Modern liberalism is built on the principle of equality and its corollary, the principle of fairness (treating equals equally). But have we taken the...

Modern liberalism is built on the principle of equality and its corollary, the principle of fairness (treating equals equally). But have we taken the one and the other too far? Are we deceiving ourselves about our ability to treat each others equally, that is, to be “fair?” In his provocative new book Against Fairness (University of Chicago, 2013), Stephen T. Asma makes the case that we have indeed become kind of fairness-mad, and that this madness has led us all to be (at best) hypocrites and (at worst) harmful to ourselves and others. Asma says we should temper our (Western) notion of fairness with one that looks at the causes and benefits of favoritism realistically, and even sympathetically.

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