Lest words lose their meaning, Part Two

Somehow I missed the latest entries in Bill Otis’ exquisite “Dictionary for the Politically Incorrect.” (Sorry, Jack). Here are two of them:

Judgmentalism – The capacity to form moral judgments, this being the principal quality that gives human beings an advantage over orangutans, who after all are a good deal stronger. Nonetheless, judgmentalism is a bad thing, because the formation of judgments implies that one might correctly conclude that some ways of behaving are better than others. See “tolerance.” The upshot is that only “non-judgmentalism” is an acceptable outlook on life — with the caveat that non-judgmentalism is subject to cancellation without notice when the subject is Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Alberto Gonzales, anyone invovled with the imprisonment of terrorists at Guantanamo, and of course the Duke lacrosse team.
Torture – Asking a terrorist what his next plan for mass murder consists of, and doing it in conditions where there is at least some chance he’ll think you’d like an answer. Such conditions might include, for example, being held in an uncomfortably cold (or hot) cell, having to stand for long periods of time, being exposed to loud and unpleasant sounds, or having to sit in stress positions. None of this very closely resembles what used to be thought of as “torture,” e.g., having your fingernails ripped out, being fed feet-first into the woodchipper, or being held in a dog cage while your captors ready their swords to cut your head off. But this latter collection of techniques apparently no longer qualifies as “torture,” being the province of the terrorists rather than those who seek to stop them. See judgmentalism, exceptions thereto, above.

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