Among the many depressing thoughts emanating from the coronavirus pandemic is the increasing knowledge that China—like it or not (and who does)—isn’t our friend on a number of levels.
Indeed, it’s clear to practically everyone that the major global conflict of our time and for the foreseeable future is between communist China and the United States.
Joe Biden is the last man who should be dealing with that.
This isn’t only because it wasn’t long ago that Biden blithely dismissed the notion that China was an enemy (before walking that back following a barrage of criticism). Nor is it just because of the intimations of corruption with his son and others that involve China, as well as Ukraine, which should be reason enough by itself.
Nor is it even the questions surrounding his age and mental competence.
Something yet more significant is involved—intellectual property.
Intellectual property—the ownership of original work in the arts and sciences—is at the heart of the opposing world views of China and the West.
Historically, China, for a variety of cultural and self-interest reasons, hasn’t recognized the concept. Only recently has the Chinese Communist Party been dragged into it reluctantly and partially, via international trade negotiations.
Nevertheless, intellectual property is at the heart of every aspect of the modern world, from Hollywood movies to the contents of a Huawei cellphone. In a sense, intellectual property is everything. After the pandemic dies down, this will be, if anything, more true.
Biden has a questionable relationship to intellectual property (and the law) for a simple reason. He’s a plagiarist—not once but several times.
This behavior cost him his first try for the presidency when it was made public he had plagiarized while in law school. Think about that for a moment—young Joe Biden plagiarized in law school (at Syracuse University College of Law, where he eventually graduated in the lower 20 percent of his class).
And this was not, importantly, your garden variety semi-plagiarism almost all students find themselves engaged in, sometimes unknowingly—paraphrasing a few sentences in the middle of a paper.
Biden copied pages verbatim.
His professors were shocked, having never seen anything of the sort before in their (to repeat myself because it’s so important) law school. In order not to be tossed out of school, young Joe wrote a pleading letter to the dean promising never to do it again.
Campaigning for president in 1988, Biden aped the language and actions of British Labor Party MP Neil Kinnock, who was then running against Margaret Thatcher. From Business Insider:
“During an event at the Iowa State Fair, Biden mimicked entire portions of Kinnock’s speech from earlier in the year. At one moment, Biden repeated the line that he was the first ‘in a thousand generations’ to graduate from college, gesturing to his wife in the exact same way Kinnock did, while also saying the same line about her education and lineage.
“Biden would later acknowledge that he, in fact, did have relatives who attended college, directly contrasting the Kinnock lines.
“As [Maureen] Dowd reported, Biden’s staffers were defensive about the allegations of blatant plagiarism. Nevertheless, Biden dropped out of the race by the end of the month.”
From one angle, this could be seen as just another lying politician. Which one isn’t?
But plagiarism is different. It’s not mere braggadocio, the tooting of your own horn that is the root of so much political lying. It’s a form of theft. (In Biden’s case, it has overtones of the pathological.) It indicates, at best, a casual attitude about the intellectual property of others. It is stealing other people’s work, shoplifting from their brain.
While plagiarism could be construed as a form of flattery, it’s actually an ultimate indication of disrespect, even contempt. Writers who have been plagiarized can justifiably feel they have been violated.
If I—and many others—know this about Biden, you can bet that the Chinese do too.
If you think this is the man you want negotiating with Xi Jinping, well, respectfully and obviously, we differ.
An earlier version of this article misstated the law school that the young Joe Biden graduated from. Biden graduated from the Syracuse University College of Law. The Epoch Times regrets the error.
Roger L. Simon—senior political columnist at The Epoch Times—is a prize-winning author and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter. His most recent book is “The GOAT.”
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.