Trump: ‘Solutions that are simple, clear and wrong’

Curtis Compton/AJC

Watching the likes of Donald Trump and Ben Carson run their little con games, I can’t help but recall the ageless wisdom of H.L. Mencken, an early 20th century journalist known as the Sage of Baltimore.

“For every complex problem,” Mencken observed, “there is a solution that is simple, clear and wrong.”

And that’s what a lot of people are peddling and a lot of other people are buying these days — solutions that are simple, clear and wrong. You want a list?

Immigration? Deport ’em.

Climate change? Ignore it.

ISIS? Bomb ’em.

Taxes? Cut ’em.

Health care? Repeal it.

Competitors? Crush ’em.

Poor people? Screw ’em.

It all sounds so easy, so simple. And when people are confused and fearful, as many are today, simplicity has an enormous appeal. They don’t want to hear that we live in an incredibly complicated and interdependent world, a world in which a single misstep — say, a little 30-day invasion of Iraq, after which we’ll be greeted with flowers and chocolate — can have consequences that will echo across continents and across generations. They want the reassurance of simple answers.

And once you’ve embraced the notion that complex, complicated problems have simple, obvious solutions, you naturally begin to wonder why those obvious solutions aren’t being implemented. The answers, trumpeted at campaign rallies and on talk radio, are again simple and obvious:

A. Our leaders are too weak to implement them.

B. They are too stupid to implement them.

C. They are too corrupt to implement them.

D. They are downright treasonous and have no intention of implementing them.

In short, we don’t lack solutions. We lack the will. Armed with the solutions, all we require to make America great again are leaders who have the necessary strength to implement them. Given the gravity of our situation, strong leaders do not allow themselves to be bound by restraints that lesser mortals might face — matters of law, treaty, arithmetic, practicality, morality. Because you know who abides by the rules?

Losers do. And what we need are winners.

But it’s just not that easy. For example, as much as we might wish otherwise, there is no simple solution to ISIS, nor to the larger challenge of Islamic extremism. It is a complex, complicated problem, with more moving parts than we can comprehend. It poses nowhere near the scale of threat that Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union posed, but it also defies the brute-force solution of, say, marching on Berlin, deposing Adolph Hitler and dropping bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

So when you watch a Republican debate and you hear candidate after candidate preach the virtues of strength in responding to ISIS, ask yourself why a Republican Congress has yet to pass a use-of-force resolution against ISIS requested more than a year ago by President Obama. The answer is that even among themselves, Republicans can’t agree on a course of action more specific than “strength.” Because it’s complicated.

And here’s the big irony: While we all worry for our country’s future, there is no sign more troubling than the sight of millions so desperate for hope that they succumb to the promise of easy answers and “strong” leaders to implement them. You want to “make America great again?” It will take hard work, and that work begins with the willingness of individual citizens to think things through.

Reader Comments 0

1398 comments
Stewdaday
Stewdaday

The biggest word missing from your post is Leadership, we have a void of Leadership,  and the lack of US leadership then hurts the world. Russia is hardly the leader of the free world but Obama would like them to be, The 65 country coalition he speaks of does not act and we do not lead so it is irrelevant. Say what you want against Trump, but his Leadership is why he is attracting a following. He says I will Lead. right or wrong most consider it better than the current alternatives.


Stewdaday
Stewdaday

I actually believe that your A thru D is 100% correct so now what?

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

53's got all that solved. His electric car is gonna have a reeeeeal long extension cord, that winds up reeeeal fast when he goes back home. I kid.

I lost my Reply button. So

I assume its administrative, as far as the Ga Power bill, the grid is the grid. But there already is a checkbox on Decembers bill, saying 'You live in an area...blahblah...alt energy?"

I heard the backup will be the solar panel farm right beside it, and the 3rd backup being Hatch. That's what the neighbors think.

Up there? Ride Marta, your bicycle. Get excercise. Live longer, so you can be around to enjoy the coming socialism

breckenridge
breckenridge

@DownInAlbany 

Weak republican ticket = wrong choice of words.

What I said was the republican field of candidates is weak.  And that reason I said that is because.........it's true.

RaindroidWillBoy
RaindroidWillBoy

I'd like to see one of the candidates run on nuclear energy.  The stigma is a joke relative to the instances of deaths compared to oil, coal and several others.

