… is from pages 144-145 of the late Shirley Robin Letwin’s 1976 Hillsdale College address, “The Morality of the Free Man,” as it appears in Champions of Freedom (Vol. 3, 1976) ; here, Letwin means by “gentleman” anyone who is guided in his or her personal conduct and outlook by what Deirdre McCloskey describes as the bourgeois virtues :
The second, and to some the most surprising, of the gentleman’s virtues is his diffidence. It is not like the more traditional virtue of humility because it carries no connotation of unworthiness or inferiority. Diffidence is rather an unfailing, pervasive awareness of the limitations of all human reason, of even any number of human minds, and especially of one’s own. The gentleman’s diffidence follows from recognizing that he can never see all around his constantly changing world.
DBx: Beautifully said.
The world could use a great deal more such gentlemanliness and gentlewomanliness.