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[Against Fairness Summary] epub By Stephen T. Asma – Epub and TXT

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Gandhi recommended that the seeker of good have no exclusive loves because they will introduce loyalty partiality bias and favoritism To love everyone we cannot preferentially love any individual or group Orwell however believed that love means nothing if it does not mean loving some people than othersThe focus on euality of outcome may produce a generation burdened with an indignant sense of entitlement 80% of success may be showing up but then you ve got to perform noBy benefiting relatives altruistic acts preserve the altruist s genes even if he may not be the one to perpetuate themNature is not a war of all against all but rather a war of us against them with fierce intra tribe loyaltyIt s interesting to note how uickly a strict egalitarian notion of eual opportunity starts to break down when competence is introduced as a criterionIt s not logic or calculation that explains a friendship but historyBiology can bind people together but so can shared experiences emotions values and habits And that uniue contingent history prevents any transferability of friendship You can t have substitute friendsVice in abundance is easy to get the road is smooth and begins beside you but the gods have put sweat between us and virtueLearning to curb selfishness is not the same as fairness Greed is countered by generosity but one can be unfairly generous directing all of one s giving to a favoured fewGroup favoritism does not automatically entail negative udgments towards out groups unless there is a forced dichotomyHigh minded notions retributive ustice fairness have roots in lower emotions revenge envyPublic morality shame based VS private morality guilt basedWhat is owed to one another is respect not eual affections or treatment One only has finite time and attention to go aroundDeveloping countries have a form of favoritism philanthropy focused charity effortsPolitical empowerment movements are effective because a tribes gets powerful enough such that they can no longer be ignored not by the implementation of some abstract egalitarian principleAffirmative action badly executed means that preferred groups don t have to work hard and non preferred groups have no reward when they doPride can prevent you from graciously accepting help and can fill you with resentment instead of appreciation It takes real effort and sensitivity to accept preferential treatmentThe intimacy of favoritism brings personal character back to the forefront of ethics where it belongs Caught not taughtOne can t love humanity one can only love people Graham GreeneLove not fairness is the engine of philanthropyThe digital world adds breadth not depth to human connections the exception being when you already have some depth with a friend in the real world and can enhance it in the digital realm While I hated some parts of this book I can t make too scathing a statement because I have to begrudgingly admit it s not wholly awful I still feel that it s flawed howeverAn example of this tension is the treatment of racism and sexism It s unmentioned for most of the book but then a late section does address it So it s not an awful blindspot as I thought

