Why is politics so mind bogglingly complicated?

You often hear conversation  about the host of complex problems we face today and that these issues cannot be reduced to bumper sticker slogans and addressed by simplistic solutions. I say simple clear, concise ideas are powerful and the problems we face are not really all that complex.

I’d like to cover a couple of topics on this issue in a two part series first: “Why is politics so mind bogglingly complicated?”  If that’s not enough to get you to sleep in a non narcotic and habit forming way I’d like to share some thoughts on the nature of complexity itself and how it relates to political systems, governing and representation in part two of the series.

So why does politics seem so complex that most often see no real cause and effect relationship? Have you ever watched a TV talking head or politician make a lengthy response to a question then said to yourself “How the hell did that relate to anything about the question”? How about when you’re told that “people should read the bill” by various pundits so you follow their advice and find that the bill is 4278 pages of legalese in 6 point font?

The reason for this can be summed up to a bumper sticker sized phrase “Baffling you with Bullshit.” Banksters, unsavory politicians, crooks and hucksters of all stripes especially those in white collars tool of the trade is bullshit and this is how they use it.

These folks create as many layers of complexity as they deem needed to render the subject incomprehensible to the majority of victims. Often they need not fool all the people just most. They create such a Machiavellian tangle that no one aside from a small handful of insiders understands what’s really gong on.

To facilitate this confusion they have gone as far as to create special languages; Legalese, Financial-speak and Politi-speak. To understand and be fluent in these languages often requires months to years of study and frequently seems the rough equivalent of interpreting Bible passages.

They use these tools to scam people by setting themselves up as “experts” since they are the only ones who understand the intricate convolutions of the scam and speak the special language they obviously are the only ones qualified to make decisions. This is why Goldman Sach’s always has executives coming and going to from the SEC who regulate them. They’re “experts”

The financial sector is rife with needless complexity that facilitates criminal behavior. Let me give you an example of how a simplistic solution works by answering one of the most complex and technically challenging questions of today in one sentence.

Q: How do we limit and contain the damage done to our economy by the trading of complex financial instruments like derivatives?

Now this is tough as no one save a small handful of insiders seems to clearly understand the market machinations and function of derivatives and the intricacies of the derivative market but I’ll give it my best shot.

A: Roll back laws and regulations to the point just before derivatives were permitted.

I can say with pretty near 100% certainty that if this is done from that point forward you may have many problems but the havoc caused by derivative trading won’t be one of them again. If anyone cares to challenge this point feel free. I’m guessing I’m not the first to think of this perhaps you have too. How does it feel to be an economic genius?

So why don’t we just do that? It makes perfect sense;  it costs nothing, removes a lot of law and regulation and stops a huge scam dead in its tracks. What in the world could prevent such a common sense solution from happening? Bullshit does.

The bullshit here comes in the form of a two-word phrase from the politi-speak dictionary “political reality” A mass of needless complexity, described in a special dialect presented in a cryptic fashion isn’t enough and it only gets better. We get an extra reality! The regular reality isn’t vast and complex enough to contain this special knowledge. Experts of the punditry tell us we need another “Political Reality” were the laws of this more tangible and mundane reality don’t apply. Just think of it as a spare bedroom in the Twilight Zone.

How many times have you seen a good idea dismissed out of hand as “beyond political reality.” The idea’ seems  real and do-able in this reality and it makes sense in this reality but when you step through the Stargate into political reality cats chase dogs and whales speak French under the sea. But this can change.

What do paper currency, the Mormon Church, Conservapedia and Political Reality all have in common? All are based on faith; their value and existence depend on belief. The more who believe in them the more pronounced their existence and value becomes. This works the other way around as well lack of faith diminishes or destroys things of this nature. A term often used to describe a group who has ceased to believe in Political Reality is “an angry mob”.

If doing anything about the issues above seem to be impossible in Political Reality here’s what you can do in this reality without being felt up by the TSA agent at the Stargate to Political Reality.

Always explore the simplest solution first, the simplest solution is virtually always the best easiest and most efficient. This concept is universal and can and has been applied to every problem of every kind since time began.  Reject con men who tell you that the million-dollar mouse trap with over twelve hundred moving parts and radar imaging capabilities is not only the best but the only way to catch a mouse.

Demand that issues be discussed in plain language I’m not talking about reducing the conversational level to burps, farts and growls. I’m talking about speaking clearly concisely and on point using commonly understood language to explain concepts conditions, legislation and proposals instead of legal and technical jargon.

