Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hanlon’s Razor

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Kent comments:

It is sometimes difficult to know how to apply this to politics.  For example, consider all the continued hubbub about ‘carbon footprints’ and such matters.  Certain categories of politicians have picked up on this as a supposed reason to force all sorts of irrational behavior, all of which will make life much more difficult than it need be.

Malice or stupidity?  Tough call, isn’t it?  Of course, this will vary from politician to politician.  If it is stupidity, one shudders to think of what this implies for the condition of the republic.  If it is malice, that’s even worse!

Of course, one good argument in favor of political liberty is that it limits the damage that can be done by either stupidity or malice.  If you (stupidly) want to generate your power from highly inefficient sources like solar panels of wind turbines, you are free to do so.  What you are not free to do is to force your stupid decision on others.

The need to consider malice is greatly diminished when there is liberty.  While people can harbor malice, their power to act on it is severely reduced where liberty reigns.

The very fact that there is a ‘Hanlon’s Razor’ is a good reason for liberty.

Now, in another area (religion) it is likely that much of what goes on should be attributed to stupidity.  But that’s another story.

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