Helmut Schoeck's Envy

Posted by Pecuniology 7 months, 1 week ago to Books
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Am I correct that no one ever has posted here about Helmut Schoeck's Envy: A Theory of Social Behavior?

If so, then that is a shame. Although Schoeck was not an Objectivist, many of his observations echo Ayn Rand's.

For example, he observed that those with low conceptual abilities tend to not to have a sense of time and to exhibit stronger envy—the desire to destroy the envied or his property—than those with high conceptual abilities.

Schoeck also identified envy as the primary axiom of socialism.

Most intriguing for me, Schoeck identified Christianity in general, and Calvinism more specifically, as the only major religion that specifically eshews envy, and that this is why Western Civilization (fka Christendom) is so much more advanced than all other societies in the world. (He wrote this in the 1950s and 1960s, when one still could publish such things.)

If we leave everything that happened before the Big Bang out of the conversation, we often find that we have more in common with open-minded Christians than is implied by Ayn Rand's comments on Christian fundamentalists, who were particularly obnoxious in the 1970s and 1980s.

Setting aside issues regarding theology, this suggests an area of common ground for Objectivists seeking allies against the Postmodernist zombie hordes that have seized control of mainstream 'education', entertainment, 'news' media, and increasingly politics.
SOURCE URL: https://www.libertyfund.org/books/envy


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  • Posted by mccannon01 7 months ago
    Interesting. I'll add it to my list.

    Besides the link above, it's available on Amazon Kindle for less.

    "...to not to have a sense of time and to exhibit stronger envy..." I've noticed this as have others. History is irrelevant to them as a lack of sense of time means less ability to discern the progression of events in a cause/effect scenario over any length of time. Envy is just plain rampant in the very being of those desiring socialism/communism.
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    • Posted by 7 months ago
      Look at the calls against Teh 1%™, or Congressman Ocasio's hatred of billionaires, or Bernie Sanders's hatred of anyone who has more money than he does.

      It is all driven by envy, and wayyy too many voters love it.
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  • Posted by Lucky 7 months ago
    Quite so, Objectivists have common ground with some religious followers, note many good contributions from the religious on this site. Common ground can be a long way from equivalence and there can be, well there are, fundamental differences.
    Consider the emotion of envy, forbidden in the bible but surely a driver of ambition and effort.
    Consider altruism, voluntary or it is not altruism. This can be an emotion and a policy that if encouraged can alleviate much suffering but it can lead to economic disaster.
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    • Posted by 7 months ago
      As Schoeck points out, Envy is the only one of the Seven Deadly Sins that is not fun. And yet, it is the one that socialists have chosen as their fundamental axiom.

      If I were advising someone who wanted to start an irrationalist cult, I might suggest lust or gluttony, maybe sloth, but never envy.
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