Out of envy, a man allegedly butchered a family of five with a meat cleaver because the family was more prosperous than he was.
“A police source told the New York Post the man confessed to committing the crime because he was jealous of the family’s lifestyle.”
This is a horrible story, but it’s the end result of liberalism writ large — envy. Current taxing policy is based on the premise that some people have too much money. In 2010, President Obama said the following to a crowd of supporters in Quincy, Illinois:
“Now, what we’re doing — I want to be clear, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”
And because some people have “made enough money,” it’s up to the government to take away the excess.
Most people are not as extreme as the butcher who killed the family of five, one of whom was an infant and wasn’t making any money. Instead, they vote for people to take money from other people who have “made enough money.”
If this is done often enough and long enough, it’s like killing the goose that laid the golden egg. When people are killed because of their success (it happens more than you think) or are taxed because of their success, the economic engine that makes life better for everybody sits dormant on the track. As a result, nobody benefits. This is the end result of “economic equality.” Everybody is equally poor.
This is the sin of envy: If I can’t have what you have, then neither can you have it. This is why the Bible describes envy as “rottenness of the bones” (Prov. 14:30).
Societies that struggle to exist economically are infected with envy. Prosperity in others infuriates the envier and moves him to destroy what he does not have and will not work to get.
Western envy is more sophisticated. Enviers in civilized societies don’t burn a villager’s crops or sabotage his wells. They run for political office or vote for those who do so they can stick it to the rich in the name of “tax fairness” and “social justice.”
The long-term result is the destruction of the prosperous man’s ability and incentive to create wealth. In the end, the destroyed crops, the poisoned well, the high taxes hurt all of us. With no discretionary capital, there is no one to buy those initially expensive goods that make life easier for all of us. So, instead of envying the rich man, thank him and work to be like him.
Envy appears early in history when the Philistines envied the prosperity of Isaac:
“Now Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the Lord blessed him, and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy; for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him. Now all the wells which his father’s servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines stopped up by filling them with earth” (Gen. 26:12–15).
The Philistines could have dug their own wells and inquired of Isaac to learn the methods of his success. Instead, they destroyed his property to bring him down to their standard of living. With Isaac’s wells sabotaged, a drought would affect Isaac and the Philistines equally. But enviers don’t think ahead. They only care about dragging the successful down to their level of incompetence.
Modern-day economic theory feeds off the sin of envy. The first step is to promise the citizenry that they will get some portion of what the rich possess. When that only goes so far, legislators will make it more difficult for the prosperous to remain prosperous. Obstacles will be put up to stifle their success, all in the name of “fairness.”
We’ve seen it happen before, and it’s destroyed nations and impoverished hundreds of millions.