It's the high point of the political season in the United States and there is a steady refrain of how things should be more fair and clearly the poor (or insert your own group here) deserve more than what they have. I have to admit that this is a subjective subject at best (is it really possible to say "subjective subject"?). When we talk about "fair", what is fair? Fair to whom? The idea that it is fair to take from some and give to others is a Robin Hood-esque idea that makes everyone feel all warm and fuzzy. And I say that as a fan of the story of Robin Hood. However, there is a significant difference between Robin Hood that should be pointed out. Namely, Robin Hood was an individual who sought to assist people from the tyranny of the governing power. However, in many of the arguments bandied about today, the suggestion is that government should be taking from the rich and re-distributing to the poor, or protecting the poor from rich. Should the government take that role? Doesn't that make the government tyrranical - to at least a part of the society that it alleges to represent? At the very least, the Robin Hood comparison is a poor one.
But to cut to the idea of fair, it would be more appropriate to ask if fairness can ever truly be achieved. After all, the reality is that life is not fair. Some people are better looking than others. Some people are taller than others. Some men have more hair than others. Some people are smarter than others. There is no equality in life as people may wish for and it is not possible to make people equal in this fashion no matter how much they may think they deserve it. Yet the refrain is that we should strive for equality, particularly in terms of economics. While I would not argue against striving for equality and giving people equal opportunities, it makes no sense that the fairness being argued for only deprives those with (money) unfairly to give it to those without. Instead of giving people money to make it "fair", give them the same opportunities to make money. Those who can take advantage of those opportunities will get what is both fair and what they deserve. Those people deserve the opportunity to succeed, not the money or the goods that others have earned.
Somehow, though, I fear that this may not make it into the political discourse. *sigh*