Take a look:
The Sotomayor nomination has given radical conservatives new life. They have launched an attack that is nominally aimed at Judge Sotomayor. But it is really a coordinated stealth attack -- on President Obama's central vision, on progressive thought itself, and on Republicans who might stray from the conservative hard line.
There are several fronts: Empathy, feelings, racism, activist judges. Each one has a hidden dimension. And if progressives think conservative attacks are just about Sotomayor, they may wind up helping conservatives regroup.
Conservatives believe that Sotomayor will be confirmed, and so their attacks may seem irrational to Democrats, a last gasp, a grasping at straws, a sign that the party is breaking up.Actually, something sneakier and possibly dangerous is going on.
Let's start with the attack on empathy. Why empathy? Isn't empathy a good thing?
Empathy is at the heart of progressive thought. It is the capacity to put oneself in the shoes of others -- not just individuals, but whole categories of people: one's countrymen, those in other countries, other living beings, especially those who are in some way oppressed, threatened, or harmed. Empathy is the capacity to care, to feel what others feel, to understand what others are facing and what their lives are like. Empathy extends well beyond feeling to understanding, and it extends beyond individuals to groups, communities, peoples, even species.
Progressives care about others as well as themselves.
But the target is not empathy as it really exists. Instead, the conservatives are reframing empathy to make it attackable. Their "empathy" is idiosyncratic, personal feeling for an individual, presumably the defendant in a legal case. With "empathy" reframed in this way, Charles Krauthammer can say, echoing Karl Rove, "Justice is not about empathy."
Please read the rest of the article. I just can't do it justice with a few excerpts here.
You know, I've always been taught that a lack of empathy is a serious symptom of psychological pathology:
That's from an article I found here.
The absence of empathy - for instance in the Narcissistic and Antisocial personality disorders - predisposes people to exploit and abuse others. Empathy is the bedrock of our sense of morality. Arguably, aggressive behavior is as inhibited by empathy at least as much as it is by anticipated punishment.
But the existence of empathy in a person is also a sign of self-awareness, a healthy identity, a well-regulated sense of self-worth, and self-love (in the positive sense). Its absence denotes emotional and cognitive immaturity, an inability to love, to truly relate to others, to respect their boundaries and accept their needs, feelings, hopes, fears, choices, and preferences as autonomous entities.