Professor Mondo has a recent post on a topic of particular interest to me: our disparate underlying conceptions of the meaning of “fairness.” (The Professor and I also share an appreciation of Richard Weaver.) One particularly good point:
But both sides will cheerfully claim the mantle of fairness for their goals. As the two definitions don’t really seem compatible, it seems like somebody’s misusing the word. An interesting question (to me, anyway) becomes not so much the definition the rhetor is using (as the emotional impact of the God-term supersedes the denotation, in many cases), but the definition held by the rhetor’s audience. The question then becomes one of which side is using the word fair in a counterintuitive (not to say disingenuous) manner for the larger audience.