But what is envy -- at its root, at its core, what is it? It is just desiring what another had -- I wish I had that too -- or must it involve the demand to take from another -- I don't only wish I had that, but I must deprive that other person of his achievement, his effort, and keep it away from him?
If envy is really the latter, it supports the inference (really, it requires it) that what another has, his property, his achievements (financial, relationships, etc.), perhaps something totally intangible like self-esteem or confidence, is really rightfully owned by another? And by so doing, envy becomes the antithesis of property rights. It becomes the emotional manifestation of the belief that one person can never claim unfettered, unquestioned possession of his work, his sacrifices or their products, that in fact everything he has is subject to the constant threat of confiscation or destruction, at the hands of another who asserts either greater power (e.g., might makes right) or a moral superiority ad infinitum over the former, lesser person.