Monday, May 30, 2011

The perversion of “judgment” and “judgmental”

In the last decade or two, we have witnessed the widespread perversion of the words judgment and judgmental.

The late American columnist Joseph Sobran once said that the word judgmental sums up the age we live in:

“Everything [is getting] exponentially worse. Worse cubed. It’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…. Can 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.”

For a memorable example of the perversion of judgment and judgmental, see this blog post by Karen De Coster, a businesswoman of high intelligence and good judgment. She describes how Planet Fitness, an American chain of fitness centers, uses the word judgment in a deceptive advertising campaign – deceptive because it makes a promise that cannot be kept.

The Takeaway: Don’t embarrass yourself by perverting judgment or judgmental. Your intelligent readers may judge you on it. They may – fairly or unfairly – conclude that you are idiotic or immoral.

See disclaimer.

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