Judgment

Sunday, May 29, 2011
The pieces were first published on October 13, 2010 and October 26, 2010.

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Judgey Me

I have a tendency towards being self-righteous and judgey. Yes, I know - shocking. I do try to keep it under control, though, as I find these particular personality traits of mine to be less than becoming and not really something to be proud of. Like all of us, I'm a work in progress, and unlike the saints among us, I suspect I will remain unfinished.

However, I recently read a really outstanding blog post by HCDSM reader and occasional commenter David, who is a professional historian and an all-around Smart Man. It was called Nine Things that Make Me Judge You, and it contained the characteristics that push David to judge other people and find them wanting. Because David is someone I consider to be more charitable than myself, and less, well, judgey, the list made me think. Everyone judges other people - everyone. It's simply part of being human. So at what point does judging others become a vice, and at what point is it simply learning from world around you?

I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer that question, given my innate tendencies, but I do know that there are characteristics that push me over the edge. I suspect expressing them makes me a self-righteous, judgey bitch, but I know that I'm unwilling to compromise on them. So here's my list of 7 Things That Make Me Judge You.

1. You consider people who choose to serve in the Armed Forces to be losers, or suckers, or that the military was their "last resort."

My family has served this nation in uniform for over 150 years in every branch except the Coast Guard. We did so because we have a tradition of military service, and a service ethos. It's a fundamental part of who we are. When you express the opinion that our service is without value, you imply that we are without value. This, of course, makes me wonder why me and mine would put ourselves in harm's way for the likes of you.

2. You choose to disregard empirical truth in favor of your unprovable belief.

I have no issue with faith. I don't understand it, I don't have it, but I consider it a private matter, and therefore none of my damn business. But when you insist on disregarding observable evidence in favor of something that can't be proven, then I will assume your lack of critical thinking skills extend to every area of your life, not just geology and your "case for a young earth."

3. You consider others' accomplishments grounds for your contempt rather than your respect.

Unless you're the pinnacle of human evolution,* there will always be someone who is smarter than you, or better educated than you, or has a better understanding of a specific topic than you, or just simply works harder than you. This hard fact of life isn't grounds for accusing these people of being "elitists," or "snobs" or whatever disparaging name you choose to apply. People who have better skills than you should be considered assets. When I'm considering who I want to be my doctor, or my architect, or my handyman, I want someone who can do the job better than me. Why would you not apply the same standard to those who govern our country?

4. You believe that because you don't understand a concept, then it must not be true.

As a corollary to number three, you are still not the pinnacle of human evolution.** You can't be an expert on everything, and even with diligent and dedicated effort, it may turn out that you don't have the natural ability to fully grasp specific disciplines. Your inability in this area, however, does not prove that others don't have the expertise you lack. "Disbelieving" the Theory of Evolution because you either haven't taken the time to fully understand it or lack the ability to do so does not make it untrue. It simply makes you ignorant and an unworthy heir to the Enlightenment.

5. You assume that your social prejudices are the "natural order of things," and act accordingly.

If you assume that your discomfort with homosexuality or other non-destructive, non-mainstream aspects of humanity means that such people should be marginalized and ostracized, then don't be surprised if you yourself are eventually marginalized and ostracized by those who practice self examination on a regular basis.

6. You refuse to change your opinion in the presence of contradictory evidence.

People with critical thinking skills are capable of changing their minds and analyzing the other side of the argument. If you have a dearly held opinion, and are presented with evidence that you are simply WRONG, show some moral courage, admit your error and change your mind.

7. You lack generosity of spirit.

Helping others when they need it, whether that's through philanthropy, volunteerism, or working toward a more equitable world, is one of the things that differentiates us from other species. When you leave the weak to suffer and die, or refuse to help those who cannot help themselves, you show me a side of humanity that I don't really care for. Which means I probably won't care much for you, either.

*You're not.

**No, really - you're not.
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Accepting Me

Once again, I am inspired by HCDSM reader and occasional commenter David. At the rate he's going, I may never have to think of original blogging fodder again - I'll simply copy David for the duration.

He recently inspired me to write this as a result of some thoughtful snarkiness, and now he's written a follow-up piece detailing Nine Things That Will Not Make Me Judge You. I like having balance in my life. I like it so much I'm going to balance the scales here at Hot Chicks Dig Smart Men and totally steal David's idea AGAIN.

Here are Seven Things That Will Not Make Me Judge You.

1. You are grief-stricken when your beloved pet dies.

People who don't consider their pets to be part of their family typically don't understand how someone can have a deep emotional relationship with a pet. But in many ways, such relationships are the purist, most fulfilling things in this life. Being grief-stricken when they die is appropriate, and fitting.

2. You are poor.

Unlike willful ignorance, being poor isn't something people choose. If you're not convinced, go read this.

3. You have faith.

Like most atheists, I'm far too pragmatic to understand faith. Unlike many atheists, I admire those who manage a spiritual connection to this world that does not interfere with empirical reality.

4. You choose not to serve in the Armed Forces.

While my own family has a tradition of military service, there are many ways to serve your country and your fellow human beings. It's not up to me to proclaim that my preferred method of service is superior to any other.

5. You perform what is considered "menial" work.

Menial is as menial does. If you're the best waiter I've ever had, the key word there is "best," not "waiter."

6. You cry for sentimental reasons. 

Crying because something reminds of you of what's really important about being human is a sign that you might be someone I'd enjoy knowing, not the opposite.

7. You ask for help.

Not to be completely cliche, but no man is an island. Needing help occasionally does not make you weak or needy, but it does make you human. And allowing others to help you when you genuinely need it makes those who are willing to help human, too.

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