The big health news this morning (at least according to Google) is that college kids today lack empathy. The linked article is pretty much the normal rant about video games and facebook. At the end, they have a link to the survey used to measure empathy.
After taking the survey (I came out as above average, btw, so I clearly feel your pain!) I realized that there were a few big problems with the methodology.
This survey doesn't matter how empathetic you are. It measures how empathetic you THINK you are compared to the people around you. If you live in a culture where everyone, even presidents, are expected to tear up and show they care, you'll see yourself as less empathetic.
A number of the questions aren't really about EMPATHY at all. They're about how to argue and defend your ideas. For instance, there are questions about trying to understand an opponents viewpoint, or about listening to all sides of a question.
Of course our youth score poorly on these marks-- they're taught from Kindergarten to accept the standard position on issues and to refrain from questioning at all costs. They've seen what happens if you try to understand the other side and test their arguments-- look at that law student from Harvard!
If are kids are less 'empathetic' it's because we've taught them to dampen their sense of justice, to ignore faulty arguments, and to equate crocodile tears with caring.
The cure to Solipsism is more Socrates. If they learn to question, think and judge, they'll be more able to understand where the other guy is coming from. As it is, our nation has taught them that political heterodoxy results from an evil heart. If you don't empathize with your enemies, it's easier to dismiss their arguments as pure malice.