Being consistently ‘nonjudgmental’ bears scrutiny. Like political correctness, the unwillingness to make judgments about behavior is often an affectation rather than a virtue. The affectation is generated by an individual’s desire to feel good about himself and be perceived as an enlightened liberal, not necessarily in the political sense.
There is a clear distinction between affectation and a genuine acceptance of the behavior of others. That distinction instantly and unfailingly recognizes the difference between behavior that has nothing to do with morality and that which does.
How can I be nonjudgmental about the kidney trade, drug trafficking, terrorists. Why am I expected to ‘understand’ child abusers, drunken drivers, and sexual predators. Why should I be nonjudgmental of unfairness, dishonesty, and cruelty. Judgment is essential for all the choices we make in our lives, especially in the selection of friends. My friends are never ‘on trial’ for me, nor I for them. Our moral codes are compatible. There is no need to be nonjudgmental about each other.
Given that this article is not about moral codes, religious or otherwise, I think its message might be helpful to you if you are under pressure to be nonjudgmental. I’ve found the following three ‘maxims’ comforting throughout my life.
1) Consider whether or not your judgment is based on morality. For example, your judgment that someone is a hoarder is not nor should be based on morality. If you disapprove of hoarding, you need not mention that to a hoarder, unless you are asked.
2) Feel free to judge someone’s immoral practices such as stealing for profit. For example, don’t be influenced by popular rationalizations that claim a thief’s present immorality is merely a ‘consequence’ of his past poverty.
3) Always place your judgment above the popular notion that being nonjudgmental is a virtue.
It works for me!