Envy me not, nor me you
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house… or anything that is your neighbor’s.” – Exodus 20:17, ESV Bible
While the “envy your neighbors” card has been played often by politicians for several decades, it seems the current class warfare dialog has gone mainstream this political season. Talking about who has what is the Washington rage, despite the fact that members of Congress are quite wealthy and have been made so by holding the reins of power.
Also, the rules of Washington ensure that the holders of the power are not subject to the same rules as the masses. The people pointing out the inequities of life are themselves treated to different health-care and retirement programs than the masses. Is it envy that I say these things? No.
It is central to political speak that in our society everyone has a different amount of resources. Some people always have more than others. Some citizens work harder and or smarter and are rewarded for those actions. For every person who inherited wealth, a thousand created it in their own generation. But that does not get votes; what gets votes is class warfare.
Backlash against people who have worked hard
Rather than celebrate that a candidate for president, without being compelled, gave about $3 million to charity last year, the donations are met with, “They should have given more.” Really? Someone gives $3 million without being compelled to do so and it is not enough for some envious people? Sad.
In the political class warfare it is hard to imagine a country like ours without envy. Being aware and attracted to the possession of others is the hallmark of our nation; the driving force in our tax code. We refer to our envy as to the issue of fairness; it is not fair one person has more possessions than another. This is still envy and it is very dysfunctional to our society.
Envy has taken over our culture to the point that there is a backlash against people who have worked hard all of their life and have accumulated possessions. Regardless of what one person has that another does not, be it a nicer house, a better car or a debt-free existence, those who have more are more likely battered by the political elite. Example: Tiger Woods.
When I see golfer Tiger Woods I do not feel any envy for him or his possessions. Yes, he is a much better golfer than I. Tiger has a plane and yacht and palatial house. I suspect he does not balance his checkbook himself or a myriad of other things I do, but I consider myself much wealthier than him.
I walk in crowds without trouble while he has dozens of photographers who will do everything possible to take his picture at all times. For him a nice relaxing walk is out because of the attention. He is trapped in his own world without any chance to experience a life without those intrusions. More to the point, there are many who say that since Tiger Woods has millions of dollars the government should just confiscate most of the money since he has more money than other people. He is the subject of envy trash-talking.
But they do not take more
Where things get sticky in our world is the progressive nature of our tax code, whereby, if someone works longer and harder or smarter, the government takes more of their possessions since they possess more than those people who work less or not at all. Again, the fairness code comes into the discussion — since someone has more they should give more. Really? Why? They do not take more; in fact, at a flat rate they give more automatically to the government. So why give more as a percentage?
Our nation spends much of its time calculating who has more than another and how to take the legal possessions of one person and give to another for the purpose of politics. The shows on television are constructed to inspire envy, which is why I do not watch them.
Nothing good comes from the political envy with which someone votes for the person who says they will take the legitimate property of one citizen and give it to another for the purpose of votes.
Swickard is co-host of the radio talk show News New Mexico, which airs from 6 to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday on a number of New Mexico radio stations and through streaming. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
8 comments so far. Scroll down to submit your own comment.
Leave a response
You must be logged in to post a comment.