Repubs Finally Waking Up on Envy

It’s about time Repubs started stating the obvious about Dems.

Mitt Romney said that bashing Wall Street and the top 1 percent is largely driven by envy.

While few people admit to envy, ask practically any psychologist and they’ll tell you that envy is one of the most prevalent and powerful of human emotions. Even Repubs harbor envy but they’re better about keeping it in check.

Of course, the Washington Post writer who reported Romney’s comments is skeptical that envy is a motivating factor. But want evidence of envy? Why, see the Washington Post: “That Wonderful Woman! Oh, How I Loathe Her” by Ann Hornaday.

Next time there’s a counter-protest at an Occupy Wall Street event, the counter-protesters should set up a booth offering free couseling to OWSers on envy management. Envy is a terrible thing for one’s mental and physical health, you know. Yes, it’s a medical fact that too much envy and resentment lead to diseases like cancer and heart disease!

The New Demagogues

Have you ever come across people who trumpet statistics saying that Jews have a disproportionate share of the wealth? Those statistics may be right, but usually the person spouting them is prejudiced against Jews.

What they do is tout certain statistics without providing the right context or explanation, such as the fact that Jewish parents really emphasize education more so than people of other religions, resulting in their children having higher incomes when they become adults. They should be admired, not vilified. It’s a similar situation with Asian-Americans.

Now, media outlets, as well as President Obama and many others, are trumpeting statistics showing that in recent decades, the top 1 percent’s income has risen much faster than that of the other 99 percent.

To tout statistics like this without providing the right context is like anti-Semitic people touting statistics showing that Jews have a disproportionate share of the wealth. The people in the media and the President are prejudiced against the rich.

Just as the demagogues of old whipped up envy, prejudice, and hate against the Jews, President Obama and his enablers are doing the same against the rich.

(For context regarding the top 1 percent statistics, click here.)

 

LiveScience Should Examine the Science of Envy, Using Itself as a Research Subject

Here’s a comment I wrote in response to a LiveScience article titled “5 Facts about the Wealthiest 1 Percent”:

“Hey LiveScience, have you ever thought about writing an article about the science of envy?

For manifestations of envy, you could point to this very article. It plays on people’s envy. It clearly implies and assumes that rich people getting richer is an inherently bad thing. But what if the rich get richer while the lower-income groups get richer as well (which by and large was happening until the Obama years)? That’s a good thing. Only the envious would think it’s a bad thing. And envy is an immature and destructive emotion; one should not base public policy on it.

And by the way, it is probably true that wealth inequality is rising. But wealth inequality is mainly a function of inequality of education. Our educational system is breaking down and our dropout rate is high, resulting in millions of uneducated, unemployable, and low-income people. And our lax immigration policies are resulting in millions upon millions of uneducated people arriving here from the third world who can’t even speak English. Do you expect them to be instantly rich or middle-class as soon as they cross the border? Of course not.

So you should have discussed the main factor that is causing rising income inequality, namely inequality of skill levels.

The ironic thing is that people on the left wail the loudest about inequality, yet it is they, through their support of near-open borders, of education-stifling teachers’ unions, and of job-destroying anti-business policies that give rise to worsening inequality in the first place.

Meantime, hey Natalie Wolchover (author of the article). I’m curious. Are you an envier? From the tone of this article, it appears so.”

And here’s a comment I posted in response to another LiveScience article titled, “Who Has the Money and Power?”

“Hey LiveScience, you should run an article on the science of envy. For manifestations thereof, you could point to your own articles such as this one, which really play on people’s sense of envy. The material here conveys the false impression that the rich are sinister and conspiring to hold the rest of us down. The graphs are really biased, too. Did you know that the top 1 percent’s income has actually substantially declined during the last few years, during the anemic economy? Nah – that wouldn’t jibe with the agenda you want to promote.

It’s also telling that in your race chart, you left out Asians, who have the highest income and net worth. I guess that would have been politically incorrect, eh? After all, you want to make it look like the evil white folks have all the money and power. Not that there’s anything wrong with Asians being the wealthiest race — they should be admired for that.”

A Little Bit of England Here in America

Excerpt from a letter to the editor, Flying magazine, December 2009, in which the writer quotes a friend who speaks of the “English disease”:

“A kid in the U.S. sees someone in a fine car and says ‘Someday, I’m going to have one of those!’ An English kid sees the same thing and says, ‘I’m going to drag that bloke down to MY level'”.

Alas, the virus unfortunately must have made its way across the Atlantic. Because a number of Americans evidently have been stricken with the disease. Multitudes of them are agitating for a cap on the pay of the envied financial industry executives. Even more alarming, the English disease even has infected most of the people in the highest levels of the government, i.e. the administration of President Barack Obama! He even has appointed a “pay czar” to restrict how much the executives get paid.

“Envy represents a vicious and hateful resentment of people,” writes author and psychiatrist Willard Gaylin, “that is independent of their actual encroachment on one’s pleasures.”