The Fallacy of Fairness

Thomas Sowell hits the mark again with this article. This guy is so sane and rational, it’s scary.

If there is ever a contest to pick which word has done the most damage to people’s thinking, and to actions to carry out that thinking, my nomination would be the word “fair.” It is a word thrown around by far more people than have ever bothered to even try to define it.

This mushy vagueness may be a big handicap in logic but it is a big advantage in politics. All sorts of people, with very different notions about what is or is not fair, can be mobilized behind this nice-sounding word, in utter disregard of the fact that they mean very different things when they use that word.

Two of my favorite quotes from my own father:

“Life is not fair.” and “Whoever said that life would be fair?” We often heard one of these in response to our complaint that something or other was not fair. It took a long while to understand this concept. While I have accepted this, it is a daily learning process on how to best play the hand that I’m dealt…


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