Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fairness or Justice

Interesting article that imagines what a government run panel on medical decisions might actually look like.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204683204574356241709682828.html
I can believe that a similar but very different situation occurs all the time at present. People come to the end of their personal and family resources and doubtless that is the argument for fairness. People also run into unfairness in the system, dishonesty amidst bureaucracy, and other difficulties that are unacceptable when life is in the balance. Here's an example, though different in that it is an individualized experience:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/08/18/free-market_death_panels_97922.html

But Klavan has an interesting and insightful answer:

"Free people can treat each other justly, but they can't make life fair. To get rid of the unfairness among individuals, you have to exercise power over them. The more fairness you want, the more power you need. Thus, all dreams of fairness become dreams of tyranny in the end."

You teach a child, "Life's not fair." Mostly it is in the context of trying to explain this tension between justice, power, and fairness. Yes, you actually could insure fairness for your kid if you wielded enough power- to change soccer schedules, to give everyone a part in the play, etc. But then you wouldn't be very just. The child with a lead foot would be out in front and center while the prodigy sat on the bench. People are different.
We teach children that life isn't fair because we want them to get the point that there are many things in life that cannot be controlled, or at least are not worth being controlled. We want our kids to grow a self-efficacy that takes responsibility for the kind of life they want to have- and a sense of realism, for what they cannot.

Ultimately, only a beneficent God can be truly powerful to justice. Yet in our kingdom on earth, we don't yet know what it is to say, "It is well, It is well with my soul." We should not give up on a fair and equitable society altogether, within our limited means. But we must recognize that

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