I 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:
- It is cruel to allow people to be reliant on others.
- 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.