Saturday, May 30, 2009

Equality & Empathy: The Primary Values of the Left

I've been engaged in an interesting discussion on SDA with two regulars there. I thought it worthwhile to transcribe the conversation here.

"Barack Obama famously says that a key quality he wants in a Supreme Court justice is 'empathy.' As many commentators have observed, 'empathy' is really a cover for lawlessness. But it's actually worse than that, because empathy, as that term is used by Obama, is inherently selective.

"Does Obama mean that his nominee will have empathy for the unborn? Well, no. He doesn't have in mind that kind of empathy. How about empathy for taxpayers and small business owners? No, that isn't exactly the right sort of empathy either.

"Obama's favorite example of the right kind of empathy is Lily Ledbetter. As Paul has pointed out, Lily Ledbetter was a liar with a lousy case that was properly barred by the statute of limitations. What 'empathy' is at work here? Empathy with unions and, perhaps even more important, the people who profit more than anyone else when lousy cases are kept alive in the courts--plaintiffs' lawyers, among the largest contributors to the Democratic Party. What Barack Obama means by an "empathetic" judge is one who has his or her thumb on the scale on behalf of politically favored groups. This is the opposite of the traditional view that a judge should be neutral, i.e., have equal empathy for all litigants."

Posted by: EBD at May 29, 2009 10:20 PM

EBD - what Obama means by 'empathy' is a belief that the most desirable judiciary opinions are not the result of objective reason applied to factual evidence, but are the result of memories of personal life experiences.

This perspective totally rejects the function of Reason, it rejects the value of factual evidence, and instead insists that evaluative judgments are derived from and only from, subjective personal experience. In a very real sense, this inserts a requirement for decision-making based on a supposition that a particular group has a specific identity.

This also denies Obama's oft-repeated insistence on non-partisanship. What can be more partisan than decision-making based on membership in a group identity? And what can be more biased than evaluating an individual based on their presumed membership in a group rather than their individual behaviour?

His nominee is also a deliberate political strategy, geared as usual to bring a particular Set of the population under his sway. He requires that a Supreme Court judge have a particular Set of Memories. In this case, he's after the female, single, Hispanic, and low income Set of Americans.

Is he after justice? Absolutely not. His focus is on controlling a particular Set of the American population by defining them as 'his' by virtue of him giving them 'their very own judge'.

Posted by: ET at May 29, 2009 10:57 PM

I'll go further and say that "empathy" is just a code word for Leftist political philosophy.

The U.S. talk radio show host, Dennis Prager, often talks about the difference between the Left and the Right. On the Left, the primary value they ascribe to is "Equality". But the key to understanding the mindset is to realize that they don't mean "Equality of Opportunity" but "Equality of Results".

Even after 70+ years of seeing the disaster of such political objectives, the Left keeps on trying again and again and ... you get the idea. :-(

Posted by: Robert W. at May 29, 2009 11:12 PM

I don't think that equality of results is the sole criterion of 'the just society' any more.

That does indeed suggest that the man who works hard, whether in investment in obtaining contracts, as a surgeon, as an engineer, as a farmer, ought to receive the same results for his work and expertise as the man doling out hamburgers at the local fast food diner or the clerk in the grocery store. This is indeed a hard core ideology of the socialist left, where what you do, what you know, what you 'put into' something is totally irrelevant to the outcome.

The left assumes that your skills and work are all due, not to your ahh...skills and work..but to being 'privileged'. Skills and work are assumed to be commercial artifacts; you pick them up in a store. Some people are wealthy enough to purchase both; others are not.

That's like saying that all the input, which includes material, work and expertise that one puts into, eg, making cheese, is irrelevant. All cheeses, whether manufactured out of water, sand, poor milk or top quality products, whether made with expertise or ignorance...ought to come out exactly the same.

The results of using an ignorant surgeon ought to be identical to a skilled surgeon.

And so on. Yes, this is a basic criterion of the left. But they've added a new switch to the twitch. They've added a hierarchical order.

So, the equality of output is no longer the same, for some of us ought to receive less. This 'less received as output' is calculated according to input. The MORE input you put into your work, the LESS output you ought to receive. So, if you work with skill, knowledge and years and years of training as a financier, as a car dealer, as a surgeon, you ought to receive LESS than if you chucked hamburgers at the local diner. Why? Because a new criterion enters the picture.

The output (lots of money, which is a symbol of your input) means, according to Obama, only one thing: Greed. Your output, the result of your work is evaluated on a scale. The more you get, the less you merit it.

Great results are no longer related to hard work and education. Again, skills and hard work are no longer psychological attributes but are commercial artifacts that you either have the money to purchase or not.

Furthermore, the psychological aberration of greed is defined as a key genetic characteristic. It replaces skills and hard work as a cause of wealth. White people are, according to Obama and his wife in particular, the key mutant holders of this gene of greed. Again, skills and hard work have disappeared as input criteria of wealth.

Strange, but Obama himself earned millions last year from his narcissistic books about himself. Greed? But he's not white so he doesn't have the gene? Michelle apparently bullied her way to a very large salary prior to their Elevation; but again, she's not white so doesn't have that gene.

Interesting how the left changes reality.

Posted by: ET at May 30, 2009 10:29 AM

ET, thank you for your excellent analysis. I hope that everyone on here reads it ... carefully!

Regarding Obama's perceptions of Greed, only time will tell whether he truly believes it or whether it is just effective political class warfare rhetoric.

Here in Canada, hasn't Jack Layton been espousing something similar for years? Yet it has not bought him any more votes than his core constituency. Perhaps the difference is that Canadians have viewed socialism first hand for 40 years and clearly see the flaws in the theory, whilst it's brand new for Americans and they still are mesmerized by the sparkle and promises of the Obama snake oil.

Posted by: Robert W. at May 30, 2009 2:00 PM

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