The Difference Between Jealousy and Envy

“So jealous…” It’s something we usually say in jest when we see that someone has something we desire. But this is not the most accurate use of the word “jealous.” Jealousy is the desire to possess exclusively, and it usually applies to what one already possesses. It can be healthy in certain circumstances.

What we should really be saying is, “So covetous…” Because covetousness is the desire to have something someone else has.

But the main attitude of modern America is not jealousy. And it isn’t even covetousness. It’s envy. Envy is not so much about keeping others from taking what you have. And it isn’t even about getting what you want. It’s about keeping other people from having what you don’t have. Covetousness says, “You have it. I don’t. I want it.” Sometimes covetousness even says, “Give it to me.” But envy says, “You have it. I don’t. And I won’t let you have it either.”

Do you ever wonder why the current administration doesn’t seem to understand that their policies will not succeed in making poor people more wealthy, but instead will succeed only in making us all more poor? All you need to understand is envy.

Envy gloats over the destruction of our economy. It rejoices when it sees the disintegration of the family. It revels in ignorance.

But envy is also short-sighted.

See, the rich can afford to survive our current climate. I just want to scream at poor people who continue to support President Obama’s policies: “Don’t you get it?! The only way to get back at those greedy capitalists who live in the captain’s chambers is to sink the boat. Problem is, you live below deck. You won’t even live to see them suffer.”

That seems to be the heart of it. President Obama and many of his supporters seem to want to see “privileged” people suffer. Not because it would benefit anyone. But because they are envious. And it’s a lot easier to make everyone equally miserable than it is to be content.