For all the mockery over empathy, look at what happens to right-wing figures in those rare cases when they become personally affected by the ideology they advocate. They quickly abandon it. Dick Cheney objects to the injustice of gay inequality because his daughter is burdened by it. Nancy Reagan deviates from social conservative dogma to become a leading advocate of stem-cell research because she suffered through her husband’s Alzheimers. Jane Harman instantaneously transforms from Surveillance State authoritarian to raving civil libertarian upon learning that her own telephone conversations were intercepted by the government. They advocate their views up until the point that it begins adversely affecting not only others, but also themselves.
I can’t recommend enough this column by Glenn Greenwald on Salon. Read the whole thing here.