My parents owned a bar when I was a kid. It was attached to the house. That's where I grew up and lived until I went away to school.

In that environment, bullshitting was the normal way of life but it was more than just standing up and making wild unfounded statements. There is a kind of feedback loop that goes on. One person makes a statement. The next guy either agrees or refutes. If the statement stands up to scrutiny, the person succeeds. If not, he goes to the back of the pack. The cycle repeats ad infinitum until the beer money runs out or until closing time, whichever comes first.

There is not a rule book, per se, but a set of expectations. If a person makes a statement, he should expect the next guy to scrutinize him. That's the way it works. There should be no bad feelings if somebody refutes a claim or statement. Neither should the other person who responds do it as a put-down. It is simply a style of group conversation.

Having grown up in that kind of environment, I tend to speak that way, naturally. Do I think I am always right? No. Do I always have the answer. Of course not. However, I tend to speak in an assertive manner. I often try to qualify by saying things like "The way I understand...," or "According to my experience..." I don't mind when somebody else replies and says they think I'm wrong but they shouldn't get offended when I defend my position. As long as it doesn't resort to name calling or put-downs, I'm rarely bothered by it.

It's been more than 25 years since I lived in that place but that style of conversation is still natural to me.

I don't think there are more bullshitters in the world, today, than when I grew up in that saloon. I think that there are more people who get upset when somebody else stands up and counters their argument. I think that the internet has a lot to do with this phenomenon. Removing the face-to-face communication that happens in a bar, pub or saloon diminishes our interpersonal skills.

So, I propose that the solution is for more people to go down to their local tavern, quaff a few pints, raise their glass and say out loud for all to hear, "The world is full of bullshitters!"