Home » Commentaries » “Nonjudgmentalism and Lack of Leadership” 30 March 2012

“Nonjudgmentalism and Lack of Leadership” 30 March 2012

Charles Murray’s book Coming Apart:The State of White America 1960-2010 compares the community of Belmont which is upper middle class, family life strong and honored, voluntary social service esteemed and streets that are relatively crime free with the nearby working class community of Fishtown where unemployment and family breakdown are prevalent.

Despite the many admirable virtues exhibited by Belmont, a nonjudgmentalism prevails that seriously inhibits them from taking a leadership role in improving the lives of those in Fishtown. Murray writes:

Nonjudgmentalism is one of the more baffling features of the new-upper-class culture. The members of the new upper class are industrious to the point of obsession, but there are no derogatory labels for those who are not industrious. The young women of the new upper class hardly ever have babies out of wedlock, but it is impermissible to use a derogatory label for non-marital births. You will probably raise a few eyebrows even if you use a derogatory label for criminals. When you get down to it, it is not acceptable in the new upper class to use derogatory labels for anyone, with three exceptions: people with differing political views, fundamentalist Christians, and rural working-class whites. (p. 289-90).

One blogger comments: “Murray argues that the unwillingness of a privileged class to encourage constructive, productive lifestyles is a symptom of civilizational decline.”
This selective nonjudgmentalism is the result of a moral relativism that is steadily and almost inexorably eating away at the moral fiber necessary to hold our society together. To successfully resist this corrumptive and corrumpting influence, leaders are needed who have the courage to name the evil, show compassion on the erring and willing to promote and exemplify social virtues.
Francis de Sales warns against the great harm caused by rash judgment and a spirit of judgmentalism but also realizes the enormous harm of promoting vices as virtues or ignoring or excusing great evils. Those in leadership positions, especially parents and those in government have to make judgments on the rightness or evil of certain actions but must do so with “love. This done they must look to themselves in regard to their own conduct.” (Devout Life, pt. 3, ch. 28).

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