John Tamny Is Evil and Stupid

John TamnyI just watched last night’s The Daily Show, and even though I don’t feel up to writing anything, I have to say something. Forbes columnist John Tamny was interviewed by Jessica Williams on the SNAP (food stamps) program. Okay, I understand: conservatives hate the poor because they are the poor. Whether they know it or not, conservatives believe a long ago destroyed myth that the morally superior are rich and that if people are poor, they deserve it. So the fact that Tamny clearly thinks this is no big deal.

What bothered me was his justification for getting rid of SNAP. He started, “I think food stamps are cruel… I don’t think anyone is happy if they are reliant on someone else…” Okay. That’s a standard conservative line that is stuck in the past, way before Maslow’s 1943 paper on the hierarchy of needs. But whatever. He’s a horrible person. He’s a conservative. There are lots of them around.

But then Williams asked him about hungry children. What should we do about them? This is where I lost it. He said, “I think if people were literally starving, you would see a massive outpouring of charity.” Got that? I really have no idea how obvious it is, so I’m going to lay it out for you:

  1. It is cruel to allow people to be reliant on others.
  2. Hungry people should be reliant on others for charity.

Let’s take this home, because John Tamny clearly hasn’t thought about this at all. Charity from the government is cruel but charity from anyone else is not. So when he says that food stamps are cruel, what he means is that they are cruel to him. He doesn’t want to pay for them. It has absolutely nothing to do with the self-respect of the poor.

John Tamny is one of the most evil men in the world. Sadly, he’s also a dime a dozen. Why Forbes (which is not a totally awful magazine) would pay him anything is beyond me. There should be laws against being vile in such a public and stupid way. I wish there were a way to exclude him from “polite” society. But I suspect that among his friends and coworkers, what he said on The Daily Show is not even embarrassing; it’s what everyone just knows.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “John Tamny Is Evil and Stupid

  1. 1: Charity from individuals is more demeaning than charity from government. Our family used to get food baskets from church. They came with sermons from the person who dropped them off, saying if my mom prayed more, the food wouldn’t be needed. As much as my mom hated the idea of being on government assistance, she signed up for it rather than take handouts from THOSE assholes.

    2: Since when is the conservative mantra that the rich are morally superior a disproven myth? Morals mean whatever it is convenient for them to mean. If the rich have photo-ops volunteering in soup kitchens and give money to arts foundations, that’s morally superior. If the rich keep all their money and only volunteer as consultants for investment firms, that’s morally superior (it helps the all-good, all-wise market get wiser and gooder.)

    Of course, under any human standard of morality, the rich are swine. Under conservative standards of morality, nothing the rich do disproves their moral superiority. Similarly for the poor. These are people who thought in the ’50s that a beaten wife should have made her hubby happier. Now, I believe they’d hold that sexuality (and contraception!) are rewards only the rich deserve. The poor, I guess, should be neutered.

  2. 1. Even without sermons, it is more humiliating. Think of two friends where one is much more wealthy. In general, they will both pay their own way because the poorer guy has a sense of dignity that would be harmed if he depended on the charity of his richer friend.

    But check out this Media Matters’ article:

    [url=http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/12/18/the-daily-show-is-not-the-first-time-forbes-joh/197337][i]The Daily Show[/i] Is Not The First Time Forbes’ John Tamny Has Condemned "Cruel" Food Stamps[/url]

    John Tamny believes that people on any kind of public assistance should be publicly shamed. I have little doubt that the man has never wanted for anything. (See below about empathy.)

    2. There is a natural human tendency to believe that the rich and powerful (And attractive!) are better than the rest of us. It goes along with our social nature. But it has been shown to be wrong. In fact, as I’ve reported here, the [url=http://franklycurious.com/?itemid=6157]rich show less empathy[/url] than the poor and are also more likely to cheat on games. That’s the myth I’m talking about. But most conservatives absolutely believe in it. It is their Santa Claus.

  3. @martin – I’d forgotten that! Conservatives always come up with great names for their "Fuck the poor!" philosophy. [i]And don’t think I don’t know who you are![/i]

  4. Read the "MM" article. What a colossal dick. Also, what a fool. If he says things like this all the time, what did he expect would happen when he went on "Daily Show?" It’s not like they "gotcha!"ed him. And, Lord, he doesn’t even seem to look at Williams; maybe he’s casting his eyes to the invisible cue cards Satan’s holding up.

    You’re right, receiving charity from the powerful is demeaning even if they mean well. That’s the plot of "Passage To India," in a way, and another reason vast inequality is so toxic. It’s almost impossible for people from hugely different power levels to maintain friendships. The more powerful will always feel a bit resented (and blame that on the weaker’s inadequacies.) The weaker will always feel a bit condescended to (and blame that on the more powerful’s acceptance of an immoral reward system.)

    I suppose it’s possible to maintain such a relationship, but the only ones I know who have done so maintain contact with their old friends on rare occasions only, like holidays.

  5. @JMF – I think he absolutely doesn’t care. He is completely comfortable with his beliefs. He is certain he is right.

    I noticed that about his eyes too. He looks into the air, like he’s looking at the ceiling or something.

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