Richard Aberdeen on Empathy
Probably the reason Republicans oppose the word "empathetic" is because progressives have taken to use the term "empathy" in place of the much better idea of loving your neighbor as yourself, so naturally Republicans view this as a word disguising socialism and atheism, just as they view "progressive" as a word disguising liberalism, socialism and atheism.
Some of the problems with these kinds of terms are as follows:
1) Progressive: Adam Smith was viewed as a "progressive" in his day and in European history, progressives originally referred to people in favor of unbridled free markets and free trade. Later in U.S. history, progressives often supported violent uprisings, practiced Eugenics and many of them viewed African-Americans as an inferior "race" incapable of living in harmony with the supposedly superior Anglo "race" and thus, wanted the so-called "freed" slaves deported.
Today, "progressive" means pretty much whatever someone individually wants it to mean, as there is no defining convention, panel or group who votes on and/or, determines what the "progressive" position on any given issue is. If Republicans were a little more wise to this, they might start saying things like forcing "freedom and democracy" in Iraq is "progressive" and, opposing abortion is "progressive", as there is nobody in charge to say otherwise, nor is their any moral measuring stick foundation, such as "treating others as we wished to be treated", thus the correct "progressive" position can be whatever anyone says it is. If there is no moral compass, then there is no rational method for determing "progressive", other than whatever someone in their own mind, determines it to be. Obviously what is "progressive" is not "self-evident", otherwise everybody on the planet would agree.
Today, most progressives promote allowing only one narrow-minded opinion in a public science class, which I personally believe is entirely scientifically and morally regressive, not to mention diametrically opposed to the 1st Amendment, human rights and freedom itself. Most progressives use Thomas Jefferson as a sort of secular god of choice, yet they don't believe in or practice anything Jefferson either practiced or claimed to believe in. Progressive can pretty much mean whatever anybody wants it to mean, thus I recommend never defining oneself as a "progressive", which only serves to make someone more narrow-minded, just as terms such as conservative, liberal and moderate, also only serve to make someone more closed to ideas outside their own defined "box".
2) Empathy: I've never met a truck driver, biker or motel maid who has any idea what this word means. Thus, if someone wants to promote positive activism using this term, they have pretty-much eliminated 90% of the population masses from their power base. I have never heard anyone say to their child, "I have empathy for you", nor have I ever heard anyone at a wedding say "I empathy you with all my heart". I have no idea why anybody would want to use this word, rather than to promote treating other people as they themselves wish to be treated, which is a far more "progressive" idea than anything I've ever read on AlterNet or heard come out of Noam Chompsky's mouth.
If somebody wants to promote human rights, I recommend using language that the majority of human beings and especially children, can easily relate to, without having to look up the meaning in Websters or otherwise, have to obtain an advanced degree in order to half-way comprehend whatever indecipherable jibberish someone like Chompsky is promoting. If it ain't attractive to and easily understood by the common people, it ain't likely going to change the world anytime soon. At least, that's what I think the true and correct "progressive" position is.
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