There's something interesting that I've noticed cropping up in a lot of political debates: the notion of "fairness". If you're to the right of centre, "fairness" is paying your way, not taking what you haven't earned; it's a notion of equity founded on the sanctity of private property. If you're on the left, "fairness" is about equality of opportunity, social justice, the absence of "unfairly" huge gaps in prosperity between members of the same society and the redistribution of "unearned" wealth.
Both sides appear to assume that the notion of "fairness" is at least partially self-evident. Perhaps there is room for debate about what is actually fair and what is not, but basically we all know what we mean by the term. Well, I have a response: Bullshit.
There is no such thing as fair or unfair.
The terms are intellectual land-grabs, the appropriation of moral status for a preference about social affairs. They are founded on an absurd myth that it is somehow possible to balance out all of the competing impulses and desires of billions of individuals into a harmonious system that is self-evidently "right". Furthermore, any careful examination of the claims made in the name of fairness inevitably reveal them to be based on some very shakey foundations. I've already questioned the notion of social justice recently. On the other side, many of the highest earners justify their wealth by saying that they "worked for it" "within the rules". Quite apart from the fact that this is often demonstrably false, it begs the question completely: who says the rules are fair in the first place?
"It's not fair", they cry, like petulant children. Translation: "that's not how I thought it was supposed to work, and I don't like it". We need to grow up and get beyond this. There is no magic justification for one social order or another; all that we can do is try different things and see how well they work out for us. If we take away money from rich people and give it to poor people, what happens? Does it make people happier, does it give us a more cohesive, richer culture,