Thou Shalt Not Covet

As a Sunday school kid, I never quite understood the significance of the commandment, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maid servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's." It was easy to understand why you shouldn't covet your neighbor's wife. After all that could lead to adultery but what's wrong about being jealous about your neighbor's other possessions? Liberals have helped me see the light: jealousy is a precursor to evil. It causes otherwise decent people to fall easy prey to scummy charlatans.

Look at the debate surrounding the Republican proposed tax cuts. Liberals protest it isn't fair to cut taxes of those earning over $200,000. Liberals make the incredibly thoughtless argument that since the wealthy have benefitted the most from society they also owe the most. Higher taxes are a way to make them "give something back." Liberals' agenda is to make us jealous and make us think that one person has more because another has less so they can succeed in their redistributionist agenda.

But how do people earn money in a free society? Let's take the extreme example of billionaire Bill Gates, founder of Micro-Soft. There is no evidence that Gates enslaved or robbed anyone. There's a lot of evidence that millions of common people like you and me voluntarily gave him money for software programs that make life easier and more pleasurable like Windows, DOS and other products. Gates served us well and he's rich because millions upon millions of independent decision makers agreed his products were superior to the next best alternative.

Liberals make the nonsense argument that people like Gates owe society something. If anything society benefitted far more from Gate's activities than Gates himself. That's nearly always the case. People who invented products like MRI's, miracle drugs, and laser machines or services like overnight mail, e-mail, and hotels benefitted society much more than anything they themselves might have received. Just ask yourself: who received the greatest benefit from the antibiotic that may have saved your loved one's life - the inventor who got profits from sale of the medicine to you or was it you and your loved one?

How appropriate is it to hold people, who serve us so well, up to scorn, abuse and ridicule? We might also ask: how appropriate is it for us to make social mascots out of society's leeches, vermin and parasites? How much sense does it make to confiscate the wealth of those who serve us and reward those who seek to live off and prey on others?

Liberals are about the control. Jealousy is their powerful instrument for the politics of envy. By getting us to covet that which belongs to our neighbor, we in turn give them the power to confiscate what are perceived as illgotten gains of others and pass it around. In the process we all wind up being less free, less prosperous, less moral and become a nation of thieves engaged in the futile attempt to live at each other's expense.

You'd think at least the church would be in the forefront in preaching against envy. But one of the greatest successes of liberals is their co-optation of America's church leaders into their evil agenda. Today's church leaders, along with members of Congress, have forgotten God's commandment against coveting and probably interpret the commandment "Thou shalt not steal" as God really meaning "Thou shalt not steal, unless there's a majority vote."

Walter E. Williams
April 25, 1995
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