Does Lack of Empathy for the Poor Make You a Sociopath?In a scathingly sardonic (and somewhat humorous) column for The Guardian, Lucy Mangan explains why those in the political class, and anyone else who has trouble understanding poverty, are despicable human beings.
In a scathingly sardonic (and somewhat humorous) column for The Guardian, Lucy Mangan explains why those in the political class, and anyone else who has trouble understanding poverty, are despicable human beings whose actions “we should all be protected from.”
Last week, I took part in a comedy night to raise money for the charity Refuge, which supports women and children who have experienced domestic violence. It was a great night: partly because it raised several thousands of pounds for the cause; partly because it was sponsored by Benefit cosmetics, and the idea of a benefit being sponsored by Benefit pleased me greatly…Less uplifting, however, was the number of times I heard, when I mentioned Refuge to people, some variant of: “But what I don’t understand is – why don’t these women just leave?”
We don’t need, I think – I hope – to detail too extensively here the exact answer to that question…So, let’s concentrate instead on the lack of imagination, the lack of empathy inherent in that question. Because it shapes a lot of questions, and particularly those that animate government policy and…political discourse…Politicians, for example, are apparently completely baffled by Poor People’s propensity to do harmful things, often expensively, to themselves. (That’s politicians of all stripes – it’s just that the left wing wrings its hands and feels helplessly sorry for Them, while Tories are pretty sure They are just animals in need of better training.) The underclass eats fast food, drinks and smokes, and some of its more unruly members even take drugs. Why? Why?
Listen, I always want to say, if you’re genuinely mystified, answer me this: have you never had a really bad day and really wanted – nay, needed – an extra glass of Montrachet on the roof terrace in the evening?…You have? Why, splendid. Now imagine if your whole life were not just like that one bad day, but even worse. All the time. No let-up. No end in sight. No, you can’t go on holiday. No, you can’t cash anything in and retire. No. How would you react? No, you’ve not got a marketable skills set. You don’t know anyone who can give you a job. No. No.
—Posted by Natasha Hakimi ZapataWait, before you go…
If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.
Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.Support Truthdig
There are currently no responses to this article.
Be the first to respond.