I hear a lot of talk lately about how many things are not fair. Who said life was fair?
Whose standard would be used in order for something to be judged fair? The mere fact that a judgment must be made insures a standard must be used to measure against. A judgment of competing ideas or goal requires that a determination be made as to which idea or portion of an idea is better than another. When a judgment is made it also means one idea or part of an idea was discriminated against. Judgments such as this have been made by each of us for many years, such as what we wear and how we wear it. The clothes we chose not to wear could complain it is not fair that they were not chosen and that they were discriminated against.
A house must be built upon a good foundation to withstand whatever weather throws at it such as wind, rain, snow, and water run-off.
Property lines must be determined from known benchmarks in order to be accurate and fair for property owners.
Building trades use a level and plumb to insure the house is level and vertically straight.
To properly build a house certain standards must be used, for example a foot must always contain twelve inches. An eight foot wall must use lumber that has eight feet with each foot containing twelve inches. Should lumber be used with ten inches in each foot the wall would be too short jeopardizing the integrity and stability of the house.
For some reason in recent years the idea that things must always be fair has become popular. Someone makes a judgment that something is unfair and the berating begins. The berating inevitably includes charges of discrimination. The person making the charge of discrimination may not realize that in order to make that judgment that person had to discriminate against one idea to judge the other idea more worthy.
Medical Doctors have standards they use in diagnosing any illness, whether it is a skin rash, broken bones, or PTSD, discriminating against one idea to judge the other idea more worthy.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Fair as:
• agreeing with what is thought to be right or acceptable
• treating people in a way that does not favor some over others
• not too harsh or critical
As we can see the dictionary definitions support the idea that a judgment must be made and discrimination against an opposing idea is required. Simply put each time someone demands fairness they are, perhaps unknowingly, demanding a discriminatory act.
“…Fairness operates at many levels. We may try to personally conduct ourselves fairly, but we are also part of a community, a society, that delivers fairness – or unfairness – to ourselves and others. It might seem tempting to see the fairness talked about in politics as separate from our personal conduct, but philosopher AC Grayling believes the two are the same. “What holds for an individual should hold for society and vice versa. The concept of fairness is univocal – it has the same meaning wherever it is applied.”(1).
Unfairness can make us angry.
Being fair requires judgment and discrimination. In order to judge there must be a standard from which to measure the various competing ideas. If the person has fluid standards, one day the foot could be eight inches, another day ten inches, and still another day a foot could be thirteen inches. Having fluid standards can create a lot of confusion for all involved devolving into chaos.
So, next time you hear about someone wanting fairness ask what standard is being used and what is being discriminated against.
Reverend Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA and AZ) and Founder of the Family Renewal Center (AZ) http://www.narrowpathministries.org and http://www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org