March 21, 2011

"On Justice Samuel Alito: Conservatives Can Have Empathy Too!"

The Wall Street Journal law blog acknowledges this Emily Bazelon piece.

This reminds me of what I wrote (in a NYT op-ed) when Bush first nominated Alito. Describing 2 cases in which he "displayed a sensitivity to the needs of adherents of minority religions" that was missing from the Supreme Court decision that, as a lower court judge, he had to apply, I went on to say:
Yes, chances are that a Justice Alito will please conservatives more often than liberals.... Still, [liberals] should give serious study to his record; they may discover that there are varieties of judicial conservatives, just as there are varieties of political conservatives, and that Samuel Alito is not Antonin Scalia.
Speaking of conservatives and empathy, Rush Limbaugh monologued about that last week:
By itself, what does sitting around caring about something accomplish? Now, if it motivates you to do something that's an entirely different thing. I find that most people, particularly people on the left, want plaudits, they want gold stars, they think of themselves as superior people just because they care....

I don't worry about things that I have no control over. I used to, big time. I can't tell you the shackles I had on myself worrying about all kinds of stuff. I was worrying about what might happen next year if I did this or did that. There was nothing more paralyzing in my life than to worry about stuff I had no control over. And in the process, I actually limited what I could control.

43 comments:

Scott M said...

I don't worry about things that I have no control over. I used to, big time.

At 41 with a wife and three young children, that's exactly where I'm at now. I'm not sure if paying such close attention to current events in general makes me more so, but not paying attention has always struck me as walking across a busy intersection against a red light.

ricpic said...

When has a statist liberal ever demonstrated empathy for a citizen who wants to be let alone?

Oligonicella said...

One indicator of empathy is how much is given to charities - and how much charity is displayed.

Do the math.

vbspurs said...

Rush Limbaugh intoned:

By itself, what does sitting around caring about something accomplish?

If you're sitting around your home thinking sweet thoughts about others, at least you're not outside busting people's heads open.

Yet another example of the chickification of our culture.

Cheers,
Victoria

Carol_Herman said...

Wonderful words from Rush. And, they are so true. Our belly buttons are not the center of the earth!

Still think Noah Feldman's book SCORPIONS, about FDR's picks, pretty much spells out what happens to justices over time. Because they are forced to carve out some niche (or perch) from which their work gets recognized.

Just like children. The more you have, the more you learn that no two are alike.

I'm glad Alito is on the bench and Souter is not.

By the way, before FDR's court picks, the previous court was thought of as very conservative.

Hugo Black? Elected senator from Alabama, in the 1920's. (Yes, he had joined the KKK to get the political clout to win. His "resignation letter" ended up publicized to embarrass him.) It took Hugo Black a long time to be the one who drew the sword against the racial haters in the South. Sweet revenge. Grows in the unlikeliest of places.

traditionalguy said...

What is this? Is Sam Alito now a real man, and not the country dumb right winger we expected him to be? The NY Times are a changing.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I used to care about whether people cared or not. Now I can't even take apathy seriously.

vbspurs said...

More Rush:

I find that most people, particularly people on the left, want plaudits, they want gold stars, they think of themselves as superior people just because they care....

Do Althousians remember when it was revealed that Sarah Palin gave more to charity than Joe Biden? Not just in proportional terms relative to her income, but in absolute terms.

In one year, 2006, the Palins gave $4,880 to charity. Joe Biden gave $3,690...total, since 1998. (!!)

vbspurs said...

TradGuy wrote (hey, there!):

What is this? Is Sam Alito now a real man, and not the country dumb right winger we expected him to be? The NY Times are a changing.

Or maybe they agreed with this gutsy 8-1 no vote in the recent Westboro Baptist case. The only Justice who, in effect, condemned homophobic rhetoric.

edutcher said...

His (El Rushbo's) point is well-taken. If you're that concerned, do something about it.

A big problem with most Lefties is that they will "feel deeply" about some cause or group, but expect government (I.e., other taxpayers who may not have the same views) to actually do something about it. That's why they're so miserly when it comes to charity.

Your average Lefty is much like the way Alan Alda played Hawkeye Pierce. They need a flock of acolytes (Klinger, Trapper) around them in constant awe with somebody else (Radar) walking in front, carrying the full-length mirror the Lefty uses to admire himself.

