Is Life Fair?

There are several clichés that suggest that if you simply apply yourself, things will work out in the end. Determination, hard work, and a little bit of confidence will lead to a positive outcome. The universe is a fair place.

The early bird gets the worm. Life is 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration. All in a day’s work. Luck is the residue of hard work and design.

Believing in these sayings would imply that the universe is a fair place. Good behavior will be rewarded, while bad behavior will be punished.

But is that true? There are instances where bad behavior is rewarded, and when good behavior is punished. History is filled with examples of violence, exploitation, bigotry, and greed. There are many historical (and current!) figures that have benefited from unethical behavior.

Of course, there are also many examples of people who have acted in the common good. There are also plenty of people who have been rewarded, both financially as well as with public adoration, for hard work or generosity.

So instead of a fair, just universe, wouldn’t that suggest that life is largely luck? Good and bad things can happen to good and bad people. Life is a series of random events, and trying to predict what will happen in the future is tremendously difficult.

Or maybe the universe does indeed reward grit and determination. Not in every single case, surely, but perhaps as a general rule. Clichés become clichés for a reason — they may very well be good rules to follow.

Or to ask a simple question: Is life fair?

Related questions: Is it a cruel world? How has luck shaped your life? Is it fair to judge the past with morals of today?


What Do You Think About Facebook?

Facebook is one of the most influential companies of the last several decades. It has obviously been very successful in growing viewership, but there is plenty of controversy surrounding it as well.

Do you think it is overall a benefit or a detriment to society?

Share why if you wish.

Is It Fair To Judge The Past With Morals Of Today?

If you look closely enough at any beloved historic figure, you can probably find some flaws. With some, you don’t even need to look all that closely.

For example, let’s consider U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt. He saw the United States through the Great Depression and instituted some revolutionary programs, like Social Security. However, he also was responsible for the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

It is relatively easy to look back at injustices in history and harshly judge the people making the decisions that led to those injustices.

But is that fair? Those people were a product of their times. Prevailing public opinion changes over time, and things that are seen as acceptable at one time in history may not be in another time.

To return to Roosevelt, his decision to round up American citizens can today been seen as obviously wrong. However, at the time the decision was made, the U.S. had just suffered the attack of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, and it was determined that Japanese spies within the U.S. provided information for the attack. National security was at stake.

Or is any effort to explain negative behavior just an effort in moral relativism? Are there things that are simply right or wrong, and any human being should be able to tell the difference? Or is morality something that shifts and changes over time? Or perhaps there is a mix of some moral absolutes, and some morality that evolves.

Is it fair to judge the past with morals of today?

Thanks go out to Harold Helson, for suggesting the question.

Related questions: What do you do that you shouldn’t? When is a lie justified? What beliefs do you have that might be wrong? What is truth?