Occam’s Razor, by Andrew Joppa

Occam’s Razor

by Andy Joppa


Occam’s Razor, put simply, states: “the simplest solution is almost always the best.” It’s a problem-solving principle arguing that simplicity is better than complexity. Named after 14th-century logician and theologian William of Ockham, this theory has been helping many great thinkers for centuries. Many industries swear by it. Perhaps our federal government should consider operating within its wisdom. At this point, our congress could belabor 2 +2 for years, because of its challenging complexity, without reaching resolution after multiple hearings and FBI investigations. It can be related to the current acronym of “KISS” …Keep It Simple Stupid.  “KISS,” however, lacks the academic pretentiousness of Occam’s Razor…hence, I’ll go with Occam for the sake of my ego.


Our nation is currently facing many problems and internecine disputes that seem intractable to resolution. Our federal officials have considered many complex answers (they always seem more complex than they have to be), with few ever being implemented or even being implementable; often, because of that unnecessary complexity.  Now is the right time to invoke the simplicity suggested by William of Ockham. To put it simply, he was obviously a man ahead of his time.  Complexity is easy; simplicity is hard.


Toward that end, and inspired by William, I will offer simple solutions to several problems that would seem to have only the potential of remaining as open sores into America’s future.  This, all too often, seems to be the intent of our politicians. I have not quite decided whether the simple answers I provide are examples of the “Modest Proposal” of Jonathan Swift, or my facetious attempt to ridicule the vacuous nature of our current politicos, or that they actually supply answers that would work if implemented.  I will leave that categorization to the evaluation and determination of my readers.


I’ll ease you into this topic with a few “Razors” regarding the Constitution:


Adhering to the Constitution: All branches of government must function only within the powers allowed by the Constitution and limited by its required constraints. If there was no Constitution there couldn’t be a congress, supreme court or president. Their very existence depends on the integrity of that document. What is my Occam’s Razor?


Every action, by every branch of government, must be accompanied by the constitutional allowance for that action.  That is, the specific area of the Constitution that creates the legality for that action must be clearly presented.  I think you can appreciate how SIMPLE and valuable that addition would be. It is my prediction that more than half of all federal actions, in all the branches, could not supply their constitutional justification and, therefore, would be eliminated.


Federal officials and their oath of office: All federal officials, elected or otherwise, are sworn into office, by their pledging to support, protect and defend the Constitution.  It seems reasonable, therefore, that they should have a meaningful (or, at least some) understanding of that document; but, they often, don’t seem to have a prayer.  I can scarcely believe that many in congress even know we have a Constitution…except by rumor. What is my Occam’s Razor?


Simply, every official must pass a test on the design and intent of that document.  If they fail that test, they must take a course on The Constitution and retake the test until they pass.  It is mind-boggling to consider that they might have actually sworn to uphold a document of which, they have little understanding.  Once again, you can see the immediate benefits that might be achieved by this simple inclusion. The “Razor” at its best.


OK, now let’s wade into some deeper…and hotter… water and see if Occam’s Razor gives us relief from the perpetually useless debates over issues that seem to have little chance of resolution.


Health Care for Illegal Entrants– First, let’s acknowledge that we’re not, as a humane nation, going to let these criminals die from curable health problems.   Let’s also agree we’re not going to supply cosmetic surgery or inoculations for the future potential of Shingles (or it’s like) or “cold sculpting” (even if their obesity has been imposed on them by the ruthless dietary requirements of a totalitarian regime in Central America). So then, what is my Occam’s Razor?


The issue here is not “if”, but “how.”  We must decide “how” health care will be provided. Toward that end I offer that we should simply build multiple health care facilities on the border with Mexico. Illegals could only be treated there, and, only illegals could be treated there. The front door of these facilities would only open “in,” and the back door can only open “out.” The front door is in the U.S., the back-door empties only into Mexico. There it is.  Health care supplied, with an automatic deportation conclusion when providing health care. I know your startled by the brilliance and simplicity of this solution…I know I was.  Don’t go messing it up with unnecessary complexity.


Gender Issues- The last I heard there were 95 different gender categorizations. For all practical purpose that means there are no gender categories that can meaningfully compliment the natural biologic divisions.  These categories are derived, to a large extent, from the subjective feelings of an individual which can vary from day to day, second to second, drug to drug, or partner to partner.  We need a more consistent gender identification to ensure that burly truck drivers in a tutu, don’t wind up in the little girl’s bathroom because, on that day, they felt like a woman.   So then, what is my Occam’s Razor?


First and foremost, we must wipe out the whimsy of subjective gender feelings.  We must return to more “substantive” measurements. That is, a person either has a “member” or they do not have a “member.” It is my optimism the word “member” is being interpreted appropriately.  I refuse to use other words that won’t make it through my spam filter. It doesn’t matter how they feel…what they think…whether they wear a dress…have long “big boy” pants… or whether their hair is shoulder length or they’re bald.  You are either equipped with an appropriate appendage or you’re not. Bathroom symbols will show either a member or a member that is crossed through.  Marriage will be defined as the union between a membered person and one who is sans member.


