Letters to the Editor

William Conner: No empathy for inequality

Regarding the Jan. 27 column “ Inequality abounds as empathy retreats”: The story of Nicholas Kristof’s high school buddy should invoke empathy among many and sympathy among all, but where is the link between those feelings and inequality?

Kristof strains to connect them by suggesting there is an empathy gap for “(l)ots of Americans” – read, those at the opposite end of the success ladder that Kevin Green was unable to climb.

Inequality is endemic to the human condition. True, a few are born with silver spoons, but for the vast remainder, all we can expect is equal opportunity, not equal result. Opportunity was there for Kevin, hidden though it might have been. He certainly deserves sympathy, but should those who succeeded in life empathize with him?

To link Kevin Green’s case with growing inequality is stretching it in order to make Kristof’s evident point: Inequality is bad and, therefore, government must do something about it, a path the current administration is on.

Nice thought, but futile in the end because there will always be Kevin Greens.

William Conner, Cary

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