Skip to comments.The Downside of Inciting Envy
Posted on 03/02/2014 5:38:45 AM PST by reaganaut1
THE Irish singer Bono once described a difference between America and his native land. In the United States, he explained, you look at the guy that lives in the mansion on the hill, and you think, you know, one day, if I work really hard, I could live in that mansion. In Ireland, people look up at the guy in the mansion on the hill and go, one day, Im going to get that bastard.
Alexis de Tocqueville phrased it a little differently, but his classic 19th-century text contains the same observation. Visiting from France, he marveled at Americans ability to keep envy at bay, and to see others successes as portents of good times for all.
For decades, survey data has supported the Bono-Tocqueville Hypothesis. The 2006 World Values Survey, for example, found that Americans are only a third as likely as British or French people to feel strongly that hard work doesnt generally bring success; its more a matter of luck and connections. This faith that success flows from effort has built Americas reputation as a remarkably unenvious society.
Does it matter? It does indeed, when it comes to our pursuit of happiness. As the essayist Joseph Epstein puts it, Of the seven deadly sins, only envy is no fun at all.
Unsurprisingly, psychologists have found that envy pushes down life satisfaction and depresses well-being. Envy is positively correlated with depression and neuroticism, and the hostility it breeds may actually make us sick. Recent work suggests that envy can help explain our complicated relationship with social media: it often leads to destructive social comparison, which decreases happiness. To understand this, just picture yourself scrolling through your exs wedding photos.
My own data analysis confirms a strong link between economic envy and unhappiness.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Perhaps the liberal elites realize that they won’t be spared the gulags.
True, but it’s a good article anyway. I have noticed a drop in US happiness in the last few years, just based on observation. Once, when I would come back into the country after traveling abroad, I could feel a sort of cheerfulness or optimism in the air. Now there’s a sense of sullenness and almost oppression.
It is also the primary symptom of the "Half-Black Plague" we are suffering through.
Sullenness? - we HATE Obama and it is very depressing to have him in the WH. The pall here will lift once he is tarred and feathered and/or replaced.
This explains in one brief passage why leftists are so depressed, dissatisfied, unhappy, and hostile. As for his comments about the ex's wedding photos, I found the comparison surprising. I have never dated someone and then wished her ill. I'm always happy to see a nice person happily married.
Americas reputation as a remarkably unenvious society.
Perhaps because we were taught...”thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods” at an early age.
^^^^ Amen ^^^^
The entire Democrat political platform is built on envy.
Of the two vices, Envy and Greed, only Envy is forbidden in the Ten Commandments.
We need Cruz in 16. He is the only one who can destroy what this monster has done. Yes, lots of depression and anxiety today. People need jobs. People are resilient, and Ive faith in this man to break the ties that are binding us and undo a lot of the destruction the Rats have caused during the Obama tenure. We need to take the Senate, keep the House and rid ourselves of the Rinos in cahoots with the Democrats and corporate sell outs. I dont feel envy. Im happy when people are blessed. What I feel is anger at those who would sell out this nation and its people .
My husbands father, with an 8th grade education and no connections, built a successful business. His wife's sister was an envious bi*ch. She taught this to her daughters who now have raise more envious bi*ches.
Recently one of this clan of hate filled women posted a nasty comment on Facebook about my husband. She ended the comment with HE INHERITED in bold print. My husband has never been anything but kind and generous to this bunch, paying for private school tuition and for the funeral of the original bi*ch.
This hateful attitude has now been passed down to 3 generations and it probably won't stop and YES they are ALL liberal democrats!
You have the satisfaction, meager as it is, of knowing that they are leading miserable lives.
Yes but my main satisfaction is that they no longer live in my state and aren’t going to be showing up on my doorstep!
The academic left is too proud to learn from history.
The only way to save america for the future is to declare it a Christian Nation.
I think Obama really is the source of our depression here. His policies are horrible, but his whole approach is a downer, a rhetoric based on envy, fear and revenge.
Someone pointed out that one of the reasons Putin isn’t concerned about Obama is that it is clear to him that Obama is too involved rooting out his domestic political enemies to give a darn about what happens in the rest of the world (especially if it doesn’t involve Muslims).
