When you are a twenty-year-old chessplayer, tactics solve just about everything. Did for me anyway. Sometimes I would simply try to find the most complicated move – not necessarily the best move. Once my friend Glenn Etter told me he glanced at my board, saw that the position was a mess, and went back to his game without doing any actual analysis – he said I always won if the position was a mess.
Ah, but endgames were a knight of a different color. Generally if I couldn’t calculate it, I couldn’t figure it out. I lost a ton of endgames by playing them by applying the same hyperaggressive methods I used to some success in middlegames.
So when you are a forty-year-old chessplayer and tactics don’t solve much of anything, you realize you better learn endgames. And you also realize you’re buggered. Because endgames are wonderfully, agonizingly complex. Three years of study only scratches the surface.
All you can do is decide to study endgames for the rest of your life, learn more every year, and enjoy the process.
That’s how it seems to be with politics, or rather government and governance. The challenge is complex. The economics of healthcare are complex, let alone the economics of the whole country. Checks and balances, taxation, regulation, services, there are so many moving parts involved.
So daunting is the complexityof it all that to some people simply fall back on a few core principles to choose their approach to every issue, every problem. I understand the appeal to an extent, but I think that’s ultimately an abdication of thought. I think neither “we’ll write new regulations” nor “the market will fix it” is a universal answer. That’s like trying to build a house – no actually a skyscraper – with nothing but a hammer.
I think what you do instead is decide to study the issues for the rest of your life, learn more every year, and try to enjoy the process.