Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fairness as a Political Doctrine

It’s hard to go a day without hearing the word fair.  I hear it from my kids, co-workers, and increasingly from our President.  As a parent, I try to teach my kids that fairness shouldn’t be the lens with which we view the world.  It’s a tough concept for kids to learn, but it’s my duty to teach them this very important life lesson.  If I don’t, they could grow up to be like our President.

Fairness seems to be a political doctrine for Obama.  He looks across America from the window of his ultra-customized, double-decker Boeing 747; GMC Topkick-based, Cadillac-badged limousine; or posh 1600 Pennsylvania Ave digs, and like a judge, proclaims that America is unfair.  He sees inequality (of income) and deeply resents those who are high earners.  He sees manufacturers moving jobs overseas, and curses the CEO’s for betraying their fellow countrymen.  He sees his “green agenda” evaporating along with the billions of taxpayer dollars and grits his teeth at Keystone and other traditional energy companies.  He tells himself, this just isn’t fair.  America needs him.

Fairness beckons him.  It calls.  The people are waiting for fairness, like manna from Heaven.  He must deliver.

He labors and toils until he produces a “blueprint” for our economy.  This plan – HIS plan, will usher in fairness.  It must.  His plan will ensure everyone gets a “fair shake,” and that everyone “plays by the same rules.”  There will be no losers in his plan, only winners.  Through the immense power of his own will, as if a god, he can supernaturally reorder this “Life” to finally be fair.  There will be none without.  There will only be the haves, no have nots.  There will be a plentiful bounty, and we shall not want.



And then, reality raps its coarse knuckles on fairness’s door.


  1. To get a 'fair' read 'equal' distribution of income, the state must treat people profoundly unfairly. If people are treated in the same way, according to the same rules, then an unequal or unfair distribution of income obtains.

    The paradox, then, is to be fair we must be unfair, and to be fair means unfairness obtains.

    Fairness is the bugbear of small minds.

  2. "Fairness" = code for resdistribution. Fairness of opportunity, yes, fairness of outcomes, will never happen!

    1. Thanks for stopping by our blog and commenting!

      I like your site. I do some work on inflation, and the inflation hedge discussion you have is quite good.