Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Left’s Mandatory Intolerance of Empathy

 

Bill Maher has made a very successful career in show business with his particular brand of social commentary. He is viewed as an urbane intellectual with a cutting wit. He attempts to establish his dedication to independent thought with the title of his hit show, “Politically Incorrect,” but rarely deviates from modern leftist orthodoxy. Why, you wonder? If he’s as smart as he’s supposed to be (and I suspect he is), wouldn’t his comedy benefit from the occasional excursion into more controversial positions? Much of modern comedy is about making your audience vaguely uncomfortable and challenging their ways of thinking. Why doesn’t he do this to his mostly liberal audience? Why not occasionally challenge one of their assumptions? This is comedy, right? I’ll allow Mr. Maher himself to explain why he can’t do that.

In his opening monologue recently, when Mr. Maher told his mostly liberal audience, “Yesterday David Koch of the zillionaire Koch brothers died…of prostate cancer,” his audience applauded. You may find that amazing, but I suspect that Mr. Maher knew that that was an easy applause line. I find that amazing. Anyway, Mr. Maher continued, “I guess I’m going to have to re-evaluate my low opinion of prostate cancer…He and his brother have done more than anybody to fund climate science deniers for decades. So [expletive] him, the Amazon is burning up, I’m glad he’s dead, and I hope the end was painful.” Why such seething hatred? Because Mr. Koch and Mr. Maher disagreed about politics.

Well, some politics. They agreed on some political issues. For example, they both hated Donald Trump. They had other topics they agreed on. But they disagreed on some political issues, and for a modern leftist, that’s enough. They skip the political debate part. They go directly from disagreement, on any leftist issue, and move directly into vicious hatred of their adversary with no alternative but to destroy that person.

This demand for absolute conformity is not new. Modern leftists did not suddenly lose interest in debate and discussion. Think of history’s most famous leftists: Lenin, Mao, Hitler, Stalin, Castro, and so on. None of them were known for being tolerant and open-minded, seeking consensus with their adversaries to solve problems. Those famous leftists would recognize Mr. Maher’s blatant lack of humanity or empathy to his adversaries. No disagreement can be tolerated. So we should not tolerate those with whom we disagree. If you acknowledge the humanity and the good intentions of your adversary, some might think that he has a point. And you lose your dominance.

Leftists want control. Those on the right want to leave you alone, and let you do as you please. But what if you do something that is wrong (according to the left)? That can’t be tolerated. Of course.

A defining feature of the right is a respect for other people and their ideas. The monarchs of 1700s Europe thought that giving peasants the right to vote in this new country was clearly absurd. Who cares what those provincial, uneducated people think? I’ll tell them what to think. They will not tell me anything. Who knows what silliness goes on their heads? They lack my intellect, education, and understanding.

Freedom of speech, and even freedom of thought, are threats to the left. Even respect for others, when you get right down to it. And the left knows it. So they tolerate no dissent. If you disagree with them about, well, anything, then you must be destroyed. And when you die a painful death, people will cheer.

Mr. Maher understands the left that he associates with. He knows how they handle disagreements. So do Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas. So does Mitt Romney. Lifelong Democrat Donald Trump found out how he was treated when he abandoned the left. Even Robespierre figured out the intolerance of the left, at the end. Thomas Jefferson learned a lot from the French Revolution, as did many others.

In America, we use politics to settle our differences. Some places in the world use AK-47’s to settle debates. Here, we discuss, and we vote. Only if we respect those with whom we disagree can this system work. Because if your adversary is unworthy of your respect, or even your empathy, then why would you care what they think? Then, the only thing that matters is what you think.

Then, you applaud your adversary only when they die a painful death.

These are scary times.

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There are 34 comments.

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  1. Stad Thatcher

    Dr. Bastiat: In America, we use politics to settle our differences. Some places in the world use AK-47’s to settle debates.

    With the rise of hate groups like antifa, I’m afraid future debates are going to be settled with violence . . .

    • #1
    • August 25, 2019, at 6:49 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  2. WI Con Member

    Had planned on juxtaposing Maher’s “generous” reaction to David Koch death with the reaction to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s cancer news.

    I didn’t wish her well – it wouldn’t have been honest. I’d would prefer she just leave (voluntarily) to die in peace after the damage she’s done to this nation but that level of caustic glee is poor form (on both sides, though much, much more common on the Left).

    • #2
    • August 25, 2019, at 6:54 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. Phil Turmel Coolidge

    The left’s burning desire to silence dissent is simply Un-American. And most of the left is self-aware enough to know this, and wants to silence any mention of it, too. Am I questioning their patriotism? Absolutely.

    • #3
    • August 25, 2019, at 7:10 AM PST
    • 16 likes
  4. Songwriter Member

    Thanks for the post, Doc. I’ve long held Bill Maher in low-to-no regard. And just when I thought he could sink no lower, he somehow manages to do so.

