Eight days ago, on a cold spring morning, as office workers were greeting each other around coffee machines, homemakers were clearing breakfast tables, and schoolchildren were opening their primers, Cho Seung Hui murdered 32 people before killing himself.
What drove Cho to destroy 33 people in the worst gun slaughter in America’s history? Resentment. Rambling about others’ Mercedes and trust funds, Cho left behind verbal and written documentation of the envy that corroded his heart. His self-congratulatory “manifesto” also exposes Cho’s belief that he was justified in destroying those he resented.
Cho’s case was extreme, but the moralizing-wrapped resentment that drove him to destroy himself and others, the failure to look inward for the sources of problems, and the lack of understanding that greatness cannot be achieved by tearing others down plagues every human heart and frequently finds its object in the economic fortunes of others.
The resentment that led Cho to commit violence leads others to impose discriminatory law against the objects of their envy. While Cho violated the right to life of those he hated for what he believed to be their greater wealth, redistributionary fiscal policy, fueled by the same covetousness, violates the right to property. And as Cho destroyed himself, those who sponsor resentment-based fiscal policies damage themselves and all society, both economically and morally.