By: Wayne Brown
When I listen to the president speak of the rich not paying their fair share of the tax burden in the country, I become more and more convinced that he believes the Founding Fathers got it totally wrong when they wrote the Constitution. Apparently he believes the statement of purpose in the Preamble to be inadequate to the people of America. Never mind liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness for the president declared that fairness is what it is all about in America.
Let’s get one thing straight here at the start so our thinking is on this matter is not overly clouded with confusion. One does not legislate fairness. Fairness is not manufactured or created but exists mainly as a by-product of circumstance. We have many laws on the books which are nothing more than failed attempts at legislating fairness. Those laws still exist but as they president would describe it, as a people, we have still missed the mark on the concept of fairness. Apparently, he also does not understand that it cannot be legislated into existence.
Let’s take a simple example in a localized situation and then expand on it so that we can see how the concept of fairness being created fails to meet the bar. Let us take a look at Mary. She is a college freshman with auburn hair and bright green eyes. Mary wants very much to have a boyfriend and she has eyes for a young man in her freshman English class who goes by the name of Jeffrey. Mary swoons when Jeffrey is about and does everything she can to attract his attention but never really can get the time of day from him. She checked him out with some friends and found that he is dating no one steadily therefore he is available. She also found out something very disappointing to her. Jeffrey likes blue-eyed blondes and seems to have eyes for another girl in the English class who fits that bill to a tee. To say that Mary is down-trodden is an understatement. She continues to search for ways to woo this young man.
Now, in this case, one might decide there is a very simple solution. Mary could dye her beautiful auburn hair to a blonde color. She could also go see the local optometrist and get a pair of contact lens which will turn her eye color to blue from the current bright green. She would then eliminate some of the obstacles to her goal. Mary is not willing to do that as she thinks that she should not have to change to have Jeffrey at her side. At the same time, Mary has now more closely checked out Jennifer, the young lady who Jeffrey does seem to give the eyes. To Mary’s surprise, Jennifer is neither a blonde nor does she have blue eyes. Jennifer has indeed employed the proposed solution that we discussed above. Mary is livid and considers Jennifer a fake. What Jennifer has done to secure the affections of Jeffrey is a lie and totally unfair though it is not illegal. In her misery, Mary goes to the school Dean and pleads her case.
The Dean, realizing how unhappy Mary has become with all of this unfair competition, immediately creates policies which should make things fair for Mary and others like her. The Dean immediately implements a policy which says that everyone who attends the school must have brown hair and brown eyes. In addition, everyone must wear either a khaki skirt or khaki pants with a black polo shirt for a top. In essence, the Dean has created a policy designed to establish “fairness” in the school by taking away the outward characteristics of everyone’s personality and individuality. Now, all the students basically look alike. Jeffrey is not happy. Jennifer is not happy. And guess, what…Mary had to dye her hair anyway…Mary is not happy. To top it off, Jeffrey now dislikes Mary for starting the entire mess.
This outcome is the very thing the Founding Fathers were attempting to avoid with their approach to the Constitution. The document focused on liberty, justice, and the opportunity to pursue happiness. In essence it established our country on two distinct principles of freedom and access. In terms of freedom, it established a system whereby each individual is afforded the freedom to act on life as long as those actions remain within the boundaries of the laws established to safeguard public welfare and establish justice. If a person desires to take a risk and become a business person, then they have the freedom to do so. In terms of access, we are afforded opportunity which basically is access. If we desire to become a business person, then we have access to banks with funds that can loan us the money to start a business if we so choose to take the risk. There is no guarantee of success, only access to the opportunity and the freedom to decide. Fairness is simply a by-product of those elements, and that is how fairness is successfully achieved for a given people.
When we focus on “fairness” as the primary basis of our society, we begin to walk a line which leans toward “tyranny”. Why is that the case you ask? Because, just as we have seen from the example above, ultimately when the perception of “fairness” is legislated or manufactured, some individual or group must do it in an authoritative manner….there is no vote…this is how it is going to be. Now we have the perception of fairness but very few are happy about it in the end.
