Culture

Equality and Envy

Sign at the Women’s March in New York City, January 21, 2017. (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)
One of the most striking aspects of equality policies is that they are not born out of demand from citizens, but out of commitment by the elites.

We are not the same. Neither men, nor women, nor races, nor ages, nor nationalities, nor in wealth, nor in training, nor in beauty. We are not equal in any way. And that is a reason to be proud and happy, because at the end of the day we are human and not the product of some factory. Let us once and for all praise difference, bless the inequality that makes some people prefer beer and others water (because otherwise there would be a shortage of beer, and that would cruelly condemn us bohemians to discovering what water tastes like). Allow me to be even clearer: Since the French Revolution, everything that we have called “policies of equality” is nothing but the bureaucratization of envy.

“Why do we need more Women In Politics?” a U.N. Women tweet asked recently. “There are only 14 countries with 50% or more women in cabinet.” If we weren’t living under the strain of egalitarianism, of political correctness, and under the suffocating pressure of a totalitarian roller, anyone reading the tweet would be tempted to take a breath and simply say, “So what? Yes: so what?” I realize that these two words can trigger a world war in the climate of 2020, where dissent pits itself against global progressive abduction.

One of the most striking aspects of equality policies is that they are not born out of demand from citizens, but out of commitment by the elites. In the street there is no demand for women rulers, but for good rulers. We have thousands of examples of bad rulers of both genders. Cristina Kirchner and Pedro Sánchez are of different sexes, and yet they are equally stupid and sectarian. It is hard to understand why the United Nations, all the European governments, the media, and millions of educational institutions and multinational brands promoting the feminist fever of equality are making girls believe from school onwards that they live subjected to men, who are portrayed as potential rapists. Possibly, the reason for this generalized madness (in Europe, it is supported with as much enthusiasm from the center-right as from the left) is what Helmut Schoeck detected in his analysis of society and envy: It is resentment. There is nothing older.

A few million years ago, man was already deeply envious of his neighbors. Ovid observed it: “In other people’s fields, the harvest is always more abundant.” In ancient times, when other settlements had more food or better health, envious outsiders did not blame it on their greater ability to hunt, but on witchcraft. Magic, not merit, explained the inequality amongst primitive man. Many centuries later, socialism did nothing more than provide exotic words to those old superstitions that envy provokes. Later on, it was to tackle the greatest of injustices: to equalize by force, to equalize downwards. And don’t think that all this happened in the age of dinosaurs: Look at Joe Biden’s economic program, with its promise to put that immense monster that is the state to steal dollars from the middle classes to arbitrarily subsidize minorities. (On second thought, it’s possible that when the dinosaurs were around, Joe Biden was already promoting the program.)

Perhaps the thesis is best explained by Schoeck. “While, for more than a century, socialists have considered themselves to have been stolen from and swindled by businessmen, and since 1950 politicians in underdeveloped countries have thought the same way about industrialized countries,” he writes, “by virtue of an abstruse theory of the economic process, primitive man considers that his neighbor steals from him because with the help of magic, that neighbor has been able to bewitch a part of the harvest of his fields.” But there is no magic: As much as the Castro regime has for decades blamed the United States for its economic situations, the truth is that its poverty is much the same as that which has befallen all Communist dictatorships.

I’ll let you in on a secret. In Spain, we have been suffering from a Social Communist government for nine months, and, for the first time since the post-war period, experts are warning that forgotten famines could soon return to our streets. Here, the “magic” element they accuse is the coronavirus. But there is no magic: It is always Communism, the atrocious egalitarianism, and the corruption of its leaders after setting themselves up as priests of a new secular religion.

If we look at the problem of inequality from afar, we discover that both the world and life are an inexhaustible source of envy. Beauty is uneven. Goodness is uneven. Money is uneven. And skin color is uneven. Age is unequal. Sex is unequal. Wealth is unequal. Stupidity is unequal. In fact, the great conquest of our civilization is to guarantee equal opportunity, which is the only equality that does not corrupt but rather enhances. Everything is unequal, and it stands to reason in a world where no two dawns are identical, no two fingerprints are identical.

“Primitive egalitarianism, which seeks to level people through the law rather than make them equal in the face of the law, has always been the most destructive of ideologies,” Axel Kaiser wrote. The left has imposed the egalitarian discourse through a feminist alibi. But along the way, they have been forced to deny the nature of man and woman. It has not been difficult for them. They began by denying the differences between men and women, and now they proclaim changing genders according to which way the wind blows on any given day, without realizing that, just the same, one could get up and, blinded by the aroma of coffee, feel like a coffee percolator, and following their reasoning, no one could deny them their new identity, being obliged to respect their condition and call them “coffee percolator” and ask them to pour coffee from their spout. Do not laugh. If you look on the Internet, you will see that there are a lot of people who feel like a dog or a cat and who demand their right to live as dogs or cats.

The world is a cruel place. Perhaps that is why even the most radical feminists cannot escape their feminine particularity, in the same way that hormones do not work miracles on those who venture to change sex. As the child neuropsychiatrist Mariolina Ceriotti Migliarese recalls, in words that some already consider controversial, “We are born with the male or female condition; from our body come all our sensations and that configures the way of understanding everything.” “The distinction between the male and female bodies also speaks to us about the diversity in the way we perceive the world,” she adds, “men, through strong and fast emotions, and women in a diffuse way at the beginning, but much deeper at the end.” We are, in short, much more than a simple condition. But that condition is not for sale.

Envy and resentment play an essential role in the whole egalitarian universe. One tries to create in women hatred of men; in blacks, hatred of whites; in poor people, hatred of the rich. I don’t know if it’s more amazing that the Left has continued since the 18th century to claim the same ideological failures, or that people born in the 21st century — in a world of equal opportunity — fall into the trap of hate, resentment, and envy. We see millions of young people pass by every day believing that the world owes them something, and we hardly find men who believe they are indebted to the rest of society. That is the first consequence of the spread of the leveling fever.

Envy no doubt has its uses too, at least in keeping the mediocre busy. But it is always an unsatisfied aspiration. “Man’s envy is more intense when all are almost equal; his demands for redistribution are louder when there is practically nothing to redistribute,” Schoeck points out. If you fall into that dynamic, you will always want to have a bigger car. It’s a legitimate aspiration . . . as long as you can afford it and don’t demand that the rest of us pay for it.

Christianity has a lot to say about envy. Everything went to hell because of a mixture of envy and vanity in Eden. I won’t dwell on that, but it is worth remembering that in the Christian West, the most effective element against the inequality contained in poverty is charity. The Left has also tried to ruin it by turning it into solidarity, which is the corny way of referring to charity, to generosity, to help amongst brothers, between children of God who know that what they have, more than by their merits, is the fruit of grace. This has been taught by Christianity since the first century, and it is convenient to remember it before the sociological Left continues to attribute to itself the invention of solidarity.

As for classical liberalism, it points to the market as the natural leveler — although I would add Christianity as the most effective weapon against injustice, against inequality. In the end, it is God who gave man a special dignity and made us equal for all eternity by making us His children. And even so, one must agree with Kaiser when he states that “the market is a better system for distributing resources than authoritarian and planned distribution,” because in the end, “it is preferable to solve some problems with liberalism than not to solve any problems with socialism.”

Translated by Joel Dalmau

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