Encouraging Envy

 

In Jesus’ famous parable of the workers in the vineyard, the landowner hires some day laborers in the morning to work all day in his fields.  Near the end of the day, he realizes his work won’t get done at that pace, and hires some more workers late in the afternoon.  When he pays them all the same amount, the morning workers get angry, pointing out that they worked more than the afternoon group, but yet got paid the same.  The landowner explains that they were paid exactly the amount that they had agreed to, and what he pays other workers does not affect them.  It is a brilliant illustration of many things, but especially of the pointlessness and destructive tendencies of jealousy.  This is just one of countless Biblical parables that have nothing to do with God, but everything to do with human nature.

The 10th Commandment makes a similar point:  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s stuff.  If you want a donkey, get your own.  After all the big messages in the other Commandments (thou shalt not murder, thou shalt not lie, thou shalt not steal, etc), it seems odd that God cared enough about donkeys to bring this up in the limited space he had available on those stone tablets.  God understands the tendency of man to envy others, and he understands how destructive that can be to a society.  Jealousy may seem like a petty concern, but God apparently takes it very seriously – it’s all over the Bible.  Much of Shakespeare, and literature in general, is also based on similar concepts.  These emotions are not new.  They are as old as mankind itself.  So it seems odd that in modern times, in our enlightened age, we now encourage jealousy and envy, starting in kindergarten.

When a kindergarten kid chews gum, the teacher asks him if he has enough for everyone in the class.  If the student says no, then he is not permitted to chew gum.

Then the rest of the class feels satisfaction as they essentially gang up on one member, and bully him into compliance.  The teacher probably discourages bullying from students in other cases.  But here, it’s ok.

Because equality is more important than individual rights.  Obviously.

What is the reasoning behind this?  What is the teacher trying to demonstrate to her students?  How are the other children hurt, if someone else chews gum?  The only way that could possibly hurt them would be through jealousy.  Without jealousy, it wouldn’t matter if anyone is chewing gum or not.

So how does the teacher reduce the pain felt by those other students?

One way to do this would be the most common current approach – to take away everyone’s chewing gum.  We’re jealous of the wealthy, so we make everyone equally poor.  Presto – no jealousy.

The other way she could handle this problem would be to work with the children and help them reduce their natural feelings of jealousy.  Without the underlying jealousy, then chewing gum, and all sorts of other things, are no longer an issue in her classroom, and they can get back to the work at hand – learning to read or whatever – with fewer distractions.  If jealousy is having a negative impact on her classroom, then she could try to reduce its impact.  Deal with the jealousy.  Not the chewing gum.

Just like God probably doesn’t care all that much about your neighbor’s donkey, the teacher doesn’t care all that much about the kid’s chewing gum.  But she’s using this as an opportunity to make a point.  Jealousy of others is, at best, an unnecessary distraction from the work at hand, and it’s potentially destructive.  It should be avoided if at all possible.  It would seem to be worth some effort by the teacher to teach her students to reduce and control their natural jealousies.

However, it seems that teachers are now trained to take this opportunity (and many others) to help students develop and enhance their natural jealousies – they are trained that jealousy is a healthy response, and you can make yourself feel better by punishing others.  This is our intention, in schools today.

Why is that?  I’m not sure, but perhaps our teachers were not raised in church, and/or were not trained in character development, and/or have not given these issues a great deal of thought.  Whatever, right?  It’s easier to just not allow gum, so what the heck.  Fix the problem the simplest way possible, and don’t think too hard about the consequences.

But I don’t think so.  My kids’ elementary school education was a carefully planned program in modern morality.  Much of which is good, of course.  They learned quotes from Fair Fox, Self Esteem Elephant, Respectful Rabbit and so on, from their earliest years in school.  My kid got an award in 2nd grade or something for memorizing them all before the rest of her classmates.  This is a priority for teachers.

I don’t think that whoever plans our school programs has simply not given ethics, morality, or social functioning any thought.  They have clearly given it a great deal of thought, so I don’t think that their worship of equality at any cost, and thus their encouragement of envy and jealousy, is an accident.

