What role do you typically play? Are you positive in most situations or are you dispassionate, disengaged and disingenuous?

Whatever the case, it is quite possible that being disingenuous is by far the worst.

You see, other than a job or occupation few of us get involved in helping with a lot of other things, separate from our job. Instead, we choose to take an easier route where we remain on the sideline, enjoy an event, let others do the work and then have the audacity to pick that event apart.

It’s an easy rut to fall into and we’ve all done it.

According to Mr. Dictionary, to be disingenuous means to not be candid or sincere — to pretend to know less about something than you actually do. 

Oh sure, we’ve all been guilty of that at one time or another in some small way and might have even thought that in being so, in a given situation, we were actually helping someone else.

Then there’s the other side of the coin where we are quick to spout off, but don’t really have a clue what we are talking about. This is where we appear to be experts in a myriad of categories about which we have collected a minimum amount of information and evidence.

In the Bible, in Exodus Chapter 20 verse 16, it says that “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

What does that mean? It means that you are not supposed to lie. And why should you not lie? You might think you should not lie in order to prevent others from looking like an idiot. When in reality you shouldn’t lie in order to prevent yourself from looking like an idiot.

American author and cultural critic Neil Postman once said: “Perhaps we should abandon the whole idea of trying to make students intelligent and focus on the idea of making them less ignorant. After all, doctors do not generally concern themselves with health; they concentrate on sickness. And lawyers don't think too much about justice; they think about cases of injustice. Using this model in teaching would imply that we should identify and better understand various forms of ignorance and work to eliminate as many of them as we can.”

I bring this up because I think we need to realize that, if we spread misinformation, even unknowingly, we are being ignorant.

Martin Luther King, Jr., once said: “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” And Confucius once said: “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

In other words, it is often better for us to keep our mouth shut, especially when we don’t really know the facts, even though we think we might.

The Greek philosopher Plato once said: “Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.”

In summary, we might be better off not expressing an opinion until we’re certain we’ve done the appropriate amount of research. And even then, we are probably better off doing something to help, instead.

Kevin Holten is the president of the North Dakota Cowboy Association and executive producer of "Special Cowboy Moments" on RFD-TV.