You can also help ease confusion by trying to avoid speaking in these terms as much as possible yourself. Speak as you normally do about anything else on these issues. You would not allow a gang of thieves to dictate what you say, don’t let them control how you say it either.

Lastly try to stop believing in “Political Reality” at least this one may be toughest as beliefs are often deep rooted but your belief allows it existence and influence in our reality I’m not suggesting you remove the phrase from your lexicon just change your level of acceptance to “junk mail” when it’s used to describe a place where the laws of our reality don’t apply and positive change for those outside of a small elite isn’t possible.  Reality is a Racket.

 

(short link: http://planetpov.com/?p=22310)

57
Leave a Comment

Please Login to comment
10 Comment threads
47 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
17 Comment authors
SequimBob2bitoADONAIfoodchainaudadvnc Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
ADONAI
Member

Isn’t politics needlessly complicated because it’s the invention of an incredibly stupid animal?

bito
Member

ADONAI,

incredibly stupid animal?

or incredibly complicated animal?

Abbyrose86
Member

I tend to think that as a WHOLE, humans beings kinda suck.

I get a tad bit annoyed with some of the traits of our species.

PocketWatch
Member

ADONAI – maybe, but I will submit this… complications arise from the “what if” questions.

As a village, we say “Killing someone is illegal.” Ok, says the smartass in the back, but, what if I am defending myself?

Ok, then self defense is ok. Then another smartass asks, what if someone just punches a guy in the nose, and the guy then kills the puncher? THAT can’t be right!

Ok, then, we have to make some sort of “equal force” provision…

And so on…

Smart, dumb, overthink… hard to say.

2ndClassCitizenPundit
Member

PW, those that enjoy the “slippery slope” arguments also seem to think it is “innovative” to attach a rocket engine to the vehicle and coat the slope with frictionless lubricant.

I say, let them build it, let them test it, then decommission it and recycle the materials for something useful.

ADONAI
Member

PW, The fact we kill each other at all makes us one of the stupidest animals on Earth. No matter how we reason it.

PocketWatch
Member

ADONAI – I don’t know about that… I think that the gene pool needs a good vacuuming, frankly. Sociopaths are being selected FOR right now, rather than against. Not good.

jkkFL
Guest

@PW- Just a vacuuming??

PocketWatch
Member

jkk – some chlorine, disinfectant, and fungicide would probably be needed as well.

ADONAI
Member

PW, I hear ya. Self defense is totally justified but it’s usually against some prick who has no business trying to kill you in the first place. We kill for dumb shit. And it’s not all sociopaths and psychopaths.

We kill to eat like other animals. We sometimes kill to defend ourselves like other animals. But most aren’t defending themselves from their own species.

But this is dancing way off topic. I just think we’re dumb animals and we invent needlessly complex systems to hide it.

SequimBob2
Member

Politics is a tool of self interest. Notice that we are not involved in stopping the genocide in Darfur. But we are engaging right-off-the-bat in Libya. Why? (Didn’t John Boehner say we were broke?)

There are SO many issues that the President has remained silent on, but he chose to really get tough with Libya. Why?

Find the self interest angle or follow the money and the answer will probably be revealed.

Abbyrose86
Member

Hi PW…no doubt. It seems we are pandering to the worst of human beings and the worst of human traits rather than our better ones. {sigh}

PocketWatch
Member

Abby – the key to human success as a species is cooperation, not the ‘rugged individualist’ that sociopaths seem to think is the ideal.

In Paleolithic times, to be alone was to die. Quickly.

Somehow, we have to get back to village ideals. Literally.

PocketWatch
Member

I’m going to weigh in on this briefly…

I used to be a military instructor… trained by the US Army in 6 short weeks in how to properly train people in a classroom and laboratory environment. I taught advanced electronics… Boolean algebra, basic and advanced electronics, how transistors and such work, how to troubleshoot complicated pieces of equipment, and so forth.

One of the core pieces of training was the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!)principle. Part of that principle is to avoid jargon at all costs. When confronted with jargon, most people have one of two reactions. They either nod wisely while having absolutely no idea what you are talking about, or they simply blank out. Both are bad. Maybe one in 50 will stop you and demand an explanation. Emotionally, all will look at you and start to literally hate you for trying to make them look stupid.

That was reinforced in my first job in the ‘real world,’ as a service engineer for a computer company. Did that job for 14 years, and that company also was heavily invested in training its guys on the road. And they, too, said the same thing.

As anyone that has read my business series can vouch for, I avoid jargon and obfuscation. That is why.

