[April 23, 2019] My wife Nancy was watching a news program a couple of days ago. Being interviewed was a new Congresswoman from New York City; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She was promoting policies that raised the income tax of the “rich” by as much as 90%. In the background, you could hear loud, excited cheering from the audience. My wife said that the New York Congresswoman was promoting jealousy to gather more followers.
“As iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by their own passion.” – Antisthenes, ancient Greek philosopher
Yes, leaders do promote jealousy – especially in Western nations – but it has not always been that way. Leaders would do well to take the lessons of the ancients. When we resent the possessions, achievements, or status of another, we are jealous. This emotion is powerful, and the ability to resist the innate temptation to act upon it is strong. The ancients wrote that by resisting jealousy, we gain control of our persons and ensure our future.
Jealousy is a departure from responsibility and is the path to sin and ruin. There is a clear propensity for humans to be jealous of others. It can either propel us through a burning passion for doing good or it can lead to our destruction socially, economically, and even the dissolution of our family or death.
“Proverbs 27:4 Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” This famous quote from the Bible shows us that peoples long ago learned its destructive power. Those lessons echo today. When leaders encourage jealousy of what has been gained by others, they are not moral and are making a mockery of their leadership position.
Jealousy in Capitalist, Judeo-Christian nations is channeled in a positive way through the idea that if you work hard enough, you will achieve anything of your desires. The light of goodness will shine upon you. It is up to you to reject jealousy and not the responsibility of the randomness of a centralized government or unfair leader. That is what distinguishes free nations from others and free men from enslaved men.