Social scientists dream of situations immune to interference by unpredictable human factors. But it tuns out that in human affairs no situation is manproof. However high the degree of automation and however overpowering the nonhuman factors, the human elements of enterprise, courage, pride, faith, malice, stupidity, sloth, and the capacity for mischief remain decisive.

— Eric Hoffer, Before the Sabbath

Becket Adams:

Elsewhere in her ominously titled book, Noem claimed to have met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. This passage was especially noteworthy to interviewers, given that Noem has almost certainly never met Kim Jong-un.

It’s a shame that this little episode will be quickly forgotten, because in my opinion, this is the sort of sheer, baffling unpredictability that makes social life enjoyable. Conspiracy theorists, as well as cynical observers, are famous for insisting that there are no coincidences. Nothing happens by accident. Someone is always in control, pulling the strings, and plans always seem to roll out exactly as expected. I point to something like this and say, “I refute them thus!” Granted, the dog-killing story was more fatal to her vice-presidential aspirations, but nonetheless, why would a politician with those aspirations tell such easily-disprovable lies? This isn’t a typical politician’s self-serving lie; this is the sort of complete reality-detachment you expect from the senile husk currently moldering in the White House. As far as I’m aware, Noem doesn’t have the excuse of her brain turning to applesauce. There is no rational reason for her to risk her ambitions with such an inconsequential lie. And yet she did. No matter how much we try to suppress chance and impulse under the pavement of technology and rationality, human nature, like grass, will always find a way to poke up through the cracks.