Americans Desperately Need to Become More Judgmental
It’s time to point out that a weirdo is a weirdo.
In American society today, many people act as if the only immoral thing someone can do is to declare that another person’s behavior is immoral. We’re constantly told that the Bible says, “Judge not lest ye be judged,” but this is usually treated as an injunction against determining whether someone’s behavior is good or bad, which makes no sense whatsoever given that the Bible is chock full of moral rules for people to follow. Maybe this is an overreaction because American society, which used to be several orders of magnitude more judgmental in the past than it is today, sometimes got it wrong and that had real negative consequences for groups of people who didn’t deserve it.
However, this is not a reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater. A judgment-free society is going to be by default, an extremely unhealthy society full of weird, unproductive people, bad habits, and degeneracy. Evan Sayet explained why in a speech about how liberalism inevitably leads to bad outcomes, even though liberals don’t intend for that to happen:
There's a brilliant book out there called The Closing of the American Mind by Professor Allan Bloom. Professor Bloom was trying to figure out in the 1980s why his students were suddenly so stupid, and what he came to was the realization, the recognition, that they'd been raised to believe that indiscriminateness is a moral imperative because its opposite is the evil of having discriminated. I paraphrase this in my own works: "In order to eliminate discrimination, the Modern Liberal has opted to become utterly indiscriminate."
…So what you're left with is not really adults, but citizens of voting age who cannot judge their own positions but are virulently antagonistic to any position other than their own. Why? Because when you've been brought up to believe that indiscriminateness is a moral imperative, any position other than their own must have been arrived at through the employment of discrimination.
...But indiscriminateness of thought does not lead to indiscriminateness of policy. Indiscriminateness of thought invariably leads the Modern Liberal to side with evil over good, wrong over right, and the behaviors that lead to failure over those that lead to success. Why? Because in a world where you are indiscriminate, where no behavior is to be deemed better or worse than any other, your expectation is that all behavior should lead to equally good outcomes. When, in the real world, different behaviors lead to different outcomes, you and I know why -- because we think.
The unfortunate reality is that human beings are not born “good.” When we’re born, we’re bundles of need and we will behave like vicious little animals to fill those needs unless we’re shaped, molded, and taught otherwise. In that sense at least, we’re not much different than dogs. I love my dog, but my dog will happily crap in other people’s yards, bully smaller animals outside of her species, and eat trash. I always know when my dog Boudica has chewed on something she shouldn’t have while I was gone because she moves to the doggie door and WAITS to run out if I am going to punish her when I find whatever it is. You don’t believe your beautiful little child will become a monster if you don’t raise her right? Well, look at that face because, let’s be honest, she’s probably cuter than your kid. Then recognize that she does all of these things even after I’ve worked hard to improve her behavior.
If you want to see how far down the rabbit hole we’ve gone, take a look at this recent poll from Gallup:
What you are seeing here is an extraordinarily permissive society. Arguably, not quite as permissive as say the Romans under Caligula (YET), but it would probably be fair to say that we’re almost as extreme as the Taliban, just in the other direction. They’re tossing gays off of buildings. Bizarrely, we have a month to celebrate how great it is to be gay while we promote it to our children in school. They throw acid in a woman’s face for showing too much skin. A lot of our 13-year-olds walk around in public wearing fewer clothes than a Mexican prostitute. The Taliban will kill you if they think you’re being blasphemous, while we have government-funded art mocking Christianity. On the other hand, both the Taliban and liberals love censorship, so I suppose we do have some things in common.
That being said, let’s consider a few of these examples. Say divorce, sex between an unmarried man and woman, and having a baby outside of marriage. If you went back 100 years in America, there was an enormous amount of stigma around all of those things. So much so that the numbers on all of those issues probably would have been reversed.
So, who’s right? The people 100 years ago or the people today? There is a clear, unambiguous answer to that, but it depends on whether you’re interested in what’s best for society or maximizing your potential options as an individual. If there was so much social stigma around divorce and sex outside of marriage that few people would do it, there would be far fewer people getting laid via Tinder and far more people trapped in bad marriages. On the other hand, if you took those things off of the table, everything from crime to drug use, to mass shootings, to out-of-wedlock pregnancies, to suicides would dramatically plunge because statistically, all of those things are heavily tied to children being raised outside of a two-parent family. Do you want a considerably healthier society, or do you want every behavioral option to be as easy as possible, no matter how much damage it does to you or everyone else? Clearly, we’ve chosen door #2, even at the cost of decimating our whole society.
