Nigel Barber wrote an article for the Huffington Post several weeks ago entitled “Why Liberal Hearts Bleed and Conservatives Don’t.” In my March 10th post on this website, I responded to that article by choosing to focus more on what I perceived Barber to be saying about how a liberal thinks than on what a compassionate heart he has. The title of that post was “What is Mud-Think?” In using this term, I was pointing out how that bleeding heart often affects how a liberal thinks. A “bleeding heart” of course refers to a person’s inclination and ability to express empathy and be kind to others. Mr. Barber of course is proud of the label “bleeding hearts” because he would have us believe liberals are compassionate to others and conservatives are not. This attack on conservatives should not be ignored, hence the reason for writing this post.
First of all, let me clear one important matter up. Speaking only for myself, when I use the term “bleeding hearts,” I don’t mean to suggest that bleeding hearts are not what we should all have and that compassion for others is a weakness; I am implying that these people who express compassion for those they believe are downtrodden in our society, seem to be playing to the audience in putting on a show of compassion. I say this because their compassion does not seem to be generally motivated by their conscience to care about others; it seems to be reserved only for the downtrodden, and, as such, is selective. In expressing their outrage against Trump and his entire administration and refusal to acknowledge any good that has been accomplished since his election, they infer anyone who is not on their side is either evil, stupid or both. Anyone who pays any attention to what liberals post on Facebook and read the memes they post like Barber’s article, can surely see the mockery, the ridicule and the reprimand in their arrogant tone of responding to what anyone posts which opposes what they believe. In short, liberals seem to show little empathy for the people they attack so aggressively. This is why I have accused them of selective compassion.
Second of all, another, most important point needs to be cleared up. We need to understand that all of us (including conservatives) have a God-given conscience to love others, and, to that extent, all of our hearts bleed to some extent. Liberals (the majority of whom claim not to believe in a personal God) of course apparently want to own the label of having bleeding hearts because their only religion is based on “when I do good, I feel good.”
It really all comes down to the person’s motive for doing good. In Dostoevsky’s The Brothers of Karamazov, the character Father Zosima responds to a lady who said she feared she was unable to “actively love” because her motives are often wrong. Father Zosima recalled what a doctor had confessed to him previously. “I love mankind, but I am amazed at myself: the more I love mankind in general, the less I love people in particular, that is, individually, as separate persons. In my dreams, I often went so far as to think passionately of serving mankind…Yet I am incapable of living in the same room with anyone even for two days, this I know from experience. As soon as someone is there, close to me, his personality oppresses my self-esteem and restricts my freedom (italics mine)…The more I hate people individually, the more ardent becomes my love for humanity as a whole.” Father Zosima concludes by saying, “I am sorry that I cannot say anything more comforting, for active love is a harsh and fearful thing compared with love in dreams. Love in dreams thirsts for immediate action, quickly performed, and with everyone watching (italics mine). Indeed, it will go as far as the giving of one’s own life, provided it does not take too long but is soon over, as on stage and everyone is looking on and praising italics mine). Whereas active love is labor and perseverance.” Philosopher Eric Hoffer supported this point in concluding that excessive compassion is a gesture. It is done for effect.
I don’t mean to imply that all liberals are phonies; but it’s important for those who go out of their way to show us their bleeding hearts examine their motive for doing so. Do they want to prove, as Barber suggests, that they are more compassionate than conservatives?That ludicrous and blatant attempt to divide us isn’t a very compassionate act, is it?
We all need to question our motive for caring for others because there is a great difference between love in dreams and love in action, between the ideal of love as Barber attaches to liberals and the display of it to all, not just the downtrodden.