On my real-me Facebook page, I posted a story about another miscarriage of justice against a male university student, this time at USC. My comment was that those of my friends who have sons who are or will be attending university will want to be aware of what’s going on so that they can address it with their sons.
One of my acquaintances who has a gay son wrote a comment that, while I’m not quoting her verbatim, read something like this: Save your sympathy. These guys don’t deserve it because for decades universities ignored women who complained about things. Rape culture. Turnabout is fair play. (It’s important to add that, after making that callous pronouncement, this woman went on to say something with which we can all agree, which is that universities shouldn’t be sticking their noses in student’s sex lives. If there’s a crime, it’s a police matter; if there’s no crime, it’s no one’s business but the participants’.)
My friend’s “two wrongs make a right” statement got me thinking about “fairness” and “justice.” Fairness demands that everyone be treated exactly the same. We can achieve that up to a point, of course. Equal access to opportunities and water fountains dictates that everyone gets the same treatment.
The problem, always, is that the Left wants equal outcomes, rather than equal opportunities and creates increasingly arbitrary and overreaching definitions of “fair” in order to achieve that goal. Thus, they invoke victim classes, allowing them to argue that, if 150 years ago Victim Class A suffered at the hands of Perpetrator Class B, it’s only fair for Perpetrator Class B to suffer as well today — never mind that the original members of that class have been mouldering in their graves for decades or even centuries.
Justice is a different animal entirely. It places upon each of us the obligation to treat with justice and morality every situation in the here and now, without regard to history or larger trends. John Adams understood that. It’s why, after the Boston Massacre, he represented the British troops, a very unpopular thing to have done. To him, the fact that the British government was generally oppressing the American colonies did not remove from him the moral obligation to ensure that individual British soldiers saw justice served in a court of law.
The just person says that young men now — young men without any major cultural sins on their souls — are entitled to equal treatment under the law, regardless of what men did long before today’s youth were born. Leftist fairness, however, says that all men are guilty forever for what men have done in the past, making it entirely reasonable and fair for succeeding generations of young men to suffer eternal damnation at the hands of a vengeful system.