Posts Tagged Sorrows of Young Werther

Hanlon’s Razor, Common Sense, and Conspiracies

There are no problems today which don’t need a commission. Nobody dares or can take a decision, as no one trusts common sense any more. This missing common sense is the explanation for many so-called “laws”, as in the quotes below about malice versus incompetence. These “common sense” laws describe some of the symptoms of the Trap of Materialism. Many conspiracy theories are constructed on the theory of underlying malice, where in reality it is merely incompetence.

The following law’s are taken from Wikipedia.

Hanlon’s razor:

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Robert A. Heinlein‘s 1941 short story “Logic of Empire”

You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity

Heinlein’s Razor

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don’t rule out malice. or … but keep your eyes open.

Grey‘s Law

Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774)

…misunderstandings and neglect create more confusion in this world than trickery and malice. At any rate, the last two are certainly much less frequent.

Albert Einstein:

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe.

Compare Schiller‘s ”

Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.

Elbert Hubbard said,

Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”

Napoleon Bonaparte

Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

German General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord in Truppenführung, 1933:

I divide my officers into four classes; the clever, the lazy, the industrious, and the stupid. Each officer possesses at least two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious are fitted for the highest staff appointments. Use can be made of those who are stupid and lazy. The man who is clever and lazy however is for the very highest command; he has the temperament and nerves to deal with all situations. But whoever is stupid and industrious is a menace and must be removed immediately!

Sir Bernard Ingham’s Cock-up theory

Cock-up before conspiracy.

The full quotation

Many journalists have fallen for the conspiracy theory of government. I do assure you that they would produce more accurate work if they adhered to the cock-up theory.


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