Modern conservatives believe in individual liberties and are uncomfortable with telling others what to think.  Thus, leftists have designed much of our modern educational curriculum.  Leftists are more comfortable with encouraging conformity toward a cooperative goal, and they understand the importance of educating the youth with that in mind.

Some aspects of leftist education are particularly glaring.  Samuelson’s Economics.  Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States.”  The current 1619 project from the New York Times.

But I think the little stuff is more damaging.  Confiscating chewing gum.  Banning any speech that offends someone.  Teaching kids that they can achieve happiness by controlling the behavior of others, and relishing the power of the collective when they gang up on an individual they dislike.

As long as they dislike them for commonly accepted reasons, of course.  If you dislike someone because they’re black, that’s bad.  If you dislike someone because they have chewing gum, then good for you.  The more draconian the penalties for not conforming to commonly accepted forms of discrimination become, then the more confusing and anxiety-provoking all this becomes for school children.

I understand that some of this stuff is just an overworked teacher trying to control her classroom.  But this is important stuff.  If we intentionally stomp out individualism and promote conformity, what kind of society will we have in 25 years?  It may be a society that you won’t like.  Although Karl Marx would approve.

We teach kids that it’s ok to suppress individual liberty in pursuit of equality.  And then, 20 years later, we act surprised when millennials vote for an avowed communist.

Chewing gum is no big deal.  Neither is a day’s wages for a farmhand.  Neither is your neighbor’s donkey.

But how we handle this stuff matters.  It matters a lot.

The Democrat party is not moving left.  We are.  We start in kindergarten and continue through college.  We’re producing socialists.

And we’re doing it intentionally.

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  1. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Envy and jealousy are two of the most powerful elements of human nature. Don’t believe me, just ask any Democrat politician or socialist. They prey on people everyday.

    • #1
  2. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    This has been going on since I was in school, in the 1970s.  Perhaps earlier, but I wasn’t there.

    It is Marxism, of course.  But as your Biblical examples point out, it didn’t start with Marx.

    From a worldly standpoint, it probably goes back to the lobsters, as Jordan Peterson would say.  Virtually every animal has a social hierarchy, and humans are no exception.  Jealousy seems to be a reaction to noticing that someone else is higher in the hierarchy.  Even in a way as trivial as chewing gum.

    I am always perplexed by the people who worry so much about income inequality.  Why wouldn’t they find this another reason to celebrate diversity?

    • #2
  3. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    I don’t think I was ever in a school that allowed gum-chewing in class.  It had nothing to do with social class and everything to do with distracting behavior.  All those wads of gum under the seat were there because teachers frowned on gum-chewing.

    • #3
  4. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    This has been going on since I was in school, in the 1970s. Perhaps earlier, but I wasn’t there.

    And in the 1960s, at least in the DC area, and almost certainly much earlier. I saw it as an integrated part of the egalitarian public school culture. Chewing gum in class is its own problem. It distracts the student chewing, if not others as well. Bubble gum was a thing, and popping bubble gum was likely going to get you a trip to see the principal. And most kids are not going to achieve their best enunciation with a sticky wad in their mouth.

    But the excuse that there is not enough to go around had a very sharp point that needed expression when I was in school. We had classmates who were dirt poor in an era when there were no breakfast or lunch programs, it was an admonition of this sort that first made me aware of that, much less sensitive to it, in fourth grade. One of the quietest, cutest and best dressed girls turned out to be in sore need. Obviously, not every school has these issues.

    Not all social consciousness is Marxism, sometimes it is simple courtesy.

     

    • #4
  5. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    While teaching my kids this stuff, it occurs to me that much of what Jesus taught has two sides to it.

    When my children are fighting, there’s usually more than one person causing a problem. One failed to communicate clearly and the other failed to be sensitive. It doesn’t mean the latter has less responsibility to clear communication, it just means the former needs to not expect he will always get clear communication.

