A nation of peasants? – Victor Davis Hanson

Traditional peasant societies believe in only a limited good. The more your neighbor earns, the less someone else gets. Profits are seen as a sort of theft. They must be either hidden or redistributed. Envy rather than admiration of success reigns.

In contrast, Western civilization began with a very different ancient Greek idea of an autonomous citizen, not an indentured serf or subsistence peasant. The small, independent landowner — if left to his own talents and if his success was protected by, and from, government — would create new sources of wealth for everyone. The resulting greater bounty for the poor soon trumped their old jealousy of the better off.

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3 responses to “A nation of peasants? – Victor Davis Hanson

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