Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Assumptions about political philosophies

I've been reading Against Empathy by Paul Bloom. Near the middle of the book he talks about politics and makes some comments dividing liberals and conservatives based on their relative levels of empathy. He also makes a couple generalizations about politics and empathy (e.g. more women are liberals because women are more empathic).

While his discussion is interesting, it's clear to me that he never talked to conservatives about the reasons for their beliefs. Thus his reasons why conservatives oppose abortion are in terms of male power over women or following rules. He never mentions that many conservatives feel that the fetus is alive and killing it is wrong (by implication feeling empathy for the fetus). He assumes conservatives lack empathy when they oppose government programs and gives short shrift to the idea that a government program may not be the best way to handle a situation or may be more "empathic."

Obviously there are no absolute views in this area, but the book would have been better if it didn't appear Mr. Bloom was trying to figure out conservatives without finding sources with first hand knowledge. Then again, being at a university, conservatives are often few and in the closet.