enlightenment, humor, politics

Fairness

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Like the other Enlightenment values (liberty; rationality; tolerance), fairness is always under attack.  Fairness differs in being much harder to determine.

If lumping fairness with (liberty; rationality; tolerance) sounds odd, please note that fairness to me is subtler than crude egalitarianism.  Credit where credit is due.  Ability rather than ancestry as qualification for high office.  Opportunity for upward mobility.  Respect for differing priorities.  Willingness to forego getting all I want so that everybody has a shot at getting all they need, w/o trying to impose the same wants/needs categories on everybody.david-goliath-trash-talking

Downloaded from Clipart Kid, the image of David and Goliath trash talking illustrates a subtlety of fairness.  It may look unfair that Goliath is the only one with armor and heavy weapons.  Should David have them too?  No, he would still be a scrawny youth, just encumbered by all that stuff.  Let David have what suits David’s (not Goliath’s) skills and will not interfere with Plan B:

If my shots miss, run like Hell!

Deciding what is fair and then doing it can be a lot of work, as the endless stream of affirmative action lawsuits illustrates.  Dunno how that story will end.  I do know a true story about the difficulties of being fair in the real world that has a happy ending.  I blogged about it in 2015, before I had a responsive theme.  My post would have been unintelligible to anybody surfing on a phone or tablet (Harrumph!) rather than a real computer.  Now that I have a responsive theme and a renewed urge to defend Enlightenment values (thanks to the current dismal state of US politics), I have revised that post in many small ways, partly to make it more explicit about fairness.  The WordPress previewer assures me that it is indeed intelligible on all 3 platforms.  Here is the link:

Moving the Earth

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4 thoughts on “Fairness

  1. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of fairness arout in public life these days. Politicians can’t even agree on the facts, never mind what to do about them. I blame one side more than the other for this (hint: the side that seems to have abandoned science and logic), but of course, I may just be being unfair.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had read your linked article back when you first followed me and enjoyed it then but re-reading it was equally enjoyable because of the new spin of fairness and especially given our “current dismal state of US politics”. As always, your posts are well written and thought provoking. A newly provoked one is this: it seems many (all?) of the enlightenment virtues cannot be legislated into being. They must be practiced voluntarily by us as citizens and individuals who care for each other and care for doing the right thing, as Darwin so admirably did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, trying to legislate enlightenment virtues is unlikely to work and may generate blowback that overwhelms what little good the laws might do.

      There are a few narrow ways that laws may help. For example, a landlord tells one would-be tenant that an apartment has already been rented and then rents it to another would-be tenant soon after. Tenant #1 is black, tenant #2 is white, both “tenants” are really civil rights investigators, and the landlord gets hit for violating a nondiscrimination law. The law only works if there is enough funding to enforce it, and the racist landlord who reluctantly accepts a genuine black tenant may then find subtle ways to induce the tenant to move out w/o obviously breaking any laws.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, so right! I read the story regarding a politician whose father and he discriminated against black people and refused to rent apartments to them. Unfortunately, fairness can’t be held in high regards when lack of ethics and morals are already ground into a person’s fiber.

        Liked by 2 people

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