Fairness Versus Opportunity

Michael Medved

2/1/2012 2:40:00 PM - Michael Medved


In a video message to campaign workers, President Obama promised an economy that “works for everyone, not just a wealthy few.” He also warned that his opponents sought to move “toward less opportunity and less fairness.” Apparently, calls for “fairness” will be the hallmark of his re-election bid, as if someone else led the country during the last three years of dysfunction.


Actually, the claim that fairness and opportunity go together is deeply misleading: history shows that governmental activism to manage the economy and redistribute wealth reduces opportunity rather than increasing it. An opportunity society means that each family wins rewards according to its own ability and hard work, so the results won’t be equal—and may not look fair. But any other system guaranteeing similar benefits regardless of effort or productivity is, inevitably, even less just.