Monday, September 21, 2009

Connecting Some Ideas

I was just reading Alan Keyes' essay on the 80/20 fallacy (for which see his blog and a few things occurred to me.

One is that some prominent Churchman (may have been Benedict) recently wrote on the philosophical error of confusing quantity and quality. The effect of this in the practical and political spheres is that people are regarded as interchangeable units. The origin of the error is a denial of the sacred unique-ness of each human person, and further back than that, a denial of God the Creator.

G. K. Chesterton wrote his great work The Everlasting Man to demonstrate that Man differs from the brute animals not in degree but in kind. (And I don't care what "scientists" say about the similarity of human and chimp DNA.) Chesterton said: "So stands the Red Clay against the green field of nature, or the White Christ against the red clay of his race."

Now the 80/20 rule, which I learned in my statistics classes, is often called "Pareto's Law" or "The Pareto Principle," and it says basically that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. It's really just an empirical rule of thumb, and the number doesn't have to be 80 -- just somewhere between 50 and 99 -- but it applies in a lot of real word cases in statistics.

My take on Pareto's Principle tonight is that 85% of the BS in this country today comes from 15% of the population. And I hope you know who I think they are: the Usual Suspects on the Left, led by our Great Leader.

And when I thought of Pareto's Principle, I thought of Parkinson's Law -- "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion." This book (published 1957) explains why our federal bureaucracy is growing like lawn fungus after a rainstorm.

And then I thought of the Peter Principle -- "In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence." And we have now seen the principle demonstrated in a manner which can hardly be excelled . . . or should that be worsened?

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