What Am I Scared of?

A reader writes, with the subject “I’m puzzled,”

Not a single word on The Volokh Conspiracy wrt the accusations against the Civil Rights division of the Justice Dept.

What are you guys scared of?

I can’t speak for my colleagues, but here are three things I’m scared of:

  1. Looking like a fool when I opine on a topic about which I don’t know enough, and thus get the facts or the analysis wrong.
  2. Getting facts or analysis wrong, even if I don’t look like a fool.
  3. Falling yet further behind on my various other responsibilities, as a result of taking the time to learn enough about a complicated, controversial, fact-rich question so that I can opine on it without being wrong.

I think the world would be a better place if people were more scared of things 1 and 2. And, as a reader myself, I tend to prefer it when writers only opine on stuff they actually know about, rather than feeling some obligation to speak up on a complicated subject (such as this particular voting rights enforcement controversy) that they know little about.

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