    • #4
    • August 25, 2019, at 7:13 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  5. Stad Thatcher

    WI Con (View Comment):
    Had planned on juxtaposing Maher’s “generous” reaction to David Koch death with the reaction to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s cancer news.

    This brings up a good point. Imagine the howls from the left if say, Sean Hannity made a smilar comment about RBG after she passed away.

    Conservative (or libertarian) death good, liberal death bad.

    • #5
    • August 25, 2019, at 7:18 AM PST
    • 12 likes
  6. Percival Thatcher

    Bill Maher thinks that it is a good idea that people who agree with him politically be in charge of everyone’s health care.

    Gee, Bill. I hope for your sake that if that comes to pass, you manage to keep your popularity high, because otherwise …

    • #6
    • August 25, 2019, at 7:21 AM PST
    • 15 likes
  7. KentForrester Coolidge

    Maher, you’re a clever guy, but going through life with a hate-filled heart and gloating over the death of one of your fellow sojourners is no way to spend your days on this earth.

    • #7
    • August 25, 2019, at 7:24 AM PST
    • 19 likes
  8. David Carroll Thatcher

    I used to have some respect for Bill Maher while disagreeing with him on almost everything. Me respect came from his occasional departures from leftist orthodoxy and his holding firm when he departed. However, him comments on the death of a human being were so out of bounds, mean-spirited and evil, any respect I once had is gone.

    • #8
    • August 25, 2019, at 7:38 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  9. GrannyDude Member

    Maher is in line with the left’s Robspierre-ish reaction to Karama Brown’s generous attitude toward his Dancing with the Stars co-star Sean Spicer. “He said Spicer was “sweet!” Anathema! the kind black gay man must be punished!”

    • #9
    • August 25, 2019, at 8:13 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  10. DonG Coolidge

    Maher recently was cheering for a recession. The economic impact of a single recession (3 % less growth) exceeds the long-term impact of supposed climate change (2 % less growth). Leftists are bad at math.

    • #10
    • August 25, 2019, at 8:15 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  11. Henry Castaigne Member

    We can’t hate blacks or gays anymore so we hate our political enemies. Humans need nemesi. We were born to hate.

    Where Is Thy Brother

    • #11
    • August 25, 2019, at 10:39 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  12. Doctor Robert Member

     “So f— him, the Amazon is burning up, I’m glad he’s dead, and I hope the end was painful.”

    I don’t think I have ever read a more odious public statement. Were I running whatever network this clod appears on he would be out of work instantly for it; but one knows better. A truly hateful hater.

    The analogy to Ginsburg is apt. She has suffered enormous medical problems, it is astonishing that she is alive. This latest recurrence may well prove fatal. As a political creature, I wish she would step down while she still has some time left. As a human, though, I wish her well and hope the does not suffer unduly.

    • #12
    • August 25, 2019, at 12:26 PM PST
    • 11 likes
  13. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat Post author

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):
    The analogy to Ginsburg is apt. She has suffered enormous medical problems, it is astonishing that she is alive. This latest recurrence may well prove fatal. As a political creature, I wish she would step down while she still has some time left. As a human, though, I wish her well and hope the does not suffer unduly.

    Exactly.

    • #13
    • August 25, 2019, at 1:01 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  14. Stad Thatcher

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):
    The analogy to Ginsburg is apt. She has suffered enormous medical problems, it is astonishing that she is alive. This latest recurrence may well prove fatal. As a political creature, I wish she would step down while she still has some time left. As a human, though, I wish her well and hope the does not suffer unduly.

    Exactly.

    And this is the point.

    • #14
    • August 25, 2019, at 1:07 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  15. James Gawron Thatcher

    Dr. Bastiat: He is viewed as a substitute for an urbane intellectual with a cutting wit.

    Dr. B,

    No urbane intellectual would or could say the things this man says on a weekly basis. His audience is a rabid band of wild dogs. This is how far we’ve fallen.

    Go on YouTube and check out some old Buckley Firing Line shows. Bill Marr is garbage in comparison. This is the kind of thing that makes me happy about our CoC here on Ricochet. I’m not perfect but I’m very glad for the MODs. We really try to do it right.

    Marr intends to do it wrong so his cheap shot will resonate with his sick audience.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #15
    • August 25, 2019, at 2:31 PM PST
    • 8 likes
  16. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat Post author

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

     “So f— him, the Amazon is burning up, I’m glad he’s dead, and I hope the end was painful.”

    I don’t think I have ever read a more odious public statement.

    To make it worse, it appears that the Amazon is not burning. Local farmers are burning brush from fields that they had already cleared. Some of the smoke may be from localized forest fires, but that does not appear to be what’s showing up on the satellite pictures.

