The Pitfalls of "Love and Kindness": On the Challenges to Compassion/Pity as a Political Emotion
Martha Nussbaum s political theory of compassion offers an extensive and compelling study of the potential of employing compassionate emotions in the political realm to further social justice and societal love . In this article, two pitfalls of Nussbaum s affirming theory of a politics of compassion are highlighted: the problem of a dual-level ... hierarchisation and the magic of feeling compassion that potentially removes the subject of compassion from reality. I will argue that Hannah Arendt s thoughts on pity provide substantial challenges to a democratic theory of compassion in this respect. Following these theoretical reflections, I will turn to Hillary Clinton s 2016 US-American presidential election campaign, to her video ads Love and Kindness in particular, in order to provide fitting illustrations from current realpolitik for these specific pitfalls of the political employment of compassionate emotions.