The modern feminist movement can, I believe, be said to have been built on an impersonal, generalized envy...Most women would say, I suspect, that not envy but a strong sense of injustice powered the feminist movement. They would not be wrong, but I would only add that envy and a sense of injustice are not always that easily distinguished, let alone extricated, one from the other.-Joseph Epstein
Feminism, being leftist, is based on envy, as all leftism is based on envy. It is based on the envy of both sexes, of both women and men.
And, like all leftism, it can only be imposed by the force of the State. Of course it will never work, not in the long run, because, as Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn wrote in Leftism Revisited, "Leftists don't merely misunderstand human nature. They don't understand it at all."
Leftists, however, don't believe they are equal to others. Instead they believe they are intellectally and morally superior to the average person, and believe not only should they prescribe for them, but their prescriptions should have the force of law to back them up. Of course, these Anointed (as Thomas Sowell mocked them) don't believe they should follow their advice for others.
The original hard-care feminists were the oddest of oddballs: either man-hating lesbians or women who couldn't get (didn't want) husband, home and children. Therefore, they had to devalue women who wanted these things. And in many ways, it worked.
The also envied men, and since the main defense against envy is devaluation, they devalued men -- just as they had devalued women. For example, in the year 2011 I had two women tell me, "Men are responsible for all the problems in the world." (Neither of them had husband, home and children.)
Envy is the ugliest and most destructive emotion in history. It is the only one of the Seven Deadly Sins that isn't any fun. It is if anything an attack on goodness itself.
I've always been such a low-envy person it took me years to realize what a problem envy is. Now I realize it is the worst problem ever.
The destructiveness of envy has been noticed in one of the most well-known myths in the Western world -- the story of the Garden of Eden.
When Adam and Eve are caught breaking the rules, Adam immediately claims he is innocent and devalues Eve by saying, "She made me do it." Eve claims she is innocent and says the serpent made her do it.
The serpent is a symbol of envy, hate, anger and the desire for revenge, as John Milton well-noticed in Paradise Lost.
This myth tells us than when people claim they're innocent -- and are not -- their first defense is to blame their problems on someone else. That blame is usually based on envy.
Example: some months ago I was watching TV and saw three coeds from the University of Georgia savaging the men in college. They had nothing good to say about them (one said they showed up on dates "In a dirty t-shirt and holding a bag of condoms"). Of course, not one of them suggested women had a problem, too. Apparently it never even occured to them.
Why were they doing this? In their minds, right or wrong, men were denying them what they wanted: ambitious men, who wanted to make a lot of money, and of course, good-looking and taller than they are. And would marry them, be faithful, and somehow support their careers and want children, too.
Because men were denying them what they thought they wanted, they envied men's power to make them happy and so had to devalue them. "I'm innocent here...you're the one with the problem." They project their problems on other people.
Never disturb the innocence of the self-righteous. You'll get nothing more than outrage.
In other words, what these three women on TV are doing is putting angel's wings on themselves and horns, a spaded tail and a pitchfork on men. That is not conducive to seeing things clearly.
This blaming others for your problems -- projection -- is the first defense people engage in. What parent has not heard every child at one time or another claim, "You/he/she made me do it!"
The psychiatrists Melanie Klein and Joan Riviere wrote this about projection, "The first and the most fundamental of our insurances or safety measures against feelings of pain, of being attacked, or of helplessness --one from which so many others spring -- is that device we call projection. All painful and unpleasant sensations and feelings in the mind are by this device automatically relegated outside oneself...[W]e blame them on someone else. [Insofar] as such destructive forces are recognized in ourselves we claim that they have come there arbitrarily and by some external agency...[P]rojection is the baby's first reaction to pain and it probably remains the most spontaneous reaction in all of us to any painful feeling throughout our lives."
Another name for projection is "scapegoating." The French philosopher and theologian Rene Girard, author of Violence and the Sacred and Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World, believes function of a scapegoat was to renew society, and another theologian, Walter Wink, agreed with him, calling it "the myth of redemptive violence," i.e., the world can be reborn through violence.
In other words, feminism believes society and women can be reborn by devaluing and scapegoating men. Ultimately, this means trying to turn men into women.
For the last several decades psychologists and other scholars who study envy have noticed there is a sequence: envy, followed by guilt, followed by reparations, followed by gratitude. And, as has been noticed for several hundred years, if not longer, without gratitude you cannot be happy.
One of the worst things about envy is that you want to destroy the people who make you happy, because of the power they have over you to make you happy ("biting the hand that feeds you"). That should ideally lead to guilt, which leads to reparations, which then leads to gratitude. To quote Meister Eckhart, "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, 'thank you,' that would suffice."
The Catholic church noticed several hundred years ago that people were absolved of their guilt by confession and penance (the word "atonement" reans "at-one-ment": to become one, i.e., whole again). In other words, guilt followed by reparation.
The ancient Greeks noticed it, too, which is why after Hercules went temporarily insane and slaughterd his family he had to do penance. That is, his twelve labors.
You can also see guilt followed by atonement in the movie, The Mission, where after Robert DeNiro murders his brother he has to drag his armor up a hill then devote his life to fighting the slavery he had until then supported.
Ideally, you get over your envy and instead are grateful to the person who can make you happy. As Carl Jung once said, you can have power or love, but not both.
In politics there are no shades of grey; everything is either black or white, good or bad. That is the nature of politics. So not only is it based on force, it is based on propaganda and setting people at each other's throats.
As John Mason Brown wrote, "Nowhere are prejudices more mistaken for truth, passion for reason, and invective for documentation than in politics. This is a realm, peopled only by villains or heroes, in which everything is black or white and gray is a forbidden color."
When everything is seen as all-good or all-bad, either innocent or guilty, envy and resentment is going to be ever-increasing, and as for gratitude and happiness, there will be less and less of it.