From the school yard to the workplace, there's no charge more
damning than "You're being "unfair" " Born out of democracy and
raised in 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 more 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 showed
our unfair tendencies a little more 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 Tocqueville to Nietzsche, he reveals how we have
confused fairness with more noble traits, like compassion and
open-mindedness. He dismantles a number of seemingly egalitarian
pursuits, from classwide Valentine's Day cards to civil rights, to
reveal the envy that lies at their hearts, going on to prove that
we can still be kind to strangers, have no prejudice, and fight for
equal "opportunity "at the same time we reserve the best of what we
can offer for those dearest to us. Fed up with the
blue-ribbons-for-all absurdity of "fairness" today, and wary of the
psychological paralysis it creates, Asma resets our moral compass
with favoritism as its lodestar, providing a strikingly new and
remarkably positive way to think through all our actions, big and
Watch an animated book trailer here: http:
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