There seems to be a premium these days placed on the notion of what are so called ‘Fair and Balanced’ approaches to just about everything. From global politics and war strategies to news reporting and social policies, we hear all kinds of calls and claims for balanced, rational approaches. To objectively see all sides of an issue and everyone’s point of view. Sounds good right? As if such a thing ever existed or could ever exist. As a brilliant John F Kennedy once famously proclaimed ‘Life is not fair’. Nor is it balanced.
How refreshing it is to hear that statement in our day and age of false objectivity and pompous declarations. The purveyors of such claims makes outrageous underlying assumptions about equivalences and simillarities of classes of things that may have no right to be compared. Beyond that, the assumption that they themselves have the ultimate wisdom to navigate and arbitrate objectivity can only be described as dishonest and arrogant. It has the effect of hiding inevitible biases, often exacerbating situations.
I am saying that the mental and physical act of forcing a symmetry or equivalence on to a situation of interacting agents where none exists is in itself an act of asymmetry, distortion and disturbance. It can for example ascribe attributes to agents where none exist, or ignore other critical properties when they don’t fit the model. Similarly the equivalency may be at a hopelessly abstract and irrelevant levels that obscure the true nature of the problem.
The dice of life is not fair – it is heavily skewed. Just ask the dinasaours if you can find one.
I am not arguing against things like for example equal rights for American citizens in America. We fought hard for these. Of course our laws should protect the freedoms and rights of the individual to live and to achieve to each one’s abilities and within reason – but only generically. We should however not attempt to enforce nor expect equal outcomes in all results, achievements, potentialities, in all circumstances and in all details of life. That is insanity.
The balance should not stem from false notions of arbitrating beforehand what a balanced world should look like. In the case of equal rights, the balance should be between the order that we get from preserving our founding culture of stability and freedom for all to pursue life, with outcomes that challenge our intuitions of what is ‘fair and balanced’ – to have courage to let the chips fall where they may.