instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Judgmental gymnastics

Commenting on a video of an Englishwoman unable to bestir the good old English virtue of Not Doing What Isn't Done in the bosom of vocal Muslims who live in her old neighborhood, Mark Shea writes:
Yes: Christians commit the sins of pride and judgmentalism. And the reason pride and judgmentalism is a sin and not a virtue in both Christian and post-Christian tradition is that Jesus preached humility said, "Do not judge".... Watery post-Christian secular moralism is parasitic on the Christian moral sense and assumes it in its bullied Christian victims.
Let me offer a contrary diagnosis:

Judgmentalism as such is neither a sin nor a virtue in post-Christian secularism. Specifically, Christian judgmentalism -- that is, judgmentalism that condemns those who oppose Christian morality -- is a vice, while post-Christian secularist judgmentalism -- which condemns those who oppose post-Christian secularisim -- is a positive virtue, according to post-Christian secularist morality (though "vice" and "virtue" don't mean quite the same things to a secularist as to a Christian -- to say nothing of the differences of the tribunals in which judgments are pronounced).

Post-Christian secularist opposition to judgmentalism -- limited as it is to opposition to religious-based judgmentalism -- has little to do with the Christan view of judgmentalism as a vice, and nothing to do with humility. In fact, in their adoption of "judgmentalism for me but not for thee," the post-Christian secularists are more similar to their Islamic fundamentalist neighbors than to their cowed Christian neighbors. Secular judgmentalists, though, have the usual secularist problem of deriving an ought from an is, and a secular judgmentalist who isn't prepared to at least sketch how that's done is going to be reduced to saying, "Don't you dare speak to me like that!" when debating a religious judgmentalist.