Search This Blog

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Complex problems and simple solutions

In considering proposed policies, every politician should keep in mind this gem from H.L. Mencken:

"For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong."

Unfortunately, the level of political debate has been dumbed down to something less than a discussion between two elementary school students. Compare the Lincoln-Douglas debates with the modern joint press conferences that are laughingly described as Presidential Campaign "debates".

To communicate at this dumbed down level, politicians are almost forced to pretend that there are simple solutions. Since the reality is that there are few simple solutions, it is hard to see how politicians can look themselves in the mirror each morning.

Or do they have mirrorless houses and aides or family members to help them brush their hair?

I am unsure whether lying or self deception is worse for our country. Unfortunately, the outlook is gloomy unless the Presidential candidates are willing to treat us as adults - capable of adult level reasoning.

Senator McCain has shown that he can do so but not consistently. Senator Obama has done nothing to convince us that he is more than a good looking arm-waver with few well thought out policies and no executive experience.

There are still five months to go until Election Day. Perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised but I am not optimistic.

No comments: