If a kid has 2 ice cream cones, should he give one to his fellow? What’s “fair”?
Here’s the catch: there are 2 types of fairness–moral and ethical.1Given that the kid doesn’t associate with his fellow.If the kid keeps both cones to himself, it’s morally good.2He’s maximizing his own pleasure.
If the kid gives one to his fellow, it’s ethically good.32 people having 1 cone each gives more total (societal) pleasure.
The word “deserve” is somewhat nonsensical; nobody absolutely deserves anything.4“Deserving” is a narrative concept.It’s a preference; “fairness” is a preference.
Justice is the Middle Ground
Ideally, we want to maximize both moral/ethical good.
But, we live in a society. We must find some middle ground. If we pick one or the other, society falls apart; injustice creates conflict.
Injustice → Conflict
If you have a society, where everyone only cares about themselves, you don’t really have a society. It’s gonna be a mass free-for-all battleground. Inequality promotes crime–that’s a fact.5I’m preeetty sure. If not, let me know.
On the other hand…if you have a society, where everyone is forced to be completely equal6which is theoretically maximally ethical (in the short term), society loses its point. People will retaliate against the society…or leave.
And…of course, you can have neither: few people stealing/keeping everything for themselves.
Justice is heavily dependent on the moral sentiments across the society.
In a tight7“socialist”society, where people associate with each other more, justice sounds more like ethics.
In a loose8“libertarian”society, justice sounds more like morality.
This also holds true with sympathy: if the majority of members feel(think) that “x” is (not) justice, then “x” is (not) justice. Consensus9tacit or notis justice because it satisfies both morality & ethics.
(The reason why it depends on feelings more than reason is that the majority of people, especially historically, make judgements that way.)
Most people have sympathy toward dogs. Hence, we’ve banned dog abuse; it’s not “directly” ethical10because dogs aren’t members of any human societies, but it’s collectively moral.
Questions & comments are welcome!