Conservatives, particularly religious people, feel it necessary to put their money (and sweat and elbow grease) where their mouths are. They give freely and do good on their own (as an example, my sister is going to spend two weeks in Costa Rica later in the year on a mission).

Quayle said...

You can't remove darkness with more darkness.

The left is so full of love for the other, the minority, the outcast, and it is all negated by their hatred for anyone that has a different approach.

You think we should love, then OK, let's love - but let's love all, not just your selected few.

Scott M said...

Your average Lefty is much like the way Alan Alda played Hawkeye Pierce

Excepting the point that Hawkeye was actually an exceptionally talented surgeon who was called on daily to actually, you know, DO something. I'd say that makes his character a standout, even if Alan Alda himself set men back an eon or two.

BHH said...
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vbspurs said...

Edutcher wrote:

Your average Lefty is much like the way Alan Alda played Hawkeye Pierce.

It's funny that we haven't gotten a replacement for Hawkeye Pierce these 30 years since the series began. Who would be this generation's Hawkeye -- the sensitive, selfless, intellectual male liberal willing to forego his own orgasms to give pleasure to a woman?

Sean Penn wouldn't even give you a hickey.

BHH said...
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vbspurs said...

Incidentally, as much as I reject and deride bleeding-heart liberal males like Hawkeye Pierce, I've lived in and travelled to countries where the hideously odious sexist pig version is more common. We're not talking Don Draper. We're talking Sayyid Qutb.

My ideal is my father, who happens to be a medical doctor and a gentleman. And a liberal...but hey.

Henry said...

Who would be this generation's Hawkeye -- the sensitive, selfless, intellectual male liberal willing to forego his own orgasms to give pleasure to a woman?

I must have missed that episode.

Scott M said...

-- the sensitive, selfless, intellectual male liberal willing to forego his own orgasms to give pleasure to a woman?

Charlie Sheen's co-star on 2-1/2 Men? I don't know his name because I have honestly never watched the show, but I did see that the CBS heads are wanting WB to do an about-face and rehire Sheen.

Now that's Bi-winning.

Carol_Herman said...

Dahlia Lithwick's name rings a bell with me. Emily Bazalon's does not. Who is she?

vbspurs said...

Scott, I believe that's Jon Cryer, my childhood crush from "Pretty in Pink", Duckie. Well, okay, I actually had a crush on James Spader, not Duckie, because he was so devilishly arrogant. Hmm, curious. James Spader's character, Stef, is the ANTI-Hawkeye.

Carol_Herman said...

MASH was about Korea, when it was first written. Just as Catch-22 was about WW2. Ditto for the Caine Mutiny.

As to "empathy" I think Bill Clinton stole the trumpet when he went with the schtick: "I FEEL YOUR PAIN."

Believe what you want. But on display, when the Monica story broke, was the sympathy Bill got because Hillary was seen as a beast.

Politics is not about happy marriages.

And, politicians of all stripes try to fling garbage out that they hope sells at top dollar.

DaveW said...

I volunteer at my parish pantry 3 days a week and have for 3 years now. It's not that much and I'm not bragging, I just go pick up bread and pastries grocery stores are going to throw away because they are near their sell-by date and haul them over to the church.

We give them away to people no questions asked. You don't have to prove your income or anything like that. You show up, you walk away with a couple bags of groceries. Our parish spends thousands of dollars in parish funds on this and hardly anybody knows.

If you go to the local government type help organization, which I think is called inter-faith, and you have hungry kids right now, today, they send you to us. Over there you have to qualify, which means, you know...

I'm conservative, I'm a former Marine, and I'm proud to help folks around here. What we do has actual impact on people's lives, today, right now.

edutcher said...

Scott M said...

Your average Lefty is much like the way Alan Alda played Hawkeye Pierce

Excepting the point that Hawkeye was actually an exceptionally talented surgeon who was called on daily to actually, you know, DO something. I'd say that makes his character a standout, even if Alan Alda himself set men back an eon or two.


Well, of course, he was exceptionally talented, he was the star of the show.

It wasn't so much his ability as the Cross he so ostentatiously carried that was a bit much. (And, of course, Frank Burns, being their idea of a Conservative, was only a mediocre doctor).

