Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Gordian Knot of sloppy thinking

I was listening to an interview of a Democratic Senator and the interviewer asked the Senator to comment on the Biden families' entanglement in shady, Ukrainian businesses.

The Senator went off on an unhinged rant about Trump colluding with Russia.

The interviewer persisted. The Senator once again "answered" the question by talking about how "dirty" Trump was.

Here is the thing most readers will disagree with me: I believe that in his mind, he thought he was answering the question. The veins on his head were bulging. His face turned red and so on.

A digression

2*X*Y + 3*Y*Z + 4*X*Z = 34

5*X*Y + 6*Y*Z + 7*X*Z = 67

8*X*Y + 9*Y*Z + 10*X*Z =100

Those three equations are ugly because they are very highly coupled. They are a mess to deal with. Wouldn't it be nice if there was an easier way to express X, Y, and Z?

Here is an example of a highly coupled sentence. The authors were discussing how rural groups are disenfranchised: 

Whereas most states in the region have largely adopted paternalistic agendas of inclusion in their (rural) sub-populations in recent decades (to varied effects), the modern (name redacted) state continues to employ policies and narratives of difference to justify agendas that keep rural sub-populations - including (exhaustive list) - at arm's length from full inclusion and participation in the legal and administrative processes of the state.
It doesn't have to be that hard!

Wouldn't it be easier if I told you that X=1, Y=2 and Z=3?

Wouldn't it be easier to say "The state excludes rural people from participating in decision-making by using both overt and covert processes."

Where does the Gordian Knot come from?

Much of it has to do with quid-pro-quo legislative wrangling.

"I will give you military funding if you give me funding for one of my pet projects. 

BAM! Military funding is now linked to the funding of solar farms...solar farms the one legislator may or may-not be invested in.

Throw in over 600 legislators and 60,000 lobby-lizards, stir, and you have a tangled mess. And that is just at the Federal level.

The legislative mind does not function in straight lines. It functions by thinking "How many mosquitoes can I put on the elephant before it keels over from blood loss?"

In other words, "How complicated and tangled and irreversible can I make it?"


  1. And here I always thought they did it to obfuscate the subject. :-)

  2. There is only one solution to overgrown government. Reduce the number of government employees drastically- starting with politicians and other parasites. And they will NOT go voluntarily.
    It is a shame that said politician did not die of a ruptured vein or something on live national TV. We could all use a good laugh.