A razor is a philosophical tool for saving time and thought by “shaving away” unlikely explanations for phenomena. Frequently cited in scientific discussions, Occam’s Razor implores us to assume simplicity over complexity, to defer to a hypothesis based on what we already know and that introduces few new assumptions. Hanlon’s Razor, probably the most useful razor in today’s bureaucratic world, is “never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
With this backdrop, I present Hamster’s Razor:
Never ascribe to rational sense what can be explained by naked self-interest.
A more blunt way of putting it would be “if someone’s actions are consistent with pure selfishness, don’t believe a word of what comes out of their mouth.”
The Roissy-coined rationalization hamster is strong in some, spinning hard and spitting out excuses galore to make the selfish and base motives for one’s actions “make sense” in the modern structured world. Thus the razor helps us detect when the hamster is operating. In case you were wondering, badgers are good at hunting rodents.
Hamster’s Razor is in full effect in Dalrock’s exposition of women entering and then ditching their loveless marriages:
“I think it’s unfair for me to stay married to him when I don’t completely love him because he would make an awesome husband for some lucky gal. “
“I wanted so badly for him to be that romantic hero of the Harlequin novels who loved and respected his woman so much he would never have sex with her before marriage. I wanted him to stop himself, but of course, he didn’t. So I did the only thing I could think of to clean up my own mess and that was to marry him. Even as I prepared for marriage, I knew I didn’t really love him, but I ignored it and made myself go through with it.”
“They became “friends with benefits”, and she got pregnant. All of a sudden it struck this woman that wait, I’m a devout Catholic! So of course she had to marry him, even though she didn’t love him. Then a few years later, she divorced him and took their young son because she didn’t love him any more.”
It is also a frequent undercurrent to discussions at Hooking Up Smart regarding sexually-experienced women falsifying their numbers to avoid setting off men’s slut meters. (Susan Walsh specifically cites double digits as a line of demarcation women are loath to admit to men, in the same way that a speeder will fib and tell the officer they were only going a few miles per hour over the limit instead of the true ten or fifteen.)
It can also be seen in unfaithful or poly-curious men arguing to their wives that humans were not designed to be monogamous; this may be biologically true, but it is irrelevant to one’s vows of fidelity whose very purpose is to prevent sexual anarchy.
In The Big Chill, arrogant-geek character actor Jeff Goldblum waxes on the moral impacts of rationalization (be sure to listen all the way to the end):
You ever gone a week without one?
JUST SAY NO
It’s high time we started utilizing Hamster’s Razor and stopped tolerating rationalization. Since “I think that’s the hamster talking” will get you committed unless you’re addressing a mansophere reader, you may want to go with the longer but more clear “you’re just being self-centered and trying to rationalize it” (maybe with a good “come on” or “GMAFB” thrown in there for effect).
Since we only get the world we’re willing to ask for, it’s imperative we stand up for some standards of behavior.