    Jesus had messages for workers and employers, haves and have-nots. Messages about whose money it is and those about allowing workers to enjoy the products of their work. Messages about being respectful and those about leading. Messages about envy and those about generosity.

    • #5
  6. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Dr. Bastiat: This is just one of countless Biblical parables that have nothing to do with God, but everything to do with human nature.

    You do a disservice to your post by saying this.

    The parable has everything to do about God, and Matthew uses our fallen nature to make his point (Matthew, as you know, was a tax collector, a sinner, called to conversion). Jesus uses this parable to show us that though the Jews were the first called into the vineyard, the Gentiles, in the fullness of time, are also called. The equal reward represents eternal life, a gift that God offers to all. And to receive this reward, we must be willing to work in God’s vineyard, putting oneself at his service, and collaborating with his work.

    • #6
  7. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: This is just one of countless Biblical parables that have nothing to do with God, but everything to do with human nature.

    You do a disservice to your post by saying this.

    The parable has everything to do about God, and Matthew uses our fallen nature to make his point (Matthew, as you know, was a tax collector, a sinner, called to conversion). Jesus uses this parable to show us that though the Jews were the first called into the vineyard, the Gentiles, in the fullness of time, are also called. The equal reward represents eternal life, a gift that God offers to all. And to receive this reward, we must be willing to work in God’s vineyard, putting oneself at his service, and collaborating with his work.

    A fair point.

    • #7
  8. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Dr. Bastiat: The 10th Commandment makes a similar point: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s stuff. If you want a donkey, get your own.

    We have a local liberal who is constantly writing about how all of the wealthy got their money by ill-gotten ways or on the backs of the poor.   I’ve written rebuttal letters showing the stats on wealth, and a large majority is self-made, not inherited.  Furthermore, even inherited wealth tends to grow by the heirs reinvesting and starting new businesses.

    The liberal writer likes to use Bible verses to support his positions.  As you can imagine, they are taken out of context and twisted using modern liberal logic.  I kindly pointed out the Tenth Commandment, and by fomenting envy in others with his arguments, he was leading others into sin by bearing false witness against the rich.  No response so far . . .

    • #8
  9. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    I hadn’t made that connection between envy and that kindergarten paradigm. Well done. I’ll remember it around my nephews and nieces.

    • #9
  10. Ilan Levine Member
    Ilan Levine
    @IlanLevine

    Wait, your kid got an award in 2nd grade that was not also given to all other members of the 2nd grade? Why didn’t the teacher bring enough to share with the whole class?

     

    <A joking reply with a serious filling.>

    • #10
  11. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    I hadn’t made that connection between envy and that kindergarten paradigm. Well done. I’ll remember it around my nephews and nieces.

    Many parents work hard at making their children understand that “Life is not fair.”  And as I mentioned, this is a recurring theme in the bible, from the vineyard workers, to the 10th commandment, to the story of Job, etc.  Why is this such an important point?

    I suspect it is because efforts to make life fair can result in catastrophic social problems.  Problems which are as old as mankind.

    • #11
  12. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: This is just one of countless Biblical parables that have nothing to do with God, but everything to do with human nature.

    You do a disservice to your post by saying this.

    The parable has everything to do about God, and Matthew uses our fallen nature to make his point (Matthew, as you know, was a tax collector, a sinner, called to conversion). Jesus uses this parable to show us that though the Jews were the first called into the vineyard, the Gentiles, in the fullness of time, are also called. The equal reward represents eternal life, a gift that God offers to all. And to receive this reward, we must be willing to work in God’s vineyard, putting oneself at his service, and collaborating with his work.

    The parable can also be read to mean that even those who accept the Lord on their deathbeds after a life of unbelief will receive the same rewards in heaven as those who were lifetime believers.  Just sayin’.

    • #12
  13. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    Many parents work hard at making their children understand that “Life is not fair.”

    And many teachers counter parents by telling kids, “Life is not fair, but the Democrat Party is trying to change that.”