    So Mr. Maher is happy to condemn someone to a painful death because of an assumption which turns out to be incorrect.

    Typical leftism.

    His statement sounds egregious. But it’s not.

    It’s just typical leftism.

    • #16
    • August 25, 2019, at 2:35 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  17. RightAngles Member

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    “So f— him, the Amazon is burning up, I’m glad he’s dead, and I hope the end was painful.”

    I don’t think I have ever read a more odious public statement. Were I running whatever network this clod appears on he would be out of work instantly for it; but one knows better. A truly hateful hater.

    The analogy to Ginsburg is apt. She has suffered enormous medical problems, it is astonishing that she is alive. This latest recurrence may well prove fatal. As a political creature, I wish she would step down while she still has some time left. As a human, though, I wish her well and hope the does not suffer unduly.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s already dead and they’re hiding it till there’s another Democrat in the White House to replace her. I’m picturing her on ice in Chuck Schumer’s basement.

    • #17
    • August 25, 2019, at 2:45 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  18. James Gawron Thatcher

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    To make it worse, it appears that the Amazon is not burning. Local farmers are burning brush from fields that they had already cleared. Some of the smoke may be from localized forest fires, but that does not appear to be what’s showing up on the satellite pictures.

    Dr. B,

    Interesting that you bring this up. I suspect that this whole nonsense about the Amazon forest and the crazy attack on Bolsonaro is all a cover for the disaster that continues to get worse in Venezuela.

    Over Shabbos, at my synagogue, I spoke with an American Docter who grew up in Venezuela. He told me of some the ongoing desperate Medical relief projects that America is sending. They, of course, can’t get into Venezuela to help the people directly. However, the current estimate is that over 4 million people have crossed the border to surrounding countries to get away from Maduro. This is out of a total population of only 31 million. The Medical relief is directed at the refugees. Meanwhile, left-wing apologists worldwide refuse to condemn Maduro.

    I think the rainforest scam is a smokescreen for Maduro to hide behind.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #18
    • August 25, 2019, at 3:04 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  19. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    I guess there are advantages to not being a TV watcher. I have heard of the guy but never seen him, and that seems to be a good thing.

    • #19
    • August 25, 2019, at 3:04 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  20. Percival Thatcher

    So Bill is rooting for a recession, despite the pain that will cause to Americans who are already having a rough time, so that his side can come back into town and make their lives better with all their compassion.

    I’ve scraped better than Bill Maher off the soles of my boots with a stick after a walk through the meadow.

    • #20
    • August 25, 2019, at 3:33 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  21. SParker Member

    RBG is easy to respect and wish well. She publicly deplores the recent treatment of Kavanaugh and the brain-dead notion of SCOTUS packing. She was respected by a colleague worthy of respect.

    Having listened to an NPR interview with Harry Reid this morning, now there’s your test of your worth as a human being and participant in a liberal society, particularly if you haven’t had a cup of coffee yet. Proud to say I passed with only a little flirting with the last-ditch “Harry Reid has to be Harry Reid every day of his life.”

     

     

    • #21
    • August 25, 2019, at 4:05 PM PST
    • 1 like
  22. Jim Beck Member

    Evening Doc,

    I am not a hater but…Trump, saving the planet, justice, requires me to be merciless and ruthless with those evil folks. I can not be “intellectually squeamish” about destroying those folks who put our future at risk, I do not have the luxury of compassion. An ideologue, or terrorist might have these type of ideas. Also ruthlessness is good for group cohesion, I identify with the intensity of the cause and I by implication threaten folks whose intensity is wavering, and my threats pull them closer into the fold. I also inspire the weak to join lest they be doxxed or whatever. At the individual level being seen to be bad has pluses as well, I am a man not to be messed with, my authority and the truth and purity of my beliefs are not to be challenged, and I am not moved by conventional, weak sympathy and conventional ethics.

    From a great article by Gary Saul Morison, titled “How the great truth dawned” subtitled, “On the virtue of Soviet cruelty”, https://www.newcriterion.com/issues/2019/9/how-the-great-truth-dawned

    Quoting Solzhenitsyn, “To do evil a human being must first believe that what he’s doing is good, or else (at least) that it’s a well-considered act in conformity with natural law, (because) it is in the nature of human being to seek a justification for his actions.”

    Again quoting Solzhenitsyn, so that we do not think we are different than charming Bill, “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us an destroy them. But the line deciding good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.”

    Solzhenitsyn asks why did McBeth stop at dozens and Lenin and Stalin did millions, his answer, ideology. I would say that when one tribe views the other as not fully human then, for the sake of the purity of man we must rid the earth of the less than human.

