Homeless people "want to wander around and live in tents on the sidewalk" says Fox News' Jesse Watters

Originally published at: Jesse Watters Says Homelessness is a Lifestyle Choice


I’m really tired of cruel assholes having bully pulpits.


In addition to saying homelessness is a lifestyle choice, he also suggests addiction is a choice. Absolutely clueless and heartless.


he is not. thats the point.


In Watters’ world, the homeless aren’t victims of circumstance, but architects of their own downfall, undeserving of empathy or assistance

It’s the world of modern conservatism since at least 1980, in which smug victim-blaming is a core value. It’s Norman Vincent Peale and The Secret transformed into public policy.


Yep… he knows the facts about homelessness and about drug addiction. He’s not ignorant. He’s a cruel asshole.


It goes back quite a bit further than that, the Victorian english concepts of deserving and undeserving poor people (distilling it to some moral failure, not a failure of society) has dogged protestant countries for a while. AFAICT capitalism has been its primary torchbearer (which is why you see less of it in places where socialism got a foothold).


Wait, are unconventional fashion choices and having kids via a bunch of different partners considered “bad” now? This is going to be devastating for conservative heroes like Donald Trump and Elon Musk.


To evangelicals, the biblical Jesus must be the AntiChrist.


thats for the betterment of humanity; rich/conservative means good genes.


So “drug addiction exists, therefore housing must be affordable”?


Very true. My comment was very U.S.-centric, not taking into account the inherent awfulness of the Tories and the toxic Protestant Work Ethic.

While we’re at it, we might as well bring Shaw’s Alfred Doolittle into the conversation. In the mind of someone like Watters, the Pygmalion character was a poverty-stricken dustman because he was immoral to begin with. The truth, as Shaw points out, is that he did awful things (like effectively sell his daughter for a fiver) because it’s the lack of money that has forced him to do immoral things to get it in order to survive. He’s not a pleasant character for the audience, any more than a ranting and raving unhoused person is a welcome sight to someone on a modern city street; but both exist as such largely because they’re part of a society predicated on inequality and indifference to those who were born into or fell into misfortune “in the wrong way”.

"I’m one of the undeserving poor: that’s what I am. Think of what that means to a man. It means that he’s up agen middle class morality all the time. If there’s anything going, and I put in for a bit of it, it’s always the same story: “You’re undeserving; so you can’t have it.” Buy my needs is as great as the most deserving widow’s that ever got money out of six different charities in one week for the death of the same husband. I don’t need less than a deserving man: I need more. I don’t eat less hearty than him; and I drink a lot more. I want a bit of amusement, cause I’m a thinking man. I want cheerfulness and a song and a band when I feel low. Well, they charge me just the same for everything as they charge the deserving. What is middle class morality? Just an excuse for never giving me anything.”


As a former rough sleeping homeless person, but still homeless “on paper”…

the walking dead andrew licoln GIF by The Paley Center for Media


As someone in recovery, who works as a recovery coach with the sober living community I got sober at, the percentage of folks who suffer from addiction and choose their addiction and homelessness versus people who fall through the cracks because insurance runs out/social services are a joke (even in my blue state)/family won’t/can’t help is tiny. I’ve been a coach since 2018, paid coach/counselor since I got my CADC in 2020, so while I don’t have decades in this world (I got sober in 2014), I’ve been around enough to know what he’s talking about is absolute pure garbage. Most of us that suffer from addiction don’t want this, we’d absolutely get rid of it from us in an instant if we could…but that’s not how this works.

Unfortunately sometimes addiction is too powerful and the person does become homeless, and dies from the disease, but I guarentee you they don’t choose that. Since I’ve come into the rooms, I can honestly only think of two people that chose to knowingly use to the point of their deaths (oddly enough, both were from rich families and had every advantage when it came to beating this Hell). The rest…well sometimes you just can’t win against the asshole that lives in the back of your head.

ETA: don’t get me started on his absolute trash opinion of addiction being a moral failing. He damn well knows better, or if he doesn’t, he’s more of an ignorant clown than I’ve suspected (I assume he’s playing a clown for the paycheck, which is what I assume of most of Fox’s on-air “talent”)


Jeebus H, he said everything except “so we should exterminate them”. Honestly, fascist, Nazi like thinking.


People come into our facility all the time in altered states of consciousness for various reasons, many of them houseless. Probably 98% don’t want to be that way, but it’s that small percentage that treat it as a license to be assholes that everyone a certain segment points to and says “See?!?”


These are people that have failed in life, and they’re on their deathbed."

Fuck you, Nazi.



“You can’t coddle antisocial behavior,” he smirked, remarkably unaware of the irony of his argument. "You can’t subsidize antisocial behavior. You have to stigmatize it. "

Okay. I call upon cable TV providers to move Fox “News” from their basic cable tiers into an added fee premium channel. That way people like me aren’t subsidizing the antisocial behavior of assholes like Jesse Watters.


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