Lack of Empathy: It’s Not Just For Conservatives

Karl Marx

Karl Marx (Photo credit: Dunechaser)

As the drama continues to unfold in our nation’s capital I am hearing an awful lot of cheer leading from various sides. We, of course, have our Democratic faithful, who (more or less) rightfully lay the blame at the feet of the GOP leadership. Then we have the die-hard Republicans who want to forget that they were boasting about their favorite’s willingness to shutdown the government, until everyone realized it was a bad idea. Then we have  third group: radical leftists who believe this shut down will bring the uprising they so fervently want.

I have already written a post about this group. They have more than a little overlap with the group that thinks the South seceding would be a good thing. As I mentioned in that first post, it is horribly frustrating that these so-called progressives do not see the harm this will do to the people they claim to champion. An utter breakdown of our system will leave millions vulnerable. It will leave the levers of power completely in the hands of people who hold capital and take away the only means of redress the powerless have, even if that means has been compromised.

I am beginning to think they do not care. I wonder if these would-be radicals are as committed to an actual ideology of change, or if they are just angry that theirs are not the fingers on the button. Some, I suspect, are shallow children that just think revolution is cool.  They certainly are incapable of seeing the harm that they are willing to inflict upon people who are already oppressed. Why would they be able to see that? They can pontificate safely from their positions of (usually) white, straight, cis male privilege. They, or people close to them, have enough real capital, possessions, to barter with and use in the case of a break down of the system. They won’t really feel the pain, despite how much they claim to be willing to share it. Not unless they are made targets for their privilege in which case you will be able to hear the white-whine take on a whole new tone.

No, these brats (and I refuse to hedge my language with them anymore) are selfish, unfeeling children unwilling to work within any kind of system because they don’t want to be told what to do by anyone: not (understandably) a dictator or plutocrat, not an elected official, and not even by group consensus. They are so enamored of their cleverness, a brilliance born out of incomplete readings of Marx and Foucault, and certainly without consideration of the context of those writers’ privilege, that they want their time in the sun as “liberators”  now, consequences be damned.

You may say that not all radicals are like this, and I want to believe that. I do, more or less, because I have known radicals that are patient with the change they want to make, understanding of the limits of what they can change, and most important, loving and empathetic toward those they want to make a better world for. Those radicals, however, need to start doing a better job of calling out the sociopaths in their midst. It goes deeper than the worries above (I could, and others have, written about the racism, sexism, and hetero sexism in “radical movements”) and these selfish children are going to tear us apart before we can do the good work we need to. We cannot afford to let them do that.


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