We discriminate.  The first definition of “discriminate” is “to make a clear distinction; distinguish; differentiate.”  This meaning has been lost in recent decades in favor of the second definition, “to act on the basis of prejudice.”  To discriminate, first definition, means to discern the essential differences between one thing and another.  Some of the word’s synonyms make this clear:  judgment, insight, perception.  For the second meaning, the synonyms bias and prejudice are given.  When I say “we discriminate,” I mean in the first sense. 

Discrimination properly understood is nothing more than the application of human reason to tease out the differences between two things and to make sound judgments about those differences.  For instance, I’ve seen writers who insist, on the one hand, that Western society is irredeemably sexist and patriarchal, misogynist I think is the word they use, and that it “should” be changed.  Yet these same writers turn around and say, on the other hand, that we Westerners cannot judge the propriety of another culture’s use of female genital mutilation on young girls because, well, those people really believe what they are doing is good for their daughters, so who are we to judge?  In the first case, they are blind as bats to the fact that the rights of women in Western society, thanks to Jewish and Christian principles, exceed those of women anywhere in the world in all of known history.  Could there be improvements?  Sure!  But only in the West is anyone even asking that question.  In the second case, they jettison every other principle they have embraced in their complaints about the West, solely for fear of appearing to “discriminate.”  If only they would

We need not run away from a perfectly good word.  Here in the Order of Montjoie, we discriminate. 

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