I have run into several comments/posts/videos this past week that reminded me of this opinion piece that I originally posted in July of 2012. It still applies. Envy is used politically by the left to create an atmosphere of resentment and hate. It is VERY IMPORTANT that we do not fall into the trap.
“The rich should pay their fair share.”
…”when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody.”
“Nobody’s ideas or effort are really that much more innately valuable than that of their peers. You can, however, use your abilities to steal that much money.”
”The central lie here being getting rich through hard, honest work. I don’t think anyone has ever gotten rich without the determination of screwing other people out of their money.”
“Romney never created any jobs. He only created wealth for his partners. There is a big difference.”
“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
I am very afraid that our country – the Republic where Capitalism has reigned all these many years – is being lost to Socialism. Statements such as those quoted above are easy to find, and they come from both our politicians in Washington DC and the average guy on the street.
In 1966, the German sociologist Helmut Schoeck wrote Envy: A Theory of Social Behavior. He argued that envy is the root cause of socialism and compulsory wealth redistribution.
“You’ve got something I want. I can’t have it, so I’m going to destroy what you have. I don’t want anyone to have it unless I can have it.”
This is the attitude of the individual who doesn’t want to lift himself up but, instead, wants to pull everyone else down to his level.
The politician who calls for extortionate taxes on the rich or on corporations, even though he knows that the wealth of the rich is re-invested to provide jobs and tools to the less rich, is an example of the politics of envy. The politician would rather that the economy have low growth or no growth rather than allow the rich person to retain most of the income that is produced by his capital.
In Obama Wants Fairness More than Jobs (American Thinker), Karin McQuillan says,
“In a debate with Hillary, Obama explained that even if raising taxes on the rich brought in lower revenues — as it usually does — he would prefer it to more revenue because it is “fair.” To Joe the Plumber Obama explained that “spreading the wealth around” was the reason to raise taxes on a hardworking plumber. Joe was building up a quarter-million-dollar-a-year small plumbing business — Obama’s definition of the selfish rich.”
As Winston Churchill famously said, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
The most troubling thing about this is that many of our fellow citizens (and non-citizens) agree with this way of thinking. We have almost reached the point where the takers outnumber the donors. This is a shame not only for the donors, because the takers are losing their souls, and don’t even realize it. An envious man cannot move ahead in a positive way – he is frozen – and therefore has robbed himself of the self-satisfaction that the successful man knows very well.
Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas said of Envy: “Envy according to the aspect of its object is contrary to charity, whence the soul derives its spiritual life… Charity rejoices in our neighbor’s good, while envy grieves over it.”
A big problem in the United States is that the majority of our citizens today have never really experienced poverty, or even much deprivation. The poor in our country are the richest “poor” in the world. The social safety net has been killing us with kindness. Since there is no sense that a man prospers through his work, with the resulting sense of pride and accomplishment, there is only resentment for those who have excelled.
In Nelson W. Aldrich Jr.’s Old Money, he states that “…envy is more or less than desire. It begins with the almost frantic sense of emptiness inside oneself, as if the pump of one’s heart were sucking on air. One has to be blind to perceive the emptiness, of course, but that’s what envy is, a selective blindness. Invidia, Latin for envy, translates as “nonsight”,” and Dante had the envious plodding along under cloaks of lead, their eyes sewn shut with leaden wire. What they are blind to is what they have, God-given and humanly nurtured, in themselves”.
We have a nation where many of our citizens do not know that the United States of America is a Republic, much less know what that means. They do not understand the free enterprise system. Saddest of all, they do not realize that it is within them to dream, and realize that dream in this great country.