Early On But That 
on but that t mean I accept the arguments given I feel the ustifications as to why the author isn t arguing favor of racism and sexism are inadeuate and consider only the easiest potential problemsThe author is prone to a particular type of strawman where he frames all only the easiest potential problemsThe author is prone to a particular type of strawman where he frames all positions at their most utopian addresses thoughtless implementations of them and insists their most utopian addresses thoughtless implementations of them and insists all opponents have zero sense of compromise or ambiguity on complex moral issuesMost annoying is a tendency to describe an opposing viewpoint often with actual research and then simply state I don t agree and I think most people don t either There s an undercurrent that the author believes most people wholly agree with him and that this unproven fact should influence us against opposing argumentsThere are some decent parts of the book where it talks about cultural or scientific facts But once you remove the descriptions and anecdotes not much of this book is actually arguments designed to convince someone who might disagree with the author A good poke at the overly exalted position of the concept of fairness along with a defense of favoritism Very thought provoking A great challenge to many of my assumptions Read this after reading an Asma essay in the NYT blog A bit boring and many references to bible and Greek stories I liked it an interesting read And I ve heard an interview with him Favoritism is in us I suppose we ought not to deny it but balance it with societal needs And I agree with him that we need to be specific with the word fairness it really does get used as a blanket term when we actually mean other things This book is a bit of a counterpoint to another one I previously read Against Empathy The Case for Rational Compassion they weren t written for that purpose but that s how it worked out in my reading Now I thought this book would intone against the sort of fairness demanded by a fourth grade teacher in some government left wing brain washing operation aka public school insisting that all outcomes must be eual or some bureaucrat who somehow things affirmative. From the school yard to the workplace there’s no charge damning than “You’re being unfair” Born out of democracy and raised in our open markets fairness has become our de facto modern creed The very symbol of American ethics Lady Justice wears a blindfold as she weighs the law on her impartial scale In our zealous pursuit of fairness we have banished our urges to like one person than another one thing over another hiding them away as dirty secrets of our humanity  In Against Fairness polymath philosopher Stephen T Asma drags them triumphantly back into the light Through playful witty but always serious arguments and examples he vindicates our unspoken and undeniable instinct to favor making the case that we would all be better off if we. Action is fair now that s a book I could get behind But Asma s book could ust as easily have been titled for favoritism And he s REALLY for it So much so that he can write things like Lying to strangers to advantage kin is not a major sin in my book He favors favoritism so much that his morality has gone off the rails Part of this is likely an overreaction to his upbringing in Catholicism a faith he now repudiates Not that he ever grasped the faith all that well he somehow twists John 316 to see it as reason some people care for a faraway African tribe than their own family even going so far as to accuse God of transcendentally bad parenting This is a bit ironic because the sort of gospel that John 316 should have been evidence for his case for God is surely not interested in fairness as clad for by the sort of people demanding 50M from Yale for another minority student center And yet he totally misses the pointI made it through this book and really came to one conclusion Stephen Asma will love you if your his friend but if not you re up the creek Wow Who could be against fairnessWell Stephen Asma the author of Against Fairness is He claims that Fairness has become muddled with a sense of effusive empathy so that Eual OUTCOMES has often become the goal of public policy School kids these days have to send a valentine to every other kid in the class Everybody gets a cupcake Everybody wins a prize for running the race Nobody s feelings get hurt The author doesn t like this trend He argues that this confused sense of Fairness has distorted policies such as Affirmative Action But Asma goes further He says Nepotism which often congers up the idea of corruption is actually behavior than benefits your group or tribe and that nepotism is a fundamental part of human social behavior than even reciprocityThe basic agument against absolute euality made by Libertarians and many Conservatives is that people are eual before the law but otherwise they remain in competition with each other Stephen Asma identifies himself as a LiberalWhat is Fairness For Jonathan Haidt author of the study of Moral Foundations who is mentioned in the book it is one of the two most important moral values that Liberals use to evaluate public policy The other Haidt calls Caring Conservatives tend to give three other values Loyalty Authority and Purity eual if not greater weight than to these first two Jonathan Haidt contrasts Fairness with Cheating some kind of illegal or unethical advantage that one person takes of another So in his mind Fairness means no hidden advantagePolitical Philosopher John Rawls is at the heart of this dispute He developed the current Liberal case for Justice as the veil of ignorance Make no public policy that doesn t identify and reject the special advantages that some people get without meritAsma argues that kinship nepotism and favoritism are in fact the earliest moral positions of every human being in every culture He d likely score highest on Loyalty using Haidt s scale I don t think making sure every kid in the classroom gets a valentine undermines a proper civic sense of Justice Perhaps we can t love all of humanity as Asma claims the Neo Hippies maintain but I do think empathy is broad enough to include a school classroom And yes I do think a ribbon for everyone who ran the race is a little excessive Asma says complex grievances about social ustice get reduced down to cries for greater fairness because we lack a nuanced moral vocabulary I think he
S Right About That 
right about that book While there were some interesting moments I found this title to be ultimately disappointing Perhaps I wax curmudgeonly here because I expected something different those expectations being set by the titleIn defining fairness as eual outcomes the author posits himself as really going out on a limb by being against the forced distribution of eual outcomes Hence the title and the somewhat over stated cover photo Maybe at Columbia this is going out on a limb but not so much in the broader meeting place of ideasAside from the very informative and interesting though short section on the bio chemical basis for favoritism I found the remaining material and analysis to be a mixed bag In specific Asma takes a variety of international cross cultural trips to show where favoritism and tribalism are beneficial finally landing in the US to then support the motivations of almost every confiscation program since LBJ He states he is against fairness but seemingly has no problem with taking and using other people s assets in order to address the perceived issues of less successful parties for whatever they feel they are owed and for whatever reasons they feel they are "OWED BUMMERBECAUSE OF THIS CONTRADICTION I FOUND MYSELF ABOUT " BummerBecause of this contradiction I found myself about in and unable to articulate his basic point a point that had seemed clear in the first 30% of the book Whenever that has happened in the past I ve held myself accountable and gone back to piece things together In this case alone I actually held the writer accountable His sub points did not harmonize with one another nor did they add up to a directed wholeIn the end I could not figure out who the audience was supposed to be nor the Central Message To That message to that Please Showed our unfair tendencies a little kindness indeed if we favored favoritism                Conscious of the egalitarian feathers his argument is sure to ruffle Asma makes his point by synthesizing a startling array of scientific findings historical philosophies cultural practices analytic arguments and a variety of personal and literary narratives to give a remarkably nuanced and thorough understanding of how fairness and favoritism fit within our moral architecture Examining everything from the survival enhancing biochemistry that makes our mothers love us to the motivating properties of our “affective community” he not only shows how we favor but the reasons we should Drawing on thinkers from Confucius to Tocueville to Nie. ,

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Against Fairness