Bacon … thinks it is good, very good indeed, to be “well fortified by doctrines of the wise” and thereby to be protected from the storms of lies that toss many people about so violently. It is indeed gratifying, Bacon says, paraphrasing Lucretius, to be “standing upon the vantage ground of truth,” because up there “the air is always clear and serene.” But, he adds, the pleasure one feels is appropriate “so always that this prospect be with pity, and not with swelling or pride.” If you have been able to discover something that is true, then you should have compassion for those who are laboring under the spell of falsehood. And if instead of pitying them, you mock and belittle them, then you will become swollen with pride — and then, when the lies that comfort you come around, you will be unable to resist them.
That’s me. Let me add to the argument I make there a corollary thesis: In any given community, there will be a profound divide between those who believe that the most dangerous lies are the ones told by our enemies and those who believe that the most dangerous lies are the ones we tell ourselves.