Fairness also can lead us down a road toward mediocrity. Once we begin to institute the perception of fairness into our lives, we quickly begin to ask the question, “Where does it stop?” Let’s take another example so that we better understand this concept. Let’s stick with Mary and her friends in college. Mary, though of auburn hair and green eyes, always thought herself a pretty girl. Sadly, the truth of the matter is that all the other girls look at Mary as the most-homely, plain Jane in the school or at least they did until the Dean instituted the new policy to establish fairness. Now, all the other girls look like Mary as they all have brown hair and brown eyes and wear the same clothes. They feel mediocre and without any individuality. As in most cases, perception becomes truth. If they feel mediocre, they act and perform on the same level and thus become even more mediocre. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy once one believes it.
Let’s take another direction on this concept of fairness driving mediocrity. Jeffrey just happens to be the smartest kid in the entire college. He scored the highest on record on the SAT and he maintains a 4.0 grade average in every course. Many of the other students have complained and stated that they believe that Jeffrey has an unfair advantage because of his intelligence and they are not given a fair shot at winning any of the awards or scholarships at the school. The Dean, being the all-knowing sort who is bent on having fairness, quickly implements another policy which states that Jeffrey will become the baseline grade-point for the school. Since it appears by the SAT scores that Jeffrey is twice as smart as everyone else, each of the others students will be graded using a factor of 2X applied to their scores on tests in order to more fairly level the field and give everyone a shot at the awards and scholarships. Obviously, Jeffrey is not happy. His intelligence now really means nothing in terms of achievement or success. He is simply the reference point by which others have their grades multiplied. Jeffrey quits performing and his grade point slides steadily downward until he has achieved mediocrity. All the other students are happy and lower their performance as well because they remain on a relative plain with Jeffrey by virtue of the on-factor put in place by the Dean to establish fairness. Unfortunately, fairness went by the wayside and the outcome was simply, mediocrity.
When you listen to this president speak of fairness in terms of paying taxes, and when you hear him reference people like Warren Buffet in that process, stop and ask yourself whether or not the president is attempting to manufacture “fairness” just as the Dean has done in our examples. Look at the existing statistics on those who pay taxes and how much they pay. You may not agree with the president that the wealthier among us do not pay their fair share. You might also take the time to take a closer look at the hypocrite, Warren Buffet. Buffet claims that he is taking unfair advantage of us and not paying his fair share of taxes…at least that is what he claims in the public venue. On the private side, Buffet’s holdings owe the federal government almost one billion dollars in back taxes for which Buffet employs a whole team of lawyers to fight. Buffet does not feel that he OWES these taxes in reality. In essence, Buffet takes his public stand to avoid the criticism of the left in reference to being a “rich man”. It works for him too. In the end, he is simply a hypocrite and a pawn being used by this president to make a point which is nothing more than another untruth offered up to the American people in the interest of sustaining class envy and division in our country.
At the same time, take some time to ask yourself where we are headed when we begin to legislate fairness as a key element of our society. There is no doubt that we will fail at the outcome as so many have in the past. There is no doubt. But where does it stop once it is started and where does it all end up in the end? I think it is fair to say that the outcome, in most cases, will be mediocrity at best. That outcome was not what the Founding Fathers envisioned for this nation of people and it is certainly not what we as a people should be willing to accept. Certainly fairness has its place in a society of people but you don’t get there using the current approach employed by this president.
When we speak of fairness in this country today, it should focus on the mountain of debt which the federal government is piling up with each passing day. That burden will be passed to our future generations who may well have less opportunity and less means by which to deal with it. Softening that burden can only be accomplished by a reduction in the rate of current spending levels meaning we have to significantly tighten our belt as a country. One step in that direction is a move toward reducing the physical size of government at the federal level. In fairness to the American people, the federal government should demonstrate some fiscal restraint and direction, something which it is devoid of at the present.
This administration wants to use fairness as a pry bar to tear and divide us while extracting votes for the care that it shows. Meanwhile, spending continues with an open checkbook and no plausible budget. In fact, this president and his cronies in Congress do not believe that a budget is a necessary item to the functions of government…simply another obstacle to deal with as we go through this fundamental transformation which will shift our focus from liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness to one of fairness and mediocrity. Think about it, or had you rather end up like Mary?
©Copyright WBrown2012. All Rights Reserved.
13 April 2012