The Lie of "Class Envy"


I have been accused a lot lately of encouraging something which the writers claim is "class envy". Since the word "envy" is one of those words that one uses to create an appearance of unacceptable behavior on the part of whomever your want denigrated, I decided to look at what these folks really mean but hide through their misuse of the English language.

Now, I think we all can agree that the complaint is not that the rich envy the poor but, rather, that the poor feel envy for what the rich have. Of course, if anyone can put me in touch with a person of wealth who truly does envy those who society would prefer to forget, I'll give them a 10% finder's fee. Sound okay?

To return to the subject at hand; only the rich would term what the poor and, for that matter, what the middle class feel toward the wealthy as envy. I believe a far better explanation would be along the line of disgust and revulsion at the greed and selfishness which the Reagan Era epitomized. I have found absolutely no one, not one, who does not believe that each of us are free to satiate whatever legal and moral needs we have. Instead, it is the method of fulfilling those needs which so sickens the majority of decent Americans.

The inhuman greed and selfishness which both of the Reagans epitomized and celebrated oozed over into the so-called Republican Revolution in 1994. The S&L debacle, which not one Republican has ever admitted would never have occurred without the deregulation that conservatives and Wall Street so idolizes, was only the most obvious example of that greed which most Americans now find so contemptible. The outright legalized theft from the accounts of the depositors was astounding to those who crave fairness and honesty.

In the 90's, that same greed has invaded Wall Street (even more than usual) and now entails the process of executives laying off as many hard working employees as possible, then cashing in their stock options when Wall Street falls prone in adoration to that corporation's appearance of increased profits, then the executives moving on to another corporation where they start the entire process all over again. In the meantime, millions of hard working American's dreams for the future are destroyed solely in the name of maximum profits for the few.

I recently even received an e-mail from one of today's corporate toadies who explained that he has been through three lay-offs. The "valuable" employees, according to him, quickly found jobs but the "deadwood" was "eliminated". It really wouldn't take much in the way of an imagination to believe that this was a forties style "Youth for Hitler" type of mentality, would it?

His "deadwood" included those with the most seniority and highest levels of pay, of course. Human scavengers such as himself always survive disasters, that is until he becomes one those older workers, at which time others will term him deadwood and he'll face the same fate as those he now belittles. Of course, when that happens he'll be the first to whine and complain about the unfairness of it all. Nevertheless, to update the old saying, "When they laid off the elderly, I didn't speak up because I was still young. When they laid off the experienced worker I stayed silent because I was still learning and earning little. When they laid off the women and minorities, I turned away because I was neither. When they came for me, no one stood for me as no one was left."

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Write me at:jcannon@anotherperspective.org

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Copyright 11/5/97