Down with empathy

When you see a thought piece entitled "Against Empathy," it's easy to believe the author is guilty of trolling in search of clicks. But Paul Bloom assembles an unexpectedly engaging argument, and raises some points worth chewing on. 

Most people see the benefits of empathy as akin to the evils of racism: too obvious to require justification. I think this is a mistake. I have argued elsewhere that certain features of empathy make it a poor guide to social policy. Empathy is biased; we are more prone to feel empathy for attractive people and for those who look like us or share our ethnic or national background. And empathy is narrow; it connects us to particular individuals, real or imagined, but is insensitive to numerical differences and statistical data.

I tend toward the belief that one of the problems with modern society is the lack of prompts and opportunities to facilitate empathy, so this article was like a broadside against my way of seeing the world. Interesting stuff.