Word for the day: Covetous Assholism

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.

About AdaptiveCurmudgeon

Adaptive Curmudgeon is handsome, brave, and wise.

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0 Responses to Word for the day: Covetous Assholism

  1. Pakkinpoppa says:

    I used the phrase “blatant assholery” to describe some folk’s behavior on the freeway several years ago. I like your phrase too, that’s nice.

  2. Joe in PNG says:

    For those of a more religious bent, noted religious scholar P.J. O’Rourke once pointed out that the message of the 10th Commandment (‘do not covet…’) basically means “get your own on your own.”

    And, I find it funny that those who rob Peter to pay Paul will usually take a big chunk for themselves so they can live Peter’s lifestyle- while railing against how evil that lifestyle is.

    • Johnny T. says:

      Joe, that second paragraph my be the most accurate and concise definition of democrats and the U.N. I’ve ever seen! Brilliant!

  3. MSgt B says:

    Great piece as usual.

    I’m linking it.
    (Which doesn’t mean much, ’cause only about five people actually read my blog. Maybe the Russian porn spammers will find it interesting though.)

  4. MaxDamage says:

    There is an old saying that time is money. I have a finite amount of time allotted to me on this little mudball spinning about old Sol in this backwater of the Milky Way galaxy, I choose to use part of this finite amount of time to earn money so I can exchange it for goods and services that I cannot or prefer not to produce on my own. In the old days we called this specialization, or division of labor. Today it is simply known as being greedy.

    Note that if I hire somebody to mow my lawn for me, and pay them what I think the job is worth, I am greedy for paying them less than what I may have earned during that period. If I mow my own lawn instead, I am greedy for keeping my money and not hiring the person to mow my lawn. It’s a perfect no-win scenario.

    At the bottom of all this lies this simple fact: to the man who has cash in his wallet and is not dependent upon others, there is nothing anybody can say or write or promise that will obligate him to them. He does not care what the media write, he does not care what politicians promise, his sense of self-worth does not require praise from another.

    Such a man is dangerous to the media and politicians.

    – Max

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