Liberal Compassion on Trial: Review: William Voegeli’s ‘The Pity Party’

In Pity Party: A Mean-Spirited Diatribe Against Liberal Compassion, William Voegeli takes a careful look at the principles of care and kindness that are at the heart of modern liberalism’s self-conception. In a straightforward style, he picks apart the relationship between liberals and empathy.

Voegeli explains the dangers of liberals’ insistence on being on the “right side of history.” He gives examples of failed policies born out of the liberal need to feel like they are doing something for those with whom they empathize. One of the most persuasive examples Voegeli presents is the $180 billion Head Start program, the federally funded pre-school program designed to prepare children from impoverished families for elementary school.