California philosophy professor Troy Jollimore wrote, “These abilities are associated with the humanities and the arts: the ability to think critically; the ability to transcend local loyalties and to approach world problems as ‘a citizen of the world;’ and, finally, the ability to imagine sympathetically the predicament of another person.”
And that makes it easy to see why the contemporary American right wing loathes higher education almost instinctively.
The GOP base is frightened of any unfamiliar ideas that might threaten their world view, and their leaders prefer them ignorant and therefore easily manipulable. The right herds its angry base through jingoism and tribalism, by making sure they continue to fear “the Other.” They must never permit tribal loyalties to be transcended. Empathy must be crushed, because it would undermine the public’s willingness to wage unjustified wars and indifference to crushing economic inequality.
Empathy, by the way, is the actual basis of ethics and morality. One of the most elemental tests of ethics is how you and your society treat the stranger. The American right, hostile to empathy, must instead base its morality on unquestioned and contradictory Daddy-in-the-Sky rules that, after sufficient cherry-picking, finally reflect nothing but their own petty prejudices and power-lust.