Joe Biden and the coal miners: Apex of hypocrisy

Just how much of a leftist is Joe Biden?

Remarks that Biden made in December 2019 about the flexible abilities of coal miners are a revelatory starting point. 

Campaigning in New Hampshire, the former vice president argued with considerable pique, "Anybody who can go down 3,000 feet in a mine can sure as hell learn to program as well. ... Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for God's sake!" — as if his assertion were apodictic and that it would be stupid to think otherwise. 

Biden's angry tone suggests a dogma that lives loudly within the former vice president about the nature of people in the aggregate that informs his philosophy of government. 

What sounded like an optimistic compliment to coal miners was actually further evidence of core misunderstandings about the varying abilities within populations that drive the destructive, progressive policies Biden promotes. 

In his coal mining example, the Democrat presidential candidate reveals an enormously consequential view of human populations that infects most progressives — the notion that with the right education and a little encouragement, any or all of us can do brain surgery, be top gun pilots, clerk for the Supreme Court, or write code for computer programs. 

Given their fealty to diversity, progressive egalitarianism seems a particularly ironic delusion.  Because if anything is true about human beings in the aggregate, it is the profound diversity on any measure required for success, especially in a first-world environment.  No matter what trait or gift many humans are tested for, the results distribute very much like the grades in a large classroom — very few A grades, a few F scores, some Bs, some Ds, and a large number of average or C grades.  

It is important to keep this distribution of traits in mind when Joe Biden gets all sanctimonious about the abilities of coal miners to drop their shovels, remove their head-lamped hard hats and protective gear, shower, and sit down after supper to write computer code in Java, JavaScript, Python, C#, or C++. 

There are well known rules of thumb about how human traits and gifts are arrayed in any substantial population.  The Rule of Fifths, the 20-percent rule, or the Pareto Principle, as it is varyingly designated, alerts us to what so many have observed — that regardless of the endeavor or category of occupation, roughly 20 percent of any working population typically generates 80 percent of the output.  This reality should not surprise us if we simply recognize the fact that half of any population is below average and that the farther above average individuals are on any measure, the fewer of them there are. 

For code-writing, or computer programming, a considerable degree of abstract, problem-solving capabilities is required.  The same is true for the work of physicians performing dual diagnoses, attorneys strategizing a legal defense, and physicists making sense of and utilizing the laws embedded in the nature of matter.  For extracting coal from the ground, not so much — although it does require a bright cohort of geologists and engineers to devise the machinery and methods that today aid in its extraction. 

It is obvious (or it should be) that the heavily left-leaning equity project to which Biden by nature or nurture has committed himself is undermined by the very diversity of human traits that nature provides.  Well before today's prolific maintenance of sociological data and its statistical analysis, John Jay, the country's first Supreme Court chief justice, recognized this diversity when he wrote President George Washington June 27, 1786, in what he called "times of commotion."  "The Mass of Men are neither wise nor good." 

Only the purblind cannot see the great variability in gifts and ability evidenced by those we encounter in our daily jostle with other drivers on the freeway or in so much that poses as thought on Facebook or the size of tabloid readership and the alarming realization that some of those readers serve on juries.  But a politician who has served in the United States Senate and then the country's executive branch for a combined nearly five decades has little exposure to the masses and is unmindful of their varying abilities or the true nature of their struggles. 

It is with this equality illusion, confusion, or misunderstanding that authoritarians appeal to frustrated citizens.  It is this misguided assumption that appears to justify the widespread demagoguery that tells the poor the rich have wealth they would otherwise have. 

And this foundational egalitarian lie that serves as the basis for so many woke grievances results in political decisions, programs, and laws that bring about the pain, suffering, and death of real human beings.  It leads to people in charge of other people doing the same damn stupefying things — like failing big city public school systems — over and over and over. 

The consequences of ignoring gravity are immediately obvious, but the consequences of failed education programs based on misguided assumptions about the variance among students takes so long to develop that most people, especially educators, are unable or unwilling to recognize the cause and effect.  Affirmative action mandates, for instance, feel good to those who champion them and vote them into law.  But the consequences are devastating to the young people who are inserted into programs that are beyond their preparation or ability.  Although men and women are profoundly different, a dentist friend of mine from a Scandinavian country who believes too literally in equality of the sexes cannot be persuaded that women are not as qualified as men to be policepersons or firefighters.  A recent attempt by Swedish policewomen to take one very ordinary looking unarmed immigrant into custody demonstrates the delusion. 

This widespread failure of liberals and leftists, like Joe Biden, to recognize the profound variability exhibited within populations enables their sympathy for the socialism and communism that have resulted in so many broken eggs and so few omelets.  The Left's equity project logically could find Dr. Fauci taking his turn cleaning latrines and a younger Joe Biden shoveling coal.  

If politics were rational, the recognition of profoundly consistent diversity in the distribution of human abilities would end the political opportunities for the likes of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, and Joe Biden, but would lead to redoubled insistence on the equality of opportunity. 

Nevertheless, despite his age, pigment, gender, and core misapprehension, tens of millions of woke Americans are willing to vote Joe Biden the opportunity to pack the Supreme Court, to stop any draining of the Swamp, to make Washington, D.C., a state, to reinstate Obama's Iran Deal, to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, to expand Obamacare, to open our borders, and eventually to tax and regulate even your thoughts. 

 And astonishing as it may seem, approximately half of the nation's voters are willing to give control over the nuclear deterrent codes to a man who these days might have trouble programming a padlock. 

The author has a master's degree in psychology from Pepperdine University and directs publications at an American school of dentistry.

Image credit: Pixabay public domain.

Just how much of a leftist is Joe Biden?

Remarks that Biden made in December 2019 about the flexible abilities of coal miners are a revelatory starting point. 

Campaigning in New Hampshire, the former vice president argued with considerable pique, "Anybody who can go down 3,000 feet in a mine can sure as hell learn to program as well. ... Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for God's sake!" — as if his assertion were apodictic and that it would be stupid to think otherwise. 

Biden's angry tone suggests a dogma that lives loudly within the former vice president about the nature of people in the aggregate that informs his philosophy of government. 

What sounded like an optimistic compliment to coal miners was actually further evidence of core misunderstandings about the varying abilities within populations that drive the destructive, progressive policies Biden promotes. 

In his coal mining example, the Democrat presidential candidate reveals an enormously consequential view of human populations that infects most progressives — the notion that with the right education and a little encouragement, any or all of us can do brain surgery, be top gun pilots, clerk for the Supreme Court, or write code for computer programs. 

Given their fealty to diversity, progressive egalitarianism seems a particularly ironic delusion.  Because if anything is true about human beings in the aggregate, it is the profound diversity on any measure required for success, especially in a first-world environment.  No matter what trait or gift many humans are tested for, the results distribute very much like the grades in a large classroom — very few A grades, a few F scores, some Bs, some Ds, and a large number of average or C grades.  

It is important to keep this distribution of traits in mind when Joe Biden gets all sanctimonious about the abilities of coal miners to drop their shovels, remove their head-lamped hard hats and protective gear, shower, and sit down after supper to write computer code in Java, JavaScript, Python, C#, or C++. 

There are well known rules of thumb about how human traits and gifts are arrayed in any substantial population.  The Rule of Fifths, the 20-percent rule, or the Pareto Principle, as it is varyingly designated, alerts us to what so many have observed — that regardless of the endeavor or category of occupation, roughly 20 percent of any working population typically generates 80 percent of the output.  This reality should not surprise us if we simply recognize the fact that half of any population is below average and that the farther above average individuals are on any measure, the fewer of them there are. 

For code-writing, or computer programming, a considerable degree of abstract, problem-solving capabilities is required.  The same is true for the work of physicians performing dual diagnoses, attorneys strategizing a legal defense, and physicists making sense of and utilizing the laws embedded in the nature of matter.  For extracting coal from the ground, not so much — although it does require a bright cohort of geologists and engineers to devise the machinery and methods that today aid in its extraction. 

It is obvious (or it should be) that the heavily left-leaning equity project to which Biden by nature or nurture has committed himself is undermined by the very diversity of human traits that nature provides.  Well before today's prolific maintenance of sociological data and its statistical analysis, John Jay, the country's first Supreme Court chief justice, recognized this diversity when he wrote President George Washington June 27, 1786, in what he called "times of commotion."  "The Mass of Men are neither wise nor good." 

Only the purblind cannot see the great variability in gifts and ability evidenced by those we encounter in our daily jostle with other drivers on the freeway or in so much that poses as thought on Facebook or the size of tabloid readership and the alarming realization that some of those readers serve on juries.  But a politician who has served in the United States Senate and then the country's executive branch for a combined nearly five decades has little exposure to the masses and is unmindful of their varying abilities or the true nature of their struggles. 

It is with this equality illusion, confusion, or misunderstanding that authoritarians appeal to frustrated citizens.  It is this misguided assumption that appears to justify the widespread demagoguery that tells the poor the rich have wealth they would otherwise have. 

And this foundational egalitarian lie that serves as the basis for so many woke grievances results in political decisions, programs, and laws that bring about the pain, suffering, and death of real human beings.  It leads to people in charge of other people doing the same damn stupefying things — like failing big city public school systems — over and over and over. 

The consequences of ignoring gravity are immediately obvious, but the consequences of failed education programs based on misguided assumptions about the variance among students takes so long to develop that most people, especially educators, are unable or unwilling to recognize the cause and effect.  Affirmative action mandates, for instance, feel good to those who champion them and vote them into law.  But the consequences are devastating to the young people who are inserted into programs that are beyond their preparation or ability.  Although men and women are profoundly different, a dentist friend of mine from a Scandinavian country who believes too literally in equality of the sexes cannot be persuaded that women are not as qualified as men to be policepersons or firefighters.  A recent attempt by Swedish policewomen to take one very ordinary looking unarmed immigrant into custody demonstrates the delusion. 

This widespread failure of liberals and leftists, like Joe Biden, to recognize the profound variability exhibited within populations enables their sympathy for the socialism and communism that have resulted in so many broken eggs and so few omelets.  The Left's equity project logically could find Dr. Fauci taking his turn cleaning latrines and a younger Joe Biden shoveling coal.  

If politics were rational, the recognition of profoundly consistent diversity in the distribution of human abilities would end the political opportunities for the likes of Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, and Joe Biden, but would lead to redoubled insistence on the equality of opportunity. 

Nevertheless, despite his age, pigment, gender, and core misapprehension, tens of millions of woke Americans are willing to vote Joe Biden the opportunity to pack the Supreme Court, to stop any draining of the Swamp, to make Washington, D.C., a state, to reinstate Obama's Iran Deal, to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, to expand Obamacare, to open our borders, and eventually to tax and regulate even your thoughts. 

 And astonishing as it may seem, approximately half of the nation's voters are willing to give control over the nuclear deterrent codes to a man who these days might have trouble programming a padlock. 

The author has a master's degree in psychology from Pepperdine University and directs publications at an American school of dentistry.

Image credit: Pixabay public domain.