At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people. The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: But he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.Proverbs 28:15–16
Simple people get worked over in two distinct ways. The first is when their rulers are cruel and wicked. Those who have this kind of rule are like a lion, roaring for its prey, or a hungry bear, ranging here and there, looking for a meal. The poor are like a vulnerable gazelle or deer. Those who rule in this way are arrogant, cruel, vindictive, and driven by their insolence. When this is the case, things are bad, but at least we all know where we are.
But Solomon goes on. The poor people are also greatly oppressed by ignorant rulers. This is the curse of our day. In days gone by, there were rulers like Tamerlane who exulted in his cruelty, ordering towers to be fashioned out of the skulls of his enemies. That kind of thing is generally frowned on these days.
But progressive leftist politics is still a great destroyer. It is a destroyer in the hands of a Stalin, who had the heart of a Tamerlane, and it is a destroyer in the hands of an Eleanor Roosevelt, who had a heart of a goop. It doesn’t matter how syrupy the intentions are, the poor are still wiped out by the grand intentions of the social engineers.
Notice the antidote to both cruelty and incompetence is hatred of covetousness. When a man is qualified under God to bear rule, one of his principle qualifications is his hatred of covetousness. “Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens” (Exodus 18:21). This qualification is so important that it is applied all the way down to “rulers of tens.”
Men who hate covetousness will obviously refrain from the smash and grab approach to wealth that the cruel love to employ. But they will also reject all the schemes of uplift and social betterment that some think will be rendered effective simply because they were inspired by good intentions. But cruelty hath slain its thousands; good intentions its tens of thousands.