Un-Simple Politics

We Americans live in the most technological and complex world society that the world has yet known, and yet, if we’re to be judged by our political rhetoric and campaign slogans, we’d come off as simplistic idiots.

Illegal immigration is a problem? Build an expensive wall thousands of miles long that is largely irrelevant to the problem? Or just deport eleven million illegal immigrants, many of whom have children who are legal U.S citizens, not to mention those who were brought involuntarily as children and who know no other culture? And without those immigrant children, and the U.S. Caucasian birth rate below the replacement rate, who will pay the Social Security taxes and benefits of older Americans in another generation? The current INS bureaucracy can’t even cope with the status quo, let alone attempting to round up eleven million people. Nor do those who propose this seem to consider that doing so would essentially require the establishment of a police state. Let’s see… walls, ethnic purity, forceful removal of undesirables… didn’t that already happen somewhere?

How to deal with the loss of middle class jobs? Increase taxes on the wealthy and give everyone a free college education? Except that ignores the problem that we already produce twice as many college graduates every year as there are jobs that require a college education. Or perhaps impose punitive tariffs on foreign-produced goods that will double the price of imports, which means further impoverishing those millions of Americans who are underpaid? That also ignores the fact that the greatest percentage of formerly middle class manufacturing jobs that were lost were not outsourced, but automated so that, even if foreign outsourcing were prohibited, all that would happen would be greater automation.

Income inequality? Just pile huge taxes on the “rich”? How long would the super-rich remain in the U.S.? Even the egalitarian Swedes had to scale back on their confiscatory taxes to stop the flight of wealthy individuals. Then what happens when the confiscatory taxes hit the merely affluent, who tend to be generally productive individuals?

Provide affordable health care? Exactly how is that possible without totally restructuring the entire health care, medical technology and pharmaceutical industries? And, oh, yes, the financial sector as well.

Make America militarily strong again? With the strongest and most powerful military force in the world and a huge annual deficit, exactly how do you propose to finance greater military expansion… and for what purposes?

Global warming? What problem? Is it just a hoax or an over-reaction, despite the fact that 99% of all glaciers have diminished or vanished over the past 50 years, that Arctic sea ice is smaller than at any time recorded, that CO2 levels are higher than in tens of millions of years?

These are just the top headliners in the current political campaign, and there’s precious little consensus on the total nature of the problem, aside from the fact that in some cases, there’s not even agreement on whether there is a problem. Solutions to any single one of them will require complex multi-faceted approaches over years.

And given the tens of millions of Americans believing in simplistic answers and/or denials, as well as simplistic political slogans, I must confess to considerable doubt as to whether we, as a people, are really interested in solutions, or even recognizing the problems.

2 thoughts on “Un-Simple Politics”

  1. Doug says:

    “Hear the loud alarum bells – Brazen bells! What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!” Poe, The Bells, St. 3 (1849.

    BTW – I thought Solar Express was a great story.

  2. Daze says:

    For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. (Mencken)

    I do think that the prevalence of what a writer in the Guardian handily labelled “post-Truth” politicians is also a complex problem. It is said that the rise of Trump, Sanders and equivalents in other countries is because people are disillusioned about mainstream politicians. Maybeso, but what do people think would happen to that disillusion if they elected a President (either of the above) who has zero chance of enacting their declared policies?

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