Nempathy

Nempathy is as good a coined word as any to describe the plague that is destroying our world—the lack of tolerance, the lack of empathy. The lack of love for our beautiful and only planet and all its many, varied inhabitants. We see it at its worst in the middle east, where over millennia various branches of Islam have seen fit to routinely murder the practitioners of other branches, and various militant groups today just murder anyone they can, a practice that shows no signs of abating.

Muslims are world class practitioners of revenge. They have been murdering each other for more than 1,200 years over the death of Mohammed’s grandson alone. But all sorts of things result in someone being murdered, which then becomes yet another excuse for revenge.

But the violence done to people’s lives is not limited to instances of murder. In the US, all sorts of ordinary people suffer at the hands of people who lack all empathy for others they perceive as “different” in some way, who think these others’ lives should be limited and controlled—by them. So we have red state governments passing law after law based on hate and intolerance—“nempathy”. Those “different” people do not deserve a normal life; they must be afflicted with difficulties we will invent and make into law.

Red state governments
pass law after law
based on hate and intolerance.

Business people are told it’s their right to withhold their services from gay customers, for example, because gay people violate their religious beliefs. But it’s not true and it’s not OK. It’s no different from withholding services to people of another race, a different religion, the poor, immigrants, and so on, all those things that have been fought over and found to be in violation of our fundamental principles and laws. Blatant discrimination and intolerance violates Jesus’ teachings, the Constitution, and every fiber of decent behavior. Hell, business is still just business. Medical people often treat people who give them no reason to like them; you don’t have to agree with a person’s politics to be decent. But in Republican strongholds legislators make laws to punish people who are not just exactly like they are. They even go so far as to attempt making “liberal” an illegal activity.

It is most disturbing that so many red-staters cannot seem to even imagine anyone even slightly different from themselves without falling into a fit of righteous rage fueled by intolerance. On an airplane recently, a Muslim woman was denied an unopened can of Coke because it supposedly could be turned into a weapon, whereas a man across the isle was given an unopened can of beer. That was egregious enough, but this yahoo also had vile and hateful words for her. It’s difficult to imagine improving societal conditions when so many loud and hateful people live such constricted and intolerant lives in a state of high dudgeon.

These people believe their own prejudices
were established as “normal” by God.
They have no idea how arrogant that is.

Many of these people are enraged because they presume that their particular prejudices were established as “normal” by God, and there can be no other way. They imagine they are the ones firmly in control, and they alone will determine the limits of all our lives. They have no idea how arrogant and hateful this sounds to the rest of us.

In many such cases of pointless rage, the objects of rage are often people who have no choice about who they are. Changing one’s skin color is less than practical. One does not choose to be gay. Having Mexican roots won’t change, and even changing from being poor is not really a choice. Nobody would choose to be who they are just so they could be hated. But these unchangeable things are used as excuses for discriminatory laws and hateful acts.

Christianity is a large religion, but Christians are a minority in the world, and in the US, European-Americans will very soon be a minority. In California we already are. White Christians seem to think they are still the controlling majority, the chosen people. Not so. We are just another of the brands of people who make up our great country.

The world will be improved
when we can tolerate all others
regardless of their
superficial characteristics.

In some respects, humankind is improving on its record of violence. Europe, at least, no longer participates in the endless wars that shifted borders and changed rulers century after century, but which nobody ever really won. Torture and cruelty are no longer the worldwide norm, even though both still exist.

But most of the conflicts we have arise from intolerance, from bad attitude, from religious fundamentalism. From nempathy, and a failure to understand that the best people aren’t necessarily like oneself, and you yourself look “different” to some people. The world will be radically improved when we can all tolerate everyone else as worthy of respect regardless of our superficial characteristics.

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