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Janet Daley on fairness

Janet Daley writes brilliantly about fairness -

All of which should cause us to reflect on the various misuses of the word "fair", and its even more pernicious noun form "fairness", as it is bandied about in political discourse. As received opinion has it, "fair" means "equal" - in the strict literal sense of the word. Distribution of wealth in a society is "fair" if nobody has much more than anybody else - however much harder they may have worked, or however singular and disciplined their talents may be.

The corollary of this is that taxation helps to ensure "fairness" by seeing to it that those who earn more than others have more of their income confiscated. On this formulation, disparities of wealth are inherently wicked. This is a moral philosophy that you may or may not find attractive. But if you do, you will have to accept that it is fundamentally totalitarian. Disparities of wealth are a sign of a dynamic free-market economy in which some sectors are invariably expanding while others contract: at any given moment, some people's lot will be improving ahead of others'. . .