 This does not mean that any person will be denied their whimsy.  They can pretend that they are anything they want to be.  Think of Bruce Jenner.  A man who felt like a woman, started wearing dresses and makeup, and then became a lesbian.  He is still, however, “membered,” and, therefore, he will always be Bruce to me…and the law.  If he chooses to end his “membership,” then I will call her Caitlyn. All of it merely means we don’t care about anything other than their “membership.” This almost sounds like the way it’s always been; until complexity replaced simplicity.  Perhaps the “Razor” could be invoked for other purposes (Don’t think about this last comment, just move on; you’ll be better off).


Illegal Border Marauders– With the myriad of issues that have been artificially contrived by the members of the Democrat Party; a party seemingly committed to being the legal representatives of the marauders, it seems there is no easy fix. So then, what is my Occam’s Razor?


If congress “simply” passed a law that says, “No one entering the United States illegally can ever be granted citizenship and, as a result, gain the right to vote,” you will find that the Democrats would suddenly lose interest in this future demographic they were hoping to harvest.  Of course, as soon as I said the word “congress” you know the complexity expanded a hundred-fold; nevertheless, it is still the simplest answer that is sure to work.


Next, a variety of women’s issues can be resolved by Occam’s Razor ( I would make note there were no women’s issues during Williams time…women ran everything from the West Wing of the castle and the men died jousting or pillaging…or in other joyful and meaningless pursuits)-


          Women in Combat- This long-debated issue of whether women are fit for all active combat roles, which may include hand to hand fighting, seems irresolvable.  The general premise is that they are the equal of men in these combat situations.  Let Occam’s Razor resolve the issue.


The military should create all female combat units.  This should not create any operational problems as we’ve been guaranteed that men and women are exactly the same in all combat situations.   If not, we’ll find out when the boots hit the ground against an aggressive “take no prisoners enemy.”


Women in the military in general- With the incredible level of harassment and other biologic “abnormalities” being displayed by 21-year-old men who are trained to kill and destroy things…what to do?  It is fairly obvious that mixing testosterone driven males with estrogen driven females has never (ever) been a way of creating celibacy or minimizing male/female “issues.” What does my Occam’s Razor suggest?


There is no military or social necessity to have the genders mixed in the military. So…separate them.  When a problem can be ended so easily with no detriment, and offer a potential for benefit, I can hear Occam yelling through the ages…” You go girl” (or in Chaucerian English… “Ye ge lass”).   Why tolerate a problem that male/female biology insures will not end…when the answer is so immediately available?


Now, let’s use Occam’s Razor for a really serious issue (not for the eyes of children…put them away…the children that is)-


          Climate Change- First, all of us believe in climate change because, well, it’s always changed. We’re only really talking about anthropogenic climate change.  We’ve been told that its human kind; mostly western, mostly American, mostly conservative, mostly male, and mostly Trump supporters, his family, and Donald Trump specifically, that have been the major culprits in this issue. They’ve been dumping quadrillions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere…just for the sheer joy of doing it. It has been suggested this outrageous behavior leaves humanity with only twelve years to survive (I think it’s now 11 years and 10 months), while Miami could be completely under water by next Thursday …Denver might take a bit longer.  This is an existential threat to our children and grandchildren (and great-grandchildren, yard shrubs, and pets) that demands the strongest action possible be taken against the worst offenders.  What does my Occam’s Razor suggest? 


That’s right, simply, we must immediately invade China and India and shut down their coal burning plants.  They are actually the worst offenders and if they continue with their uncaring abuse of the rest of us…they deserve whatever they get. Since kid’s lives are on the line, not to mention the Miami Sound Machine, this seems like the only rational approach to take.  While millions will die as a result of the invasion (dare I say nuclear) this seems to be a small price to pay so that we don’t get burnt to a cinder, whipped into pieces by tornadoes,  die of thirst, or be cannibalized by those foraging for their last bite of food…they prefer Italian.  That’s your choice… it’s all over in 12 years (or less) or… send the army into the subcontinent and Asia.  These are simple decisions not left to the weak of heart.  One can only hope that AOC becomes our commander in chief in time to save the world. I can hear her rallying and motivating the troops as she would say,” Last round, we close at 3, drink up, do you want an Uber?”


OK…Occam’s Razor lives again in the 21st century.  As you think through all the other issues that are challenging modern America, remember, simpler is almost always better than the more complex.  Only President Trump seems to have mastered the benefits of simplicity.  For example: If you want fair trade don’t go through endless years of pointless negotiations…use tariffs.  It is simple and will accelerate the process dramatically.


Occam’s Razor might not be headline-grabbing and may not allow faux experts to dazzle you with their unfathomable complexity… BUT…it’s almost always the best way to go. Even if it doesn’t work, at its worst, “simple” will do little harm and will save us billions of dollars that are always associated with unnecessary complexity.


Once again…KISS.  Keep It Simple Stupid.

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