose – there are people that are just unworthy of talking to. I am seeing an egotist – if others disagree then there is something wrong with them.
I see someone who is more interested in debate. Empathizers don’t debate – they seek explanations.
The Way to Explain to Someone that They Should Care for Others is to Empathize with That Person
If Ms. Chadwick was capable of empathy, she would care about others. If she cared about others (as opposed to “cared about sames”) she would know exactly how to explain to people that they should care about others. She would put herself in their shoes and understand their perspective. She would understand what their actual motivations are versus whatever motivations she assigns through ignorance.
She could, for example, start with the following: “I understand that Obamacare did not meet your expectations and we really let you down with our promises.”
She could go on with, “I also have had it explained to me that while the economic recovery that those of us on the Left have been talking about has been great for those of us in the large cities and in the coasts, that a vast portion of the United States never saw it. And allow me to state a criticism that it was wrong of me and the rest of us to fail to empathize and even try to appreciate the despair that you and millions of other Trump voters felt. We had you pinned all wrong and we are ourselves facing some tough medicine.”
There you go, Ms. Chadwick. Right there. This would be a start. This is how you open the door. This is how you demonstrate empathy. Because your flippant and ill-considered statement, “I’ve got mine, so screw you” is based upon an assumption on your part that they have theirs in the first place. Most of those whom you decry did indeed have theirs. And they don’t, anymore.
You’ve said you have yours and will not only have no problem paying more but that you will be happy to pay more. What makes you think those people have more to pay?
Thus it is within your sole control to be something other than what you claim to despise. For everything that you accuse the other side of doing is something that you demonstrate in your article.
Ms. Chadwick is Indicative of a Disturbing Tendency of the “Irredeemable Left” – to Assign Motives and Ignore What they are Told
Ms. Chadwick exemplifies what I feel about today’s left wing. I like the term Sam Harris uses: “The Irredeemable Left.” The left wing used to be about tolerance and understanding and non judgmentalism. The left used to defend their words with their actions. Not anymore.
The Left of 20 years ago were liberals. As of today the Left has more in common with the Religious Right than with liberals. Intolerant. Self-absorbed. And clinging to their own version of morality to which all others must fall in line. It was the liberal who brought reason to the societal discussion.
No more. The Left now demonstrates a lack of empathy. The Left has a political vision and narrative and fall into a spiral of confirmation bias that actually makes the problems worse.
In the military, one thing that is always stressed is that we must understand the hows and the whys of the enemy. In order to defeat an enemy we must understand their hearts and minds. Sporting teams have scouts to learn about opponents and their tendencies. Marketing professionals understand that research into the market is necessary, including the competitors and their target markets.
The Left has chosen to fail because they have chosen to ignore the need to understand the players. If a football coach were to game plan a game on the basis of, “The opposing quarterback just can’t understand a zone blitz” and refuse to watch game tapes, that coach would lose.
What I am seeing from the Left is not only an unwillingness to understand people different from them but a modus operandi that assigns arbitrary motives. Why assign motives? Because they fail to empathize and instead inject only their experiences into people. “A Trump voter must only be racist.”
When the Wrong Diagnosis is Given it Results Badly
Sam Harris has also given the hypothetical situation of a medical student. Ask a medical student why he or she went to medical school. That person will give an answer. Would you dismiss that person’s reason and put in your own idea of that motivation?
Of course not. Which is why it is a further indication of ego when motives are assigned despite what people say are their motives.
Why is Ms. Chadwick so hateful of the Right? I don’t know. I’d really like to ask her. Why does she not allow herself to empathize with those who disagree? I’d like to ask her.
On the other hand, she has already been intellectually and emotionally dishonest. I cannot help but wonder whether she assigns her dishonesty to others. I don’t know. But I see this problem recurring in so many places.
Why do radical Muslims hate America? I find the Left marching, for example, as gays supporting Muslims. I cannot help but think that this is a particularly strong example of a lack of empathy – a strong example of a willful ignorance of the motivations of radical Muslims. And even more so, a powerful example of a superiority issue – radical Muslims have said exactly why they hate America. It is that America is a secular government and do not abide by the Koran! The Left can’t understand it. They hate Bush. They hate Republicans. The Muslims must think the same thing. This is dangerous – they insist that they don’t.
Why do people fear an agreement to fight climate change? It’s easy to say they are shills for big oil. It is easy to say they are anti-science. Meanwhile, the supposedly pro-science side is unabashedly engaging in unscientific policy advocacy and claiming that it is science. The idea that one’s subjective opinion must be treated as objective fact has, unfortunately, degraded the possibility of doing something about the issue. Find out WHY a science denier denies. Go to the underlying issues.
Ms. Crawford’s Side Lacks Insight
Where has climate alarmism gotten climate policy? Nowhere. But it doesn’t matter. Those on the side are so convinced of their own righteousness that the failure to agree with them on policy arguments is considered a character flaw. After all these years of no results you’d think they would change their strategy.
Trump’s election as President, I am convinced, is the fault of the American Left. Their intolerance and tantrums set the stage for his ascension. Trump was smart enough to see the undercurrent and tap into it. After the election proved that the tactics didn’t work you would think that the Left would reassess the efficacy of their tactics.
They didn’t. They are so lacking in empathy and insight that they are proving incapable of understanding what they did wrong. They point the fingers everywhere because, hey, those strategies would have worked for them. This is why they are called “Irredeemable.”
Which leads back to Ms. Chadwick. What was the purpose of Ms. Chadwick’s article? Was it to let the Right know how wrong they are? Was it to show that the Right is impossible?
I can only conclude that the purpose of her article was to vent into her echo chamber about how bad the other side is and get compliments about how good she is.
I Can Sympathize with Ms. Chadwick’s Need for Validation. That is, I Pity Her
I do understand her thought processes, or actually her feeling processes. We all feel frustrated that others just can’t see it our way. And we need that support at times to let us know that we are a good person.
Well, not all of us. Some people are content with being a good person for the sake of being a good person. Some people don’t need to put others down to bring themselves up. And some people can just disagree with other people and know that it doesn’t mean that person is bad.
It takes courage to set your own prejudices aside, move yourself into the position of someone whose perspective is different, and understand someone whose motivations and things of importance are different from your own. It takes empathy to understand that a person comes from a different perspective.
Empathy can only develop from communications. From the willingness to see where others are coming from. She has her opinion, and screw others.
Ms. Chadwick – you have my pity.