I always heard my younger brothers complain “That’s not fair!” every time I announced my decision after hearing their case. The funny thing about my decision was that we all knew I was wrong including myself but I justified myself by saying “Life’s not Fair!” Something that made the younger of the two brothers always get in trouble while the older one (but still younger then me) take advantage of the rules I implemented. That way the two brothers learned an important lesson that when justice is arbitrary then you learn the rule and live life accordingly. Which reminds me of the Melian Dialogue
“… the standard of justice depends on the equality of power to compel and that in fact the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept.” [Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War, Book 5, 89]
In short might makes right. That’s how the society has been since time immemorial. Those in power have decided what is right but every so often the powerful group makes enough people angry that there is a revolt and the old powers are liquidated. At the end of the Peloponnesian War the Athenians lost to Spartans but the Spartans didn’t last long either since the Athenian culture subverted the Spartan culture a kind of Pyrrhic victory or a cosmic justice to the two powers.
So what do people who knowingly or unknowingly commit injustice justify themselves? Well I pointed to the results of my policy with my brothers. I pointed to the decline in complaints as well as the two brothers learning a useful lesson. However I always managed to make sure that the two brothers didn’t fight too much and I also managed to catch the right culprit from time to time and giving them punishment by giving them time, each point was a minute on their favourite PC game. But I also instituted simple tasks that made them earn their points back. So my reasoning was utilitarian. I know its not honourable and its a slippery slope when used in global politics. In global politics I wish the politicians were deontological or to put it simply ethical principles. In global affairs the decision must be based on ethics before results.
In conclusion I’d like to say that we live in a universe full of anarchy where the rule is only the rule of physics and everything else goes. In this giant universe we are the only species so far that I know of that is conscious of ethical issues and can debate them. All of us have unique situation that has shaped each one of us. For me I believe that we should try to make decision that will balance the result with ethical concerned being met but I tilt towards ethics taking the prime concern because only that way we can ensure a long happy life. Continue reading Life’s not fair!