Monday, October 31, 2016

White Guys are Trending

At the beginning of “The Theory of Moral Sentiments,” Adam Smith made this point: “Though our brother is upon the rack, as long as we ourselves are at our ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers. They never did, and never can, carry us beyond our own person, and it is by the imagination only that we can form any conception of what are his sensations. . . . By the imagination we place ourselves in his situation, we conceive ourselves enduring all the same torments, we enter as it were into his body, and become in some measure the same person with him.”

The modern world would amaze Smith now. Our imagination has reached a higher plain. Somehow, who knows why, that gulf Smith saw between men has been crossed, the walls of individualism breached.  No man is an island now. There is no complaining individual who does not reach us, who does not tug at our heartstrings.  We are awash in open-mindedness and connectivity. Captain Hook was just like us. We can empathize with almost anyone. Almost.
It seems that everyone can empathize with everyone else. Except white guys. Maybe they are just not likeable. Maybe they have used up their empathy while bathing in white privilege. But whatever the cause, felons get more empathy than white guys. They have become a snubbed, deprecated minority group, a victim of dismissiveness and hostility.
But with Bernie, and Brexit and Trump, for a short while, white guys are "trending."

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