The Power of Stupid: Geothe & Hanlon’s Razor

GoetheIn his novel The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774), Goethe wrote, “misunderstandings and neglect create more confusion in this world than trickery and malice”.  Later, after many similar quotations from others, this was shortened and labeled Hanlon’s Razor:

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Often, what we think are sinister, organized conspiracies are nothing more than human beings afraid of losing their power and privilege and acting without much long term thinking or planning.  Sadly, we can see countless examples of this throughout history and across all cultures.

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