Morality, Fairness and Politics

Following up on my last post about morality and religion, I find it interesting that the election campaign rhetoric on both sides has started to include morality as an issue.  Wow! Of course, it doesn’t manifest clearly in the daily cycle of campaign attack and defense, but there is a moral undertow to it in the sense that the issues of fairness and trust are, at last, being invoked.

For example, people are now asking whether or not markets should be left unfettered when the outcomes are, by any standards, palpably unfair.  Even if the economic case for not taxing the rich at the same rate as the rest of us can be made (which I doubt), or that the debt problem can only be solved by cutting spending on programs (but not defense), without any increase in taxes, people are asking why the politicians of both parties seem not to be willing to see this, in their own interests, as a fairness issue as well as an economic one.  (For me, fairness is primarily a spiritual issue.)

When people feel they are being treated unfairly and discriminated against, they become cynical to the point where they lose trust in the democratic process.  And that leads to anger and resentment which one day is going to blow up.  Look at what is happening in Europe. The middle class is in total rebellion about being the ones to take the brunt of the austerity programs while the rich make a sport out of not paying taxes.  Fairness can become a explosive issue here too, so be prepared!

Where do you stand on the issue of fairness?  Where do you put fairness in relation to other values like individual freedom, integrity, honesty and so on?  How important is it to you as a principle that guides you in how you think people should be treated?  Comments invited.