Monday, January 7, 2013

When Envy is All the Rage

Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. Winston Churchill

What pushes the masses into the camp of socialism is, even more than the illusion that socialism will make them richer, the expectation that it will curb all those who are better than they themselves are. . . . There will no longer be any room left for innovators and reformers. Ludwig Von Mises

Envy, as I understand it, is the spiritual-psychological state where the individual hates the good for being good. In other words, the envious person evaluates an attribute, virtue, thing, or certain circumstances as “good” and “desirable,” and then, upon seeing this “good” in others, he hates it, because he does not possess it.  
The envious man does not envy people who possess virtues, material possessions or circumstances that he does not value. If you are a genius and I place very little value on intelligence, I am not going to envy your brains. However, if I am being eaten up with envy, as I do value intelligence, I am going to mock, castigate, and condemn you.
Most of us have witnessed the bashing of the good for being good. Take your intelligent coworker, for example. How often is she ridiculed for her brains? O, don’t get me wrong. The envious will never come out and say that they hate her intelligence. No, what they will say are things such as, “Isn’t she uppity today,” or “Don’t you just hate pretense? Can you say POSER?” And if she commits the unpardonable sin of knowing she is smart, the envious will label her as “arrogant.” “It’s cool she is smart ... she just shouldn’t flaunt it, the arrogant snot. One day, she’ll get what’s coming to her.”
Envious people just looooove seeing The Mighty fall. For them, there are few pleasures greater than seeing successful people experience public failure. They search the news outlets daily for such delicious spectacles. “I knew it. I could have predicted it. Not so high and mighty, after all.”

Facing Down Envy
Given that envy is all the rage today, we are often confronted with it and wonder how we should respond. When we read of successful business owners having their reputations destroyed by the media and politicians, we wonder if the better part of valor is to keep our heads down. “No matter what you do, don’t let ‘em see your success/ achievements/ wealth/ happiness or you’re dead! And, if they do see it, apologize for it!” While tact and wisdom are paramount in all circumstances, the problem with cowardice is that it only feeds the rage of the envious.
It is time for men and women who love what is good to say so. We should publicly praise achievement, success, and virtue whenever and wherever we see it. In the words of St Paul, we must give honor to whom honor is due.

All hail the producers, for they are creating this nation’s wealth!

Give praise and applause to the successful entrepreneur, for he or she is inventing better and cheaper products for all of us!

Full Throated HUR-rahs to every individual that is engaging their intellect, their talents and skills, and their steely determination toward being the best employer or employee that they can be!

Highest Regards to virtuous men and women who refuse to sacrifice their integrity to the media, the market place or to government officials!

May each of you live long and prosper!

(This was taken from an essay I wrote in 2009 and is the beginning of a series of posts over the next 2 weeks that will address Envy and the Elitists.)

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2013

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