The Compassion Crisis


I made my first YouTube video! Wow I’m only like, 10 years behind the trend. In this video, I talk about the “empathy void” we seem to have found ourselves in lately, and what we can do about it in the future. Please take a look, and let me know what you think. The transcript of the video is below the jump.

“Hey, it’s Mike. I’ve been trying, like a lot of people, to unpack the series of unfortunate events we’ve found ourselves in since election day. We’ve all had different reactions to the endless sewage stream of bad news coming from the current administration. Some of us have hermited, others of us are getting into arguments online and in person, a lot more than we used to.  And if these conflicts and arguments were partisan to begin with, since the election it’s gotten different. It’s less partisan, I even have a couple conservative friends who have seen some disturbing behavior from President Trucknuts and regret voting for him. It mainly has to do with the illegal Muslim ban, or his executive order giving police even more power in the interest “public safety”. These aren’t rational or even needed orders, and yet some of his most loyal voters still support him. Why is this?

At its core, it boils down to an empathy void. Hear me out. There are people who call out liberals with the insults “snowflakes” and “libtards”. These can be triggering and infuriating, but when you look closer at the insult, it’s simply making fun of the fact that the person they’re insulting is an empathetic person. Empathy is the ability to put ones self is someone else’s shoes, without judgement. I’m proud of being an empathetic person. But feeling empathy for others angers and confuses the person I’ll call the angry non-empath. Now the angry non-empath isn’t evil, they are not necessarily predatory or sadistic. They just lack the ability to sympathize with families being ripped apart, to the EPA being defunded, to empathize with black lives simply mattering.

I also have bad news. I don’t think you can teach an adult to be more empathetic. I think the circumstances and upbringing that creates an angry non-empath, is set early on in childhood. I don’t know what we do, how we treat people without empathy, but we need to decide, because our very society is at stake now. Do we try to rehabilitate people without empathy, treat it as a mental illness? I don’t know.

What I do know is we need to start now to eliminate the empathy void of the future. If you have children, if you know young people, expose them to literature of experiences completely different than theirs, to people who look different than them, who have different cultures and religions than them. It’s also important for me to acknowledge my privilege, I grew up with so many books, my family could afford to expose me to different ideas and people of different backgrounds. Not everyone has that privilege, so those that do, help those that don’t.

Another piece of advice: find your triggers and fix them. We’re all about be called upon to be a lot stronger,  and we’ll make it to the other side of this if we stand up to what scares us, and the angry non-empath thrives on triggering you. Don’t even engage with them. It’s not going to change their mind, and in the end it’ll frustrate and discourage you.

The tide will turn. Stay active, resist being fearful, take care of each other.

I’m Michael James Schneider, aka BLCKSMTH, aka proud snowflake. Until next time, keep punching Nazis.”

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