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Judging Others

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Latest Update: July 6, 2001

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The Clarence Thomas/ Anita Hill Debacle

Judgments come back to haunt us. Frozen words, the story told by Rabelais of how words come back to haunt us. Now, years later, judgments prove to be just that, judgments, perspectives that are subjective, and that may not be infallible. The odd thing is that we put so much faith in such judgments. Jonathan Lear would speak of our need to "know."

Marvin Belowitz alerted PEC to a reference by Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post on David Brock's new book, stating that he lied about Anita Hill. In this particular instance, David Brock claims that he knew at the time of his first book that what he wrote was not true. But that leaves us with the question of how we can be assured that he is not lying now. There is a real issue of credibility here. This brings us to the dilemma of judging others. Our need to "know," to be certain "of our facts," leads us to put too much faith in our own knowingness. Facts are always open to interpretation, always influenced by the perspective from which they are reported. That does not mean that we can't make decisions, form judgments. We can, and we do. But we do need to be reflexive, to recognize that those judgments and decisions are influenced by the multitude of perspectives through which they come to us, including our own. Aware of that, we may be more open to listening in good faith to other validity claims.

Comments on David Brock's new book - June 29, 2001.