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Political debate has completely mangled the concept of what’s fair.
Fairness was once playing by the rules. Now it’s the game’s result.
Fairness has become all about who’s got what. It’s all about the distribution of wealth and income. It’s no longer about the rules by which we agree to live.
A fellow figures out how to build a better mousetrap. He risks everything, borrows up to the hilt and builds his new mousetrap.
People love it. They flock to buy his mousetrap. And so he makes a lot of money. He has a nice house, another at the beach, a boat and holidays overseas.
“Not fair!” we now cry. “Look at us. We have none of that.”
It doesn’t appear to matter that we love his mousetrap. That we flock to buy it. That the fellow through his better mousetrap makes our lives better. We forget all that.
We are blinded by envy and jealousy. It’s what he has compared to us that counts. We have no regard to how he acquired his wealth and income.
He never took any money from anyone. No one was forced to buy his mousetrap.
He respected everyone’s rights. People chose to work for him. He paid them a mutually agreed price.
But sticking to the rules is no longer the definition of fairness or justice. The outcome is everything. He’s got things that we haven’t got. That’s now not fair.
State-sponsored academics can be relied on to give our basest instincts a scholarly veneer. Rubbish articles are churned out declaring the more equal a society the happier, the more stable, the better educated, and so on, are the people.
And so we can pretend our concern is out of concern for society as a whole, not envy and a power lust.
To achieve a fairer outcome requires brute force. The man with the better mousetrap must be robbed. His beach house and boat must be taken and the proceeds distributed to those with less. That’s now fairness.
It’s robbery in the very sense that his property is taken from him by force. It doesn’t change the nature of the transaction that the taking is done by the government and the theft is made legal by parliament.
And there’s the unfairness and injustice. A man is robbed simply because of his success at providing what people want.
The mousetrap shows that we should be clear about our definition of fairness and justice. Is it adherence to the rules of a just society? Or a desired distribution of wealth and income?
It can’t be both.
But quietly, and with stealth, politics has morphed justice and fairness to become synonymous with redistribution. Distributive justice was once properly regarded as oxymoronic and the focus was on the rules by which to live a good and just life.
We can all readily agree on these rules. Respect other people’s lives. Their freedom. Their property. And their pursuit of happiness.
But respect for these principles is now gone. The government must ride roughshod over the principles of good conduct to achieve distributive justice.
There can be no respect for people’s lives, property, freedom or pursuit of happiness if the government is taking property in a vain attempt to achieve “fairness”.
And there is no fair or just distribution. There’s no established principle on what is a fair distribution of income and wealth. There’s no consensus on it, either.
There’s an incessant political demand for “social justice”. But no one is able to tell us what it is. It’s just a catchcry to justify state-sponsored theft.
We have allowed politics to mangle the concept of fairness and thereby to destroy it.
In its stead, we have bloated government arbitrarily robbing the rich and successful without regard to principle or popular consent.