What determines value? More importantly, who judges worth? Is productivity the paradigmatic construct of comparative analysis? For, in order to assess the greater advantage of X over Y, some methodology of an objective basis should be applied in devaluing one as opposed to appointing the other as the beneficial contestant of an evaluative conclusion; or can we just arbitrarily gauge one over the other based upon personal preferences?
Rawls has variously pointed out that we can be just as “reasoned” in our conclusions by applying a consistent model of application in the social justice arena — for example, we may decide to execute all people discovered on the East end of town who are left-handed with brown-eyes on every third Sunday of odd-numbered months, and exonerate those in the same part of town who are right-handed on every fifth Tuesday of every other year. That is an arbitrary absurdity, one might declare, and one which fails to abide by the “rules of justice” as we know them.
Further, to diminish the value of one group based upon superficial concerns, while granting clemency to another based upon an equally unaccounted for basis, is to defy an objective application of fairness. But if such rules are implemented by an authoritarian figure who possesses confidential information that an underworld bevy of dangerous criminals gather to conspire at the East end of town every third Sunday of odd-numbered months, and that all of the leaders of the group happen to be left-handed; and, further, that loyal patriots who are often mistaken for those same criminals likewise meet to fight against the known dangerous elements on every fifth Tuesday of alternate years, and who happen to be right-handed, would one’s judgment be different with this new information?
Certainly, the application of justice would be consistent, and there is a rationality of purpose behind it, now. What changed the judgment of value? Or, have we now altered the definition of the concept, like a metamorphosis of the linguistic caterpillar that, overnight, became a beautiful butterfly fluttering against the winds of historical change?
For Federal employees and U.S. Postal workers who are considering filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal or Postal employee is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, the concept of a worthwhile life often attaches itself to the level of productivity one believes one is capable of, and the capacity for which diminishment reflected in a self-image of mistaken belief is that by which it is justified.
Be wary of making decisions based upon what others have deemed to be as the paradigmatic definition of the worthwhile life; it may be that one’s own judgment is as arbitrary and devoid of substantive content as the misbelief that most of us have of the pasture being greener in the neighbor’s yard.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire