If you followed the build-up to Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, you would know that one theme kept coming up. Indeed, it’s been a feature of Democratic propaganda for years, but it reaches a crescendo when an election is in sight.
I’m talking about “inequality,” of course. I put the word in quotes because the way Democrats use it is a rhetorical fraud. What they want you to believe is that some Americans become wealthy while others live in poverty because, well, the game is rigged.
What history tells us is, that to the extent that they go to the polls, the lowest-income quartile in America vote heavily for Democrats. The poor are not the only ones who support Democrats. Unions traditionally have given money and votes to left-wing candidates. In return, unions often get the laws they want from politicians who have benefitted from their largesse. What we have heard for years is that union power barely offsets the influence of fat-cat capitalists.
The accusation of inequality has a hidden meaning behind it. It’s not just that the rich live so much better than hourly workers, for example, but that their wealth was accumulated at the expense of the “poor.” The idea, naturally, is to generate class envy, and for years, many in the working class have taken the bait and voted for Democrats. The less-affluent and the impoverished live in crowded urban areas or desolate farming towns with poor schools.
At least, that’s what we’re led to believe. There’s a little bit of truth in that – just enough for many Democrats to hold on to it like a bulldog holds a bone.
What I still find disturbing are the deeply held beliefs by some on the left that the Republicans are pure evil. I plead guilty to reading the opinion pages of The New York Times and what amazes me is that most of the letter writers sound like leftists from the 1930s. Letters in Thursday’s paper accuse, in effect, the Republican party of “deeply rooted racism,” climate change denial and keeping an economic boot on the necks of the working class.
It’s still surprising how many on the left persist in making the claim that the poor are poor because of the wealthy. You know the old saying, “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
I was listening to a talk show Monday, before the State of the Union speech, during which the topic was inequality. Among the reasons suggested were single-parent families, bad schools, few role models, availability of drugs and the notion that children are trapped in their economic circumstances. As the hour was almost over, a caller said something that is rarely mentioned when the subject of inequality comes up.
But first, let me ask the question: Did Michael Jordan become probably the best basketball player ever primarily because of opportunity or because of skill, hard work and desire? Of course, it helps if you’re very tall and very agile.
Just as there’s a gradient in baseball between .250 hitters and once-in-a-lifetime hitters like Ted Williams, so there’s a ladder when it comes to IQ. I guess it was somewhere after the turn of the last century that the subject of intelligence differences was pushed off the academic stage and we’re still living with the consequences. Of course, the Fairfield-area high schools have advanced placement classes and I would guess there’s an IQ difference, on average, between students in the AP classes and those in the standard classes.
Even though it’s common knowledge that very smart people have a greater chance of success in business or academics, it’s not talked about very often. But, think about it: Could I have been an offensive lineman for the 49ers if I had only been given the opportunity?
Bud Stevenson, a retired stockbroker, lives in Fairfield. Reach him at [email protected]