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The Great GOP Empathy Deficit- Pt 1 “A Rand Paul Problem”

Rand_Paul_by_Gage_Skidmore_10-11-10“Freedom without limits is just a word.”

This past weekend, the two halves of the Conservative Movement- the Libertarians and the Social Conservatives, held their annual confab called CPAC. It was the usual run of trigger words, racism, homophobia, and occasional talks of sanity. One of the things that was constantly on show was the naked sociopathy of men like Rand Paul and the rest of the “enlightened selfishness” movement.

The reality when it comes to someone like Rand Paul and those who follow Ayn Rand is that the entire philosophy is built upon the idea of “me first”. Well not even that, more like “me only”. The entire Randian philosophy is behind this movement to abolish the government. The entire idea behind “Government is the problem, not the solution” is based on that ideology, and is a lot of what is wrong here.

To start with, when I talk about sociopathic ideology, I am pretty much talking about having little or no care for how their actions impact others. It stems from having a distinct lack of empathy for others, and this is part of the problem with the Republican Party as a whole. They lack empathy. They lack the ability to even understand how others will react, and, thusly, presume that they are doing the ‘right’ thing- which is to prioritize themselves- even when it is clear that they are doing something ruinous.

There are two different forms of advantage that exist in the world- money and privilege. Money is a rather tangible item. After all, you can see money, you can buy stuff with money, you can do things with money. Privilege is that intangible belief that you are better than someone else no matter how far down you are on the totem pole. So long as someone can be below you, you feel entitled to something.

Typically, these go hand in hand. As a practicing dentist, Rand Paul did everything he could, including bypassing the usual accreditation groups, in order to try and avoid being held accountable for any wrong doing he might do in his profession. While there is no evidence that he did do wrong, and in fact we are pretty sure that, like his father, he was good at what he did, the motives of those who try to get around being held accountable are often pretty dark.

As a white man, Senator Paul likely does not grasp the problems of others. His insistence that the Civil Rights Acts be taken down because he believes that people will not shop somewhere run by known racists shows that he does not understand the derogatory nature of being discriminated against, nor does it appear that he understands that there is still a lot of racism going on, and that people will still shop somewhere that’s proven racist.

You don’t have to look at just racism to see that. That shows up beautifully with the whole issue of same-sex marriage. After all, how many people are willing to shop at homophobe’s stores? Quite a lot, as it turns out- if that store happens to be in some place with a lot of other homophobes.

So? What does this all mean?

Well, that there’s a lot more to write, certainly, but let us just start with this…without being able to see how others react, the GOP is risking a very real problem down the road. I’ll continue to look at this further over the next week.



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4 Responses to The Great GOP Empathy Deficit- Pt 1 “A Rand Paul Problem”

  1. Ken

    March 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    I took care of three people in my home 24×7, one after the other, they died, it took a long time, and now I’m alone. I presumed to claim empathy as a personality trait. I know you didn’t mean anyone ill, but I was ripe for a panic attack and I had one. It’s okay now.

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      March 18, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      HUGS…oh, Ken. I’m sorry that I caused you pain. I know what that can be like even though it was one person, my grandmother. I didn’t mean it to sound like everyone was like that…but far too many don’t know how to see life through other people’s eyes. I’m often worried that I’m too empathic :(

      I really didn’t intend for you to feel pain.

  2. Ken

    March 18, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    You said, “As a white man, Senator Paul likely does not grasp the problems of others.” I never knew that being a white man makes me incapable of empathy. Or maybe I’m mistaken about being a white man. I’m confused.

    • Bridgette P. LaVictoire

      March 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm

      I may have worded that inexactly…what I’m getting at is that Senator Paul, because he is white and male, likely has a problem understanding the prejudices someone who isn’t white and male. That isn’t to say that it is impossible, though.