Focus Point - Fairness Goes Too Far

Commentary by Pete du Pont
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. In 1995, attorney Phillip K. Howard introduced a note of sanity into the public discourse with a book called "The Death of Common Sense." Things haven't improved much since then, so he's back with "The Lost Art of Drawing The Line: How Fairness Went Too Far."

What's happened, he argues, is that our notions of fairness - an admirable virtue - mutated into fear of taking responsibility for our actions. The fear of being sued has so penetrated every depth of society that it has had the effect of doing away with initiative and common sense. Schools especially suffer because principals can't get rid of bad teachers. Courts have, in effect, made every greivance respectable - no matter how specious - because judges refuse to instruct juries that a complaint is nonsense. We refuse to be "judgmental" - thus giving any action or point of view equal weight, even when we know it's ridiculous, harmful or idiotic.

Howard's book, if nothing else, could remind us how to think for ourselves.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you next time.