Tuesday, March 30, 2010

PJM column: The left and lack of empathy

I have a column up at PJM: "How Should Conservatives Deal with the Left's Disrespect and Lack of Empathy?"
Giving in only wastes valuable time that could be put to better use and makes liberals more likely to treat us poorly.

You can read the rest here.

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Blogger Unknown said...

Your column is dead-on brilliant. Incredibly insightful into leftists. My web site is (relatively) new and has a Christian slant but I advised all Christians to read your comments. Thye're clear, concise, and profound.

George Duncan

8:55 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Helen said...


Thanks, and I look forward to reading your new blog!

9:02 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Mark said...

Very good analysis Dr Helen.

Last Monday (the day after the health care bill passed) I made a comment on my facebook status noting that prices on rope, tar, feathers and rails had increased dramatically and all local hardware stores were out of pitchforks. A long-time friend who I've generally avoided political discussions with called me selfish and arrogant, told me that the issue wasn't black and white and didn't come down to dollars and cents, that tens of millions of people would be helped, etc. I, and other friends who took up the discussion, were polite while he got increasingly nasty and insulting, I finally had to tell him to watch his language because some of my younger relatives are among my facebook friends (which he responsed to by telling me if a kid is old enough to use facebook he encounters profanity daily).

I finally told him I believe we differ on basic principles, what Thomas Sowell calls a Conflict of Visions, and therefore there can be no meaningful discussion on anything except those basic principles.

9:39 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

sorry for that typo. Was rushing to get to the office.

9:44 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

Or option 4: Liberals are just ignorant. They're ignorant of history. They're ignorant of economics. They're ignorant of how the world works. They're ignorant on so many levels.

As the late great Will Rogers said so long ago, "Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects."

Ignorance can be cured, but first you have to admit you're ignorant and then take actions to overcome it. Unfortunately, liberals are so convinced of their own intellectual and moral superiority. They can't admit their ignorance so they remain ignorant.

Frankly, my patience for suffering fools is almost completely gone.

9:56 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

Liberals did not have meaningful relationships with their fathers, as a group, and have not, as a group, learned to disagree in a civil manner. That is also why they seek a nurturing, enveloping government. With no dad to show them the way, they are handicapped in ways similar to all the other kids who grew up without a dad.


10:00 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger LPF said...

I've often thought that liberals have a pathological surfeit of empathy - towards the dependent class. When Bill Clinton said 'I feel your pain' he meant it. He felt the pain so deeply he would do anything to alleviate it. He would steal the labors of others and make them slaves, he would destroy any freedom, without even thinking about the consequences, just to get rid of 'his' pain.

10:09 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Demonspawn said...

Shame on you Helen, as a psychologist you should know this ;)

People attempt to control others as they are controlled.

I am controlled by logic and reason (as are you) so we attempt to influence others with logic and reason.

What controls the left? Shame, emotion, and that there is one and only one "right" choice. They are controlled by the thoughts that if they don't make the "right" choice than they are "bad people" and therefore attempted to influence those who disagree by demonstrating how the person is bad by not having chosen right.

Larry, on the other hand, covers my #2 choice: Liberals suffer from a disconnect with reality.

10:16 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Dr.D said...

I have never yet encountered a liberal who had a firm grounding in reality and truth. Some of them could reason fairly well, but always from false premises. They are simply not interested in finding the TRUTH, because in every case, that will defeat their purpose.

Helen, you say that the Libs are unable to empathize with conservatives. I do not see it that way at all. I think it is more a case of their being unwilling to do so because that would require that they face what they know, deep down, to be the truth. That would undercut their own position too much.

10:38 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger delagar said...

OT, but it's your hobby horse, is it?
"According to the above-linked bloggers, the Palins used their "connections" to ensure that only the boys involved in the crime would be charged. They note that the National Enquirer named Willow Palin as a participant back in January."

See here for further data: http://joemygod.blogspot.com/2010/03/willow-palin-accused-of-vandalism-of.html

10:55 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger David Foster said...

LPF..."I've often thought that liberals have a pathological surfeit of empathy - towards the dependent class"

I don't think this is correct. If liberals/"progressives" really cared about the people they say they care about, they wouldn't (for example) insist on maintaining the public schools in their present dysfunctional form.

And I think this is in most cases a failure of heart, not only a failure of head.

11:10 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

D - Option two touches on that.

delagar - It's also not nearly as off-topic as you think, but also not in any manner you would recognize.

11:11 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Demonspawn said...

"If liberals/"progressives" really cared about the people they say they care about, they wouldn't (for example) insist on maintaining the public schools in their present dysfunctional form."

They don't.

Liberals care about making themselves feel better by alleviating their own guilt.

It's like an argument I just had with a friend over Obamacare: You can't help people by giving them things; all you do is make them dependent upon you.

11:30 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

""According to the above-linked bloggers, the Palins used their "connections" to ensure that only the boys involved in the crime would be charged. They note that the National Enquirer named Willow Palin as a participant back in January.""