PS Ironic that Wayne Rogers turned out to be a Conservative and very successful investor.

vbspurs said...

Incidentally, as much as I reject and deride bleeding-heart liberal males like Hawkeye Pierce, I've lived in and travelled to countries where the hideously odious sexist pig version is more common. We're not talking Don Draper. We're talking Sayyid Qutb.

On that, you're in sync with The Blonde. And she just has to go into work to find people like that.

My ideal is my father, who happens to be a medical doctor and a gentleman. And a liberal...but hey.

You're a good daughter.

Henry said...

There's less there, in those two links, than one might expect.

One writer repeats another writer, who conceives a theory about empathy, that usefully smears a legal opponent. There's a racial angle. It's subtle. But it's still a smear.

See, Alito has empathy, just not the right kind of empathy, not according to the empathetic Ms. Bazelon.

vbspurs said...

I'm conservative, I'm a former Marine, and I'm proud to help folks around here. What we do has actual impact on people's lives, today, right now.

I once read a story of an American who went to France and set up a bread bank. The bureaucratic obstacles he encountered would frizz your hair. Remember, that in a social democracy, the State likes to be the font of all assistance. Competition is not encouraged.

But the man didn't give up, and now his lorry is seen going up-and-down the narrow streets of Paris.

I don't know if the man is a conservative, a liberal, or what. But I do know he is to be commended, same as DaveW here.

You, sir, make living on this earth so much better, by your actions. Thank you.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Edutcher wrote:

On that, you're in sync with The Blonde. And she just has to go into work to find people like that.

Oh, my sympathies to The Blonde, Edu. And thanks for the kind words. :)

An excerpt from Sayyid's Qutb's memoirs, after having lived in Boulder, Colorado in the early '50s.

"...the American girl is well acquainted with her body's seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs — and she shows all this and does not hide it."

I fail to see how any of this is a negative thing. What a sexually-repressed loon.

edutcher said...

vbspurs said...
Edutcher wrote:

On that, you're in sync with The Blonde. And she just has to go into work to find people like that.

Oh, my sympathies to The Blonde, Edu. And thanks for the kind words. :)


Actually, I rather envy you. My Dad and I had a very rocky relationship. That you can admire your father is a great thing.

An excerpt from Sayyid's Qutb's memoirs, after having lived in Boulder, Colorado in the early '50s.

"...the American girl is well acquainted with her body's seductive capacity. She knows it lies in the face, and in expressive eyes, and thirsty lips. She knows seductiveness lies in the round breasts, the full buttocks, and in the shapely thighs, sleek legs — and she shows all this and does not hide it."

I fail to see how any of this is a negative thing. What a sexually-repressed loon.


Precisely. Herself has run into people like that who can't see a woman as anything but a footstool and a beast of burden.

And they are very afraid of women's sexuality. God forbid, one has an orgasm and outperforms the male - or even insists on being on top. It's no accident Qutb is the godfather of the current jihadi movement.

WV "pecklo" Not going near it.

Carol_Herman said...

MASH was made into a Hollywood movie. Yes. It did well at the box office. And, then was serialized on TV.

In the movie, I think Donald Sutherland played Hawkeye. I'm sure whoever did that role in the movie was offered a chance to be in the TV series. When Alan Alda got the TV role, his DAD was the famous star in the family! And, today, the kudos go to Alan Alda!

Something similar happened at Mission Impossible. When the "more famous" brother starred in Gunsmoke.

Scott M said...

Scott, I believe that's Jon Cryer, my childhood crush from "Pretty in Pink", Duckie.

He'll always be the walleye-visioned, Washout to me.

hombre said...

Most statistics on charitable contributions suggest that the lefties consider caring the same as giving

Matt said...
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Matt said...

hombre
Most statistics on charitable contributions suggest that the lefties consider caring the same as giving.

What I have seen from statistics is people on the right give more than those on the left. So would you say the same quip about conservatives as well?

The bottom line is charity is not a bad thing. And in a world in which government loans and support is going down due to financial crisis I would say charity is needed more than ever.

And BTW Rush's monologue is merely common sense. It is not insightful or conservative in nature. My progressive left parents said the same thing. Naturally, one must focus on their family and those things which are more in your control or realm of handling.

