A Planet of 'No Judgment'

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by Karen De Coster: I
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Less than
two years ago, a Planet Fitness gym opened right near my house.
I already belonged to two gyms that were not the garden variety,
and I wanted a third membership very close to my house to accommodate
quick, on-the-go workouts. Accordingly, Planet Fitness, with its
$10-15/month price tag, seemed like a potential fit. This was prior
to the emergence of the company’s commercials that have been
shown repeatedly on television, so I knew zilch about the company’s
philosophy for not working out.

I visited my
local Planet Fitness in late 2009, and immediately, I was met by
a young, smiling, female salesperson who insisted on taking me on
a tour of the gym. I had just left my Powerhouse gym, fresh from
a workout, and in those clothes I was wearing it was likely that
I could not hide that I was a serious weightlifting buff. But still,
she couldn’t wait to take me to the vast array of hamster wheels
(cardio machines revered by women), followed by the … special
“zone.” The zone is the “Judgment
Free Zone
,” a part of the gym that is reserved for folks
– mainly women – who don’t want to be “judged”
by others. Presumably, this area sends out a series of remarkable
transparent rays that block the subjective judgments of others so
you don’t have to worry about being “judged” while
you work out. Indeed, I even had the nerve to ask why there was
no power rack or barbells in the gym, and I was met with a terse
response that Planet Fitness is a “different type of gym.”
At this point, I had not yet put together the whole picture surrounding
the gym’s mission.

The “Judgment
Free Zone
” – a registered trademark; don’t make me
laugh – is described as a place where “members can relax, get
in shape, and have fun without being subjected to the hard-core,
look-at-me attitude that exists in too many gyms.” A “Look-at-me-attitude?”
In spite of my vocal disdain for much of the conventional bodybuilding
crowd (I prefer a functional fitness/powerlifting/cross-fit/MMA
mix), I can’t even begin to understand what that statement means.
“Hardcore” – meaning serious, or dedicated, or enthusiastic
about one’s fitness level (and yes, perhaps even body aesthetics)?
Unfortunately, we have arrived at a point in Amerikka where people,
in general, worship the notion of being nonjudgmental as a general
rule for living life. And then, as a part of this nonjudgmental
religion, its adherents judgmentally unleash contempt upon others
who shun the standards for conformity that have been set by the
judgmentalists.

In sticking
with the uncomplicated Oxford
Dictionaries (online) definition
of “judgmental,”
the word is defined as “of or concerning the use of judgement.”
Every decision and every choice humans make involves the act of
judging, or being judgmental. If I was not judgmental, I might perhaps
find myself married to a coke-snorting, bank-robbing criminal, or
worse …… a card-carrying socialist (ahem). Fortunately,
my being judgmental precludes me from getting involved with folks
whose character is suspect based on my initial judgments. We all
must be judgmental at all times in order to remain free of trouble
and stay righteous and enlightened. We use judgments when making
friends, selecting jobs, deciding on the right food, embracing certain
behaviors, and making product choices. Being judgmental is not one
of those traits that anyone can afford to discard. We know what
happens to folks who lack good judgment – they end up leading
dysfunctional or villainous lives.

The whole concept
of a “Judgment-Free Zone” is comical and irresponsible
because no “zone” or sleek advertising presentation can
deactivate someone else’s judgment. Judgment is subjective
to the individual. I know, I know – referring to the sovereignty
of the individual concerning his own mind is an egregious crime
that flagrantly disregards the collective. Shame on me! Fact is,
you can’t stop me from “judging” you within my own
mind. I am the architect and keeper of my thoughts, right or wrong,
and no cultural forces from the outside can enter my mind and foil
my internal judgments of things external to me. In order to stop
my train of judgmental thoughts – and yes, I do produce these
in excess – you’d have to kill me and terminate my heart
and brain functions.

If I think
you are ugly, fat, weird, or even handsome, I own those thoughts,
and you cannot impede or change them. Unless I express them verbally,
you do not even know the details of the judgment I formed about
you. If some folks are so distressed by the judgments of others,
those people are probably spending too much time and energy forming
judgments about the judgments of others, and perhaps those folks
have personal troubles and/or self-esteem issues that could benefit
from some thoughtful introspection.

While I always
found the Planet Fitness motto to be bizarro, I certainly understand
it from a marketing point of view. The fitness club chain is conforming
to the prevailing culture of political correctness and apologia
that most of its potential members will embrace without ever questioning
the definition and meaning of the slogan. Hence, it is probably
a realistic strategy when trying to compete for profits in a culture
where slick sound bites and politically correct mantras triumph
over critical thinking skills and the substance of actions. Joe
Sobran, in a 2007 article, referred to this as the “Age
of Nonjudgmentalism
.”

Read
the rest of the article

May
16, 2011

Karen De
Coster [send her
mail
] is a libertarian accounting/finance professional
during the day, and she spends her personal time being a dissident
and writer. She writes about the TSA, the medical establishment,
Big Pharma, Big Agra, the Banksters, the Corporate State, health
totalitarianism, lifestyle fascism, bailout nation, the military-congressional-industrial-medical-pharmaceutical
complex, and essentially, anything that encroaches upon the freedom
of her fellow human beings. She is a proponent of the natural farming
community and rejects federal food totalitarianism. This is her
LewRockwell.com
archive
and her Mises.org
archive
. Check out her
website
.

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