Generalizations are rarely true, but my latest hypothesis is this: Neocons can’t empathize. They seem dangerously aggressive due to this mentally defect. I could be wrong, but here is what got me thinking this.
I heard an exchange between a talk show host and a professor a few days ago. A University professor said that it was important to understand that Hitler was, from his perspective, spreading freedom … for his own people.
The talk show host went nuts, like his brain was short-circuiting. “You can’t tell me that exterminating Jews is freedom!”
“Of course it isn’t. I agree with you. That’s not what I’m saying,” the professor said calmly, “I’m saying that FROM HIS PERSPECTIVE and the perspective of the Nazi’s following him, he was spreading freedom for his people by eliminating threats to his people.”
The host became an enraged broken record, “You can’t tell me that exterminating Jews is spreading freedom!” And so on. The host hung up on the professor and ranted about how crazy and dangerous liberals are. Actually, the host sounded wacko. It was like the simple phrase “from his perspective” completely freaked him out. He just didn’t have the mental ability to understand the point. He was 100% incapable of seeing from the other’s perspective. Some people can’t do algebra because they can’t get the concept of “x” representing any number.
If we want to avoid another holocaust, all people should understand the thinking which leads there. The blind fear-based rage of the talk show host is of the same kind of crazy dehumanizing thinking which leads to that dark place. Perhaps some people fear that by putting themselves in another’s shoes, they will become lost? Each person should understand Hitler’s tricks. If you study the mindset, you won’t become a crazy killer. We must understand the thinking of history’s evil tyrants in order to remove the power of such persons. This is done by seeing the way they seduce others to peform evil acts.
Here is some brain research about empathy and mental illness.
Farrow et al (Neuroreport 2001; 12:2433-2438) found that empathic judgments activated left superior frontal gyrus, orbitofrontal gyrus, precuneus, left anterior middle temporal gyrus and inferior frontal gyrus. Components of this circuit may be dysfunctional in psychopathy (Tunstall N., Fahy T. and McGuire P. in: Guide to Neuroimaging in Psychiatry, Eds. Fu C et al, Martin Dunitz: London 2003). – wikipedia