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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Envy


Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance,
and the gospel of envy.
— Winston Churchill

Libertarian orthodoxy holds that envy underlies opponents' views.

Envy—one of the seven deadly sins—is irrational, imprudent, unseemly, vicious, and irredeemably wrong.

"Envy is pain at the good fortune of others," Aristotle said. It aims “to destroy the good fortune of another person,” Kant believed, and is "that passion which views with malignant dislike the superiority of those who are really entitled to all the superiority they possess," Adam Smith said.

Champions of wealth redistribution—those venal "socialists"—base their arguments for it on fairness. But libertarians will have none of it: socialists are simply craven and judgmental; and the people they want to help are just lazy bums and losers.

Nietzsche saw envy in the right light. He believed it was a good thing, because it signals, from deep down, what we really want in life. And we suppress it at our peril, because envy is powerful and will overwhelm us.

Philosopher John Rawls also warned that envy could overwhelm the envious—and society along with it. 

When the economic differences between the haves and have-nots become so insuperable the disadvantaged lose heart, society will crumble.

1 comment:

  1. Bob, per this and your last post "Camelot"; driving back from NY yesterday I happened to catch a radio interview of author Brooke Gladstone, about her book, "The Trouble with Reality: A Rumination on Moral Panic in Our Time". She has written, and talks about the dynamics and backstories behind Trump's rise, media manipulation, what the perception of reality is is doing to the American culture today. I think you will find it interesting in this context.

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