2009 May 28 Thursday
Empathy: Code Word For Leftist Causes

Heather Mac Donald looks at what lies behind Barack Obama's search for an empathetic judicial appointee.

“Empathy” is a code word, naturally, for privileging the usual suspects: the alleged victims of American classism, racism, sexism, and homophobia.  (Glenn Greenwald notes that Samuel Alito paraded his empathy during his confirmation hearings.)

But why accept the conventional wisdom about who deserves empathy and who doesn’t.  Here’s some hypothetical litigants and affected parties who probably wouldn’t meet the Obama empathy test but who should (regardless of their actual legal rights in a dispute):

–A landlord trying to evict a deadbeat tenant.
–A landlord trying to evict a tenant who has trashed his property.
–Taxpayers who will be forced to fund whatever new welfare entitlement or reprieve from responsibility that Obama wants to cook up for his “young teenage mom.”
–The children of future “young teenage moms” who will be produced at an even higher rate thanks to the new welfare entitlement.
–The victims and neighbors of some of those children of future welfare-enabled teenage moms.
–A business owner who can’t make a go of it thanks to onerous new taxes or regulations imposed to satisfy an empathy lobby.
–His employees.
–Chrysler’s secured creditors who assumed on the basis of settled law that they would have priority in bankruptcy court.
–Intending immigrants waiting patiently to enter the country legally, while the courts block deportations of illegal aliens.
–The casualties of affirmative action policies, as conservatives have long pointed out, including the successful New Haven firefighter test-takers.

The received wisdom about who the underdogs and overdogs are has been formed over decades by the left.  But the assumption that underdogs—usually conventionally defined–occupy a special place of virtue is probably also a legacy of Christianity, as Nietzsche would have it, one that, combined with knee-jerk leftism, can have its downsides.

How about people who live within their means who have to pay for the bailing out of financial institutions, home buyers, and credit card users who live beyond their means?

How about people who save and work hard to make money before raising kids who also have to pay taxes to pay for babies born to single mother high school drop-outs?

The real victims are the talented, hard-working, prudent people who live within their means and pay for those who give less and take more.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2009 May 28 10:54 PM  Cultural Wars Western

miles said at May 29, 2009 1:18 AM:


When Affirmative Action starts inhibiting the ascension of white women in the pink workforce (because of lower-wage English-speaking latinas now beginning to slowly trinkle into the office-girl jobs), THEN white females will get on the merit bandwagon. But then it will be rather late in the game. If what happened to the New Haven fireman happened to several female execs in fashion-publishing, there would be griping and gnashing of chewing gum.....

Sustainability, compassionate, 'sensitive to the concerns of', conscienciousness, diversity-"affirmative", feminisim-"affirmative" are a few more phrases in the southpaw lingo I seem to detect on the usage rise................

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