The Politics Of Envy

This is a repeat of a post. Since it came up in conversation the other day, and it is still pertinent, I’m repeating it once again.


“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.

president-obama-blocks-sopa-bill3In 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.

What can we do to turn this ship around?  I don’t know.  Instinct tells me that serious changes are needed in our public school systems.  Civics and History need to be taught.  Our students must learn how our country was founded and why.  That won’t be enough, though.  Moral decay is rotting society from the inside out.  Personal responsibility is a foreign concept to a large chunk of our population.

This entry was posted in History, Politics, The Culture, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Politics Of Envy

  1. Lucille says:

    Such a good post. Thanks for sharing it again.

    By the way, I loved it when Bill used to dress in his beautiful suits.

    Here’s an interesting article re envy and jealousy…”What is the Difference Between Envy and Jealousy?” By Richard Smith PhD

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lburg says:

    Ahhh. If I am correct in assuming the original date of this post was Pre-President Trump, then the outlook changes significantly.

    Our President is not just a man who is single handedly bringing our Republic back from the brink, perhaps even more importantly, he is a man who is teaching Americans how to be Americans again. He is more than a governmental leader. He is a Dream Leader.

    No more bowing, no more apologizing, no more making excuses for personal or national exceptionalism. Dream Big? Do the hard thing because it’s the right thing? Do what you say you’re going to do and do it better than anyone else? Don’t like something – go out and fix it!

    The President of the United States says, in effect,
    “You Envy me? I know.”
    “You Envy me? Good!”
    “You Envy me? SO?”
    “You Envy Me? You know young man, young woman – you can be me if you dream big enough and work harder and smarter than anyone else. You could be me and I hope you are.”

    “You could be me and I hope you are” is something that an entire generation has never heard. And now that they’ve heard it, it will be difficult to forget.


    • stella says:

      Envy is a corrosive emotion. Envy of rich people – including President Trump – is dangerous. Such people believe that what belongs to rich people should belong to them.


      • Lburg says:

        I agree Stella. But when was the last time we had a leader, a real leader, who was willing to lead people to their own greatness? A leader who is willing at great personal cost to bring new hope to our country’s citizens?

        I guess what I’m saying is that for me, Envy is nothing more than the soul deep despair over the loss of hope. (I can never hope to achieve this, so I’m angry that so-and-so has what (s)he has VS I can do that too!)

        This President has brought back not just hope and permission to dream, but also the mechanisms for reinforcing the hopes and dreams.


  3. Lucille says:

    Along the lines of comparing ourselves to others or competing against them and enjoying the process not merely a potential outcome, this just struck me as hilarious…am I bad?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lovely says:

      Your post reminded me of Stan Wawrinka, he is a top seed tennis player but had never won a Grand Slam before 2014. He got a tattoo which is a Samuel Beckett quote
      “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

      I said when he got the tattoo that he would win a Grand Slam, he has won three since getting it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. John Denney says:

    To hear the Left talk, you’d think Greed is the only deadly sin.


  5. jeans2nd says:

    Explained Socialism to Obstreperous GDaughter when Bernie was big. “You own it. I want it. I use gubmint to take it from you.”

    OG, having her first real job, real car, and real money, understood immediately, particularly when asked for her precious car.

    So would beg to differ on the “destroy” part above. Using “destroy” only gives them an opening to argue. Telling them that the gubmint is coming for your car, or whatever is precious to them at the time, seems to work better, imo. That “ownership” part really seems to hit home.

    Great post, Stella, thanks for the reminder of how blessed we are now to finally have an opening to the way back home.

    Liked by 1 person

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