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Are free marketeers sociopaths?

How important is empathy, and do conservatives, libertarians, and other free marketeers lack it? Does that make us sociopaths?

Terrence Watson - July 24, 2008

This picture of Gloria Nunez and her daughter has been making the rounds on the Internet. National Public Radio covered the story last week of a mother and daughter who live in poverty near Toledo, Ohio. Rising gas and food prices have made it harder for the Nunez family to meet their basic needs, like eating.


In their reaction to the NPR piece, right-wing bloggers Kathy Shaidle and Gateway Pundit both pointed out that the mother and daughter captured in this picture are, well, kind of fat, even though NPR made it sound like they were on the verge of starvation.

For example, Gateway Pundit wrote "They could probably do just fine with a few bags less of groceries, but that's just me. A little walking probably wouldn't hurt either." Shaidle went a little further:

"Be honest. You don't pity these "poor people" and their ilk, any more than I do. You pretend to, because other idiots told
you that you were supposed to. But you don't. You feel what I do: contempt and disgust."

Commentators at Gateway Pundit were also quick to suggest (without cause, in my opinion) that Gloria Nunez and her daughter were probably illegal aliens (something to do with the last name, I guess.)

On his left-wing blog, Dr. Dawg wrote a lengthy post in which he pointed out the positive correlation between poverty and obesity, one that is rooted in the fact that poor people (at least in the West) end up eating cheaper, starchy foods that add on the pounds.

Near the end of his post, Dawg harshly criticized right-wing bloggers for heaping abuse on Gloria Nunez and her daughter: "These wingnuts are for all the world like stupid little kids in a schoolyard, aren't they? "Nyah, nyah, you're a fat spic!" They just never appear to miss an opportunity to ridicule others; they only seem to be happy, in fact, when there are unfortunates to be mocked.

More articles by Terrence Watson