Being Judgemental

There is a common saying, albeit an older and somewhat dated saying, “Don’t judge me.”  I speak with many people who claim to be non-judgmental…but why?  Making assessments, assigning risk and making decisions based on that judgement is essential to survival.  But more importantly, we must make those same assessments of ourselves or we will not effectively direct our personal growth.

I actually WANT to be judged.  I welcome feedback even if it is contrary to my outlook…often especially if it disagrees with my views!  This is how we learn (unless we already know everything and therefore are not open to learning).

By the same token, I make decisions daily based on calculations tempered by my observations of the world around me.  This include things like which route to take when traveling, who to trust with my children or my bank accounts, whether the guy walking toward me on the sidewalk looks like a threat, etc.  All of these things are important and all are necessary to my well being.

But there are more personal assessments that we make in life.  Do you know someone who has a lot of friends?  There are people who call everyone they meet a friend and then there are those who realize that true friendship is earned over time.  In order to determine who is worthy of that exclusive title we must make judgments of the person’s character and use that information to determine if they are worth investing the time it takes to maintain a close relationship.  If so, the rewards are immeasurable.  If not, the risk is greater than the potential.

So the next time someone says that they don’t judge people, ask them why they don’t.  Teach your children to be discriminating and to know the difference between an acquaintance and a true friend.  And by all means, be your own worst critic!  It is your best tool to enhance your station in life.

The War On….[Fill In The Blank]

We as a nation have waged war on poverty, drugs, obesity, terrorism, illiteracy and much more.  Where has that gotten us?

Back in the 70’s the Department of Energy was created to combat our dependence on foreign oil and reduce the price of gasoline.  How is that working for us?  We are still paying around $30 Billion every year to support the DOE, which employs over 15,000 federal employees and over 100,000 private contractors.  Are we any less dependent on foreign oil than we were in 1977 when the agency was crated?  It doesn’t appear that we are.

OK, maybe to war on drugs is doing better…after all, if we get someone off of heroin and substitute (taxpayer subsidized) methadone for the “illegal” drug we are making progress, right?  There is obviously less of a drug problem today then there was in 1914 when the Harrison Tax Act was passed, right?  Oh, wait, maybe not!  But Pat Nixon’s “Just Say NO” program was highly successful…NOT!  Again, we are throwing money at a problem that won’t go away.  Humans have been chemically augmenting their consciousness since the first man ate a fermenting piece of fruit. Today we have millions of Americans locked in cages (that we are footing the bill for) because they were found in possession of a “controlled substance.”  But what is the difference between someone smoking marijuana or drinking alcohol?  Nothing, except that one is legal and the other is not.  One could argue that we are saving them from themselves, but freedom gives the individual the right to poison their body with chemicals if they so choose…provided they don’t endanger others in the process.  What the war on drugs has done is create an underground, a crime syndicate, that actually increases the threat to society instead of making it safer.  Look at what happened during prohibition!

How about the war on terrorism?  Are we safer today than we were 10 years ago?  How about 20 or 30 years ago?  We have freely given up our liberties in an attempt to make ourselves feel safer, but are we really more secure?  If a terrorist wanted to poison our food supply or disrupt our lives they would not be deterred by these “feel good” measures that only give the illusion of security. Does a gated community really keep criminals out?  No, it just makes us FEEL safer.  The reality is that we, each and every individual, are the ones responsible for keeping ourselves, our communities and our country safe.

There is no way to wage war on an idea, an object or an action.  There is no way to ensure that bad things won’t happen to good people.  There is, however, the ability to be prepared for unexpected or adverse circumstances.  In fact, it is your responsibility as an adult to do so.  We prepare by doing things like saving money for emergencies, keeping fire extinguishers in places where they could be needed, using smoke detectors, keeping gas in our car, being aware of our surroundings and what others in the vicinity are doing, etc.  So in essence, we wage a war every day.  We do things to prevent catastrophes and if the unexpected happens and we need to react we try to be ready.  That is the real war on….[fill in the blank].