Commentary: Envy as the Path to Political Power

Bernie Sanders

Demagogues appeal to envy because they believe that promising to destroy the advantages enjoyed by others will win votes and inspire loyalty. Sometimes it does. As the envy-driven horrors of Rwanda and Nazi Germany demonstrate, pledging to disrupt the envied lives of a despised “other” can be a ticket to victory for a political candidate savvy enough to convince voters that he has their best interests at heart.

More than 25 years ago, Doug Bandow, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, pronounced in his book The Politics of Envy: Statism as Theology that we “live in an age of envy.” Pointing out that “people don’t so much want more money for themselves as they want to take it away from those with more,” Bandow suggested that although “greed is bad enough, eating away at a person’s soul, envy is far worse because it destroys not only individuals, but also communities, poisoning relations.” A Christian libertarian, Bandow wrote that 

those who are greedy may ruin their own lives, but those who are envious contaminate the larger community by letting their covetousness interfere with their relations with others. 

One can satisfy greed in innocuous, even positive ways—by being brighter, working harder, seeing new opportunities, or meeting the demands of others, for instance.

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Gov. Abbott: Democratic Legislators to Be Arrested upon Return to Texas

Photo caption from Twitter says " Conversation Dan Patrick @DanPatrick Smiling House Dems fly off to DC on a private jet with a case of Miller Lite, breaking House quorum, abandoning their constituents, while the Senate still works. It’s my hope that Senate Dems report tomorrow to do what they were elected to do."

More than 60 House Democrats who fled Austin Monday to prevent a vote on election reforms will be arrested when they return to Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said.

“Once they step back into the state of Texas, they will be arrested and brought to the Texas capital and we will be conducting business,” Abbott said.

The 67 Democratic lawmakers flew on chartered flights to Washington D.C. in protest of proposed legislation seeking to reduce the chances of fraud in future elections. The legislation is one of a number of measures being considered during a July special session called by Abbott.

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Proposed Florida Vote-By-Mail Restrictions Scaled Back, But Opponents Not Swayed

Dennis Baxley

A key Senate panel Wednesday amended a controversial bill imposing a range of restrictions on the state’s vote-by-mail (VBM) laws but did not vote on the measure after an exhaustive debate.

The Senate Rules Committee ran out of time before it could issue a verdict on Senate Bill 90 during a fiery marathon meeting that began with an hours’-long fracas over a proposed bill preempting local governments from regulating ports in areas “of critical state concern.”

Committee chair Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, concluded the meeting without calling for a vote on SB 90, saying the panel could take up the measure in its Friday meeting or next week. The bill was not on panel’s Friday agenda as of Thursday afternoon.

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Arkansas Legislature Passes Bills Tightening Signature Verification, Absentee Ballot Requests

Asa Hutchinson

Arkansas became the latest state to pass a series of voting reforms this week, sending multiple bills to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk.

The bills, overwhelmingly passed by the state’s Republican legislature, focus on in-person and absentee voting, while a third transfers additional authority to county election commissioners instead of local clerks. Hutchinson has not publicly said whether he plans to sign them.

The Arkansas Senate passed HB 1715 Tuesday, which prohibits clerks from sending unsolicited absentee ballots to voters and requires them to report how many absentee ballot applications they receive each day. It also requires a voter’s signature to match their signature from when they first registered to vote, and forbids county clerks from providing a ballot if they do not match.

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‘God Loves Me’: 10-Year-Old Trans Child Quotes Bible to Tell TX Legislators Why They Shouldn’t Ban Trans Surgeries, Procedures for Minors

Kai Shappley

A 10-year-old transgender child quoted the Bible testifying before Texas lawmakers on bills banning transgender procedures and surgeries for minors.

Kai Shappley spoke to lawmakers Monday regarding Texas Senate Bill 1646, legislation that classifies it as child abuse for anyone to administer puberty suppression drugs, hormone replacement therapy, transgender surgeries or medical procedures to minors.

Video footage posted by the American Civil Liberties Union shows the 10-year-old child reading remarks from an iPhone, criticizing legislators for “attacking me since pre-K” and explaining, “I’ve been having to explain myself since I was three or four years old.”

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