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 The Age of Nonjudgmentalism 

June 26, 2007 
[Originally published by the Universal Press Syndicate, May 5, 1998]
indentLet’s not mince words: Things just keep getting worse.

Today's column is "The Age of Nonjudgmentalism" -- Read Joe's columns the day he writes them.judgmentalismThe U.S. government doesn’t have to worry about making profits; it can take unlimited amounts of money from the American people. Yet it has managed to fall more than $5 trillion in debt. And it still presumes to tell others how they should run their businesses.

judgmentalismFor most of this nation’s existence, its rulers didn’t even have to use the word billion, unless they were discussing astronomy. Now they are up to multiple trillions. At the present rate, they’re going to have to come up with an equivalent of light-years as a shorthand for units of federal spending. The word astronomical will assume connotations of parsimony, as in “This heartless skinflint wants to cut Medicare back to astronomical levels!”

judgmentalismThis has become a country in which Thomas Jefferson couldn’t get elected mayor of a medium-sized city, let alone president, yet Bill Clinton goes right to the top — with high approval ratings. It used to be a country where high-school students learned Latin and Greek; today its college students take “remedial English” and can listen to Cliffs Notes on audiotape. And we’re told our best days lie ahead of us!

judgmentalismAm I complaining? Yes, but not for myself. I was lucky. The worst thing I ever had to worry about in school was being beaten up by bigger kids. Nobody even thought about bringing a gun to school. We had fewer laws, but they were enforced. Today the people who don’t want to enforce existing laws are always eager to make new ones.

judgmentalismWe baby boomers may be the first generation in history that can tell our juniors how easy we had it. In our day it was still unusual to come from a “broken home”; nowadays many kids have never lived in any other kind, since their parents didn’t bother getting married in the first place. Sports Illustrated has just done a cover story on multimillionaire athletes who have kids out of wedlock, ignore them, and often try to avoid paying a few bucks in child support.

judgmentalismMeanwhile, “queer studies” have become fashionable at the university level, and a noted Shakespeare scholar has saluted “gay and lesbian theorists” as “men and women of the greatest independence of mind.” Which just goes to show that you not only have to accept change; you also have to pretend, with a silly smile, that the new way of life is a big improvement over the old one.

[Breaker quote for The Age of Nonjudgmentalism: From high-school Greek to remedial English]judgmentalismIn every generation, we’re always reminded, there are old codgers yearning for the good old days and denouncing the degenerate youth around them. But the old days weren’t this bad, and it’s moral insanity to deny it. What’s more, today’s youth aren’t to blame for the changes; they’re the victims of trendy elders who have abdicated both authority and responsibility. When bishops go ape, don’t expect children to behave like little angels.

judgmentalismEverything, in short, is getting worse. (Except maybe car stereos. There’s always a bright side.) Not just worse, but exponentially worse. Worse cubed.

judgmentalismIt’s all summed up in the word judgmental. This idiotic word says it all: the final censure of a relativist age. It’s wrong to say anything is wrong. You must be punished for advocating punishment.

judgmentalismEgad. We live in the Age of Nonjudgmentalism, eloquently attested in Clinton’s approval ratings. I expect to see an ominous bumper sticker any day now: “I’m nonjudgmental and I vote!”

judgmentalismCan it be an accident that back when people were more judgmental, they didn’t shoot each other quite so often? It may seem paradoxical, but it’s quite natural. Simple, even. When you have commonly accepted moral standards, you don’t usually need to resort to force. But when moral rebuke no longer exerts its restraining influence, there is a human temptation to blow the offending party away, as it were.

judgmentalismI realize that to say that things keep getting worse is highly judgmental. So maybe I should say that they keep getting worse from a judgmental point of view. From a nonjudgmental perspective, of course, everything is fine.

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2007 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
a division of Griffin Communications
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