There’s something you learn after you’ve been a journalist for a long time. The first is that it’s likely you have got some things wrong in the past, and you probably will get some things wrong in the future. When you get to some seniority where you are entrusted with writing a column in the most prestigious of publications, you learn another thing: never take yourself too seriously. Sure, you have experience; sure, you know how to write and you may actually know something worth sharing. But you reach a point where you can continue to write but need to acknowledge that sometimes you’re ignorant.

One of the most unfortunate things that can happen to a senior journalist is that you develop a sense of self-importance. You start believing in the superiority of your own wisdom over that of others, forgetting, as Thomas Hobbes said, that you are closer to your own knowledge than to that of others. A second unfortunate thing about being a journalist and columnist is that you fall int...

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