Theodore Dalrymple:

A visit to any pub or bar will confirm the truth of what Dr. Johnson says. There you will find people who seem to be party to the most secret of secret state policy, though they appear to work in humble capacities in local businesses, or who are unalterably convinced of the motives of people in authority whom they have never met and about whom they know practically nothing. Needless to say, I do not exclude myself from this class of know-all: I am exactly the same.

It’s not just serious topics like politics, though. Even while browsing the Liverpool FC subreddit, for example, I’m constantly amazed at people’s ability to quickly turn gaseous speculation into granite conviction. Guys who couldn’t successfully manage a local McDonald’s franchise seem to know better than billionaire owners how the club’s business should be run. Fellows who couldn’t coach a team of eight year-olds are founts of insider information and advice on strategy that professional managers are apparently too blind or stupid to see. Direct communication often manages to devolve into a game of Telephone as it is, with the participants reacting to subtext (both real and imagined) as much as the actual words spoken, but these fans are like people standing outside the window with their ears pressed to the glass, trying to participate in the conversation based on the snippets and fragments they’re able to catch. The absurdity would be comical were it not for how seriously they take it.

I find that as humility permits my conversation to extend only as far as its leash of ignorance will reach, my walks around the Internet are much more peaceful and enjoyable. “I don’t know, and I don’t need to know” may not stir the blood and quicken the pulse, but as far as slogans go, I have yet to find one more liberating.