"Be kind - for every man is fighting a hard battle"

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"Be kind - for every man is fighting a hard battle"

Postby Yessica » 24 Jan 2014, 07:05

I sometimes wonder if conservatives judge other people to harshly. We knever know why a person we see displaying a behaviour acts the way he or she does.

For example we might judge a person for being ill-dressed but it might be the only clothes he can afford after spending most of his money on helping a relative, we might judge a mother smoking and giving her children sweets but we do not know what her life is like. May be she is a widow and just learned one of her kids has cancer and just needs the kid to be quiet for a while and needs the cigarette to relax.

While I really do think it is good to hold yourself to the highest standards I am not sure if you should hold other to the same when you don't know anything about their lives.

Don't get me wrong. I think a man should hold himself to the highest standards even if he is poor, sick and desperate. Is it however the job of other people to hold their fellow man to the standards? I don't know.

I think some people just have no idea that their behaviour is unwise, must be told so and are better of in the long run if somebody does. Other people might be just unlucky and trying to deal bravely with a bad situation - we just don't see it not knowing any more about them than the little things we see.

Now I spoke of "the poor". Are the unfortunate people always poor? Leftist seem to think so. I think that poverty is not a big problem in my country and that one can be "unfortunate" in many many ways. Life is creative in what it throws at some people.

I am somewhat flabbergasted by the leftist equation "rich = good life, poor equals = bad life".

A friend of mine, who happens to be a leftist, uses to say that a person who grew up on a property should not judge a person who grew up on an housing estate.

If you think about that opinion he is saying: "It would be okay if the person growing up on the housing estate judges the richer person. Being judgemental is quite okay as long as it is directed at the propertied".
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Re: "Be kind - for every man is fighting a hard battle"

Postby Andrea » 26 Jan 2014, 16:00

Well, I've seen that statement a lot and I kind of agree with it. But that being said, we all have problems (of varying degrees) and I think we ought to all try to be nice to each other. It's hard, though, as so many people are rude and disrespectful!

I find it amusing how people say we shouldn't judge - when that in itself is a judgement, so saying that makes them hypocrites! We ought to judge when/if it leads to the greater good. Criticising people for the sake of it (or to increase the ego!) is just stupid, and that sort of judgement is just plain nasty.
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Re: "Be kind - for every man is fighting a hard battle"

Postby Yessica » 26 Jan 2014, 16:33

I don't say we should never judge (not saying you said I did).

I think we should judge crime and things which cause great harm to another person... but what about the things which cause "a little harm" like listening to loud techno music from your ear phones in a train, cursing in public, being unwashed?

We ought to judge when/if it leads to the greater good.


That is a good rule but how can we know if it does?
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Re: "Be kind - for every man is fighting a hard battle"

Postby Gavin » 26 Jan 2014, 17:03

Just picking out a couple of your sentences, Yessica:

Yessica wrote:For example we might judge a person for being ill-dressed but it might be the only clothes he can afford after spending most of his money on helping a relative.


Dressing tastefully has nothing to do with money. In fact, those with a lot of money often dress in a gaudy and ostentatious manner. Ugly, shapeless, sports clothing is quite expensive these days, as are trainers/sneakers.

Take your average 1940s photo - poor people dressed better then than relative millionaires do today, wearing their suits, braces and hats. Furthermore, women took more of a pride in their role as mothers and housewives. I believe they would typically have a "wash day" here in England, when they would scrub down the steps of their meagre properties, keeping them clean. Well, look at your average inner city British street today.

Yessica wrote:We might judge a mother smoking and giving her children sweets but we do not know what her life is like. May be she is a widow and just learned one of her kids has cancer and just needs the kid to be quiet for a while and needs the cigarette to relax.


Yes, people can go through hard times, but I'm not sure she "needs" the cigarette to relax, and she might bereave her child (who already has cancer) early through her smoking. (I would have thought a few sweets now and then are okay!)

I know what you're getting at. "Do not judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes" etc. but I also think this can get out of control, and - if anything - people make far too many excuses for the antisocial/criminal behaviour of others these days and their doing so directly contributes to the decline of society and, in turn, civilisation.
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Re: "Be kind - for every man is fighting a hard battle"

Postby Jonathan » 26 Jan 2014, 18:23

I think Dalrymple balances his ideas about judgement with a concept of grace and mercy.

Judgement is necessary for the individual to avoid foolishness.
Judgement is necessary for society to avoid having all its values dissolve the way we see today.

