Coming To Grips With The Moral Evil of Egalitarianism

November 1, 2018

By Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

This is not about anti-egalitarianism as a philosophical or metaphysical position but about the moral evil that exists in egalitarianism so that we will also have toward egalitarianism the horror that we must have.

How can we properly understand the moral evil of egalitarianism?

Take a person who is vulgar in the proper sense of the word; not one who uses colloquial expressions that I like to think you would avoid—though they are part of the current vocabulary and one may tend to use them without thinking.

Imagine a person who sees one of you wearing a white collar shirt and tie and says, “I’m angry!” Why? “Because I would like for you to be wearing a shirt but without the tie. Why don’t you wear this shirt without a tie?” Now if you do that he will still look angrily and say, “why don’t you take off that jacket?”  If the person has no jacket on, he will say, “why don’t you let the shirt hang outside rather than being tucked inside your pants?”

 If the shirt is un-tucked, he says, “why don’t you wear blue jeans?” Note that this is not a person who has less and becomes jealous because the other has more. It is a person whose mindset is such that the more vulgar something is, the more he feels connatural with it. And the more elevated something is, the more out-of-sync he feels with it because he likes ordinary and prosaic things.

Photo by David M Tran

So he likes a person who talks while hitting the other’s belly with the back of his hand, spitting on the ground, calling him “my chap,” putting his hand on his shoulder, telling a clamorous lie, giving a silly laugh. The other sees it and says, “How nice!” And when he sees a fine and distinguished young man, he says, “How pedantic! I hate him!”

Note that the issue here is not envy but a question of vulgarity. A fine or exquisite thing irritates him. Instead, a vulgar thing arouses a certain sympathy because the person feels akin with the ordinary. If a person like that were to become rich, he would not buy luxurious things. He would waste the money on a whole lot of things but keep his worn-out pants because he likes sloppy pants as symbols of the world, life, and the universal order of things as he sees them.

That’s what he likes. For example, regarding ice cream, he loves Kibon. If they serve him fine ice creams, he is peeved and says, “Why offer me that, I like this ice cream because it tastes like soap. And if I find an ice cream that tastes like mud, it’s even better because you have to be really boorish and ordinary.”

If someone says: “Look, I have an uncle who wants to give you a magnificently furnished bedroom with a splendid carpet, admirable curtains, and refined furniture.”  In a few hours, he will have turned it into a pig sty. He grabbed the curtains to swing around, spat on the ground, threw cigarette butts everywhere, broke the bed springs when lying down, poured water on it. He is a torturer of all things that are beautiful and orderly out of antipathy and allergy for everything that is in order.

As he looks at the ways society was in the past and sees those forms of politeness and courtesy: “With the expression of my highest regard, I remain, Sir,….”. He says: “How much blah-blah. Wouldn’t it be much better to say ‘Bye’ than all this nonsense?”

The Golden Coach for Queen Beatrix to attend the annual Prinsjesdag.

Take a magnificently, golden and bejeweled chariot pulled by two sets of white horses with crystal wheels like the gala carriage of the Queen of Denmark, with a magnificent upholstery, crystal window panes, etc. When he looks at it, his idea is to grab a rock and hurl it at the carriage. He thinks that is the correct and consistent attitude because that carriage is the kind of thing one needs to break. This is the mentality of many tourists who visit the statues of Aleijadinho and break a finger off, write their name on them, mess up the place, etc. Why? Because everything upright needs to be broken. All that is elevated must be sullied.


(Excerpt from a Saint of the Day, Tuesday, April 19, 1966 – translation)

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