Thursday, November 27, 2014

Malice, Competence, and Conspiracy

Leff's Fourth Law says: 95% of apparent maliciousness is actually incompetence. Napoleon, it turns out, said it earlier and better: "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."And Jon Stewart accounts for the Iranian interrogators in the real-life events depicted by his film, Rosewater, thus: "Evil is relatively rare. Ignorance is epidemic"

This shows the problem with conspiracy theories. They're always built on the assumption of both seamless malice and seamless competence, whereas both those things are relatively rare.

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