Social Justice is often driven through shame, through a certain desire to appear moral, righteous, and proper to others. If a truth is unpleasant, if it doesn’t sound good rhetorically, it must be dispensed with for sake of appearances, to avoid being publicly shamed as a bad person.
This is a concept I’ve long referred to as “Weaponized Empathy,” for this is a tactic that uses empathy as a political bludgeon to shame you into compliance with someone else’s agenda. The common pop-culture argument for why women “make 77 cents on the dollar” is that women are being discriminated against. Sexism, misogyny, et. al. If you suggest that women consciously and intentionally make different decisions, and tend to have a lower risk tolerance, it is considered anathema. Rather than investigate whether or not this claim has merit, the SJW rejects it as unpleasant.
Once labeled as unpleasant, it is permissible for the SJW to use Weaponized Empathy to silence debate. If you believe men and women have fundamental differences, you are a sexist. You hate women. You want to oppress women. You lack empathy, they claim.
Oddly enough, this argument doesn’t work on people who actually lack said empathy. If you asked a member of ISIS if he wanted to oppress women, he’d probably answer with “well yes, women need to be oppressed, obviously.” The argument only works on the good-natured person who is horrified at the implication that he might be a woman-oppressor.
Thus shamed, the target of Weaponized Empathy has a few choices. He can defend himself from the charge, but this is taken by SJWs as prima facie evidence of guilt. After all, why would you be defensive if you weren’t feeling guilty? Even if the defense is successful, the tactic has derailed the argument from the original point, and has shifted the direction of debate to your worthiness. No longer are you talking about a point-of-view about a particular problem, you are talking about whether or not you are guilty. This marks Weaponized Empathy as a cleverly-disguised Ad Hominem fallacy.
Another option is to dismiss and ridicule the accuser. This tactic can be very effective, and is frequently deployed by Donald Trump, among others. But it imposes a significant social and personal cost on the person who uses it. You have to be willing to accept that a large number of people are going to outright hate you, and are going to believe that you are guilty. You must also be supremely confident in the fact that you are not what they say you are. Self-doubt will rapidly destroy you.
Such a path is only useful to people in a very strong position financially, intellectually, emotionally, and morally. If you are poor, they will target your job. If you are wealthy, they will boycott your business. If you’ve ever said or done anything questionable, they’ll try to assassinate your character (sometimes they’ll make something up even if you haven’t). If you are not supremely confident in yourself, they will break your sense of self-worth.
Anonymity is a good preemptive defense option for anyone who is missing some or all of those attributes. This is one reason Twitter’s Blue Checkmark brigade, among many others, has been pushing for forcing verification of some kind or another. Find someone who doesn’t believe in anonymity on the Internet, and the odds are very strong that the person is a Leftist, if not an outright SJW.
All of this is designed to shame you into compliance. Agree with X, or we’ll label you a racist/sexist/whateverphobe.
Weaponized Empathy is often deployed in subtle ways, too. One tactic is to take a very poignant picture, or to carefully choose from available pictures, in order to deliberately invoke an emotional response. After the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman affair, the media chose a very tame, old, innocent-looking picture of Trayvon when he was much younger, and a much more threatening picture of Zimmerman. The choices were intentional. They wished to make you feel bad for Trayvon, and to hate Zimmerman, regardless of the facts of the case.
They also wished to create an implied position of shame. If you think the shooting was justified, you like little black kids to get murdered. It’s an implied variant of the “you want to push granny off a cliff” position. This sets the bar very high in any debate. Before you can even get to the facts of the case, you must prove a negative, namely that you don’t believe in those things. Otherwise the SJW is automatically right in all particulars because you are a bad person.
Furthermore, since you are a certified bad person, it is permissible to shame you, hate you, and attack you. Again, this really only works if you actually have empathy. If you genuinely did want little black kids to die, the response would be something along the lines of “yeah, so what?”
Where SJWs gain a little bit of wiggle room is by tacitly acknowledging their ownership of the Establishment. An SJW might suggest that you are a heartless bastard who wants to say that you want little black kids to get shot, but that you have refrained from doing so because you are afraid of losing your job, being ridiculed, etc…
In so doing he reveals that the Left truly dominates the cultural and political narratives of our time. It is a self-defeating argument. If there is a sort of systemic racism being pushed by a hostile cultural and political system, it is SJWs who created it, because they control it. It’s like when SJWs lament about an epidemic of rapes on college campuses. One of two things must be true: either they are lying and the rapes aren’t taking place, or they are telling the truth and a bastion of SJW culture is actually a bustling rape factory.
Either the systemic bigotry described by SJWs does not exist, or SJWs themselves are the purveyors of said systemic bigotry. Weaponized Empathy is designed to distract your attention from this, and shift the conversation to your worthiness to even engage the SJW in the first place.
The insidious thing about Weaponized Empathy is that it is usually deployed by those who don’t have empathy against those who do. It is the powerful man telling you he is powerless. It is the liar calling you dishonest. It is the narcissist accusing you of being self-centered. It is the tyrant accusing you of despotism.
In other words, it is pure projection. Do not fall victim to it.
Thales is a DJ, Byzantinist, sad puppy, and another defender of the West woken up by social justice idiocy.
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