Pleonexia and the Ruling Class
Pleonexia is an ancient Greek term that has fallen out of modern usage. But it shouldn’t have—Because it’s still relevant.
Pleonexia is a “philosophical concept which roughly corresponds to greed, covetousness, and avarice.“
We can define it as “the insatiable desire to have what rightfully belongs to others.” It is an extreme combined version of the mentioned three: avarice, covetousness, and greed.
The term is mentioned in the New Testament in Colossians 3 and Luke 12. Christian theologians have considered the term to mean a person who “will pursue [their] own interests with complete disregard for the rights of others, and even for the considerations of common humanity“.
William Barclay had some crazy beliefs that I do not ascribe to, but he nailed this term. He stated that it involved three domains:
In the material sphere involves “grasping at money and goods, regardless of honour and honesty”. In the ethical sphere it is “the ambition which tramples on others to gain something which is not properly meant for it”. In the moral sphere, it is “the unbridled lust which takes its pleasure where it has no right to take”.
Which is why it is the harmonization of other vices. A combination into one horrific one.
Pleonexia is an important concept because I don’t believe the other terms fit the centralizer well enough. Greed is too informal, avarice too financial-oriented, and covetousness is lacking in action.
But when you combine those three, toss in unbridled lust for evil pleasure, revocation of honor/honesty, and a desire to trample on others to gain something which is not theirs—Then we are getting closer to the centralizer.
A single word that can say so much. We have a word drought for these individuals and their actions, but pleonexia is relatively close if we define it to include all the above, as the phrase would seem to indicate—“the insatiable desire [willing to trample, unbridled lust, overcomes honor/honesty] to have what rightfully belongs to others [covetousness, greed, avarice, taking from others]”.
The centralizer (ruling class) demonstrates an extreme form of pleonexia. Nearly to the point of psychosis.
They desire control over everything that others have. We hear it with Klaus Schwab and the other world leaders/organizations in their “you will own nothing and be happy” and similar mantras. Pleonexia is shown in its absolute by these centralizers.
Because they desire not just everything you have, but control over every single thing that you have. They do not just covet our belongings, but our culture, our traditions, and even our beliefs. They will trample anything to acquire it, they will never stop coveting it, and they enjoy existing with those desires.
The ruling class is not just greedy or dealing with avarice. They are all exhibiting pleonexia.
It goes even deeper than simple control, however. This back-and-forth between us and the centralizer is a spiritual battle, because at the root of this issue is that they desire our soul. They want to corrupt the souls of the good. I believe many of the centralizers are reprobates and have no soul, so they covet to corrupt or destroy ours.
This is why the centralizer hates us, why they seem to always want more power, and why they do anything to acquire it. It’s not because of a simple lust for power, but an overarching desire to destroy good. That is their own interest.
But it is not just the centralizer that demonstrates pleonexia.
Thomas Hobbes in Chapter XV of the Leviathan had this to say:
If in this case, at the making of Peace, men require for themselves, that which they would not have to be granted to others, they do contrary to the precedent law, that commandeth the acknowledgement of naturall equalitie, and therefore also against the law of Nature. The observers of this law, are those we call Modest, and the breakers Arrogant Men. The Greeks call the violation of this law πλεονεξία; that is, a desire of more than their share.
A desire of more than their share. Where share is based on what they contributed and generated versus what they think they deserve. Sound familiar?
Pleonexia is widespread in both communism and liberal democracy, because both share the same template moral framework of egalitarianism and equality of outcome for all.
We can see this with voting in a liberal democracy, for instance. The franchise has been expanded to everyone, as is required in such a democracy. All citizens want and have an equal vote, regardless of their share/contribution to acquire that vote. Soldiers and business leaders have the same vote as the drug dealer down the road. Seems fair if we are engulfed in the moral framework of liberal democracy, but if we step outside of it—It seems much more like a desire of more than their share, an integral piece of pleonexia.
The zealots that contribute nothing covet what others have in terms of voting power, and they lust to expand the franchise as wide as possible to dilute the value to the contributors. They trample anyone to do so and have no honor or honesty in their assault on contributors.
This effect doesn’t happen in just voting, but in many avenues of a liberal democracy. Pleonexia contributes to who becomes our politicians, billionaires, cultural stars in Hollywood, and plenty of others. The system of liberal democracy encourages, if not demands, that the worst offenders of pleonexia rise to the top. They must have that unbridled lust and drive to trample of others to reach those heights. No one becomes Bill Gates or Joe Biden by hard work, honor, and humility. They do so through pleonexia.
Liberal democracy encourages pleonexia because it instills the concept of egalitarianism into everyone, which is a desire to have what others have regardless of inputs (equality of outcome instead of equality of opportunity). Its own definition is a desire of more than their share. The ones that contribute more must be hammered down to the position of those who contribute less so that the end result is equal between the two. Liberal democracy creates this inverted, corrupt moral framework that can then be subverted by the worst-of-the-worst in the population. Pleonexia galore.
In comparing the pleonexia exhibited between centralizers and liberal democracy, I am not sure which is worse. I’m not sure I want to decide which is worse.
We really are experiencing a word drought for terms to explain and analyze the ruling class and their behaviors.
Luckily, in this instance, the ancient Greeks already figured it out for us.
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