RaindroidWillBoy
RaindroidWillBoy

@YouLibs @RaindroidWillBoy


How is that different from electric grid of drilling platforms?  It is not irresponsible and needs be considered and utilized.  If you subscribe to the  bogus math of the world is ending crowd, which is more irresponsible?

YouLibs
YouLibs

@RaindroidWillBoy


We have put ourselves in a position where nuclear is going to have to be used, if only as a stopgap measure. 


Plutonium is one of the most toxic substances in the universe and it is an inevitable product of fission. We don't have any long-term solution to the storage of what we have now, but we will have to produce more.


It has a half-life of about 24,100 years, meaning every 24,100 years it is only half as toxic as it was originally. Each time we bring a reactor on line we create a dangerous substance that will have to be guarded against accidents or terrorists for about 100,000 years.


I think that's insanely irresponsible.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@RaindroidWillBoy 

I suggest you watch the documentary. The world consumes 35 billion barrels of oil a year and there is nothing in the works now that can replace it. One of his students asked him "Will my grandchildren fly on a plane", Goodstein replied, probably not.

KUTGF
KUTGF

I have, and I've also seen them all through the midwest.  And I've also seen them standing absolutely still....


You walking to work when that happens?
_________________
LOL.  someone does not understand how a national power grid works and back up systems. 
By the way, when you drive to work in an electric car, do you leave it plugged in the entire trip?  LOL. 

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

EV sales dropped 80% in Georgia since taxpayers stopped the madness of subsidy.

Kill ethanol too.

fedup52
fedup52

@KUTGF He also claims to be an engineer.  Wonder where he got his degree from.  University Home schooling.

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Probably.

But ethanol costs too much to produce and drives up food prices. And it screws up small ICE's.

fedup52
fedup52

@Philo_Farnsworth I drain the gas out my Stihl weeder eater right after I use it.  So far had no problem with my Troy built mower.  Knock on wood.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@KUTGF

The grid accommodates peak and base load.

How does wind power affect base load?

Wind power has no effect on base load. However, since base load providers can not be ramped down, if wind turbines produce power when there is no or little peak load, the extra electricity has to be dumped.

How does wind power affect peak load?

Unlike conventional power plants, wind turbines cannot be “dispatched” in response to fluctuating demand needs. Wind turbines respond only to the wind, so their contribution to supply is essentially random. The wind may be high when demand is low, or vice versa. If there is sufficient demand when the wind rises, wind power may reduce the need for other plants to supply power. On the other hand, if the wind drops when there is still demand, other plants must quickly jump in to cover the loss. The more frequent ramping or switching of these other plants raises costs and may lower their efficiency and increase their emissions.

Wasteful and iffy as it relates to cost and impact.

I'm outta here.


KUTGF
KUTGF

@FIGMO2 @KUTGF Sure, an C&P from an unidentified source (perhaps clean coal).  Sweetie, wind power ALONE has never been the proposed solution. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

@KUTGF @FIGMO2

Perhaps not?

AWEA on transmission grid operations. They're promoting faster power plant dispatch and improved coordination by operators. Improvements to the grid altogether.

Wonder why that is?

You're such a suspicious fella, K.

Can't help you with that. 

Paul42
Paul42

@RaindroidWillBoy

Seems that way.  Lots of talk about the traditional, big-money, behind the scenes donors concerned that a Trump candidacy will lead to the loss of the Senate.  Seems they want someone to  take out Trump but, with all their money, have no idea who that is or how it would happen.

Peachs
Peachs

@RaindroidWillBoy Cons could win this if they had any sense, but the fact they don't is a good reason not to vote for them.  It was their's to win, we really have a third string candidate, but that is all it takes, I wish they would bring something better out of us. 

RaindroidWillBoy
RaindroidWillBoy

@Nick_Danger @RaindroidWillBoy


A vote for either simply condones the hideous system of dishonesty and cash.


If it comes to those two, I expect (and hope) we send a message by lowest voter participation ever.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@RaindroidWillBoy @Nick_Danger 

It seems several posters have been gloating that Mrs. Clinton is not trusted by about 60% of the electorate.  I have long wondered what the percentages were for the other candidates.