Weaponized Empathy is probably the chief cultural problem of our time. Empathy is used to justify all manner of atrocious behaviors on the part of Neo-Marxists. For instance, racism is perfectly justifiable if applied to a white person. You may stereotype and demean someone so long as their skin color is pale enough, and any attempt to deflect this behavior will result in accusations of not having empathy for folks of darker complexion.
Cancel Culture ensures that it is seen as entirely legitimate to use a political hate mob to destroy a person’s business, employability, reputation, and relationships provided, of course, that empathy to the marginalized is given as an excuse. James Bond supposedly had a license to kill. Neo-Marxists have a license to cancel. They throw themselves into the task with joy and gusto.
Some readers may remember Pajama Boy of Obamacare fame. His quote encapsulates this view nicely:
“I am a Liberal Fuck,” he wrote in one post. “A Liberal Fuck is not a Democrat, but rather someone who combines political data and theory, extreme leftist views and sarcasm to win any argument while make the opponents feel terrible about themselves. I won every argument but one.”
This level of honesty grows increasingly rare. Every once in a while you will still encounter a Progressive who lets the truth slip out in a moment of emotional turmoil, or who grows too smug and wants to bathe in his assumed superiority, but Cancel Culture adherents have generally wizened up. Pajama Boy, today, would probably say something about having empathy for people of color, women, Muslims, and whatever demographic group is currently fashionable. And then he would still secretly enjoy making people feel bad about themselves.
Of course, not all folks subscribe to Pajama Boy’s addiction to abuse and aggression disguised as political empathy. Many are likely afraid they will be the target of the hate mobs if they do not join them, or at least tacitly support them. And that is the great cultural problem of our time.
How do people deal with this?
Some folks on the political Right might say something like “just ignore it” or “don’t care what other people think of you.” But it is much more than that. You can lose your job or your business. Your reputation in the community can be destroyed. Friends and family may abandon you. Even marriages may fall apart. In fact, the greater damage the hate mob does to your life, the better and more powerful they feel.
Consider that your next job may be denied to you simply on the basis that you are white, or male. Jobs in your company may go unfilled, increasing workload on your own plate. You may be pulling extra hours to keep your job – because not enough staff is available, and because you fear being able to get another one should you be let go. All because of Weaponized Empathy.
The article above shows a nice shift in tone:
“When that employee suggested to the hiring manager that the company wave the candidate through to the next step in the process, the hiring manager dismissed the candidate under the assumption he was white.
After learning that the candidate belonged to a minority group, the manager said she was excited to hire him, despite learning virtually nothing else about his background.”
The license to abuse only extends to certain specific demographics, naturally. Pajama Boy would not be permitted to be a “liberal fuck” to Black Lesbian, for instance. He even indicated that the argument he lost was to a conservative gay man. Likely this produced some hesitation on the part of our intrepid pajama-wearing warrior.
But if you are a small town pizza shop owner in a conservative rural area, you are prime rib for cancellation and abuse.
The mindset of these folks and their assumed moral superiority is fascinating to see from a clinical perspective. Take a look at this woman’s video. It perfectly encapsulates this Weaponized Empathy model. “I’m just fighting for human rights, and if you don’t, why do you even exist on the Internet?” Her entire Twitter timeline, incidentally, is about how it is okay for her to hate men – something she doesn’t just admit, but relishes in. If Pajama Boy was a bimbo…
Toxic behavior is perfectly acceptable – indeed, it is celebrated – so long as the license to abuse is wielded against disfavored demographics.
There are things a person can do to reduce vulnerability to such attacks, of course. Staying out of debt means you are less of a slave to your job, and this in turn means you are more free to speak because attacking your income is less effective at silencing you. But with regard to friends, family, and personal reputation… it is a rare individual who can pull a Donald Trump and endure (and even thrive under) constant assault in both old media and social media platforms.
Even attacking Cancel Culture is often spun as merely having no empathy. Cancel Culture adherents spin their attacks as moral superiority. No defense is possible – an accusation is proof of guilt, and a hasty tweet from 9 years ago is evidence of irredeemable racism/sexism/insert thing here. Anybody can be cancelled for anything, presuming a flimsy association with unwoke behavior can be made.
Then, like Pajama Boy, the license wielder can grin smugly, feel superior, powerful, and better than those he has cancelled. The high is surely wonderful to them – perhaps better than any drug, but at least as good as some. Political landscapes have mutated into a kindergarten playground. “I’m better than you, neener-neener! Pfffffbt!”
Or perhaps they always have been, and the mask is merely coming off.
Either way the narcissism, smug superiority complexes, and joyful destruction of peoples’ lives is all good in the ‘hood, provided you use your Weaponized Empathy license properly.
As CS Lewis said:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good
of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live
under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.
The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may
at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good
will torment us without end for they do so with the approval
of their own conscience.”
An early edition of Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People contained this passage, inexplicably removed from later editions:
The Left is predominantly populated by persons with a need to feel superior. The movement attracts them by 1) giving them a target; 2) telling them that if they adopt Leftist positions, they can consider themselves superior to that target; 3) legitimizing attacks on the target, in some cases all the way up to homicide. The resulting combination of self-preening plus deep conscience qualms guarantees their loyalty.
Their empathy is reserved for themselves. Watch them when they get hit by a counterblast that knocks them off-message. The signs are unmistakable.