All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.



Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!

6/24/2014

Of Fairness

There is a basic ingrained desire in the human heart for fair play.  We're not talking about "legal", we're talking about moral.  Under the laws of the land, things may be "legal", but we react at a gut level when they aren't "fair".

For example, when the news reported that a little girl who was mauled by pit bulls and terribly injured was asked to leave a KFC because her scares were upsetting the other customers, American's reacted at a gut level.  "Who asked her to leave?" we wanted to know.  Right behind that we demanded, "Who do they think they are, to be so hurtful to a little girl?".  Soon cash was coming in to help pay for her medical bills.  KFC, due to the bad publicity chipped in $30,000 up front.  Not too long after that some very gifted, and very expensive, plastic surgeons were offering to fix her scars for free. 

America reacted that way, because, by golly, it wasn't fair.  Nobody likes to hear about a little girl scared for life by dogs.  Nobody wants to hear about her getting kicked out of a fast food joint because she doesn't look normal.  We don't want to have to see bad things happen and we don't want even more bad things happen to people that are already suffering.  It's not fair.

By the way, it is beginning to look like the little girl's grandmother lied about being kicked out of the restaurant.  KFC: No evidence mauled child asked to leave.  Is KFC asking for the $30,000 back? Nope.  Even if the grandmother lied, they don't want the cash back because its going to help the little girl.  Taking away her chance of a full recovery wouldn't be fair.

The rest of our society works the same way.  We expect the traffic laws will be fairly enforced.  We don't care so much if a person is let off for a minor violation.  We care very much if we are charged for more than we did.  For example how many of us have been 10 mph over the limit and been ticketed for 5 mph?  We don't like paying for the 5 mph ticket, but we pay it.  Imagine you were driving 10 mph over and were ticket for 15 mph.  That's not fair.

Every aspect of our lives work on this fairness principle.  Sometimes events work out in our favor, sometimes not.  We play along because we expect that the rules are being evenly enforced.  I may get struck out on a high and outside pitch, but if the ump called it the same way for the other team, well he's blind, but he's not unjust.

Our level of outrage varies according to the degree of the offense.  We might stop visiting the offending KFC restaurant.  We'll gripe about the high and outside strike.  We'll go to court over the traffic violation.  What happens when the violation is more serious than that?

Depending on the situation we have laws in place to protect the innocent and punish the guilty.  We expect our public institutions that are charged with maintaining order and justice to do their collective duty.  Most of the time that's how it works.  What happens when the people in charge of the institutions are the ones corrupting the processes?  Who holds them accountable when the corruption is top down?

The bureaucrat hides behind the impenetrable wall of policy and obscuration.  The institution is good because it was established by law.  When asked about wrong doing, they will point to conflicting policy statements, endless memorandum, and explain that they were only trying to accomplish "X" and were not aware that it conflicted with "Y".  No congressional subcommittee, no special prosecutor, no person of common sense, is ever supposed to be able to overcome the bureaucrat vial of double speak and find out who knew what, when and how the laws were violated, because policy.

Thus Eric Holder will run guns to Mexican drug cartels so they can shoot American Boarder patrol agents.  Because, policy.  The IRS can and will interfere in the election of America's policy makers by restricting access to tax favored status by grass roots organizations.  The state department will shrug their responsibility to protect out interests and embassies.  We will negotiate and (probably) pay bribes to terrorists.

Nothing will get done about it, because policy.  Instead special interest team D and special interest team R will fight over who gets to abuse the process and institutions for the benefit of the politically connected.

Common sense tells us that when something is broken, stop using it and fix it.  When corruption exists from the top to the bottom, its time to close up shop, fire everyone and prosecute the criminals.  Only after that is done can we start over.

2 comments:

Giraffe said...

sense tells us that when something is broken, stop using it and fix it. When corruption exists from the top to the bottom, its time to close up shop, fire everyone and prosecute the criminals.

But we won't. It's like driving a car after the oil light comes on. We could stop and fix the problem while it is still minor. But instead, we are going to keep driving till the engine locks up. The government is fixable. Most voters lack the will and the knowledge of what can work. They just think "oh well it will keep running, it always has before".

Like a person who thinks it will be ok to keep driving a few more miles.

Res Ipsa said...

That's a good analogy.