What? Are you saying that people who weren't involved in a crime should be charged for it? Or is this a case of only boys being charged and girls involved going scot-free?

11:51 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

The first commenter at PJM hit on a good point, sociopathy. We can have mass hysteria, why not mass sociopathy.

The grandiose sense of self and callousness/lack of empathy of the sociopath certainly fits your framework. When you think you're better/smarter than everyone else, then it easily follows that you have the right, even the obligation, to control their lives and the world they live in. Empathy towards people that try to stop your "good" intentions is wasted.

11:56 AM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

Dadvocate, good point. Sociopathy is best predicted by growing up without a dad.

In other words, we are fracked.


1:12 PM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Kameron said...

Great column. I've been lurking for a while, but this is the first time I've been motivated to speak up.

After an experience with a leftist professor last year (which was one of the most bewildering experiences of my life), I did a lot of research into the political left, particularly the Marxist/Critical Theory ideology that's so prevalent in higher education. Stephen Hicks's book Understanding Postmodernism (available free at his blog!) is a great analysis of how the academic left developed.

Regarding the seeming lack of empathy on the left, an observation by Hicks might be relevant:

"In politicized forms, then, postmodernists [who are overwhelmingly leftist] will behave like the stereotypical unscrupulous lawyer trying to win the case: truth and justice aren’t the point; instead using any rhetorical tool or trick that works is the point. Sometimes contradictory lines of argument work. Sometimes your audience’s desire to belong to the in-group can be played upon. Sometimes appearing absolutely authoritative works to camouflage a weak case. Sometimes condescension works."


1:14 PM, March 30, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to the above-linked bloggers, the Palins used their "connections" to ensure that only the boys involved in the crime would be charged

I don't know if Willow Palin was actually involved in this crime, but this sort of sexism is standard in our criminal justice system. It takes little in the way of connections for the female in a multiple-offender crime to get off scott free or with a greatly reduced sentence (compared to that meted out to her male co-offenders) that often includes no jail time.

1:33 PM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger LPF said...

@David: Perhaps I wasn't clear. I don't for a second think liberals really care about making a difference. If they did, they wouldn't be wedded to so many godawful ideas proven to make social problems worse instead of better... What I was trying to say, is that they 'feel' the pain of the underclass very intensely (the surfeit of empathy), and will go to any lengths to alleviate that pain (the imagined pain in the liberal mind), independent of how much suffering it actually causes to others. It's a recurring theme: Liberals don't give a flying phuck whether their policies actually make a positive difference or not. What they care about is that the policy makes the liberals feel better about themselves... and the driving force in this massively destructive behavior is to alleviate the empathic pain they feel.

2:43 PM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

LPF, is it empathic pain, or free floating anxiety, guilt, and narcissism?


3:18 PM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

well, the more that dads and other men are marginalised the more this sociopathology will emerge as a cultural element....and the more girls will behave badly.

trey, you caught me off guard with your analysis of lefties. full marks.

i always wondered what ed begley jnr`s trip was!

3:22 PM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger David Christian said...

I find this topic fascinating. I too have recently had a conversation on Facebook. My friend is a very nice young lady. She started a thread railing against Fox News and Glenn Beck in particular. I responded only because she is nice has always seemed rational to me.

The thread quickly got sort of off topic when another friend of hers piped with the “there ought to be law” argument. It seems when conservatives or libertarians state their opinions that is the equivalent inciting riot, when liberals do so they are being rational. I should hasten to add that this line of exclusive to liberals, but of late they seem to be harboring its most virulent strains.

I have heard this argument before, from my own brother even, where people conflate criminal conspiracy speech (I kid you not, a fellow compared Charles Manson’s activities with Glen Beck’s) or commercial speech (in particular false advertising).

Even though I pointed out the Constitution is very clear about political speech and a free press (Congress shall make no law…) it never seems to register.

My only contribution to this conversation is that it appears to harken back to liberalisms fundamental tenant that those who do not agree with liberals, are either stupid or misguided, in either case it obviously up to the government, including law enforcement, to fix the problem.

Their world view is as coherent as it deranged. That’s saying something I guess.

3:38 PM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Another possibility that I've been wondering about, and considering about blogging on, lately is are liberals like the spoiled kids who take the position of "If I can't have it my way then nobody can have it." In its simplist form this is the kid who destroys a toy because they can't have it, and since they can't have it Johnny or Susie can't have it either.

Liberals take this to the level of "I'll destroy anything I want to if you don't give my everything I want." They'll destroy freedom of speech, free choice, freedom of association, freedom of religion, right to bear arms, etc. Because of their complete and total intolerance of anything outside of their belief system, they're willing to destroy the most precious building blocks of our democracy.

3:59 PM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger David Foster said...

Remember, our objective should be to change opinions and win elections. In order to do this, we must segment the market, and focus on detaching those liberals/"progressives" who still have some human goodness and independence of thought...and there are millions of them...from the deep-dyed true believers.

Bear in mind that most people do not follow political issues as closely as those of us here do...many are still dependent on the MSM for news & analysis, many have work lives and social circles when enmesh them totally in the "progressive" worldview.

