Import Korean Egalitarianism to Defuse Envy in America

Half of America, the younger misguided half, is rallying to the banner of communism. Yes, I say communism, calling a spade a spade, not a whitewashed euphemism. Actually, communism as originally proposed by Marx and Engels was a beautiful word, like utopia or brotherhood.

Communism derives its appeal by stirring up envy, hatred of those with more money than oneself and promise of equal distribution. However, its toxicity is spelled out by Peter Bach, the protagonist of The Polyglot: Union of Korea and Japan (2018), amazon.com, pages 420-421, during his Senate hearing for confirmation as President Eisenhower’s Special Envoy to South Korea in turmoil after the Student Revolution of 1960. He calls communism

“A naive, dangerous, and ultimately self-defeating ideology, based on a misconception of human nature. Humans are most productive when they compete for a larger, not equal, share of wealth. A huge bureaucracy, installed to replace free market competition, will in time grind down and implode for lack of motivation and built-in indolence.”

The truth of this characterization has been verified beyond a shadow of doubt by the sea trials of communism, Soviet, Cuban, Venezuelan, proving it to be unfit as a practical solution. We have to work with the free market system, accepting inequality as a necessary evil or blessing. Peter goes on to warn:

“But Communism serves as a wakeup call lest a free society should lapse into complacency. It should be constantly vigilant against perpetuation of gross inequalities, leveling the playfield to forestall upheavals like the French Revolution of 1792 or the Russian Revolution of 1917?”
“How?”
“The US has in place anti-trust and welfare legislations, as well as widespread private charity by the wealthy, which will serve as vents. If the balance is maintained, there won’t be any explosive revolutions to wreck America.”

In other words, with progressive taxation, social security, supplemental security income, private charity, and other leveling devices already in place, we are managing. Granted that’s not enough but we have to be patient and do what we can, in the meantime suppressing, defusing and reining in the discontent of the young and radical. To this end suggested is cultivation of insensitivity or immunity to envy, the green-eyed monster, the root cause of discontent, by looking to the Korean model.
From time immemorial Koreans have coped with their less than dominant places in their social totem pole in reliance on a peculiar brand of egalitarianism, expressed by the phrase, “a sheet of paper difference (종이 한 장 차이).” For example, a bondservant can mentally stare down at his master, while bowing and scraping to do his bidding, because it’s just the title deed that separates them. Similarly dismissive of his billionaire employer is a day laborer living hand to mouth. In time the idiom mutates to mean “paper thin,” reducing the vast differences in the pecking order to a triviality. This mentality may make them the world’s worst hypocrites, obsequious outside but arrogant inside but sure gives them peace of mind and physical health by freeing them from envy, the mental cancer that eventually metastasizes to the body and kills.
Lately the egalitarian motto has mutated again to “a click difference,” reflecting post-Information Revolution accessibility to the cutting edge of knowledge in any field, the seriousness of which cannot be overstated.

If the previous “paper thin difference” is irreverence, rebelliousness, denial, a matter of attitude, this “click difference” is substantive. By clicking the right link on line one can instantly come to the cutting edge of knowledge in any field. If knowledge is power, this click difference is none other than universal empowerment, destined to erode and erase the invidious differences in the pecking order, rendering obsolete certifications, licenses, charters as artificial intelligence and virtual training in the professions and trades advance (see The Bounty of De-Schooling, 3-20-2019, typakmusings.com).

This ultra-egalitarianism will prevent America from tilting too far to the left and keeling over and keep it on track to becoming an earthly utopia, where differences exist enough to keep competition going but not suffocate.

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