Covetous Assholism – (noun) The mistaken belief that you can claim moral superiority over another person if they have more money than you do. Especially if they’re very rich and you wish to redistribute their money to someone who is poor.
It is 2012 and everything is going pretty much according to schedule. It’s August and the president is up for re-election. During this particular election cycle the president has a D after his name and (arguably) few concrete accomplishments with which to win votes. Under such conditions it is both traditional and expected that the quadrennial “class warfare” shall commence. These periodic rounds of “class warfare” usually devolve into full power pandering shortly after Congress goes on recess (which, in case you were wondering, was last week).
Note: I don’t make the rules, I simply witness them.
We (hapless voters that we are) are being told repeatedly that Mitt Romney is an evil jackoff because he’s filthy rich. It may be true that Mitt Romney is an evil jackoff. It is a known fact that he’s filthy rich. However, it is absolutely illogical to conclude that Mr. Romney’s wealth causes or forces him to be an evil jackoff.
The media (paid advertisements and free commentary) will continue hammering that Mr. Romney (and in fact all rich Americans) are inherently distasteful. This will continue until November 5th. We will be told that it’s appropriate and even morally superior to mistreat rich people because they’re inherently “bad”. We will be told that it’s fine because people who want to use rich people’s money to their own ends are “well meaning”. Various justifications abound but it all boils down to covetous assholism.
Listen up because I’m offering a Curmudgeonly Gem of Insight:
“In general it’s better to be rich than poor.”
I can’t believe that I have to type such a statement. Is it not self-evident? We all have the option of being poor. We can dispose of our material goods as we see fit at any time. We can choose to live in a Calcutta slum, a mud hut, or in a cardboard box whenever we wish. Yet how common is it to give away all your posessions and bask in glorious self-inflicted morally superior poverty? In fact, most of us endeavor very hard to avoid that outcome. We know better because we have all experienced life and we have learned from it. We all know it’s more pleasant to have some of the material things we want because we’ve experienced it.
It is so obvious that it’s hard to imagine missing it. Yet, like many things, we’re being told the exact opposite of what is right before our eyes. Political operatives are very carefully explaining to us (with the style and vocabulary I generally reserve for talking to my dog) that being rich is in itself proof of moral inferiority. The argument goes that folks who aren’t rich (or are careful to disguise it) are morally justified in steamrolling those devious unworthy rich bastards and using their presumably ill gotten gains for better purposes.
This is the whole point of covetous assholism. People who wish to steal from or mistreat the rich are not noble. They’re not special. They’re not rare, deep, or clever. They’re not especially concerned with the poor. All they are is covetous and self-delusional. Such is the a distasteful malady I call “covetous assholism”.
How do you know if you have covetous assholism? Simply use this test; imagine someone who owns something expensive that you do not own. It must be something you’d really like to own. It must be something you cannot and probably will never be able to afford. Avoid imagining the rest of the person; leave out details like what car they drive, how hard they worked for their money, if they’re good to their kids, if they’re handsome or ugly, if they have a cat, etc… It’s hard to imagine these things without adding bias. Justifying your actions by defining the “other” (even subconsciously) runs deep so avoid it by just focusing on the thing they have which you don’t.
Now, imagine that you hypothetically took this thing away from the imaginary owner. Would you consider it “good” behavior? Yes? Then you’re a victim of covetous assholism. Seek treatment.
What if you think “that would be stealing and stealing is wrong?” Congratulations, you’re are free from the symptoms of covetous assholism. You’re also correct.
One cannot deal with their feelings about the rich without considering the opposite. There’s a corollary to “in general it’s better to be rich than poor.” Listen up because it’s so blindingly obvious that it usually takes years of study to obliterate it from one’s psyche. It’s the second Curmudgeonly Gem of insight for today. Get a pen and write this down:
“It is not inherently noble to be poor.”
Get that shit out of your head right away because it’s a foolish notion. A person can be rich or poor. This tells you exactly nothing of their moral character. Rich and poor are just words that point toward a basic financial condition. Nothing more. Covetous assholism attempts to circumvent this obvious truth.
There’s nothing new about the human desire to do something because you want to and twisting logic justify it. Overcoming this common human fault is part of the maturation process. We all must attempt to live well. This means avoiding false justifications. It means you cannot simply assume you’re better than someone to justify your own selfish actions.
Thanks for listening. I’ll get off my soapbox now.