From the lecture notes of H. Smiggy McStudge

‘We encourage the humans in the belief that every other job in the world, especially that of running the world, is so simple that only a malicious idiot could possibly foul it up; whereas one’s own job is skilful and complex and requires a genius that no outsider can understand. This encourages the useful habits of pride and ignorance, and moreover, brings each human’s pride into direct collision with all the others.’


  1. The trouble is that the world so often IS in fact run by malicious idiots. :p But yes, Hanlon’s Razor applies.

    • The McStudge begs leave (who am I kidding? He never begs) to point out that the malicious idiots got into those positions because they thought it would be trivially easy to do better than the previous lot.

      In fact, the McStudge claims personal credit for coming up with the slogan, often thought but seldom said aloud: ‘Socialism never worked before because I wasn’t in charge of it then!’

  2. Unconcord says

    Really, I’ve mainly found it to be the opposite: everything is somebody else’s job, including your own.

    This may be the distinction between white-collar and blue-collar culture – one might favor pride, and the other sloth.

  3. On the one hand, I’m quite convinced that most of the people ruling the world are malicious idiots.

    On the other, I’m less convinced that there are many political prodigies to be found cutting hair or making YouTube videos.

  4. Mary Catelli says

    There are definitely some who think like that. They tend to write requirements for computer programs.

    The one who wanted the hardware to break the laws of physics, and the other who wanted to know why we couldn’t do a thing and leave it undone, were particularly memorable.

  5. AKAHorace says

    A counterargument.

    Some jobs you get/keep because you are good at them (barber, cook). To be a politician though the skills you need to get the job (winning an election, mounting a coup d’etat, placating or neutralizing rivals) are very different from the skills you need to do them well (managing a civil service, knowing what needs to be done).

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