Yet there is also forgiveness for those who have been judged, and accepted the judgement, by those who have been harmed by their sins.

There is also grace for those people who have recognized their faults, and resolved to do better.

Neither of these is unconditional; each is granted by the conscience of an individual, not by a bureaucrat on behalf of society, or they lose their meaning.

This idea, I think, is borrowed from Christianity, without denying the origin, though without embracing the theology which justifies it in Christianity.

Similarly, Dalrymple finds the Christian concept of Original Sin very seductive (though again without the theology behind it). I think this is so because these ideas lead people to treat each other better, which is (for Dalrymple) a much higher commendation than having a strong logical foundation.

Whatever benefits such notions might have to society, I think none is more distant and foreign than such an idea of grace and mercy. The West has embraced non-Judgmentalism - this means everyone knows judgment is wrong, but everyone can still imagine themselves judging someone. But the idea that - *after* judging someone (double-plus-ungood!) - you would apply even *more* nasty judgment which would somehow stay or mitigate the previous judgment? That's crazy talk.

If I were confronted with a dozen unfortunates, each of whom was complicit in his misery, and had to choose one of them as being worthy of mercy, unlike the others, I wouldn't know where to begin. Even imagining myself trying to make such a judgment makes me feel unclean, as if I were choosing which starving Somali child should be given a meal. I suspect we all feel that way, without quite knowing why.
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Re: "Be kind - for every man is fighting a hard battle"

Postby Yessica » 28 May 2014, 08:21

Coming back to this thread after a while. I found it difficult to answer because of the long and well thought-off answer which I feared might make the things I am going to say foolish.

Re: Grace / original sin. I think I have read only a little bit of Dalrymple's opinion on this so far. According to what I have read he believes the concept "original sin" to be the reason why people used to be less "smug" in the past. They did not think they had to act on their every feeling because they believed their heart to be "deceitful above all things" (Jeremiah 17:9). Where can I find more on this.

Christians (in my church, evangelical church of Germany, "evengelical meaning mainline in this case by the way)) do believe that we are born sinful but we are not "under the law" but "under grace"

[quote=Romans 6:14]For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.[/quote]

According to one interpretation that means while we are born sinful we cannot be delivered by our own good actions but only through God's grace and it is seen as the reason why we should not judge. Grace has been applied to us - unconditionally - and we should apply it to others - just as unconditionally.

I do however know that different "types" of chritianity came to different conclusions about this. Who was that who said "my God is an angry God"?
The Catholics think we can be forgiven for good deeds and confessing their sins, don't they?
Can anybody tell me what the Jews think about sin?

Dressing tastefully has nothing to do with money.


I agree that a person can dress quite tasteless while spending a lot of money... but I think dressind tasteful with VERY little money can be difficult.

I did a little "experiment" on this, I tried to find the cheapest clothes possible were I live and they did not look good at all... for example searching for the cheapest trousers you automatically end up with leggins.
Give it a try where you live, I would love to learn if it is the same.

I think it depends on how little money the person has. It is possible to dress tastefully without spending a fortune, but I imagine it to be difficult if you are on welfare and have some other more important expenses.

People in the 1930s/1940s/1950s (in Britain) are an interesting example because yes, they were better dressed then we are... but was that really everybody or just the ones who could afford photo cameras? How did they pay for it? Like you said, people were poor but everybody had a hat? How did they afford those? For one I assume they had less useless things to spend money on than todays poor, no cell phones and so on and might have made some wiser choices. On the other hand, who knows, may be some let their children go hungry in order to buy a fancy hat.
I have heard that development aid workers complain that in some parts of Africa there is a culture when people, given food, will sell it in order to buy new sneakers instead of feeding their children.

Not saying that the British of the 1940s did that. I know just to little about them. May be they really were more ressourceful then the poor of today.

Yes, people do make far to many excuse for other people poor behaviour not seeing the real victims (like saying "Oh, he needed to be a robber, he grew up poor"). To my mind however there is a difference between the "victimless" crimes of dressing lousy or having poor grammar and real antisocial behaviour.

Yes, if you spend a lot of time amongst ill-dressed, mannerless, badly spoken people you are starting to feel the opposite of ennobled, for which I do not know the word in your language. Is there one?
Still there is a big diffenrece between that and antisocial behaviour.
I feel that saying that the poorly dressed should dress better can in some cases be a little bit like saying that the disabled should stop to walk with a limp because it offends other people.
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