The nationalization of fairness and decency

From Bruce Charlton, quoting Kalb:

Recent moral progress is an illusion.

What has happened, in effect, is that fairness and decency have been turned into nationalized industries.

Instead of people having to treat each other decently, each does what he wishes and society at large is expected to provide the decency.

From the standpoint of the managerial state, which even mainstream conservatives have come to adopt, the consequence is that fairness and decency have finally come into their own.

The actual consequences have been those common to all nationalized industries: inputs have shot up, while outputs have dropped in quantity and still more in quality.

Petty tyrants get cushy jobs as economic planners or diversity consultants while the people suffer from crime and abusive conduct. Things no one cares about like celebrations of diversity are overproduced while things desperately needed like integrity and trust are impossible to find.

Why should nationalization work better in the case of something as hard to force and easy to fake as fairness and decency than it does in the production of shoes?


14 comments for “The nationalization of fairness and decency

  1. June 20, 2011 at 7:55 am


  2. Lord T
    June 20, 2011 at 10:00 am

    When we delegate anything to someone else we pat ourselves on the back and do only what is mandated ourselves. Many rebels won’t even do that.

    Society as a whole loses out and the people at the top think that because it is enshrined in law it makes us a caring society. In fact it makes us the opposite. We assume someone from central office else will do it so we do not need to bother.

    Like everything government touches they have screwed this up as well. It will be a long time before we get back to a really moral society. In fact it may never happen in our lifetimes.

    • June 21, 2011 at 5:32 am

      I really can’t see it happening in mine. In fact, the process seems to be speeding towards a far worse state than the current one.

  3. June 20, 2011 at 11:31 am


  4. June 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Nonsense. Hands up those who think they’ve lost their fairness and decency to this imaginary industry.

  5. LordT
    June 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    The people reading these posts may not put their hands up but you can be sure that there are people out there who should. You just have to look at the youth of today. Stabbing people because the look at them wrong and they feel dissed (whatever that means)

    Fairness and decency is sadly lacking today in many aspects of our society and people expect action from our government. Who btw encourage this by legislating against fairness and decency.

    • PPS
      June 21, 2011 at 9:53 am

      dissed = disrespected, abused, insulted.

      • Lord T
        June 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm

        Ah! Thank you.

        Are you sure it is just that? It seems you can get dissed by someone looking at you? Or is it just looking at someone is seen as abusing them now?

        What a society we have become.

  6. LJ Hills
    June 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Until the populace stops demanding that the state “do something” every time something unpleasant happens and rewards politicians, who respond with disproprtionate “initiatives” (eg CRB checks for everyone within touching distance of a child, health&safety for every activity, fill in your favourite bugbear); until the state stops penalising everyone who uses their initiative (by disciplining a child, apprehending a miscreant, defending property) and shortcircuits social services, the police, whoever whose livelihood is to implement aforesaid laws, we remain infantilised, impotent and unable to function responsibly. Fairness and decency are not rewarded and until they are, they will remain in short supply. We cannot afford either morally or financially to contract ethical behaviour out to the state.

    • admin
      June 20, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      That’s a quote I simply have to have. Completely agree.

      • June 21, 2011 at 5:32 am


        • Maaarrghk!
          June 21, 2011 at 6:31 am

          Yup. Anti-smacking nuttery and the “I don’t want to get involved” mentality have a lot to answer for.

          • Lord T
            June 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm

            Well the “I don’t want to get involved” are increasing exponentially as getting involved puts you at odds with the state and you get a criminal record because of it.

            Unless it is me or mine, or perhaps a kid or something I feel strongly enough about then I’m keeping well out of everything.

  7. June 20, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    The only ‘fairness’ and ‘decency’ you get in this life are what you make for yourself. Of course if you don’t have these two qualities within you, you’re pretty much backing a losing horse asking them from others.

    Asking for the ‘state’ to deliver on these fronts is simply an invitation for the lawyers to concoct ever more restrictive rule sets. As the man says, this approach is a godsend to more ‘petty tyrants’ whose motivation is ‘compliance’ and a monthly salary. 😐

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