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A discussion inspired by S. Asma's book "against fairness"

  This book was read by one of our members and suggested as fodder for discussion. I have not read it yet, just excerpts and summaries but I have long thought about this topic.

 If you would like a taste her is the amazon url:

In addition to the questions of how an "imposed" (self or otherwise) paradigm of fairness has shaped and influenced society I have often thought of its effects in a democracy.  It seems to me in many if not all of the civilizations and societies of the past have existed with its citizens fully aware of the inequality of each other. It appears people knew and were somewhat passive about their lot in a functioning society. For better or worse a uneducated farmer would hardly think himself equal to a baron landowner etc., in any sense of the word.

Then comes this modernity where we are fed from birth this new liberal thought that we are all "equal" and the uneducated farmer's uneducated opinion on who should run the affairs of state is of no less value than the most experienced political scholar.

Is this fair or healthy for the advancement of a society? As a kneejerk reaction no one likes to think of any of us more or less valuable than any other but upon closer scrutiny what say you?

Have systems like the Indian caste system been beneficial to its citizens on the whole? While being unjust to a small % of its adherents?

Where will society go if a majority of its "equal" citizens are perverted by propaganda or superior tactics of influence?

Is it beneficial or fair to inure our school age children to participation ribbons instead of placed ribbons? Does loosing in life make us stronger for future challenges or weaken us by crushing our confidence?

 Where might we end up in 100 years if this notion of universal fairness and equality are legislated to stamp out any iota of a social Darwinism. Should social Darwinism be tossed into the rubbish heap?

A book I was made to read in school and bears relevance is Harrison Bergeron

I will schedule this meetup on a weekend so hopefully more members can attend. And please overlook any errors in grammar or syntax I have made here, I am only human.  


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  • Idell K.

    Respectful, thoughtful, kind, provocative, meaningful.

    May 27, 2013

  • Jonathan

    I immediately thought the book was in response to philosopher John Rawls' essay "Justice as Fairness". This would be relevant, because the philosophy of Rawls is the philosophy currently running the White House, and it is the dominant philosophy among American intellectuals today. The author goes on to discuss Rawls right away on page 9.

    "Philosopher John Rawls took fairness to be the key ingredient in justice, stating that "fundamental to justice, is the concept of fairness which relates to the right dealings between persons who are cooperating with or competing against each other, as when one speaks of fair games, fair competition, and fair bargains." I guess the book is not in response to Rawls, because his philosophy had much more serious political consequences that what is suggested in the quote.

    May 18, 2013

  • Idell K.

    I will do my best to be there.

    May 18, 2013

  • Steve

    I'll likely be late, as I have another commitment close by, but I'll stop in to check out the fireworks.

    May 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Working that day, but looking forward to the next meet up!

    May 18, 2013

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