    In the Charlotte Meetup (2014, IIRC), Frank Soto made the comment that the positions on issues being taught in our school systems are the Democrat Party’s positions, so kids come out liberal by default.

    • #13
  14. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Many parents work hard at making their children understand that “Life is not fair.” And as I mentioned, this is a recurring theme in the bible, from the vineyard workers, to the 10th commandment, to the story of Job, etc. Why is this such an important point?

    I suspect it is because efforts to make life fair can result in catastrophic social problems. Problems which are as old as mankind.

    I think it also touches on the uniqueness of each individual and the relationship we each have with God and with each other. 

    My good friend is a ceaseless worker from a family of busy-bodies. He is always exhausted, but sitting still drives him mad. His personality, like many, includes a powerful momentum and an endless hunger for activity. 

    I, on the other hand, am a lazy artist. Sitting and quietly observing nature, or simply talking, is my idea of a good time. Though my to-do list is similarly endless and there are many projects I want to complete, I am content by nature and motivated mainly to soak in the wonders around me. 

    That’s why we are friends. I have always attracted restless people. In my careless humor and calm contemplation, they find some peace. And in their right ambitions and responsible commitments, I am pushed to do more, to try more. 

    The grass is always greener on the other side. My friend wishes he could relax as I do and have fewer responsibilities. I wish I was better suited to companionship and practical living. We each have gifts the other desires. We each suffer in our own ways.

    But we can find joy by different means. And together we form a greater whole. The good Lord did not make us the same because in variety is endless wonder. We are not machines to be optimized. We are living creatures of wild possibility and surprising interactions.

    • #14
  15. Doug Kimball Thatcher
    Doug Kimball
    @DougKimball

    Thanks for pointing out the vineyard parable.  It is a great lesson and certainly must be inscrutable to many modern so called Christians.  But I think you stretch the “chewing gum for everyone” bromide beyond the breaking point.  As a rule, chewing gum has always been a problem for schools, perhaps a silly, exaggerated one, but certainly a point of contention.  The aversion probably harkins back to a time when chomping in public was considered an impolite behavior.  No better way to show disrespect than to chomp away while being addressed by an adult authority figure.  And of course, disposing of gum depleted of flavor on the underside of desks or chairs is simply a disgusting behavior.  This makes gum chewing the perfect foil for a mildly defiant teen.  We know that teenagers are all about testing limits and confounding authority.  And teachers are all about rules, conformity and authority, requirements of all institutions and not limited to socialism.

    Most teachers strictly enforced the no-gum rule.  A few used the cute “I hope you have enough for everyone?” corellary, but many just made you spit it out.  Likewise, some teachers would respond to a passed note with the embarassing “would you like to share it with the entire class?” response.  When I was in 9th grade, I mentionned to some friends that our science teacher was not really named “Fred” Johnson.  He was the varsity hockey coach at a Catholic High School and according to an article in the sports section of the local paper, his real name was Fletcher.  There was some giggling and “Fred” asked what was so funny.  He addressed me and I responded.  The entire class was reduced to chortles and I received permanent detention.  Fred sure hated his given name.

    I do agree with you however with the premise that schools have become increasingly leftist over the past 50 years and they are indoctrinating our kids.  This is something of a feat as schools are designed to provide basic literacy and to impart general knowledge while at the same time identifying and rewarding those with superior ability and drive.  Devining the meritocracy and enforcing egalitarianism is a difficult balance.  Schools struggle with these often contrary roles.  Egalitarianism continues to have more and more influence (lax discipline, dumbing down tests, social promotions, failure to enforce truancy problems) which in turn is offset by pushes for school performance grading, required standardized testing and charter school competition.