If the US is to survive as a free society, the effective marketing of ideas is crucial.

5:36 PM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Brian Devine said...

Helen, is possible for you to accept the fact that perhaps, just perhaps, there are assholes on both sides of the aisle?

You have the audacity to claim that these traits which you examine only apply to liberals, that conservatives are somehow exempt to this mentality, (and you call yourself a psychiatrist, HA!)

But I can tell, you that as a liberal at a extremely conservative school, that the lack of empathy which prescribe to liberals is in full swing over here. Your article does nothing to actually examine the situation and instead of applying it to human beings instead of just liberals, you completely exacerbate the situation. Good Job.

7:51 PM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

you call yourself a psychiatrist

No, she doesn't. She calls herself a forensic psychologist.

You should try looking outside the walls of the school you're at. Of, perhaps, you're too ego centric to look outside of your own little solar system. Who's using government to ram their agenda and desired way of life down everybody elses throat no matter what the wishes of the people, the rights of the minority, or the damage done?

10:17 PM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Brian Devine said...

Heh woops I read psychologist and wrote psychiatrist, my bad. I do look outside the walls of my school, but considering who extremely conservative my school is, I recognize that it is a microcosm of the entire conservative society as is.

And your right, government's shouldn't "ram their ideas down the populace's throat" against the majority will. Thats why we have a democratic system to elect those officials do to do the will of the majority, and it was passed because the majority support it. Recent polls show that oh hey, despite your strawman and ad hoc attacks, the majority still supports it. A small percentage of loud tea baggers does not represent the entire nation bro.

10:37 PM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

"A small percentage of loud tea baggers does not represent the entire nation bro."

OK, you've just Godwinned yourself by using a vulgar epithet to describe the opposition. Thanks for playing.

11:33 PM, March 30, 2010  
Blogger Brian Devine said...

It was worth it...that's not how Godwin's law works however.

12:04 AM, March 31, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: Dr. Helen
RE: As Glenn Reyonlds Would Say....


I'd have liked to engage in the discussion at PJM, but for some strange reason.....well....you know....

RE: On-Topic 1

The rank hypocrisy of these people is really quite remarkable. And I'm glad to see that more and more people are beginning to recognize it and speak to it. However, I doubt if it will do any good. These people have been taught oh-so-well that their opinions are the only ones that count. And I thank our vaunted American public education system for that.

RE: On-Topic 2

There seems to be an 'almost' metaphysical aspect to the collective insanity that is spiraling out of control around us.

It's been building for the last nigh on 40 years. And it embraces an entire generation, thanks to the vaunted American public education system.

I like the way that that former KGB agent put it in the mid-80s.

And, in due time....possibly very soon at the rate things are going....it will devolve down to mob-rule.


[Liberals aren't. Progressives won't.]

4:34 AM, March 31, 2010  
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5:45 AM, March 31, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

Elder wrote: "Helen, is possible for you to accept the fact that perhaps, just perhaps, there are assholes on both sides of the aisle?"

Well, considering that you called me a testicle sucker for going to tea parties, I think you have taken care of demonstrating that there are asshole on the left side of the aisle.

As if we needed any further proof.


9:39 AM, March 31, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: TMink, et al.
RE: Yeah....

Well, considering that you [Elder] called me a testicle sucker for going to tea parties, I think you have taken care of demonstrating that there are asshole on the left side of the aisle. -- TMink to Elder

....it's called 'projection'.


[The Truth will out....often from the mouths of fools....as they insert their foot....]

10:19 AM, March 31, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

Reading Chuck's quote of my post I see I left the s off asshholeS.


I wish I could proof read.


11:31 AM, March 31, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

A small percentage of loud tea baggers does not represent the entire nation bro.

As is usual for namecalling idiots such as yourself, you failed to respond to the entirety of my commment which included "minority rights" which is a concept I learned in grade school but holds water. It is the reason we have the Bill of Rights, to prevent the majority from taking away the rights of the minority.

I don't know what polls your looking and and about what, but current polls show high disapproval of Obama and the health care bill. And, I ain't your "bro."

12:25 PM, March 31, 2010  
Blogger Chuck Pelto said...

TO: TMink
RE: Heh

I wish I could proof read. -- TMink

Don't sweat the small stuff. Everyone with more than two synapses to rub together got what your point was.

Indeed. Research has proven that it is human nature to 'read ahead', i.e., we can 'guess' what a word is by capturing the first few letters and, if long enough, the last couple and 'fill in the rest'.

That's why, when I was proofing the mastheads of all the white page sections in all the telephone directories in the western third of the US, less California and Nevada, it was so EASY to miss a misspelling of the word "commission" for too many m's and/or s's. Hence my adopting a system of automating their processing and eliminating 97% of all human errors in production within 1 year of implementation of the AppleScript-FileMaker Pro-Inhouse Computer Graphics Application system at USWEST.


[Work smarter. Not harder. -- Apple Computer, c. 1984]

12:27 PM, March 31, 2010  

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