Is Fairness Overrated ?

One of my favorite bloggers, Leah Libresco, has a review of a new book Against Fairness that questions one of American’s favorite virtues:

Any normative description of our duties of love will sometimes feel burdensome, but Asma argues that elevating particularity shields us from feeling an unnatural obligation to everyone. In his view, we must have some way to choose whom to love most, to avoid falling into “the familiar Western hypocrisy—the pretense of believing we can be saints, but all the while acting like mere mortals.” If we refuse to choose, we might constrain our love to the smallest, abstracted type that we can offer to humanity in general.

It’s an interesting concept. I think Leah is right to point out the strangeness of “critiquing fairness” as such when the authors are really critiquing a sort of egalitarianism most Americans already reject. Nevertheless, the most interesting observation is the implicit unfairness all Christians must believe in (namely the salvation of their own soul). It might be interesting to look further into this of fairness as it applies to different religions. I am sure the concept of the “fairness” of God would be a major source of disagreement between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

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