Monday, January 13, 2014

Judgmentalism as a Social Crime

A parable entitled "Judge Not, Said the Bad Guy":

"Being judgmental" is a pop psychology, self-help book phrase that means you elevate yourself morally above the other person and decree a verdict on that person, based on what "should be" according to your benchmark. 

The phrase originally meant "don't point out the speck in someone's eye when you've got a board in your own" and get your own act together to lead by example, not by scolding.

While assessing dangers and threats was natural, when applied to human beings, it became forbidden due to the abuses that direct, personal criticism had in the hands of some bullies, trolls, and know-it-alls.

Thus, "to judge others" became a social crime, it wasn't "nice" to set yourself up as a judge and bang your gavel at somebody else, after all -- who gave you the judge's job?

In time, it began to mean more sinister things, like "don't evaluate the behavior or cynically speculate on the motives of another person" and "see only the good in others" and "never confront anybody, just accept them the way they are".

Some retained the prerogative to make inquiry into another person, but their conclusions, unless glowingly positive and uplifting, were to be held in solemn muteness.

The most grievous social error had now become not inflicting harm, but accusing someone else of something: you must avoid any appearance of being ready to offer critique.

You cannot run the risk of offending the sensitivities of somebody who, after all, was only doing his best, given the conditions he was in and how he was raised and how much education he had and what disadvantages he probably was burdened with, through no fault of his own.

Con artists, charmers, and charismatic scammers loved the new trend. Soon, they were chirping and chiming in with newly resurrected phrases like "Walk a mile in my shoes before you condemn my path" and "If you can't say something nice about someone, say nothing at all" and other semi-mystical office motivation poster barbs.

People seemed limply happy now.

Nobody was allowed to eye them askance or engage in the rudeness of scrutiny. No "judgments" were permitted. People just did what they did, responded to by others with only a complimentary remark or silence, and nobody had to fear public humiliation or interpersonal shaming anymore.


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