Hurrah for Anne Hendershott’s fine analysis of envy as it plays out in politics and where it ends.
She’s spot on. Joe Biden is hardly Maximilian Robespierre. But he provides cover for the Robespierres, the Madame Defarges, and their larcenous, unhappy (envy is the only one of the seven deadlies that’s no fun at all), and violent (when in a mob) followers.
And please gather together in one room all the fools who believe Joe Biden’s recent conversion on the matter of mob violence. With apologies to George Strait, I have some ocean-front property in Arizona I can let them have for a good price. This wasn’t clueless Joe’s road to Damascus. He and his party of envy just hope it’s his, and their, road to 1600.
It takes nothing away from our estimable Anne to note that the place of envy in our lives and politics has long been known and commented on. In the 1920s, Henry Mencken capsulized it with this penetrating and droll comment: “The truly happy man is one who makes five dollars a week more than his brother-in-law.” (Adjust for the intervening inflation and you get the picture.) Since the great Henry’s time, envy has gotten much more ugly and deadly, and now has a formerly great American political party devoted to little else.