Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Life Isn't Fair

Upgraded and adapted from the Moot:

I think all kids should be educated to be competent citizens, all people should have access to reliable information to make informed decisions, all troubled people should have access to therapy, all trouble-making people should have access to therapy, support, and marginalized and rehabilitated if they are violent or fraudulent about it, all people who get sick, or make a mistake, or lose everything, or get into trouble should have enough support to get back on their feet, try again, find another way to participate in the world.

Who should pay for all this? We all already pay for these things whether we respond to them helpfully and supportively or we ignore them or just warehouse the "losers" in warrens. Even if taxing the rich more than the poor didn't pay for the provision of welfare to ensure equitable access to law and the maintenance of a scene of informed, nonduressed consent to protect the poor from the rich it would still be necessary to society simply to resist wealth concentration and the regression, brittleness, and authoritarianism that tend to accrue from such concentration.

People who make more and benefit more from their societies should pay more to maintain them -- including paying to help some fellow citizens who aren't yet contributing as much as they could to become people who can. From those to whom much is given, much is required. Some resentment of that state of affairs is to be expected, but it is not reasonable and it certainly is not admirable. Nobody is sole author of either their fortune or misfortune and so there is to be no talk of unfairness or theft here. Being born without as many chances or prey to more problems doesn't seem fair to those who experience that any more than having to pay more taxes that deprive you of a photogenic servant or gold-plated yacht doesn't seem fair to those who experience that.

Life isn't fair. Even the collective work of making life more fair won't always seem quite fair to all those collaborating in that outcome. Truth often looks more like a paradox than like a mathematical equation. I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden.

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