You are exactly right. The greatest thing about Reagan was that he made you feel good to be an American again. Obama strives for just the opposite.
The left has intertwined envy and coveting other people property (a 10 Commandment for those who don’t know)....with the word greed. Greed is accredited with wanting more thru hard work, taking risk, but the left warped the word with the idea that those who have succeeded have gone to far, that its a static world, where if a person has done well, they’ve done well at the expense of another person.
That was the first thing I thought of as well when I read this article.
I know that I shouldn’t expect more from liberals, after all, when they view any issue under the sun, their analysis and understanding is often miles wide and nanometers deep.
I had a conversation with a friend recently, and I don’t really regard him as liberal per se, but he does have some liberal tendencies in various places. One of them has to do with money, which I don’t really understand.
It’s very difficult for me to understand, because he’s hard worker, he has a house, he gets to go on fairly expensive vacations, so he isn’t offering this viewpoint on the basis of his own experience.
We were having a discussion one day, and it involved some wealthy person. He began making statement after statement about the wealth that this person had accumulated. He said it was too much, said he didn’t deserve it, and so on.
I felt it necessary to point out the dangers inherent in his line of thinking. Here he is, pointing his finger at some guy who owns enough to buy his own private jet and yacht, someone whose wealth is far beyond anything we could reasonably hope to make, so the difference in wealth is significant. I said to him “You have to be careful about that. You’re looking at this guy who makes a boatload of money and saying it’s more than he needs, it’s unfair, or whatever. The problem with taking that stance, is that no matter how much, or how little money you have, it’s always going to be more than somebody else may have. If you think it’s fine to point your finger at someone who, in your words, has more money than they need or deserve, you better be prepared for somebody to point their finger you and say the exact same thing.”
That’s the problem right there. Once you go down that road, there’s no stopping. I was astounded to hear this coming out of his mouth, because he didn’t seem to understand that he could be the target of someone else because he owns his own house, and goes on vacations several times a year that most people would consider extravagant to some degree.
And that’s the issue with a lot of issues that liberals have opinions on. They seem incapable of reading the sign on their own back.
It’s almost hilarious, because many liberals, if subjected to that finger point of entry would be genuinely astonished and would say something like “Me? I’m not rich ” without thinking for even one second that someone else might view them as wealthy.
Damned spell check. ENVY, darn it, ENVY
Depends. If you're a Democrat, the above is very likely true.
Published in a paper devoted to fomenting envy.
I noticed the irony of that as well.
It’s not envy, it’s hatred. Not of the megabucks Hollywood types, it’s hatred of those that Make and those that Take. The Takers would burn down their neighbors house because they are living well and working hard to provide better for their families. The Takers hate all who are not miserable and dependent, and if you are living better by your hard work and sacrifice— you don’t deserve it. I’ve heard it with my own ears from family and others. The Takers feel justified in any thing that takes away from YOU, they believe that you deserve to be miserable, and ANYTHING that hurts you gives them joy.
That reminds me of my sister She thinks rich people should be heavily taxed and the money used for causes she (my sister) believes in, because the rich guy has so much more than he needs, he “won’t miss it.” I try to tell her that to some people, a middle-class American like her is “rich.” If those people could vote for a politician who’d promise to take $20 out of my sister’s purse and give it to them, they would sure vote for that person! And they’d justify it by saying, “Oh, she’ll never miss it.” Well, maybe she’d miss the twenty dollars and maybe she wouldn’t, but that’s not the point. The point is, it’s theft, it’s covetousness, it’s just fundamentally wrong.
There is a reason why envy is considered a deadly sin. Yet, we have politicians whose sole tactics are to instill envy in their supporters against those who has been financially successful.
None of the seven deadly sins are ‘fun’. They all lead to death - of the soul or even of the body.
I’m with you, Livius. Plus, Putin can see Obama for the little, self-serving, professorial pretender he is.
A bit of humor here - I was searching for a bit of Easter humor to fill in a space of a newsletter I was finishing yesterday. I found “Everything I need to Know I Learned From the Easter Bunny”. Look it up - hilarious.
Re: ENVY - “Keep your paws out of other people’s jellybeans” and this one, “The grass is always greener in your neighbor’s Easter basket.”
Thanks for the laugh!!
Half-Black Plague. That’s good.
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