No political discussion seems complete without someone insisting that the wealthy pay "their fair share." But what does anybody mean by "fair"? In this video, social commentator Daniel Hannan attempts to answer this critically important question.
Life isn't fair.
And you know what? It can't be.
Here's the problem: The word "fair" doesn't mean "justice" or "equity" or, indeed, anything very specific. Instead, it's become a sort of all-purpose statement of moral superiority—superiority tinged, paradoxically, with victimhood.
Now, fairness does have an exact meaning in certain contexts. For example, if we're playing a game, fairness means that the rules should be applied impartially. When we are kids and our parents and teachers set the rules, the word still has that essential meaning: it's a young person's way of demanding what we might call "equality before the law." But as we get older, the word becomes more of a whine. In the mouth of a teenager—trust me on this—"it's not fair" means, more often than not, "You won't let me do something I want!"