Justice and Loyalty — Searching for Fairness

Sep 25, 2016 Posted Under: philosophy

All our political systems started out as searches for the best leaders, and fairness in apportionment of resources. The best hunt organizer would easily become the hunting band’s leader, and his authority would undoubtedly prevail in the sharing of the spoils.

And similarly with leaders in other areas of expertise. Until one didn’t share the profits equitably — then the cry of UNFAIR would be raised. Thus is born a political system: a method of balancing competing interests.

The search for fairness quickly overburdens the leader, generating a codification of conflict resolutions, a justice system. But these shortcut prescriptions for fairness aren’t quite right often enough that a jury system is interposed on the laws.

And that’s the best approximation of fairness we can do, but we keep trying other shortcut prescriptions, telling each other stories of loyalties which prevailed in some case or other.

So we get proposed (and imposed) loyalties to our own spouse, family, club, gang, company, department, sports team, military unit, city, state, country, religion, political party or other set of beliefs, in various unpalatable and unworkable orders. None of these shortcuts to fairness have the benefit of the situational wisdom of juries though, and so end up being more easily gamed in favor of one participant or another.

The election process is supposed to be the jury system for sorting loyalties, but it’s not fine-grained enough to do the job.  We need to redesign elections.  Who’s up for the task?

In the meantime, I propose being loyal only to oneself, and to the notion of fairness.

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