How does that apply to the article above? Easy. Any time I see (and I advise the same for all) jargon or a mountain of words “explaining” what should be a simple problem, my bullshit detector goes off in a deafening klaxon, and fireworks start exploding all over the sky. Someone is either trying to hide something, scamming you, or has no idea what they are talking about (or all three).

I realize that technical things like legal issues and engineering problems require precision in language and detail, but all that can and should be reduced to plain and ordinary understandable language. If someone says that is impossible, they are either intellectually lazy or are invested in keeping you confused.

foodchain
Member
foodchain

Hi PW. You had me at hello back in the HP days (when they weren’t recruiting trolls)

PocketWatch
Member

Hi foodchain…

Glad to have you aboard. While I don’t quite share the hostility that some here have towards HP {spit!} since I always EXPECT to get screwed over by corporatists, I do have an extreme appreciation for a site like PPOV that actually allows any member to write articles and express views unabashedly.

It can be fun and intimidating, all at the same time, since if you are factually incorrect or cannot support your stance, there will be someone here that will surely challenge your assumptions. I like that. Reminds me of our dinner table when I was growing up!

foodchain
Member
foodchain

I’m going slow for just that reason; families forgive and I’m not the most “quantitative” person. 😉

PocketWatch
Member

foodchain – the good news is, if you are sincere, people will treat you well here. Might get a little beaten up, but politely and with equal sincerity, and that’s all we can ask, isn’t it?

Don’t be shy. All voices NEED to be heard. Everyone has something to offer.

Truth
Member

PW, where are you hiding those days? I miss your wise words! And did you see how nicely the poll that you left us with got turned around, the last time I checked it was something like 55 anti-Walker!

PocketWatch
Member

Hi Truth!

Been a little busy and also sort of burned out. Been reading this though, most days.

8)

Truth
Member

Now I can check if my old new avatar picture shows….

Good to see you, PW. Take rest and take care, but make sure to come back!

Truth
Member

(Obviously didn’t work with my avi. Meh.)

***Edit: one hour later, my new avi is up though…

whatsthatsound
Member

How Mousetraps Get Built – courtesy Thom Hartmann

choicelady
Member

LOL!!! If you want to discuss messaging, read George Lakoff. He utterly agrees with you Smedley. GOP – “death panels!” Dems – 44 page position papers with footnotes.

Most issues CAN be reduced to value statements and catchy slogans. “Cut from the Top, not Mom and Pop” is spot on. Says it all.

However, you have established a straw man. You posit that saying to you, as I have, that you should READ the bills you pillory or like, is an exercise in futility shows – you’ve never read a bill in your life.

Go to thomas.loc.gov. Put in some bill number or key word. You will find all bills in PDF have about 200 words per page, are triple spaced for “mark up” and are fairly easy to comprehend.

Don’t get it still? Find a variety of sources maintained by people who HAVE read the bill and compare issues. If you go only to web sites of like minded people who also have not read the bill, well you will confirm your prejudices, but you won’t learn a damned thing. The Center for Budget & Policy Priorities. Families USA. CA Budget Project. Center for America Progress. Progressive States Newtwork. The Urban Institute. On and on and on. The only “test” you need is that someone there HAS READ THE BILL.

Sure there are bills deliberately meant to obfuscate. Most don’t. Sure there are complexities. I totally agree with you that if you want to end deriviatives, you go back BEFORE they were legal – assuming, of course, that is even an issue. Maybe no one DID authorize them, they just grew. But let’s say there was enabling legislation – you end it. Fine. Now what do you do with the people, the firms, and YOUR money that is tied up worldwide in that instrument of exchange and investment? Outlaw it and they will leave? Oh? And go where? What have you controlled for and what have you overlooked. Do you even know what derivatives ARE? Is there something WORSE someone can direct all our pension funds and savings money into? Sure there is. CAn you find it before we have another problem? You might want to know that before you “help” us all out here.

The problem with politics is that you CAN have clear messages – but that is a far cry from simplistic answers. It takes a very open mind and a heap of reading and conversation to make good policies. What we take as “best practices” may or may not answer real needs. Depends on to whom you’ve spoken. It often behooves us to listen to “the other side” to take in where their values are, what their desires are, what their goals are, and what they freaking CONTROL. Just so we know who’s got what and what the impacts of change will be.

Once upon a time I rushed to help a fellow student who had been arrested in Mississippi doing civil rights work. I organized the entire campus of my school to send telegrams to the sheriff demanding his release. Fine and dandy. Except – the sheriff was fixing to take the kid out an lynch him because of my work. So we called back the telegrams as fast as we could.

