I’m OK, you’re offended: Holy

I’m OK, you’re offended
: Holy Weblog points me to an essay in the LA Times on the era of “nonjudgmentalism.” I say this is an ill of the time. It is the basis of political correctness — the orthodoxy of not offending anyone, the lowest common denominator of safe opinions. Yes, it is probably what led to the downfall of John Walker Lindt, for no one would judge his stupid ways and now he is behind bars, a traitor.

Nonjudgmentalism–the practice of and belief in suspending judgment of others for the betterment of self and society–has inspired, comforted, confused and angered Americans as few other “isms” have. It has commanded praise for everything from transforming business problems into “opportunities” to promoting a more diverse, tolerant and multicultural society…. “When you are nonjudgmental, you totally accept the other person exactly as they are,” said [Jon] Schreiber, [director of the Breema Center, outside Berkeley], who offers a workshop called “The Nonjudgmental Treatment,” which through touch and relaxation techniques promises to give balance to a person. “Most people have never experienced even a moment of that because they are too closed off and fearful of being judged.”

Still, nothing raises the hackles of some people faster than nonjudgmentalism. To them, it symbolizes the threadbare moral condition of the nation and threatens to rob citizens of their ability to make clear ethical distinctions–a skill of fundamental importance to a tolerant democratic society.

Nonjudgmentalism is a bugaboo of sorts for modern times. In recent weeks it has been blamed for the traitorous behavior of an American Taliban soldier and, in part, the Enron scandal.

“As a society, we seem increasingly incapable of sitting in judgment of each other,” wrote Robert Bartley in a Wall Street Journal article about Enron. “What kind of behavior can an ‘I’m OK, you’re OK’ society expect from its professionals or business leaders?”…

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby wrote: “Devout practitioners of the self-obsessed nonjudgmentalism for which the Bay Area is renowned, [his parents] appear never to have rebuked their son or criticized his choices. In their world, there were no absolutes, no fixed truths, no mandatory behavior, no thou-shalt-nots. If they had one conviction, it was that all convictions are worthy–that nothing is intolerable except intolerance.”

Thank goodness no one can accuse blogdom of nonjudgmentalism.

Still tolerant
: That’s not to say that tolerance is a bad thing, mind you. Tolerance is a hallmark of Western civilization. In moderation and with wisdom, tolerance is a good thing. And note that tolerance is our instinct. Even after being attacked by Islamic fundamentalists, a Beliefnet/ABC poll says we still tolerate the religion:

: 41% of Americans view Islam favorably, compared to 24% whose views are unfavorable.

: 42% of Americans believe Islam teaches respect for the beliefs of non-Muslims, compared to 22% who believe it doesn’t.

: 57% of Americans don’t believe Islam encourages violence, versus 14% who view it as a violent religion.

: The percentage of Americans with an unfavorable view of Islam has been dropping. In an Oct. 9 poll 47% had a favorable view, 39% said unfavorable and 13% said they didn’t know. Today: 41% said favorable, 24% said unfavorable and 35% said don’t know.

But on TV, we are no longer kinder, gentler
: Via Rotten.com, word that the BBC is going to recreate an infamous ’70s prison experiment as a TV show. Just where will reality TV end: hijackings, hockey-dad beatings, Gitmo prisons?

: Many thanks to my blog friend Thomas Nephew for his kind words on the occasion of our Bloggie nomination.