An awful lot of societal mores and customs have always revolved around what produces a healthy society. There was a time when Americans, with good reason, were extremely confident about the superiority of our culture. It reminds me a bit of a story Mark Steyn once told about the British in India:
A British district officer, coming upon a scene of suttee, was told by the locals that in Hindu culture it was the custom to cremate a widow on her husband's funeral pyre. He replied that in British culture it was the custom to hang chaps who did that sort of thing. There are many great things about India – curry, pyjamas, sitars, software engineers – but suttee was not one of them. What a pity we're no longer capable of being "judgmental" and "discriminating."
American culture was built on Protestant Christianity, capitalism, conservatism, and the Constitution. Those core building blocks produced what could arguably be called the most successful culture in human history (the Romans, Greeks, and British would be in the running as well). Unfortunately, despite all of our success, we’ve lost confidence in the culture that took us so far and we have replaced it with, “Everybody should just do their own thing, man.” Except that’s a recipe for guaranteed failure and we see it all throughout our culture from the weirdos on TikTok to the people trying to convince every kid they can that they’re trans, to the complete breakdown of trust in almost every institution in American society.
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There’s a long list of groups in American society today who are screw-ups, loonies, and degenerates. Furries, Satanists, drag queens, pedophiles, Nazis, commies, ANTIFA members, white supremacists, black supremacists, incels, femcels, pedos, career criminals, junkies, homeless people, sex workers, people with personal pronouns, transsexuals, Critical Race Theory devotees, Third Wave feminists, radical Islamists, body positivity freaks – it goes on and on and on.
Should you hate these people? Bully them? Heap abuse on them? No. But, should you look down on them, generally avoid them and consider them to be losers? Abso-freaking-lutely. These people bring misery, failure, and dishonor everywhere they go in their own lives and the lives of people around them. These are not people you ideally want to live around, have in your life, or want your children to emulate. There is nowhere built on the ideas they champion that is healthy, admirable, and worth copying.
Many years ago, a friend and I were discussing a clip of some women in an African tribe that were spending an inordinate amount of time in the middle of nowhere drinking diseased water as part of a ritual to honor their ancestors. At the time, I can remember looking at those women and thinking something like, “In America, those women might be nurses or teachers. They could be contributing to society and making more of their lives. Instead, they’re walking around nearly naked in the jungle trying to talk to puddles. What a waste.”
Meanwhile, start looking at the sort of weirdos Libs of TikTok features on a regular basis. Are you going to tell me these people aren’t just as much of an example of wasted potential? Are you going to tell me they’re making good choices and we should all respect them? You can tell me that if you like, but you should know better.
You don’t have to do more than look at these people and listen to them for 30 seconds to know they’re weirdos. We don’t want to be rude. We don’t want to be judgmental. We don’t want to be criticized for actually pointing out the truth in a world where we’re supposed to pretend that every moral and lifestyle choice is as good as every other one. So, we stay quiet, and what happens? More dysfunction, degeneracy, and societal breakdown. If we abandon our morals and what has worked in our society to endorse every form of lunacy under the sun, we shouldn’t be surprised at where our culture will end up.
I dropped into the groove of this essay right at the beginning, when you pointed out how many people, Christian and non, will sort of instantly try to stifle your expression of disapproval of aberrant behavior with the knee jerk "judge not lest ye be judged." Esp when they know you are a Christian, they will do it to "prove" that you're a hypocrite and try to shame you. It's a classic example of knowing just enough about the Bible to be dangerous. Of course rational people should judge other people's actions, we just don't get the final word on whether they are heaven bound or not, that right remains with the Lord. Don't believe that? Try applying "turn the other cheek" to a nation's foreign policy! This essay also highlights my biggest issue with the ELCA, a mainline Protestant denomination. The leadership became so afraid that someone would accuse them of being judgmental or discriminatory that they've literally backed away from the Word of the Bible. Just like with American society, you can't start stripping off parts you don't like, and expect it to keep working. After 50 years, I stopped going to my ELCA church, because the Spirit had left the building- evicted by SJW pastors who tried to become man-pleasers, and it's all "love, love, love," and forget all about that sin and judgment stuff. Thanks for writing this thought provoking piece, John..
That anyone takes these "people" seriously is a pretty good reason to believe our culture is long past its prime. I don't personally know anyone like this human waste, but if I did, my reaction would be to laugh at them. They are 🤡🤡🤡, after all.