2010 November 30 Tuesday
P.J. O'Rourke On Why To Oppose Fairness

Political humorist P.J. O'Rourke has a new book out called Don't Vote: It Just Encourages the Bastards . A Daily Telegraph story about him quotes a good excerpt: If life was one kind of fair then lots of us would be far worse off.

In Don’t Vote!, he slams a culture of “gimme rights” and demands personal responsibility. When his 12-year-old daughter complains that life isn’t fair, he tells her: “Honey, you’re cute. That’s not fair. You’re smart. That’s not fair. You were born in the United States of America. That’s not fair. Darling, you had better get down on your knees and pray to God that things don’t start getting fair for you.”

If getting the same as everyone else is fair then being born dumber and poorer would be our fate if the world became more fair. But regular readers will not be surprised to learn that I do not subscribe to that definition of fairness. Just because random events have delivered a bad hand to someone else is no reason why you should have to suffer yourself.

One of the biggest moral decisions in life is to decide what is fair and why. But each person brings their own intellectual limitations to that task along with their self interest. Therefore lots of people have either rationalized their own unfair treatment of others so they can feel morally superior or they are unaware of their own unfairness or are indifferent to it.

BTW, I really enjoyed a much earlier O'Rourke book: Holidays in Hell: In Which Our Intrepid Reporter Travels to the World's Worst Places and Asks, "What's Funny About This" .

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2010 November 30 08:58 PM  Ethics

Kudzu Bob said at December 2, 2010 2:20 PM:

If Sweden handed out Nobel Prizes for really cool titles, then O'Rourke would be a clear winner for his "How to Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink."


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