By Selwyn Duke
Do not judge lest you be judged . . . . It's a phrase so frequently misused nowadays. It's often uttered in an attempt to immunize oneself against value judgments about one's behavior. After all, few people brook criticism very well, and many of us fear the re-emergence of a dominant moral code that might cast a pall over the libertine lifestyle modern man holds so dear. So the aforementioned misused Bible quotation and other fashionable mantras are trotted out and used as a firewall against the bearers of bad news. You may hear, "Don't impose your values on me!" or "Who's to say what right and wrong are" or "That may be right for you, but that doesn't mean it's right for others." We've all heard these refrains in one form or another, and many of us have used them ourselves. It seems as if civilization's moral compass is adrift in a Bermuda triangle of moral confusion — there no longer is a consensus among people about what's right or wrong. So we feel we have the latitude to deflect inconvenient value judgments with these convenient little clichés; we pay homage to the notion that what's right is negotiable. But do we really believe this? And what, if anything, is wrong with the prevailing conception of right and wrong in our society? To answer these questions one has to examine the nature of right and wrong.