Maybe I’ve been reading too much punditry lately, but I find myself annoyed with the self-important tone of pretty much everyone who writes about politics. Everyone knows something about the bailouts, Obama’s “handling” of the economy, how health care will play out, or the timing of federal climate policy.

Note to everyone: shut up.

Feel free to have an opinion, but please express it as an opinion or belief. Perhaps you have some analysis or evidence to support your belief. But whatever else you may know, you do not know what will happen in the future. And this goes double if you’re talking about politics.

(To clarify: I’m not saying you can’t make predictions that turn out to be right. I’m saying you can’t know the future. Highly surprising and counterintuitive things happen all the time. There is nothing irrational about imagining a future that looks a lot different from the present.)

End of rant.

Image appears thanks to my friend Paul Gettmann. It’s from an advertisement in a 1980s-era National Geographic.