Quick Take: The Severian Corollary

Since I haven’t posted in a while, a placeholder.

Y’all are doubtless familiar with “Hanlon’s Razor:”

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

A while back I wrote that this needs an update, and being a humble guy, I named it the “Severian Corollary:”

There’s a level of stupidity so profound, you actually hope it’s malice.

That’s where we’re at with this (Ace of Spades link).  It seems as if the FBI’s Andrew McCabe and a high-ranking member of MI-5 (British counterintelligence) actually believe this “Russiagate” shit that they themselves concocted.

These people selectively leak to the media so that the media will report a false impression of the contours of reality, and then, incredibly, they believe the false impression of reality that they know they themselves helped conjure up from ideology, fantasy, and lies.

When President Obama famously proclaimed he believed his own bullshit, we took that as either a joke or a taunt, depending on how we ourselves felt about Obama’s bullshit.  But he wasn’t kidding, and here’s the proof.  What would Dunning and Kruger have to say about people who are dumb enough to believe fantasias on their own bullshit, peddled by glorified stenographers?

Our leaders are terrifyingly stupid.  I’m starting to think that all our worries are groundless, comrades.  When the Thought Police finally come for us, just tell them we live at 123 Fake Street, Springfield USA.  They’ll never catch us.

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9 thoughts on “Quick Take: The Severian Corollary

  1. Pickle Rick

    Political creatures have to see everything through their ideological lens. In the pozzed “intelligence” services, you cannot be promoted without knowing that pleasing the Party masters takes precedence over any actual intelligence gathering or analysis. Just to take a historical example-
    The NKVD, famously, absolutely refused to believe that Mustache Guy was really going to invade the Soviet Union in 1941, regardless of all the reports from the fields, because official Soviet ideology (in the gospel of Stalin) decreed that it was not possible. All good Communists therefore knew that anyone saying otherwise was a “wrecker”, “saboteur” or a “reactionary” who desired a Soviet/German war.
    Hence the devastation of the initial months of Barbarossa.

    1. Severian Post author

      Not to mention the huge purge of the Red Army in 1937, but I take your point. And that’s what makes the current poz so terrifying. The NKVD lived in the realm of make-believe, but at least it was consistent make-believe, if that make sense — the Party line seemed to change overnight, but you could generally read the tea leaves in Pravda and whatnot. More importantly, whatever the fantasy du jour was, it was ironclad.

      The modern poz, though, changes completely at random. You can see some of its general drift in academia, but as it goes faster and faster as the political struggle heats up, there’s just no way to stay on top of it. To stick with the NKVD example, you could generally figure out what was up just by watching what a few key people did — Yagoda, Yezhov, etc. No idea who that would be in our modern environment. AOC? She’s so stupid she has no idea what she’s going to say from minute to minute. It’s terrifying.

      1. Pickle Rick

        Point well taken. Doctrinaire Marxism/Leninism was and is unrelentingly predictable, based as it is on the holy writ.
        What we have today isn’t that, but it can be discerned to have a pattern, even if we have to understand it as the screaming tantrums of overgrown children. After all, every time they threw a hissy fit, the old cuck Republicans caved in. Their pattern is discernible, but we’ve only been confronted with it’s new form for about 30 years.

  2. bgalbreath

    I would diagnose self-deception rather than stupidity. To me, stupidity requires only passive non-responsiveness to information contrary to the party line. Self-deception is a quite active process whereby one part of me hides or re-describes heresy-supporting information from another part of me, a public-facing part who can present our common enterprise as reality grounded and well-intentioned, sincerely and with a straight face. Believing your own BS gets you past the well-honed deception detectors of other people. You will not display any markers of deceptiveness because you are, in your own mind, not being deceptive. Requires devilishly complicated neurology, and giving up on the unified self (only one mind per body), but a very handy ability to have.

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