She wrote of one of the protagonists of her stories that “he does not understand, because he has no organ for understanding, the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people”; and she meant this as praise.
“Those who have known him [Cheney] over the years remain astounded by what they describe as his almost autistic indifference to the thoughts and feelings of others. ‘He has the least interest in human beings of anyone I have ever met,’ says John Perry Barlow, his former supporter. Cheney’s freshman-year roommate, Steve Billings, agrees: ‘If I could ask Dick one question, I’d ask him how he could be so unempathetic.’”
It makes me wonder if this is part of why the word “empathy” was such a red flag for wingnuts during the Sotomayor confirmation. It also makes me wonder if “RULE OF LAW!” is less about respect for the law than about lack of sympathy. Likewise, with torture: it doesn’t matter if it yields results or not, what matters is that it shows a commendably conservative lack of empathy and compassion for other human beings.
Is that, in the end, what defines modern conservativism? An almost
autistic sociopathic indifference to the thoughts and feelings of others?
I’m being serious here and I’d be curious to know if conservatives would object to this characterization. I’ll bet that many wouldn’t, if this were described more charitably.