Here are samples of how conservatives without conscience (CWC) are responding to the word “empathy.”
- Be A Good Republican: Attack Empathy, Defend Torture
- Jeff Sessions Claims He Doesn’t Know What Empathy Is
- Steele: ‘Crazy nonsense empathetic!’
- GOP freaks out as America almost destroyed by ‘the empathy within’
Why is empathy of such concern to CWCs?
One characteristic of CWCs is that they are typically sexist. Speculation, by many, is that President Obama will nominate a woman to the Supreme Court. Chris Weigant proposes that references to empathy suggest President Obama is indeed going to nominate a woman. This would be of great concern to CWCs – white authoritarian men from our government and Fox Noise.
However, some Republicans are vilifying empathy because they know it is a key difference between CWCs and progressives and that progressives can use it against their authoritarian ways. Progressives nurture the natural empathy we are all born with. CWCs suppress it through the strict father family model describe by George Lakoff.
George Lakoff has written about the progressive and conservative worldviews and how empathy is key to differentiating these worldviews. He also writes about the research which shows empathy’s origins, how it changes in us, and what it means to the progressive movement. Understanding the CWC attack on empathy can be enlightened by some quotes from Lakoff’s book The Political Mind:
Behind every progressive policy lies a single morale value: empathy, together with the responsibility and strength to act on that empathy.
Empathy leads to recognizing that unfair and discriminatory treatment is a form of harm requiring government protection.
Empathy is the basis for the concept of fair and responsible market …
Empathy also forms the moral basis of class action suits …
Empathy is also the moral basis of laws protecting citizens from abuse by government.
Privatization without empathy eliminates the progressive moral capacities of government – protection and empowerment – …
Nurturance is empathy, responsibility for oneself and others, and the strength to carry out those responsibilities.
In addition, mirror neuron and associated research tells us that we are born with a capacity for empathy.
Empathy is at the center of the progressive moral worldview.
Empathy is normal, and it takes a special education (such as basic training in the Army), a special heartlessness, or a brain injury to disengage it.
There is a moral here for progressives. The more they can activate empathy in the public, the more support will be available to them and the worse conservatives [CWCs] will do. Correspondingly, the more conservatives [CWCs] can generate fear in the public, the more support they will generate, and the more that will inhibit support for progressives.
Empathy, she [Lynn Hunt] argues, was the historical basis of our democracy.
American Democracy was founded on the politics of empathy and responsibility, …
The biology of empathy allows us to comprehend our connection to each other, to other living things, and to the physical world that supports life.
Empathy and real reason, as we shall see, reveal its [Economic man] fallacies.
Ecology is not just a science about the natural world outside of people. It is the moral concern based in empathy; …
For progressives, their views follow directly from empathy with the public at large. For conservatives [without conscience], their views follow directly from strict father morality applied to the market.
A nurturant parent has to really be empathetic and responsible to be respected, trusted, and accepted as an authority. (As I typed this, I thought of President Obama.)
As we have seen, the discovery of mirror neuron circuitry and associated pathways shows that empathy and cooperation are natural. … This suggests that empathy is the natural state …
Taking empathy as natural utterly changes explanations — and it changes our understanding of what social live should be and can be.
Democrats put themselves in a precarious – and I think ultimately hopeless – position when they are really motivated by empathy, but wind up reasoning and arguing interests … They fail in two ways: they fail to activate empathy – their own moral foundation – in the brains of voters, while they succeed in activating self-interest, which conservatives [without conscience] specialize in.
We [sh]ould understand that our brains evolved for empathy, for cooperation, for connection to each other and to the earth.
We [sh]ould embrace the fact that empathy is at the heart of American Democracy.
We [sh]ould see how empathy is also at the heart of ecological consciousness.
Empathy, as the foundation of the progressive worldview, is a major threat to CWCs and their conservative worldview.