We, dear readers, have earlier dealt with the nonsensical argument, of which an Enlightened few are excessively fond, “There is no truth.” This is an argument often employed by those who embrace the idea that “all cultures are of equal value.” It is also commonly found, if sometimes not expressly stated, in academia in the “humanities”.
But the argument is ridiculously absurd and paradoxical, and in the same class as the 2600 year-old Epimenides paradox (Epimenides was a Cretan who said, “All Cretans are liars.”). A paradox, incidentally, is a man-made creation that stands in the way of a man-made theory gaining full acceptance. When a paradox arises, it implies, logically, that the theory that gave rise to it is flawed and should be modified or abandoned. But, usually, the theory is so beautiful or desirable that every possible effort is made to do away with the paradox (typically by calling it a “Problem” or ignoring it). The philosopher David Stove has brilliantly written about this in his book The Rationality of Induction.
Now, if we rationally believe the argument “There is no truth”, it must mean the argument is true. And if the argument is true, then the statement “there is no truth” is false because we at least believe the argument is true. Which of course means there is truth, so the argument is fallacious. Or nonsensical, actually. In other words, anybody who makes the argument and is convinced by it is making a grievous error or acting foolishly. This is bad news for those who theorize that human thought creates truth, or “truth” as they normally write it. From Stove again: writing “true” does not mean true, but only “believed to be true by so and so”, a definition as far from true as you can get.
Very well. Few actually utter the exact words “There is no truth”, probably because some internal B.S. detector senses something has gone awry. But there are, in common parlance, phrases which are entirely equivalent to “There is no truth.” Let’s look at one of them.
“Don’t be all judgmental”, is a phrase often heard immediately after you have pointed out that some behavior on the part of another was wrong or mistaken. Or it can be found in a simple example like this: you walk by a booth selling tie-dyed shirts and you say, “Those shirts are hideously ugly” and the booth owner says “Some people are so judgmental” which carries the implication that “being judgmental is wrong.”
The presupposition is that passing judgment on somebody’s “lifestyle” (for those who do not speak psychobabble, this means the English word behaviors) is an activity which is forbidden. It follows immediately that when the person says to you “Don’t be all judgmental” they are in fact passing judgment on your behavior. In other words, they are “being all judgmental.” It is, therefore, impossible not to pass judgment. I do not mean “impossible” in the colloquial sense of “unlikely”, but in the logical sense of “certainly cannot be no matter what.”
[UPDATE–thanks Nick!:] This is true whether tie-dyed shirts really are hideous or whether my comment was solicited (it was) or not, or whether the thought remains a thought and is forever unspoken. It might be, of course, that offering an unsolicited comment aloud is in poor taste, but it might also be that it is useful in the sense of discouraging aberrant behavior, such as that displayed by street vendors hawking ridiculous looking clothing.
So the next time somebody says to you “Don’t be all judgmental” you ask them “Aren’t you passing judgment on me?” Then get ready for a blank stare.