John McIntyre, whom James Wolcott calls "the Dave Brubeck of the art and craft of copy editing," writes on language, editing, journalism, and random topics. Identifying his errors relieves him of the burden of omniscience. Write to, befriend at Facebook, or follow at Twitter: @johnemcintyre. The original site,, at, and now at

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Advice for an election year

From The Vanity of Dogmatizing (1661) by the Rev. Joseph Glanvill:

"They that have never peep't beyond the common belief in which their easier understandings were at first indoctrinated, are indubitabely assur'd of the Truth, and comparative excellence of their receptions, while the larger Souls, that have travail'd the divers Climates of Opinions, are more cautious in their resolves, and more sparing to determine."


  1. Lacking your background in 17th-century literature, I'm going back only as far as William Butler Yeats's "The Second Coming." (I was going to drop a few lines here, but the entire poem is entirely appropriate.)

  2. Bertrand Russel: " . . . the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt."

  3. I've read the quote three times and found different beauties each time. So now I wonder if it will be an infinite gift... Which is to say, thank you.