I think envy drives more people to do bad stuff than ambition or greed ever did. And politicians regularly depend on envy to motivate the masses to elect them on the promise that the wealthy are evil and therefore deserving of the pain that they are sure to suffer. Naturally the crookedest of the politicians proclaim loudly that they are just common folks (aam aadmi, chowkidar, etc) who are just like the rest of us, and therefore need not be envied or feared.
I listen skeptically to people who speak evil of those whom they are going to plunder. I suspect that vices are invented or exaggerated when profit is expected from their punishment. An enemy is a bad witness; a robber is a worse. — Edmund Burke, 1790
“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” That’s from Shakespeare’s Henry VI. Talking of Shakespeare, I have to tell you that my favorite bit from the fellow is the exchange between Glendower and Hotspur in Henry IV:
Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man; But will they come when you do call for them?
Vasty deep. It’s so evocative. I see visions of deep dark oceans with strange creatures never seen on earth dwelling there. And spirits that are powerful and perhaps evil.
Anyway, what I like about that bit is that one can proclaim stuff but that does not mean that it becomes real. Much inflated rhetoric can be seen for what it is by recalling Hotspur’s question.
Yes, you can call the spirits from the vasty deep. But that doesn’t mean that they will oblige.