"Empathy is actually kind of bad for politics." This is a quote from Ben Shapiro which shows who he really is, but also quite accurately summarizes how right wingers and anarcho capitalists think about politics; "leave everything to the wonderful markets" is what they say, and politics is never the solution but always the problem...
Shapiro's statement is rubbish of course; anyone with a basic understanding of human evolution and the basic workings of democracy and politics in general will immediately recognize how insanely wrong Shapiro is. Not that this should come as a surprise; this hack is usually wrong, and I can't for the life of me understand why he has so many followers. So, let me explain why empathy is essential, not just for politics, but for basic humanity. We, human beings, are social animals and have always been depending on each other for our survival. We aren't particularly strong or fast compared to our natural enemies in prehistoric times, so we've always cooperated and organized in groups, even before we could communicate with spoken or written language. In order for humans, as well as other mammals and birds, to function as a group as opposed to individuals, our brains are full of mirror neurons:
A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behavior of the other, as though the observer were itself acting. Such neurons have been directly observed in human and primate species, and birds.
We all have direct experience with what's described here. If you're a man, like me, you'll recognize this: whenever I see another man being kicked real hard in the family jewels, I don't feel his pain, but my face immediately "mirrors" his; I look like I was the one kicked in the balls. When watching a horror movie, like Saw, we make all kinds of painful faces (or we cover our eyes with our hands). Mirror neurons are part of our hardware, so we're hard-wired to have empathy. And this ability for us to empathize with others of our own species lays at the very foundation of our survival and being able to live together in ever larger groups. It's in our hardware, there's no escaping empathy.
Modern humans have developed many tools to further enhance our ability to function in large societies, among which are language, and eventually economics, politics and democracy, in that order of importance. Unfortunately we've devised, or let devise by the rich, an economics system based on material wealth; to be successful in that system called "capitalism", empathy has no place. It's no coincidence that among the general population approximately 5% of individuals are sociopath or psychopath, while among CEOs and politicians that percentage shoots up to approximately 25%; the current POTUS is a classic example of a sociopath. These are a sociopaths main characteristics: 1) a lack of empathy, 2) a disregard for right and wrong, 3) wit and charm, 4) impulsiveness, 5) arrogance and 6) aggressiveness (source: Recognizing Antisocial Behavior in Adults and Children). If that's not a perfect description of Donald Trump as well as many millionaires and billionaires...
The ability to stand in the shoes of another is exactly what we want from those who are supposed to lead us. Shapiro couldn't have been more wrong, as well as all others who think that politics and democracy can be largely replaced by an economic system that rewards selfishness and punishes empathy. That's a fool's errand, or worse, the opinion of someone who calculatingly spreads this nonsense for his or her own benefit. Now enjoy the video, in which Shapiro's stupid claim is further dismantled and debunked.
A Seemingly Lost Ben Shapiro Goes on Idiotic Rant Against Empathy in Politics
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