There’s been a lot talk during the last 20 odd years, mostly by the secular progressive moral relativists among us, about fairness and being fair. Apparently there is a lot of unfairness in the world.
According to secular progressive moral relativists, all African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, illegal immigrants, women, old people, poor people, and members of the LGBTQ community are being treated unfairly. The progressives are determined to fix this though. They will write new laws and use the courts to make sure no one is treated unfairly. But this is a pipedream.
It Ain’t Fair
Just about everyone has said or heard someone say, ‘hey, that’s not fair,’ and probably more than just once. Most of us have experienced something that we felt was unfair. That’s because life isn’t fair. Ever since Adam and Eve exercised their free will – a gift from God to mankind – and chose to sin, life has not been fair. They lost mankind’s inheritance of paradise on earth.
Everyone knows that life is not fair. It’s a universally accepted but unwritten principle. Let’s call it the Unfairness Principle: Life is not fair. Get used to it.
Life’s unfairness is pervasive. It’s evident early on in life. Some babies sleep through the night and some don’t. Some babies are happy, while others are colicky. And some babies gobble down anything that gets put in front of them while others won’t open the hangar for anything except apple sauce.
It’s not fair that some new parents are deprived of sleep while others aren’t. And it’s not fair that some parents are stuck with picky-eater babies while others are not. But that’s life. It’s not fair.
In grade school and high school, the Unfairness Principle becomes even more evident. Some kids learn to read quickly while others struggle. Some are so good at math that they astound, while others are lucky if they can learn long to add and subtract. I ran into one such individual at the pizza place the other day. I gave her a twenty for my $19.53 bill. She gave me back 3 pennies, 4 dimes and a quarter. I nicely told her she had made a mistake and gave her back a penny and two dimes.
Dichotomies Are All Around Us
Some kids are good test takers but others are not. The good test takers get good grades, but that doesn’t mean the not-good-test-takers are stupid. But some of them maybe. IQ measurements help determine an individual’s intelligence, but they don’t measure things like common sense or determination. Some supposedly smart people don’t seem to have a lick of common sense. None of this seems right, but that’s life.
Some kids are also over-achievers, while others do only what they need to. And some kids are under-achievers who grow into underachieving adults regardless of how much motivation is thrown at them.
Some kids are also star athletes while others only make the team because the coach needs a couple extra players in case someone gets hurt. Similar dichotomies exist when it comes to playing a musical instrument, singing, cheerleading, writing computer code, or dissecting frogs.
Catholic Social Teaching
The bottom line here is that we are all born with different levels of intelligence, abilities, skills, strengths, and weaknesses because we are all different, unique individuals. This is a fundamental principle of Catholic Social Teaching.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
1928 Society ensures social justice when it provides the conditions that allow associations or individuals to obtain what is their due, according to their nature and their vocation. Social justice is linked to the common good and the exercise of authority. (Emphasis added.)
So the Church teaches that society should provide the conditions that allow people to obtain what is their due, according to their nature and their vocation. The Church leaves it up to society to figure out how to do this – how to set up a government, a system of justice, and an economic system that provide the conditions that allow people to obtain what is their due, according to their nature.
The Church does not say that society must make sure that everything is always fair for everyone all of the time. This is because such an expectation is unreasonable.
We Are Responsible for Ourselves
Where we are born and who our parents are, are just two factors that can play a role in how well we will do in life. Some kids are fortunate and are born in countries that are democracies. But many kids are born in countries that are socialistic, communistic, dictatorships, or that just have very corrupt governments. Children who are born in democracies should have an advantage, all things considered, but children do not get to choose their parents or where they are born. That’s not fair to kids. But that’s life.
Some kids start out in life with good, loving parents and have good home lives. Others have rotten parents – parents who are selfish or immature and who should never have gotten married in the first place. Some kids are also born to well-off parents while others are born into poverty. That’s life. It’s not fair, but that’s the way it is.
Children born to well-off, good, loving parents do have an advantage, but some adults are successful in spite of all kinds of childhood disadvantages. Dr. Ben Carson is just one modern example. Still others end up as bums despite many advantages. So who we are – our individual psychological makeup – also plays a big role on how successful we will be.
And success itself can be defined in different ways. For some, unfortunately, success is wealth, fame, power, or respect. But for good Catholics, being successful should mean simply being good, moral people day in and day out, loving God and neighbor, working hard at a job and, if they are married, having sufficient food, clothing, and shelter for themselves and their family. Being a good husband or wife, and a good parent who raises good, moral children who become good moral adults who love God above all else is a truer measure of success.
But even if we are successful, no matter how it is defined, life can still throw us a curve, a slider or even a beanball. An accident, illness, corporate downsizing, a natural disaster, or an economic recession – a cross to bear – can happen at any time. So being smart and successful and doing everything right is not a guarantee of anything. Life can still whack you upside the head. That’s because life is not fair.
Perhaps what is most annoying though is that there are some people who seem to do a lot of things wrong and still end up on top. Sometimes coworkers who are jerks get promoted and sometimes idiots win the lottery or get elected to office. This is the Unfairness Principle again. Life’s just is not fair. Get over it. Accept it.
Government Can’t Legislate Fairness
As evident as the Unfairness Principle should be, today’s secular progressive moral relativists have managed to convince people that “government” can make life fair for everyone through legislation.
Government and the courts say the secular progressives, are capable of deciding what is moral or immoral. Religion is not relevant. Science and the law is all that matters. Metaphysics is passé. Legal and illegal, which lawmakers and the courts get to determine, is more important than natural law or moral truths that are based on God’s truths. But if there are no moral truths then there is nothing wrong with sexual relations out of wedlock, same-sex ‘marriage,’ polygamy, polyamory, abortion, euthanasia, or even bestiality or pedophilia. Why should 18 be the age of consent? Why not 12?
The secular progressives say social justice will bring about fairness. But their version of social justice is socialistic and usually requires solutions that favor some and are blatantly unfair to others. So while fairness and equality are the goals, achieving those goals actually means enacting laws that are unfair. Trying to mandate that a baker must make a wedding cake to celebrate a wedding that violates his or her religious beliefs is just one example of the secular progressive vision of fairness through legislation.
Life’s Not Fair
As Thomas Sowell has said, “Life, in general, has never been even close to fair, so the pretense that the government can make it fair is a valuable and inexhaustible asset to politicians who want to expand government.”
So next time you hear a politician saying we have to make things fair or espousing secular “social justice,” run away. Do not, under any circumstances, vote for that person.
We are all imperfect human beings, living in an imperfect world, where ‘fair’ is an unreachable star. Utopia will never exist here on earth, in the City of Man. Fairness is only found in heaven – the City of God. Accept it. Learn to deal with it. Life is not fair. Get used to it.