    But the real push for social egalitarianism happens in the college academy.  Some of the more “progressive” schools defiantly refuse to use standardized tests in their admissions process.  College admissions are obsessed with so called “social justice” causes and reward activist behavior when evaluating admissions.  Diversity is the watchword that defines everything.  Your worth is measured by your race, sex, color or your claims of social injustice.  All this trumps objective measures of achievement and ability.   In other words, it is all about envy, jealousy and covetousness.  If someone has more than you – money, beauty, wealth, resources – that must be because of prejudice, injustice.  Since you are precluded from equality, it must be taken and redistriubted as a matter of moral imperative.  Since this cannot be achieved by any other means without violence, the it becomes government’s job, no its purpose, to accomplish this.

    This is the Rousseauian claptrap that is marinating our college kids.  Bernie comes along and offers them free everything, and justifies it as a part of this moral imperative, and they believe him.

    We tell them that it doesn’t work, that this has never worked, that economics just don’t work that way.  But there is always a Bernie out there promising to steal the rich man’s chickens for someone else’s pot.  The problem is, there aren’t enough rich men or chickens.

    • #15
  16. Slow on the uptake Thatcher
    Slow on the uptake
    @Chuckles

    Seeing Green

    A book about envy.

    • #16
  17. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Dr. B,

    Your analysis that envy is at the root of much our current political social discussion is spot on. Just for fun, I’ll give you my strange definition of real jealousy-envy.

    A is jealous-envious of B. One day B is crossing the street. B is hit by a passing truck. A runs up to where B is lying and looking down at him he says, “the next truck, it’s mine!” You see real jealousy whatever the original cause is irrational. Even if what you think you deserve because B has it, would hurt you this won’t matter. You are jealous crazy and either B doesn’t get it or you should get it too.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #17
  18. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Envy is a sin. Jealousy may not be. You can envy your neighbor for having a beautiful wife. You can become jealous if your neighbor tries to seduce your wife.

    Liberals regard envy as justified but jealousy less so. Warren Buffet should not begrudge us for voting to take all his wealth. We should begrudge his having it.

    The progression of the politics of envy is encapsulated in a great scene in Dr. Zhivago whose patrician in-laws resent (jealousy) being forced to share their mansion with many new tenants who constantly want (envy) a larger share of space. And then Yuri’s half-brother, a high-ranking party official appears, snaps his fingers once and the mob silently leaves the room, bowing and nodding.

    That transfer of rooms and floor space is made possible by the existence of a new politics to create an absolute authority with the power to control distribution of everything. Doing the bidding of those who can snap their fingers replaces serving families, communities, conscience or markets.

    Clip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmmXEEk3_t8 

    • #18
  19. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Doing the bidding of those who can snap their fingers replaces serving families, communities, conscience or markets.

    OldB,

    We don’t need statistics to understand your point. Pasternak had a knack.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #19
  20. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    David Carroll (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: This is just one of countless Biblical parables that have nothing to do with God, but everything to do with human nature.

    You do a disservice to your post by saying this.

    The parable has everything to do about God, and Matthew uses our fallen nature to make his point (Matthew, as you know, was a tax collector, a sinner, called to conversion). Jesus uses this parable to show us that though the Jews were the first called into the vineyard, the Gentiles, in the fullness of time, are also called. The equal reward represents eternal life, a gift that God offers to all. And to receive this reward, we must be willing to work in God’s vineyard, putting oneself at his service, and collaborating with his work.

    The parable can also be read to mean that even those who accept the Lord on their deathbeds after a life of unbelief will receive the same rewards in heaven as those who were lifetime believers. Just sayin’.

    My guess is even Hitchens hedged his bets when the time came.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ayn Rand in Heaven either . . .

    • #20
  21. kelsurprise, drama queen Member
    kelsurprise, drama queen
    @kelsurprise

    Dr. Bastiat: If you dislike someone because they’re black, that’s bad. If you dislike someone because they have chewing gum, then good for you.

    Judging from things I’ve overheard from the “woke crowd” — “If you dislike someone because they’re white, then good for you” seems to be an acceptable message these days, as well. 

    There are two very loud and avowed self-proclaimed “socialists” I work with who love to share their more enlightened views with the rest of us at every opportunity.  But I couldn’t help but notice two things, recently.

