Sunday, December 11, 2016
Obama preaches empathy; Trump projects it
At NYPOST by Kyle Smith --
In “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the moral guidepost of the story is planted by Atticus Finch, who tells us, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” President Obama tells us “to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us” because “when you think like this . . . it becomes harder not to act, harder not to help.”
As a guide to living, this attitude is mistaken. Far from being the spark for doing good, empathy is a kind of moral short circuit that damages our ability to make rational choices. Empathy can be racist, thrill-based, corrosive, hostile to facts and logic, with an alarming tendency to cruelty and violence.
“On balance, empathy is a negative,” Yale psychologist Paul Bloom puts it in his cleverly contrarian book “Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion.” “It’s sugary soda, tempting and delicious and bad for us.”
Empathy — feeling what you believe someone else is feeling — starts with the basic error of availability bias: