Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kay's Seven Deadly Sins #4 Envy


Today We are to discuss ENVY or "invidiousness." for Kay's Seven Daily Sins meme.

Oh, Oh wait, this isn't what Kay meant! She meant us to post about ENVY, one of the Seven Deadly Sins. I got carried away, I got hung up on technology...duh!

All right now, the sin of ENVY!

From the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

Envy is a complex and puzzling emotion. It is, notoriously, one of the seven deadly sins. It is very commonly charged with being (either typically or universally) unreasonable, irrational, imprudent, vicious, or wrong to feel.

With very few exceptions, the ample philosophical literature defending the rationality and evaluative importance of emotions explicitly excludes envy and a few other nasty emotions as irredeemable.

Indeed, some authors who are prepared to defend even jealousy insist that envy is beyond the pale. Yet there is considerable controversy over what precisely envy is, and the cogency of various specific criticisms of envy depends on what view of that subject is adopted.

In addition to its centrality to discussions in the philosophy of emotions, envy has sparked controversies in political philosophy. Perhaps best known among these is the claim that egalitarian views of justice are motivated by envy.

It also receives substantial treatment from John Rawls, who takes pains to argue that envy does not pose a threat to his theory of justice.

Aren't you curious about that statement above about egalitarianism and envy?

Freud, for instance, held that concern with justice is the product of childhood envy of other children leading to concern for equal treatment, and thereby to ‘group spirit’: “If one cannot be the favorite oneself, at all events nobody else shall be the favorite.”

Defense of the charge that egalitarianism is occurrently motivated by envy hinges both on the commitments of egalitarianism and on the nature of envy. The common motif is that egalitarians wish to do away with the advantages of the better off, and that they wish to do this because they are bothered by the very fact that the better off are better off. This is supposed to show that egalitarians are motivated by envy. Whether this is a fair characterization of any prominent egalitarian position is certainly open to question.

Da__ right it's open to question! It's not true AT ALL! Egalitarians of which I consider myself one are not motivated by envy or jealousy. That's utterly ridiculous! Egalitarians want justice for ALL people particularly people who suffer inequality because of unchosen circumstances such as economic factors, class, race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation.

And how do we solve the problem of inequality, particularly economic inequality, here in the U.S.? The government taxes people. Yeah, that's righ, those who HAVE pay taxes for the HAVE NOTS. I'm not afraid to say it. That's why we're a community, a society. We help our own.

I pay school taxes and willingly even though I have no children in school. The rule isn't each of us pays for the services we use. The rule is we who can pay, pay for the services EVERYBODY uses! You don't like it? Tough! That's the way societies function!



♥ Kathy said...

My mom (the great grandmother) pays between $1500 and $2000 in school taxes each year. I think that's a little excessive but she knows it's for the kids.

Raven said...

Well said! And I love the illustration. Wouldn't I love to have and be able to wear a dress like that! Maybe not the hair, though.

Up with egalitarianism and a world where caring for the common good is second nature.

Pagan Sphinx said...

I don't like Freud. I believe he was a bit of a charlatan. I'm not buying his take on justice and envy one bit!

I'm much inclined toward you take on it!

Great post, Mary.

Wanna visit my post on Envy for Dante's take? If you dare... ;-)

Mojo said...

Careful Mary, talk like that will have you branded a "socialist"! You know, like our President. *grin*

Hey, if wanting fair and equal treatment for all is socialism, then paint me red and call me "Comrade".

Or paint me green and call me Envious. Or a Leprechaun. Or just a Leper.

Kay said...

“If one cannot be the favorite oneself, at all events nobody else shall be the favorite.”
What an interesting concept. I had never thought about it like that before. And you are so right about community Being A Community.

I love this meme! Everyone has such unique viewpoints and I keep learning from everyone!