I was just reading this thread on another blog about the blogger’s run in with a chatty, societal leach of a waiter. Long story short, the waiter is going on about how he’s trying to evade jury duty (duty being the operative word here), and the customer (the writer) pins him with the question of whether he might be foisting a real obligation he has. The waiter’s retort is the usual, pathetic “don’t judge me”, and that’s the end of it. The most interesting part, though, is found in the comments to the post where Anonymous said this:
“Don’t judge me” is one of the strangest things people say. Sometimes there’s a reasonable point- “don’t judge my moral worth because of my fashion sense” or something like that. But the general “don’t judge me” point is very weird. “Why the hell not?” I want to say.
It’s a great point! “Why?” questions, unless they’re intentionally obtuse, are always (or nearly always) legitimate because we’re rational creatures, and are perfectly entitled to an explanation, when available, for whatever we’re presented with (such as suggestions, like “smell this”, “vote for candidate x”, “believe my religion”, “don’t stick your finger in there”). To demand immediate, mindless assent to any non-intuitive suggestion is totally illegitimate, and seeks to undermine our nature as thinking, reasoning beings (or, ideally thinking, rational beings), and this certainly goes just as well for more personal cases, like the one above. It seems to me that the “don’t judge me” response is an obvious expression of cowardice – who but those afraid they won’t stand up to scrutiny mind it? I, for one, enjoy moral evaluation most of the time, I normally think it will reveal that I’m admirable. I’m only aftaid of it when I fear people will find out I’m a fraud, a hypocrite, and a sinner. That worry – rather than argument, solid defense, and moral confidence – seems to lay in the back of most ‘s mouths when they’re telling you not to judge them.