envy, noun; [From Latin invidia, meaning ill will, hatred.]
1. Ill repute. [Obsolete.]
2. Competition, rivalry. [Obsolete.]
3. Malice. [Obsolete.]
4. Discontent, or uneasiness at the observation of another's success or superiority, accompanied with some amount of disgust or hatred, and usually with an inclination or effort to malign the subject of the envy.
5. The object of envy, for example, she is the envy of all of her acquaintances.
envy, verb transitive;
1. To look upon with envy, to feel envy toward, to hate or feel disgust for someone for superiority or excellence in any way, and to covet that person's accomplishments, i.e. to envy a wealthy person.
2. To look at the advantages possessed by someone grudgingly; to covet those advantages.
3. To hate; to oppose. [Obsolete.]
4. To harm or injure. [Obsolete.]
Amazing, isn't it, that a four letter word that enjoys such common and seemingly benign usage in this day and age can carry so much baggage? Heck, the really creepy old meanings are "obsolete", right? Once again, all is not as it seems. The nasty old connotations are regaining strength like the broadening reoccurrence of tuberculosis. "How can this be," you ask? "What's driving this?" You'd be surprised. It's at the hands of another simple little word. Class. "Class?" Yup. Class. Not class like theives, con artists, or many congressmen lack, not class like where students torment overpaid babysitters, but, class as in upper, middle, and lower social class.
Economicaly based social classes were the bane of Europe and other regions for centuries, stagnating personal initiative and societal progress, and, are still alive and well in many contemporary cultures for the purpose of denying personal soverignty to allow political control. Simply put, if you can be confined to a low class, for example, you cannot amass the necessary assets to challenge the power of the ruling class. See how that works? One way. Historically, and, in many places today, it has been put forth as nothing more than slavery, often enforced by government forces of one type or another who have a vested interest. In the United States, it is proffered in a subtle manner. To create a more controllable population by expanding the lower class, wealth redistribution through taxes is predominantly employed. Politicians take from whoever has any wealth and give to anyone that doesn't, all the while hinting that this will continue as long as the beneficiaries make no effort to become like those who have amassed the wealth. Presto! Political control of individuals accomplished by people voluntarily giving up initiative under the pretense that thievery is okay as long as the government is doing it on their behalf. A nice, comfortable pretense that steals freedom. If you choose to participate in the looting, your freedom to rise above the trappings of the downtrodden is bargained away for a self-serving politician's promises, and, your right to live with a clear concience is a casualty. If you're the intended victim, those who have anything of value, your freedom to persue happiness through personal ownership and your ability to, by virtue of that ownership, enjoy the fruits of your or your family's labors is just as infringed as if you were the victim of armed robbery.
The two words together, class envy, constitute the tool to accomplish this violation of liberty for the statists' benefit. Avarice is a basic element of human emotion, and under the proper circumstances, it can be responsible for the motivation to succeed. But, corrupted for the statist's uses, it is employed to assist in the demonization of success, and, those who achieve it. Never mind that the premise is false and destructive, avarice is known by politicians and others to be a very powerful force in whatever direction they can cleverly guide it. And envy is the perfect tool for that force to act upon.
Once again, as with racism, people find themselves relieved of the responsibility to think clearly for the benefit their own best interests to be effortlessly guided by emotion down a slippery sewer pipe to tyranny. Don't believe it? Listen to Democrat congressmembers, and, even the President, rail against tax cuts for rich people, like a bunch of self-rightous Robin Hoods, even though those "rich people" are the economic driving force of the country. And, in the process, the term "rich" has been defined down to mean many middle class people, such as maybe a neighbor of yours who may own four or five rental houses that supplement his retirement. Funny, he didn't seem evil, did he? But, the statists have spent seemingly forever getting "rich = bad" ingrained into the societal psyche, making it easy to manipulate people's emotions against the affluent. Yet, all that has been accomplished is the driving of people into poverty and keeping them there, where they're easy to control.
I refuse to allow anyone to control my thoughts or actions through manipulation of my emotions, therefore, I remain free to aspire to success, and, inclined to accomplish it, to the benefit of all who are willing to participate in my endeavours. I remain free of my own account to enjoy liberty, and to enshrine it and to try to perpetuate it on behalf of those who don't realize it's importance in their lives, or, those who do but don't have it. And, if in the process, I manage to become successfull enough to become the object if class envy myself, I will not pity anyone who chooses to imprison themselves by participating in that nasty business.
I do not condone or defend the actions of people who seek to become rich unscrupulously, or those who have become rich and act unscrupulously. But, being rich, and, being unscrupulous are two unrelated conditions, as there are many, many poor people who are also unscrupulous, as well as rich people who do very good things and donate to many worthy causes. Bad behavior is not proportional to wealth, wealth is not an automatic reason to demonize someone.
So, before one goes to crusade to steal a percentage of a "rich" person's income just because it's there and can be done legally, one should consider the following; poor people don't pay taxes, so if tax rates were to be made "fair" by being equalized, they'd all have to pay something; poor people do not hire employees or expand the economy by purchase power; poor people don't often acquire the resources to help themselves or others out of their predicament, and, usually are not inclined to, or else they'd no longer be poor.
By the way, the forgoing should give an idea of how difficult it is to hold on to wealth in these times, irrespective of how hard you've worked to earn it. A fortune's first responsibility, no matter how modest, is to protect its self, lest it diminish to nothing to the eventual benefit of no one. But, the best management and most stringent security measures money can buy cannot hold at bay the most powerful of thieves....politicians, or shield against one of their most destructive tools, class envy. Seems they can always find people with little money to support their vote to raid yours. In reference to that, the current Vice President of the United States was recently heard to protest the retention of tax cuts in a late year last miniute lame duck deal in Congress as immoral because they couldn't further tax "the rich". Now, think about that mindset. He sees confiscation of the private property of supposedly affluent people - their money - as a moral obligation of government, just because it exists. That should not only make you furious, but, it should scare the Hell out of you. They get to decide who's rich, and, you, my friend, are in the crosshairs. To the statist, Articles IV and V if the U.S. Constitution are meaningless abstracts, not protections.
Class envy does have a lot of pretty nasty baggage after all, and for good reason. Just like drunk driving, it is done for all the wrong reasons and results in destruction and loss of freedom. And, often, like it or not, on one side or the other, it manages to get around to involving you. That is, if you choose not to react to the risks and let it.