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Food for Thought: Moral Indifference

The Devil's cleverist wile is to convice us that he does not exist.

Baudeliare

 

…Take for example the popular myth that people get what they deserve….The myth of fairness or justice is reinforced by countless stories of people ascending from rags to riches through virtue, hard work and perseverance. We want the world to be fair, and the myth of fairness perfectly fills our deepest desires….

The myth of just rewards when used a model for interpreting social experience is an exemplary myth of indifference. On the level of seeing, the myth of just rewards simply tells us “how things are.” It tells us that some people are poorer than others and that the distinction between rich and poor is merited and fair. Through the auspices of the myth, we presume the world is fair and that large discrepancies between rich and poor are natural in the same way that the sky is blue. As a consequence, we seldom question or see the contribution of luck, malice, genetics and social structures either to the failures of others or to our own success. Schooled on the old fable of the ant and the grasshopper and its many successors, the myth of fairness and justice encourages and legitimizes social indifference. We see the is-ness of poverty, but we fail to see the discrepancy between things as they are and things as they might or ought to be…

S. Dennis Ford, Sins of Omission: A Primer on Moral Indifference

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