Should you judge other people? When you call someone “judgy” or “judgmental,” that’s taken as an insult. A caring friend, many believe, offers a “no judgment zone.” Some tell us to follow the biblical advice: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”
But can this approach really guide us in our daily life and thinking?
No. On the contrary: in life it’s crucial to form moral judgments of other people — and act on your evaluation.
That’s what I argued in a recent webinar, part of ARI’s weekly series Philosophy for Living on Earth,drawing on Ayn Rand’s moral theory. Essential to Rand’s view is that our moral judgments must be objective, not emotion-driven. To reach objective evaluations is a serious responsibility. It’s a task, she observes, “that requires the most precise, the most exacting, the most ruthlessly objective and rational process of thought.” An aspect of what’s so distinctive in Rand’s perspective is that moral judgment is primarily about seeking out, nurturing, supporting the good people in our life and world (not just identifying the people to shun, avoid, condemn).
One highlight of the webinar was having my colleague Aaron Smith moderate the Q&A portion and also join in the discussion. A fascinating issue that came up early on: what are some reasons that people are reluctant to engage in moral judgment?