New Glossary Entry: The Incompetence Canard

A phrase I coined to explain the false notion that the reason the government does things that serve the opposite of its stated purpose is incompetence. For example, the US government spent months going on years as well as hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars allegedly fighting ISIS only to see it grow. At the same time, the DIA wrote a report saying a “Salafist Principality” or an Islamic State on the border of Syria and Iraq is “exactly what [we] want” to justify taking action to unseat Syrian President Assad. The official explanation for the waste of money and manpower in an ineffectual effort to fight ISIS is that the government is incompetent, but I think they were never fighting ISIS, rather they were using those resources to attack Assad. This is an example of the “incompetence canard.” (Two other canards: coincidence and crazy–that is, when someone’s actions are explained away by labeling him crazy or a “lone nut.”)


Check THIS out from the wiki entry on Hanlon’s Razor:

Hanlon’s razor is an aphorism expressed in various ways including “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”[1][2] It recommends a way of eliminating unlikely explanations for a phenomenon (a philosophical razor). Inspired by Occam’s razor,[3] the aphorism was popularized in this form and under this name by the Jargon File, a glossary of computer programmer slang.[4][1] In 1990, it appeared in the Jargon File described as a “‘murphyism‘ parallel to Occam’s Razor”.[5] Later that same year, the Jargon File editors noted lack of knowledge about the term’s derivation and the existence of a similar epigram by William James.[6] In 1996, the Jargon File entry on Hanlon’s Razor noted the existence of a similar quotation in Robert A. Heinlein‘s short story “Logic of Empire” (1941), with speculation that Hanlon’s Razor might be a corruption of “Heinlein’s Razor”.[7][1] (A character in Heinlein’s story described the “devil theory” fallacy, explaining, “You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.”)[2]


  1. Tony says:

    The other day I noticed a picture of three ISIS thugs and the lead guy was packing a new M4 American military issued rifle. That by itself demands a conversation. Regardless how this man got the rifle is irrelevant. This coupled with American vehicles, and large weaponry one has to wonder where the lines between good and evil are actually drawn, or if any lines actually exist. There are no longer rabbit holes to explore, as the holes are snake holes. Put your hand in it and you can guess the outcome. Think of ISIS downing a Russian airliner, again these guys are sporting a lot of Russian gear. Where does reality begin? Where does does the vail of deception start/stop? Nothing is it seems, remember the X-files? Trust no one😎
    I thought I had a handle on this after spending a lifetime overseas fighting the Johnny Jihads, but I feel as ignorant as any sheltered home schooled child.

Leave a Comment