Watching the political campaigns evolve, it occurred to me that the striving for a simple message is very good in politics—whereas striving to master complexity is at the very heart of policy. Simple derives from the Latin for singular, uncompounded, unmixed (simplex). Amusingly for me, inveterate student of cultural change, the meaning of simple to mean “humble, ignorant,” later “lowly, common” developed beginning in the thirteenth century. The decline of simplicity from meaning singleness, singularity (God is simple) dates from the sixteenth century. To reach the great masses, therefore, we must keep it simple, as in “it’s the economy, stupid.” Here that “stupid” refers not to the simple but to those who see complexity. The word contains a paradox in that two meanings abide within the word; one points up as in singular, never seen before, unique; the other points down at lack of complexity. The slogan modified should be: “Keep it simple for the stupid; its all about public spending.” And if you can frame things in this way, you’ll be labeled a wonk or an intellectual—two other words well worth unpacking.