Against Fairness

“Stephen T. Asma’s book is titled Against Fairness, but it doesn’t take too long for the reader to discover what he is for. Asma thinks we’ve neglected nepotism, favoritism, and particularity in our relationships and our moral reasoning. Our natural impulse to play favorites is, in his opinion, actively suppressed: children have to bring in Valentine’s cards for the whole class, fast-tracking a friend in a job search is unethical, etc. In a world fixated on fairness, Asma turns to fiction to show us a positive view of particularity:

Many folk tales, fairy tales, and contemporary kids’ stories reveal and even lionize favoritism…
The Velveteen Rabbit… convey[s] the idea that loving something or someone intensely enough can actually change the beloved’s metaphysical status.

And that last line ought to sound pretty familiar to Christians. Christ’s love for us is enough to change our metaphysical status, from mere creatures to adopted sons and daughters of God. And it would be bizarre to view Christ’s sacrifice through the lens of fairness. As an act of grace, it was unmerited. But, in our own lives, and our own relationships, things aren’t that unequal, so how should we think about egalitarianism?”

Read more at Fare Forward