Later that night the “leaders” of the campus called a campus meeting to denounce their “fascist” tactics.The entire campus got whipped up and insisted on sending the telegrams – nobody was going to stop THEM for exercising their rights!!! When I asked the ringleader what if something DID happen to the kid in jail, he told me, it did not matter. It was MORE important that we, the safe, on-campus students, kept our free speech rights and not let the fascist administration tell us what to do.

Except the administration had NOT done that. I had. In concern for the student in jail which, to this day, seems the greater good.

So I’ve kind of learned to listen carefully to who says what, who has a motive NOT to be honorable, and who has a motive TO be. Even my allies sometimes have motives not so transparent. Not so honorable. Judgment is always a crap shoot, but your values? Those should be pretty solid. And once you know WHY you do or do not want to achieve something, and then you’ve done your due diligence on getting information, well, then you’re on pretty firm ground. Then it’s NOT confusing at all.

foxisms
Guest

I have to question what sort of incentives there may be for the legislators, speculators in the derivatives market, CEOs of the world’s largest banks…and well, in general every heartless person who has warped our system in order to have it serve them to the growing exclusion of all other things domestic as opposed to them serving the system?
Legislators and politicians of either party still win elections and re-election whether or not they have had a part in the scams eroding the economy (in fact or otherwise)…the CEOs and international banking still make huge profits due in large part to the erosion of the economy(in fact or otherwise) and asking any of these people to refrain from lining their pockets at the expense of the American people hasn’t worked at all or there would have been marked improvement in our economy and treasury without the occasional military intervention every 10-20 years to keep us afloat.
Please don’t misread my comment. I’m not raising an argument against anything in your article. Anyone who has spent the time to outline their well thought observations on a subject as large as this should be commended for their contribution to the discussion taking place on the ongoing blight of our times and our country…And I thank you for doing so.
I just can’t see the incentives for the people causing our dilemma or profiting from it, to have a change of conscience or alter from the course they’ve taken so long (nearly 100 years) to make successful for themselves.

Abbyrose86
Member

On the one hand, I agree with your premise that the messages CAN and should be made simpler. I think I mentioned that the other day. The left doesn’t do a good job of selling their ideas and more often than not, makes the message TOO complex.

SO where messaging and marketing is concerned, thhe messages or the ideas behind the message SHOULD be simplified for the masses and the voters. I think less is more and the KISS principle SHOULD be employed.

However, I disagree that politics isn’t a complicated business, with many different components and nuances. I think the actual BUSINESS of politics and governing is very complex and DOES require complex thought and the ability to see the ‘BIG PICTURE’ as well as the understanding how various ideas intertwine and effect other components.

Sometimes, what appears to be a common sense concept or solution, isn’t really that simple. SOME counter intuitive concepts actually WORK, while the intuitive idea doesn’t.
This is especially true in MACRO Economic theories (which often DO not follow the same rules and goals as micro theories do) and in human behavioral concepts.

What many may BELIEVE to be a good idea based on intuitive or gut instinct, is NOT necessarily backed up by REAL data and analysis of how PEOPLE really behave or respond to stimuli…as a result so called ‘common sense’ solutions aren’t always reliable or appropriate. THE really wise person knows when to question their gut.

Sadly, most people can’t understand ALL the complexities and don’t have either the appropriate acumen or education TO understand all the various components, involved. Hence why experts are needed in those various components and the advice of experts SHOULD be heeded.

For example, policy regarding foreign countries or scientific concepts such as global warming should NOT be left to laymen who have no formal or practical experience in those areas. Experts ARE needed to formulate effective policies in those disciplines. I would suggest the same with policies and regulations that govern the food supply or building codes or even educational necessities, as well as medical issues.

Laymen should NOT be giving advice on such issues.

There is always a consequence for any action OR inaction. In politics and with governing, one must REALLY consider ALL variables and the reaction of different people to different concepts. I think that is what many mean, by the term ‘political reality’, at least I know that IS what I mean when I use that term.

Artist50
Member
Artist50

Love this! Only because my CPA son was stuck in the car with for three hours would he even answer the question, what is a derivitive? He hates it when I ask him stuff like this ( eye roll ) because I have no economic background and it’s like speaking Russian to me.

KillgoreTrout
Member

Same here Artist. My understanding of economics is pretty much limited to my personal budget.

2ndClassCitizenPundit
Member

Darn it. Now I can’t do my overly-complicated series of articles totally obfuscating the real issues!

Hope this is not seen by the neo-cons, you might get burned at the stake.

jkkFL
Guest

Ditto- and of course it makes sense, which automatically renders it Politically
Unacceptable!

Smiley

Caru
Member

This is an excellent and informative article. Well done.