    • #22
    • August 25, 2019, at 4:10 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  23. James Gawron Thatcher

    Percival (View Comment):

    So Bill is rooting for a recession, despite the pain that will cause to Americans who are already having a rough time, so that his side can come back into town and make their lives better with all their compassion.

    I’ve scraped better than Bill Maher off the soles of my boots with a stick after a walk through the meadow.

    Perci,

    In a way, this is the most telling indictment. This country gives freedom and opportunity for fools like Maher. He repays the favor by wishing disaster upon ordinary people who don’t have TV shows.

    He’s a creep low-life in an expensive suit.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    • #23
    • August 25, 2019, at 4:32 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  24. Front Seat Cat Member

    To tell you the truth I had to look up Koch because I didn’t know much about him. He was a Libertarian and was on both sides of the aisle at one time or another. He had his beliefs and gave a lot of money to many good causes, including hospitals and healthcare. The guy wasn’t a Jeffrey Epstein…. There are no more late night comedians – not really.

    • #24
    • August 26, 2019, at 7:25 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  25. Jeffery Shepherd Member

    I have never thought of Bill Maher as intellectual. I have thought that he’s pretty typical of his ilk, though not always, and not very funny most of the time.

    • #25
    • August 26, 2019, at 9:05 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  26. Henry Castaigne Member

    Jeffery Shepherd (View Comment):

    I have never thought of Bill Maher as intellectual. I have thought that he’s pretty typical of his ilk, though not always, and not very funny most of the time.

    He’s more about the applause than the laughter. Which indicates that he’s not very funny.

    • #26
    • August 26, 2019, at 9:12 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  27. RightAngles Member

    Jeffery Shepherd (View Comment):

    I have never thought of Bill Maher as intellectual. I have thought that he’s pretty typical of his ilk, though not always, and not very funny most of the time.

    Agree. He’s more snarky than anything else.

    • #27
    • August 26, 2019, at 10:50 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  28. Henry Castaigne Member

    City Journal has written an elegant eulogy about him.

    What Mayer [typical left wing critic] never entertains is the possibility that maybe—just maybe—David Koch was motivated by something besides greed. “I was amazed that I had survived this accident,” he told Barbara Walters in reference to a jet collision in 1991 at Los Angeles International Airport in which 35 people died, though several others (including Koch) walked away with minor injuries. “Thinking back on it later, I felt that the good Lord was sitting on my shoulder and that He helped save my life because He wanted me to do good works and become a good citizen.”

    This seems a simpler explanation than Mayer’s. But the enemies of the Kochs can never acknowledge the possibility that these men wanted not only to enrich themselves but also to spread, as widely as possible, the free-market system to improve the standard of living of millions of people who deserve better chances. (commentary in brackets are mine)

    Speaking for myself, for whatever we disagreed with Mr. Koch about, there are a bunch of kids alive today because of his contributions to cancer treatment and research. Bill Maher has saved precisely zero children.

    • #28
    • August 26, 2019, at 10:52 AM PST
    • 1 like
  29. MACHO GRANDE' (aka - Chri… Coolidge

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Doctor Robert (View Comment):

    “So f— him, the Amazon is burning up, I’m glad he’s dead, and I hope the end was painful.”

    I don’t think I have ever read a more odious public statement. Were I running whatever network this clod appears on he would be out of work instantly for it; but one knows better. A truly hateful hater.

    The analogy to Ginsburg is apt. She has suffered enormous medical problems, it is astonishing that she is alive. This latest recurrence may well prove fatal. As a political creature, I wish she would step down while she still has some time left. As a human, though, I wish her well and hope the does not suffer unduly.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s already dead and they’re hiding it till there’s another Democrat in the White House to replace her. I’m picturing her on ice in Chuck Schumer’s basement.

    With Chuck in a gimp outfit.

    Image result for gimp pulp fiction

    • #29
    • August 27, 2019, at 3:06 AM PST
    • 1 like
  30. Jeff Hawkins Coolidge

    Maher’s one thing, he’s a braying self important jackass but he’s never put himself as anything but (see his documentary)

    But, it got me to thinking: how many of the people I call friends on the left who know I’m not a leftist will secretly or publicly cheer my death. Of course I’m in a dark blue city where all my friends are in the arts and I’ve been more or less ostracized from fraternization for about 8 years, getting the occasional pleasantry.

    But the microcosm was a facebook conversation between a person I had lent rent money to who blew it on other things (20 minutes later, status update “Republicans are heartless bastards”) and another friend who I helped pack to move because her husband had left her and no one wanted to “get in the middle of it” about how they always knew I was a terrible person after I expressed support for the Tea Party.

    I don’t think my other friends would save me from the mob either, and that thought gives me nightmares.

     

     

     

    • #30
    • August 27, 2019, at 4:32 PM PST
    • 5 likes
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