In the opening minutes of the movie The Accountant the mom and dad of an autistic child disagree about how to raise him.
The mom prefers to place the child in an institution where he will be protected from the triggers that cause his extreme, potentially self-harming, behaviors, and where he will be gently coaxed in his training and education in a way that as much as possible avoids them.
This begs the question, what is care?
Is it the mom’s desire to protect her son from adversity?
Or is it the dad’s desire to prepare his child to be self-sufficient in the real world where safe spaces are not always available and protectors are not always present, and where the potential for harm always IS present?
Which parent is more compassionate?
Is it the mom who wants to avoid all suffering, including her own?
Or is it the dad who chooses to set aside his own heartbreak and place his child’s needs above his own by equipping him with the strength and skills that will allow him to cope with and overcome any suffering he does encounter?
Whose moral matrix is better? The mom’s or the dad’s? Which one is “right” and which is “wrong”?
Which moral matrix is the “normal” one? Which one is the mainstream baseline such that deviations from it are thought to be abnormal, aberrant, outliers that must be studied, understood, and treated, corrected, cured?
Academic social science has made its choice. It operates within the mom’s moral matrix. The questions it asks, the tests it designs, the analyses it performs, and the conclusions it draws – all of it – rest in the fundamental assumption, the ground truth, the sacred value, that “care” and “compassion” are by definition the mom’s outlook. It is by this standard that liberals and liberalism are judged to “care” more, and to be more “compassionate” than the Anti-Fragile constrained vision of conservatives and conservatism.
And so has Western culture as a whole. It is from the perspective of the mom’s moral matrix, and it is by her standards of care and compassion, that Western culture understands, evaluates, and judges, social thought, behavior, and people; and concludes that conservatives don’t “care” and are cruel and heartless.
It is by following that standard that Western culture has arrived at the situation described in The Coddling of The American Mind, where feelings enjoy primacy over facts and evidence, good intentions are more important than results, and where even certain THOUGHTS are forbidden because they might cause mild discomfort, and through which we fail to equip our children with the basic knowledge and skills necessary to cope with actual reality.
The notion that liberals “care” more or have more “compassion” than conservatives is dead-assed wrong. It is upside-down thinking that places priorities, and reality, in the exact wrong order.