In what must be the biggest shock to the readership of this organ, I must admit to being somewhat judgemental.
Yes, I know; hard to comprehend eh?
In fact, the multiple times I’ve completed the Myers/Briggs survey have confirmed this fact for all to see; I’m an ENTJ personality type, where the J stands for Judgemental.
If you’re an employer, what that means is that you’ll get the outcome that you’ve employed me to drive and you’ll get it fast, efficiently and with an excessive number of visits to Human Resources to explain that you can’t fire me just yet but you’ll ask me to tone down the Malcolm Tucker-isms in the meantime.
Judgmental is useful to me and people who employ me, in other words.
Being quick to draw conclusions has lots of benefits, especially if those first impressions turn out to be correct more often than not.
A more negative synonym of judgmental is discriminatory. It’s almost the worst possible crime one can commit in the modern liberal (in the non-Aussie meaning of the word) world. There will be a candlelight vigil and “we shall overcome” choruses outside your house within minutes if the righteous left got wind of any discriminatory behaviour.
“But“, I wondered last weekend at the beach when my kids asked if they could play with the young boy with the backwards baseball cap and asymmetrical haircut throwing handfuls of sand around, “are there occasions where discriminating is just sensible self-preservation?“.
Is it perhaps an unspoken fact that in many situations we would be stupid if we didn’t discriminate?
I’d read some of the comments on last Friday’s blog post and realised that we are under great pressure to appear moderate and inclusive when this might be at odds with our collective best interests.
For example, say I was recruiting for bus drivers and a chap turns up to the morning interview smelling of booze. Do I continue the process only for him to fail the medical due to alcoholism or do I discriminate against his disease and show him the door?
Common sense but discrimination, right?
Or perhaps if I ran an opticians and decided not to hire an optometrist because they had very garlicky breath?
It’s in my best interests to discriminate in these cases. Yeah, sure I could hire them and counsel them but life is too short to solve everyone’s problems for them and I’ve got plenty of kids already.
We have legislation, and plenty of it, in Australia to limit what we can and can’t discriminate over.
Indeed, there should be some boundaries to what is legally-acceptable in this regard. I shouldn’t be able get away with hiring only big-titted pretty blondes under the age of 25 to serve in my bar just because my clientele are lecherous men, for example. Although the actual policing this situation is clearly another challenge if my unscientific research is to be trusted.
What about a situation where someone’s religious beliefs are at odds with my interests though?
While, in principle, I like the ideal of religious tolerance, it feels somewhat naive to be tolerant towards a belief system which is counter to my interests. If your religion judges me and my family negatively for our actions, beliefs, clothing choice, consumption of food and drink, etc. I’m not sure the sensible thing to do is for me to tolerate this. And making allowances and being overly-sensitive to people with these attitudes would seem like borderline insanity.
Tricky though, isn’t it?
Firstly, there are laws preventing me from discriminating. But, as we’ve seen above, some discrimination is common sense and not doing so might be counter to my best interests.
Australia goes even further though and even has legislation preventing “vilification”.
That puts us in a tight spot, doesn’t it? We might want to call out our distaste that certain religious beliefs judge me and my family negatively and actively calls for our conversion to the faith and associated rules. But that would risk being charged for offending someone.
It feels like the pendulum has swung a little too far sometimes. Before you shout
waaaycist religionist at me, here’s a an example; “profiling potential terrorists going or returning from a religious pilgrimage is ‘racist” ($ content).
Hmm, religion isn’t race and race isn’t religion, last time I checked.
And here’s a second; “it’s ‘unjust’ to arrest people on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack“.
Even in my valium-induced torpor, I still can recall the old adage;
When you are sitting at the card table and can’t work out which player is the sucker, it’s probably you.