On a leisurely walk one morning with my daughter, her boyfriend, and my wife, we approached a corner and waited for the traffic light to change to cross the street. Everyone stopped way short of the curb. Moving up to the edge of the curb I encouraged the others to do the same and said, “An idea without action is just a dream.” Without missing a beat my daughter replied, “We’re just walking. It doesn’t have to be that complicated.” I laughed because she was right. It hit me as a question to ask myself. Has life become so complicated that we need to step back and reassess what’s important?As my day continued, I received alerts and notices on my smart phone via social media apps. I should have turned the device off and ultimately did because alerts and notices arrived in rapid succession as I was trying to work. A legislator had proposed a new law to mandate all state workers continue to be vaccinated. Another alert exclaimed a Federal Judge struck down the mask mandate on airplanes and public transportation. The laws, mandates, regulations, and executive orders that are being prescribed day in and day out are so overwhelming and complicated that I am reminded of James Madison’s Federalist No. 62 where he writes, “It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.”
Our laws should be created with the KISS principle in mind. KISS, is an acronym for keep it simple stupid. The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are simple rather than complicated. Simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided. Kelly Johnson is the aircraft engineer credited with creating the term KISS. The story is that Johnson handed a team of design engineers a handful of tools, with a challenge that the jet aircraft they were designing must be repairable by an average mechanic in the field under combat conditions with only those tools. Hence, the term “stupid” refers to the relationship between the way things break and the sophistication available to repair them.In the business book 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling, Jeffrey Gitomer shares his proven actions one must take to easier, faster, bigger, sales. He states, “At a time when the rules are changing, the laws remain constant. You can change the rules. You cannot break the laws.” Wow! That idea hits home when you think about it. Aren’t we selling ideas? Aren’t we trying to convince people why our ideas are better? Don’t our laws attempt to influence behavior?
Well-informed citizens with common sense and good character are better stewards of their daily lives than the current legislative system which relies on “experts” and bureaucrats who are delegated to, by the authority of politicians who abdicate their responsibility to govern. Perhaps it’s too simplistic, yet it seems the framework of who pays, who benefits, who decides, and what’s fair is an easy way for people to understand any law. If something is a good idea, should we not be able to convince someone of its virtue, rather than have the force of government behind it?
Here is the rub. Too many people do not understand their role in society as a citizen or have never been taught their role in their community which is self-reliant, self-restrained, self-assertive, and to have civic knowledge. If they did, perhaps we would not need so many laws, regulations, and mandates from people who complicate our lives with these over-bearing controls. There was a time when most citizens knew these ideas and they were taught in the public school system in civics class or in homeroom. These were all vestiges of the past, a simpler, uncomplicated time.Perhaps the way forward is to embrace these classic ideas which worked for so long. Take for example the idea to “keep, save or preserve from loss or decay. It is the meaning of the word, conserve. This word is the root of the word conservative. A Conservative is a person who wishes to keep and preserve and guard the ideas that our county was founded on; Family, Faith, Friendship, Freedom. To some these are the reasons to progress into a new world order. Some want to focus on diversity, inclusion, and equity.
Diversity, inclusion and equity are also conservative ideas. Conservatives welcome rigorous debate because the better ideas are built on timeless principles. Therefore, we should have a diversity of ideas. Conservatives believe all are welcome and should be included in the arena because freedom is the only tent big enough for everyone. Therefore, Conservatives welcome people on their merit, not on their skin color, their economic status, their sexual orientation, or their religion. Even the idea of equity is a conservative idea because at the end of all the debating, disagreeing, and diatribes about ending up at the same place we should all celebrate our equity of being human. No one is more human than another. This is how we as Conservatives use judo like moves on our opponents. We don’t repeal them with force, but rather use their energy of ideas and bring them alongside and flip their understanding to fit our ideas in a positive manner.
It doesn’t have to be complicated to help people understand these ideas and walk alongside them in a manner that lets them keep their dignity while they learn to accept the good, the true and the beautiful. If our rhetoric is clear and we explain our ideas in simple terms, then we can engage and change more minds.
I think I’ll go for a walk.