2011-10 "Is “Class Envy” The New “Class Warfare?” by Robin M.
What does Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan have to say to those who are unhappy with his plan to gut the social safety net for the poorest Americans while at the same time keeping tax cuts intact for the wealthiest?
You guys are just jealous.
Speaking on Meet the Press [http://www.rollcall.com/news/paul_ryan_accuses_obama_sowing_class_envy-209328-1.html], Ryan accused President Barack Obama of trying to divide America rather than unite the country. But rather than declare it “class warfare,” as the party has been doing recently, he used a slightly different phrase: “I think this divisive rhetoric is fairly — is divisive. I think it’s troubling. Sowing class envy and social unrest is not what we do in America.”
It’s a very subtle change of language, but it’s also quite significant. “Class warfare” implies an anger between the two groups, but also something that can be won and overcome. “Warfare,” once it begins, is a conflict that for the most part will result in a winner and a loser, but both sides have an opportunity for victory.
Then there’s “class envy.” See, it’s not the fault of Haves in this scenario, instead, it’s a character flaw and weakness in the Have Nots, who resort to the vice of jealousy rather than be content. Once more it feeds into the idea that those who are not rich are in that situation because they didn’t try hard enough, and they haven’t done anything to deserve or earn a good life [http://www.care2.com/causes/cain-if-you-arent-rich-you-have-yourself-to-blame.html].
The upper class owes nothing to the lower class, “class envy” implies. It’s the lower class who needs to learn to get over their petty jealousy.