Empathy is more of an understanding of others and [for instance] an understanding of why we have things like Social Security. Empathy is the opposited of being a stone-cold egotist like Ayn Rand.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Matt said...

Empathy is more of an understanding of others and [for instance] an understanding of why we have things like Social Security. Empathy is the opposited of being a stone-cold egotist like Ayn Rand.


Social Security is not empathy. Social Security is the forceable confiscation of wealth so that the state can choose winners. Charity is voluntary, or it is not charity. When I give voluntarily it makes me feel good, and involved in solutions. When Social Security is deducted form my paycheck, it just pisses me off.

Scott M said...

Empathy

Let's be stone-cold honest, though. Empathy is a luxury only available once your immediate circumstance allows you to have it.

vbspurs said...

ScottM wrote:

Let's be stone-cold honest, though. Empathy is a luxury only available once your immediate circumstance allows you to have it.

In the movie and novel, Time to Kill, an attorney is charged with defending his black client whose daughter was raped and killed by two white supremacists, whom he proceeds to kill after they're exonerated. They're in the Deep South. How can the lawyer convince his caucasian jury that it was justifiable homicide, if his client is black? He asks the jury to close their eyes, recounts the horrific details of the rape and killing of the child, then quietly asks the jury: "Now imagine that she's white".

I cannot understand this mindset, but apparently, it exists.

Phil 3:14 said...

somewhat tangential but...

conservatives have to a feelings justice. In fact, it’s lately from Alito that we get a window onto right-wing empathy

I get so tired of writers making "right-wing" a synonym for "conservative" (and I'd say the same thing regarding "liberal" and "left wing")

"___________ wing" is a pejorative term.

Phil 3:14 said...

Scott;
Let's be stone-cold honest, though. Empathy is a luxury only available once your immediate circumstance allows you to have it.

I understand what you're saying and I'd certainly agree that many who are "down" aren't particularly empathetic

-BUT-

I couldn't disagree with you more. I know this sounds trite but I've found this observation consistently true:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

Chuck Swindoll

Kirk Parker said...

vbspurs,

I sure hope you're quoting imagined left-wing words there, because I don't know anyone here who is not against hateful words. The question that Alito muffed was rather different: shall it be illegal to utter such words?

Maguro said...

I can haz empithee?

vbspurs said...

Kirk, I'm a bit slow -- which quote of mine do you refer? :)

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

I don't worry about things that I have no control over. I used to, big time. I can't tell you the shackles I had on myself worrying about all kinds of stuff. I was worrying about what might happen next year if I did this or did that. There was nothing more paralyzing in my life than to worry about stuff I had no control over. And in the process, I actually limited what I could control.

And so the drug-addicted Rush Limbaugh has accepted both his inability to control his intake of prescription narcotics and his inability to control his penis and erectile disability.

It would take an act of God to get him to admit his inability to control his addiction to Hostess snack cakes, Blimpie burgers, etc., etc., ad infinitum ad nauseam.

Taking seriously a sermon on not controlling oneself as given by the world's wealthiest glutton. You guys are an exercise in self-parody.

Scott M said...

Taking seriously a sermon on not controlling oneself as given by the world's wealthiest glutton. You guys are an exercise in self-parody.

I take it you're referring to the millionaire Micheal Moore? The glutton who hates the rich fat cats even while he actually is one? The one that doesn't use union labor on his movies? That guy? The guy that obviously is consuming far, far more than his fair share of food while billions face rising food costs around the world? That guy?

Please tell me you don't take Moore seriously and we can both get on with our lives.

Todd said...

Tyrone Slothrop said...
Matt said...


Empathy is more of an understanding of others and [for instance] an understanding of why we have things like Social Security. Empathy is the opposited of being a stone-cold egotist like Ayn Rand.

Social Security is not empathy. Social Security is the forceable confiscation of wealth so that the state can choose winners. Charity is voluntary, or it is not charity. When I give voluntarily it makes me feel good, and involved in solutions. When Social Security is deducted form my paycheck, it just pisses me off.

3/21/11 3:39 PM


I could not agree more with your comment on charity. That is also why I HATE (all caps) the phrase "giving back" because it turns what is a gift into an obligation. It is another tool of the left to strip out what is kind and generous from people and convince them that "it takes a village" that you owe for all you have and will be and as such, have debt to repay.