The Problem With Hanlon's Razor
Vax mandates, stupidity, evil, and the Pyrrhic victories of command-and-control
Hanlon’s Razor is a rule of thumb that reads: “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”.
As a general kind of statement, this seems sound enough. A lot of negative events that transpire, of which there are many, are truly consequences of stupidity, incompetence, ignorance, etc. So if you supposed a malicious intent behind all of these things, you’d be seeing malice everywhere, and miss the true source of many of our problems.
But how do we determine what constitutes an adequate explanation? And what are the consequences if we get it wrong?
A sufficiently sophisticated malicious actor will always seek plausible deniability. One way of going about this is to play dumb. Never underestimate an adversary.
To do the topic justice, we must acknowledge that it is very rare that an action will be taken in the interest of malice alone. CS Lewis discusses this in his book Mere Christianity when tackling the issue of evil. He notes that one of the ways good and evil are asymmetric is the fact that evil is typically done in pursuit of good ends. In his view, there are no evil ends, only evil means. This is a profound assertion, something to be meditated on. One of its consequences: all malice is in the end, stupidity. This renders Hanlon’s Razor mute.
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