Life’s Not Fair? Prove It.

Life isn’t fair.

Point out an ingrained disparity in a system? Somebody tells you “Life’s not fair.” Lament the fact that not everyone gets an even break? “Life’s not fair.” Stand up for yourself when you have not been treated in a way you deserve? “Life’s not fair.”

Well, I am taking it upon myself to make a declaration so audacious that medication will no doubt be suggested by some. But I am Too XYZ to cater to that fear. So here it is. You read it here first.

As a concept, “Life isn’t fair” is hereby officially bullshit.

That’s right. I refuse to buy into any more. I’ve had it. I will not longer accept it as an argument, or counterargument to anything anywhere. It is a tired, wittless response to the problems we face in life, utilized by the lazy, the unintelligent and the weak. A cop-out for status-quo fetishists.

The whole notion of “life isn’t fair” has contributed to more abandoned dreams, unnecessary oppressions, institutionalized discrimination and all out poor mental health than just about any other phrase and concept. And I am calling it out here and now.

Life is a broad, nebulous thing. Unfathomable numbers of variables play into how “life” unfolds. Neither fairness nor unfairness enters into it. Life is life. The events in our lives can sometimes be random, and it can take us a while to process them. If we ever do. And certain random events can be painful, of course, just as certain random events can be fortuitous. But that is not a matter of fairness. We can rise above these things, but to declare that life itself is unfair really is no more logical than to declare that it is.

A law that is wrong. A hiring practice that is discriminatory. An individual being denied a chance that others have been given despite being of equal value. These are all concepts that have the potential to be truly unfair. Situations that need to be addressed by those involved in them. Things that can be rectified. Yet they are allowed to go unchecked with a staggering frequency because a wise-ass here and there repeatedly and loudly pontificates,  “Life’s not fair.” Or its cousin, “That’s life.

What such people are really saying is, “this wrong is so entrenched into this system that it would require work to correct it. I am not going to put forth any effort, time, knowledge, or energy to begin correcting it, because after all, it hasn’t affected me. And even if it does affect me , I’ll try unsuccessfully to convince myself what a big person I am by sucking it up.

Think about it. Such people actually shoe horn the supposed meaning and universal qualities of life itself to make an argument against action! When you ponder this for a while it’s quite stupefying. To justify one’s lack of commitment to change by pinning one’s opinion to the (perceived) mechanics of the entire known universe?

Really? I mean, really??

There are problems one individual has no hope of solving. A Middle East Peace. A cure for AIDS. Legions of people have been unable to solve such things over decades of trying. But they have been trying. And legions are nothing but an accumulation of individuals who decided not to wave the white flag of  “life’s not fair.

Okay, so you are not a member of one of those legions. You can join legions of people working to correct something else. Maybe something as big as AIDS, or maybe something as “small” as starting a neighborhood watch group to enforce city noise ordinances so that everybody in town can get a better night’s sleep. (My town could use this.)

Or forget legions. You can act as an individual agent for fairness. Is there something at your job that you know is unfair? A policy that works against a whole group? A schedule that favors some over others? A hiring practice that fails to give dignity to applicants? Whatever it is, speak out against it. Write about it. Expose it. In extreme cases, whistle blow. If you honestly believe a certain policy is fair, than so be it. But if you do not believe it’s fair, do something.

Even if in the end the policy/law/opinion continues unabated, you will at least have made an effort to address an unfairness. And it is by exposing and addressing an unfairness in your everyday life that change will happen. Not by yielding to every wrong you personally encounter because as a concept “life isn’t fair” and everything has to be accepted as is.

Keep hiding behind “life isn’t fair”, and you are likely going to wake up one day all alone, because you can’t be trusted, don’t have compassion, and won’t go out of your way to help anybody that crosses your path because of some lame-brained notion that nothing makes any difference in the long run. You’ll have your own money, or success, or whatever it is you stepped on people to get while waving the “life’s not fair” mantra, but you won’t mean a damn thing to anyone anywhere. And if you want that, okay. But if you have any notion of wanting to belong to anything anywhere, you’ll have to drop the “life’s not fair” approach. Otherwise, you will have contributed more heat than light to anything, and those around you will judge you accordingly.

Which would only be fair, if you ask me.


  1. Hear hear!

    I agree with this the older I get. I hear the “life isn't fair” example often…and on top of that, I've been guilty of using it in my dark hours. But if you don't dust yourself off, and make some changes life is going to continue to be “unfair”. We reap what we sow, to put it in a rather cliche manner. Thanks for speaking out about the pacifism that often overtakes 🙂

  2. Interesting as the older I get, the less I hear, “Life's not fair”. I do agree with everything you've written above; and would put another 'cousin' in this category…when people say, “shit happens”. Another COP OUT when someone does not want to give someone an explanation about something. Similar to when someone says, “life's not fair” is a cop out as you've pointed out so eloquently above.

    Anyone who thinks you should go on meds for making this audacious statement are the same people who say, “life's not fair”. They are the ones on meds who are so medicated they can't even SEE what they're doing is counter to having a reason to live.

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