    1) On more than one occasion, when other co-workers have been grousing about rent costs, “Socialist #1” has been quick to crow about the fact that she not only owns her apartment but got it long enough ago that she “bought it for a song” — then she smugly basks in the envy expressed by the renters around her.

    2) Some time ago, the head of our department decided to give an across-the-board, one-time bump in salary to all support staff, regardless of length of service, and while most of us were surprised and happy about it, “Socialist #2″ complained bitterly — saying that those like her, who’d been there longer, worked harder and had more skill sets, should have gotten more — or else the goldbrickers and newbies should have gotten less.  (The first thing I thought of when I heard her whining was the parable in your post.)

    Never ceases to amaze me — how the same folks who will push “equality” and decry “privilege” when it comes to the nation at large always seem to discover an entirely different set of principles when it comes to themselves and their own good fortune or perceived greater merit. 

    • #21
  22. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Dr. Bastiat: It is a brilliant illustration of many things, but especially of the pointlessness and destructive tendencies of jealousy.

    There are a lot of “lessons” in the Bible that frankly don’t make a lot of sense, and this is one of them.  

    It’s quite short sighted to pay the later workers the same.  If you never intend to hire workers again, sure, it’s a fine policy.  But if you want to hire anyone tomorrow, you’ll never get anyone to wake up early to do the full day’s work.  The early workers were right to complain, and should complain if the owner is so foolish.  

    To extend the metaphor where it is intended, why should anyone bother to follow with foolish god who thinks that people can sin all day long and then, so long as they are sincere, ask for and be granted forgiveness?  Even were there a god, I’d want nothing to do with that one.  It’s a policy that encourages converts from the sinners, and it works fine for that.  Some of us that know how to be moral without being told are right to resent those that think that they should rank the same whenever they are in the mood to be moral.  Sorry, I’m not buying it.

    Sure, pay the new workers whatever it takes to get them to help finish the job, but pay the original workers enough to quell the resentment.  Reward those that repent and live better lives, but don’t equate them with the ones that didn’t need to change.

    • #22
  23. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Dr. Bastiat: f we intentionally stomp out individualism and promote conformity, what kind of society will we have in 25 years? It may be a society that you won’t like. Although Karl Marx would approve.

    Karl Marx, according to Thomas Sowell, did not want government controlled education because he feared government indoctrination. He was more of a utopian than a totalitarian after all. 

    • #23
  24. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Envy is a sin. Jealousy may not be. You can envy your neighbor for having a beautiful wife. You can become jealous if your neighbor tries to seduce your wife.

    It depends on what you do with your desire to have what someone else has.  If your neighbor has a beautiful wife and you desire her, that’s bad.  If you desire to find a beautiful wife for yourself, that’s good.  I like to call it incentive or inspiration, not envy or jealousy, because those are bad.

    One of the best commercials to illustrate this was a Cadillac commercial.  It showed a paperboy doing his thing, then he pauses to admire a guy driving a Cadillac as he goes by.  The boy thinks, “Some day . . .”  Then the commercial fades to the present, and the boy-now-man (with silver hair, not a young’un) is driving his Cadillac.  Another paperboy looks up and thinks the same thing – “Some day . . .”

    • #24
  25. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Dr. Bastiat: Teaching kids that they can only achieve happiness by controlling the behavior of others, and relishing the power of the collective when they gang up on an individual they dislike.

    This is why so many lefties are perpetually miserable human beings. They are only permitted to be happy when their utopian aims are achieved. Until then, it is unwoke to be happy so long as there’s unfairness in the world. Just listen to Bernie’s angry delivery of his stump speech with his litany of “justices” he’s going to enact. 

    • #25
  26. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Stina (View Comment):
    Jesus had messages for workers and employers, haves and have-nots. Messages about whose money it is and those about allowing workers to enjoy the products of their work. Messages about being respectful and those about leading. Messages about envy and those about generosity.

