Picture this: you’re discussing a common problem. It might be anything really, rising obesity, poverty, balancing the check book. Literally anything. But you’re discussing it, what the challenge is, how it affects people, maybe someone brings up an article they skimmed to sound smart (that’s usually my move). Then someone says these words: But it’s a complicated issue.
This always gets under my skin because the comment rarely adds anything to the discussion. In fact, the statement is often designed to end conversation and/or change the subject. But, above all, this expression is meant to spare the speaker the embarrassment of saying they don’t know what they’re talking about. Usually, the speaker doesn’t even consciously understand what they’re doing. We act like this on an instinctual level when we perceive threats to our status. It’s a narcissistic and craven way to approach conversation, but that’s humanity.
Problems can get especially “complicated” when the solution is simple, but hard. Here’s an example:
“Complicated” Problem: How do we improve the lot of America’s poor?
Simple, but Hard, Solution: Stop subsidizing counterproductive behaviors, encourage everyone to focus on family and education, break the public school union monopoly on education.