The French man is self-confident because he considers himself individually, both as regards mind and body, irresistibly captivating to either men or women. The Englishman is self-confident through his absolute conviction that he is a citizen of the most fortunately constituted kingdom in the world, and because, as an Englishman, he knows always and in all circumstances what it is requisite for him to do, and also knows that all that he does as an Englishman is correct beyond cavil. The Italian is self-confident because he is excitable, and easily forgets himself and others. The Russian is self-confident for the precise reason that he knows nothing, and wishes to know nothing, because he believes that it is impossible to know anything. But the German is self-confident in a worse way than all the rest above and beyond all the rest, because he imagines that he knows the truth, – the science which he has himself invented, but which for him is absolute truth !
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy