The late philosopher Robert Nozick pointed out that when people compare themselves to one another, they are disposed to feel one of two emotions — guilt or envy. Guilt when someone has a lower station than you; envy when someone has a higher station than you. I would add a third to this mix: indignation. That’s when you compare someone of a higher station to someone of a lower station, and feel that something is wrong. I refer to this complex of emotional responses to unequal life-stations as the "Stone Age Trinity."
The trouble with these evolved propensities is that they are not appropriate for large-scale societies — i.e. acting on it politically doesn’t work. And the failures of egalitarian thinking are failures of degree (from the USSR to Continental Socialism to the Great Society Welfare State). The left would do better to focus these emotions to social change in their communities, rather than society-wide restructuring carried out at the hands of the coercive state. Then again, their is a measure of elitism in every egalitarian that longs for power, too. That is why we must always watch our wallets.