The Difference between ‘Fair’ and ‘Good’

By Atticus Andrew

What is fair is not always what is good.  Yes, there are times when fairness may not solve anything, like  when a judgment is due on a juvenile first offender and the thought dominates that "it's only fair that we not punish this guy."

But the juvenile may not have learned the required lesson, thus  may go on to become a repeat offender, perhaps destined for a lifetime of self-destruction.

So, let us humbly consider:  the better punishment question would have been "what is good?" rather than "what is fair?"

This suggestion stems, in part,  from the broadly accepted acknowledgement that life is not always fair,  Then, too, in recent times we have become acutely aware that what is fair to me may not be fair to you, or to a whole lot of folks, and vice versa.   Also this holds for political ,decisions.  Too often we strive for a fair judgment when we would be better off searching for  the "good" decision, one that, in the best imaginable way, brings the "greatest good for the greatest number" (Thank you, Jeremy Bentham).

As is well known, American politics have been mired in an infamous swamp for far too long, with the two major divisions, Democrat and Republican, constantly accusing the other of unfairness in their gamesmanship.

In politics for sure, we have become paralyzed in an unhealthy pursuit of "fairness for our side." More productive would be our unified quest for decisions that bring goodness to all




sides, meaning a better life and greater opportunities for everyone.

"You're a socialist!"  I can hear the scream already.  No!  I am not advocating socialism or communism in any form.  Rather, I am arguing for good judgment, which may mean that we are being asked to surrender fairness in favor of a decision that actually improves our lives together.

For example, the millions who are without work and the children without constancy in their education, the better plan would be to do first for the jobless and our children and youth.

Too, combating Covid-19  in a good way means making  the good response:,  to answer with a remedial program  that does not benefit just me, but first of all, those most in danger, however unfair it may seem to others of us not so unfortunate.

But we are selfish, you say.  Indeed, as humans, our first desire is that we and our loved ones be safe and secure from any harm or life-threatening illness.

Yet, it is precisely when we are able to admit that such is the case, that we are on our way to doing that which is good.





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