Reverse Hanlon’s Razor

While I am a big fan of Occam’s Razor, which I find very useful in most cases, I find Hanlon’s Razor to be false on most occasions.

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity” – states this “law”. It’s very frequently used by many people to explain why something is one way, when very clearly it should be done completely differently.

When I worked at Nathan’s clam bar, annoyed patrons frequently suggested that the pint containers of condiments should be always on the counter and not behind it at all times. My co-worker with decades of experience told me that it was not a good idea when he noticed that I started leaving the condiments on the counter. I chose to disregard this piece of advice as it was coming from someone who was opening clams for a little bit over minimum wage for decades. I was happy with this arrangement because I did not have to waste time on moving the condiments between waves of customers, and the customers were happy as they always had a few jars within easy reach at all times.

The reason for hiding the condiments became painfully clear to me pretty soon. Two drunks started an argument right at the counter. My lineup of pint containers of cocktail sauce and horseradish became perfect amunition for their condiment fight.

Reasons for presence and abscence of features is frequently governed by