Most talk of redistribution and fairness strikes me this way. Obviously, most people lack the self-awareness to recognize this even when it perfectly encapsulates their revealed preferences.
For instance, the very smart tend to want raw intelligence to be a big part of the metric according to which society hands out its goodies. They call it meritocracy. There are certainly arguments of efficiency, but there's no moral reason why, for instance, someone with a 3 sigma IQ and a 0 sigma level of physical development should be favored over someone with 2 sigma IQ and 1 sigma of physical development for spots at say, Harvard. Those who have the power to do so or control over the cultural battlespace get to define the formula and then afterwards we all are expected to pretend that it is henceforth sacred.
But back to redistribution. Few of us would deny that height, for instance carries significant perks. I've benefited quite a bit from my own. But when someone proposes something like this:
We all get apoplexy. Or, God forbid
someone suggest that sexual access is an acceptable avenue for redistribution. Despite the fact, of course, that redistributing status does also in fact redistribute sexual access, since social status is catnip for neurotypical women.
Now, I'm not going to say that redistribution is inherently evil. I'm terribly uncomfortable with calling all or mostly everyone evil after all---call it humility if you like, or simply a reluctance to expand words such that they become useless for prediction or categorization. Instead, let's call it what it is---attempts to aggrandize the status of groups, generally at the expense of other groups, since status is generally a zero-sum game. Practically by definition, someone must ride in the back of the bus. Even if we outlaw sitting in the last 2 seats, that won't matter, because we'll define the next rearmost seats as, 'the back of the bus'. We do that because it is our nature as human beings, and I have neither the belief that I or anyone else can perfect or fundamentally change them nor the belief that I have the right to do so. I do believe that there is someone who DOES, but that's a matter for one of my more theological posts. Suffice it to say that for efforts of such redistribution, go ahead and try however you like, but please don't attempt to wrap what you're doing in moral language or a veil of righteousness. You've got no more standing than the two absurdities I've linked morally. Most advantages, after all, have very little that is actually 'earned' about them, including the ones that the redistributionist actually favors.
Smoke Without Fire
2 days ago