SOMETIMES KEEPING YOUR MOUTH SHUT is the wisest tactic. We have occasion to deal regularly with a fellow who appears to be my political opposite number. He spouts rightwing bumper sticker concepts all the time. My wife worries that I’m going to respond and cause our ongoing brief but regular interaction with this guy to be at risk. So far I have been able to adhere to the maxim of Publilius Syrus: “I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.” A couple of days ago, when this guy proclaimed that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was all Biden’s fault, I almost lost it. My wife gave me one of her “Don’t do it” looks and I bit my tongue. There are times to engage, and times to avoid engagement. I’m hopeful that he doesn’t again say something so absurd, so lacking in factual predicate, that I’ll lose my control and contradict him. I just keep reminding myself that you can’t offer rational argument to an irrational or fanatical or indoctrinated person. They don’t hear it; they don’t understand it; they refuse to consider it. Minds are like parachutes. They only work when they’re open.