What I want to fix your attention on is the vast, overall movement towards the discrediting, and finally the elimination, of every kind of human excellence—moral, cultural, social, or intellectual. And is it not pretty how "democracy" (in the incantatory sense) is now doing for us the work that was once done by the most ancient Dictatorships, and by the same methods? You remember how one of the Greek Dictators (they called them "tyrants" then) sent an envoy to another Dictator to ask his advice about the principles of government. The second Dictator led the envoy into a field of corn, and there he snicked off with his cane the top of any stalk that rose an inch or so above the general level. The moral was plain. Allow no preeminence among your subjects. Let no man live who is wiser, or better, or more famous, or even handsomer than the mass. Cut them all down to a level; all slaves, all ciphers, all nobodies. All equals. Thus tyrants could practise, in a sense, "democracy". But now "democracy" can do the same work without any other tyranny than her own. No one need now go through the field with a cane. The little stalks will now of themselves bite the tops off the big ones. The big ones are beginning to bite their own in their desire to Be Like Stalks.
— Screwtape, Screwtape Proposes a Toast
A politician is being given a tour of Hell. At one point he finds a giant, furiously boiling kettle with dozens of demons around it, tridents poking into the liquid.
What's that? he asks.
His demon guard replies, "That's where we keep the Jews. Every time one of them manages to get out, they all try to follow him, so we have to be very careful."
They move on, and soon come to a larger kettle, but this one has far fewer demons. The guest asks why.
"Oh, that's where we keep the Poles. When one of them gets out, the others just ignore him. So we don't need to keep as much security."
They move on again, and soon come to a still-larger kettle, but this time there are no demons at all. Before the guest can ask, the demon guide says,
"That's where we keep the Russians. Every time one tries to get out, the others grab him and pull him back in!"
— Typical Russian Humor
"and how much envy of the capability of other people in view of one's lack of it lies hidden in anti-Semitism!"
— German philosopher Oswald Spengler, in his diary, after 1933
Chief Inspector: I know what you're going to say, Nicholas, but the fact is you've been making us all look bad.
Nicholas Angel: I'm sorry, sir?
Chief Inspector: Of course, we all appreciate your efforts, but you've been rather letting the side down.
Met Inspector: It's all about being a team player, Nicholas.
Met Sergeant: You can't be the Sheriff of London.
Chief Inspector: If we let you carry on running around town, you'll continue to be exceptional... and we can't have that. You'll put us all out of a job.
— Hot Fuzz
In Scotland, there's an enduring hatred of people who are too successful.
—Christopher Brookmyre, Caledonia Dreaming