    Jesus seemed to be pro-capitalist when I read the Gospel of Luke. He wanted employers to be nice and employees to be hardworking. He didn’t seem like much of a socialist at all. 

    • #26
  27. WalterWatchpocket Coolidge
    WalterWatchpocket
    @WalterWatchpocket

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: This is just one of countless Biblical parables that have nothing to do with God, but everything to do with human nature.

    You do a disservice to your post by saying this.

    The parable has everything to do about God, and Matthew uses our fallen nature to make his point (Matthew, as you know, was a tax collector, a sinner, called to conversion). Jesus uses this parable to show us that though the Jews were the first called into the vineyard, the Gentiles, in the fullness of time, are also called. The equal reward represents eternal life, a gift that God offers to all. And to receive this reward, we must be willing to work in God’s vineyard, putting oneself at his service, and collaborating with his work.

    A fair point.

    A great point!

    • #27
  28. SecondBite Member
    SecondBite
    @SecondBite

    kelsurprise, drama queen (View Comment):
    Never ceases to amaze me — how the same folks who will push “equality” and decry “privilege” when it comes to the nation at large always seem to discover an entirely different set of principles when it comes to themselves and their own good fortune or perceived greater merit. 

    Thanks to Mr. Orwell, We now know that “Some are more equal than others.”

    I would also note the artifice of putting the most important items in a list first or last.  How many of the things abjured in the other commandments arise from covetousness?  Theft? Murder? Adultery? Lying?

    One of the big problems is that so many people who otherwise try to raise their children to be virtuous thoughtlessly absorb and pass on the values promulgated by the leftists.  How many are trying to raise kids who don’t covet but, at the same time honor demands that everything be “fair.”  Equity is a good thing but “fair” just means “That kid got more than I did!”

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  29. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Stad (View Comment):

    David Carroll (View Comment):

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: This is just one of countless Biblical parables that have nothing to do with God, but everything to do with human nature.

    You do a disservice to your post by saying this.

    The parable has everything to do about God, and Matthew uses our fallen nature to make his point (Matthew, as you know, was a tax collector, a sinner, called to conversion). Jesus uses this parable to show us that though the Jews were the first called into the vineyard, the Gentiles, in the fullness of time, are also called. The equal reward represents eternal life, a gift that God offers to all. And to receive this reward, we must be willing to work in God’s vineyard, putting oneself at his service, and collaborating with his work.

    The parable can also be read to mean that even those who accept the Lord on their deathbeds after a life of unbelief will receive the same rewards in heaven as those who were lifetime believers. Just sayin’.

    My guess is even Hitchens hedged his bets when the time came. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ayn Rand in Heaven either . . .

    I would be surprised. Pleasantly, of course.

    • #29
  30. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Stad (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Envy is a sin. Jealousy may not be. You can envy your neighbor for having a beautiful wife. You can become jealous if your neighbor tries to seduce your wife.

    It depends on what you do with your desire to have what someone else has. If your neighbor has a beautiful wife and you desire her, that’s bad. If you desire to find a beautiful wife for yourself, that’s good. I like to call it incentive or inspiration, not envy or jealousy, because those are bad.

    One of the best commercials to illustrate this was a Cadillac commercial. It showed a paperboy doing his thing, then he pauses to admire a guy driving a Cadillac as he goes by. The boy thinks, “Some day . . .” Then the commercial fades to the present, and the boy-now-man (with silver hair, not a young’un) is driving his Cadillac. Another paperboy looks up and thinks the same thing – “Some day . . .”

    Jealousy has to do with what is or you think should be yours. Envy is about resentment about what the other guy has.

    Andrei Amalrik explained in Will the Soviet Union Survive until 1984 that when an American sees his neighbor drive up in a nice new car, he expects that the system should give him a chance to also get one like that but in USSR if the neighbor has a nice new car, the hope is that the system will come take it away—if anybody is getting ahead then the rest must be losing something.

    Envy, zero-sum economics and totalitarianism are kinda like an evil trinity, different but somehow part of the same thing.

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