Irrational - Definition: from the Free Online Dictionary
a. Not endowed with reason.
b. Affected by loss of usual or normal mental clarity; incoherent, as from shock.
c. Marked by a lack of accord with reason or sound judgment: an irrational dislike.
When is unfairness and injustice irrational?
Deliberately Targeted Injustice Based Upon Error of Fact
Government lawmaking and wider policymaking can be founded upon irrational reasoning that is based upon either an error of fact or else a fallacious premise. The 20th century racist segregation policies of South Africa and the USA are good examples, because they caused injustice to people on the basis of the error of fact that people born of different skin tone are a different ‘race’ to those who appear to be white European and are so fundamentally distinct in nature that intermarriage and less intimate social mixing was outlawed. Hence, anyone who could not pass as white European was forbidden by law from mixing with white people in terms of such things as sharing schooling, drinking fountains, bus seats, bars and clubs of all kinds and restaurants. This was justified in terms of either the erroneous belief that that these imagined ‘race’ differences were real or else that so many people were convinced that the differences were real that keeping the so called ‘races’ separate by law was necessary to preserve the general peace.
Deliberately Targeted Injustice Implemented Without Explanation by Refusal to Admit and Discuss Unjust Treatment of Target Group
Frankfurt (2007:84) proposes that: “The heart of rationality is to be consistent; and being consistent in action or thought, entails at least proceeding so as not to defeat oneself”. Targeted injustice can be self-defeating when it is implemented by democratically elected governments because it is likely to have repercussions in terms of how targeted individuals and targeted communities feel about their stake in conformity to society. Moreover if the unjustly targeted group are a significant segment of the voting public then it will have re-election repercussions. Democratically elected governments that deliberately target one sector of the voting public for unjustly unequal treatment and then refuse to discuss the impact upon the 'victims' of such targeted injustice by stonewalling and obfuscating are refusing to rationalise their policymaking. Elected politicians who refuse to explain why they have deliberately designed unjust policies to impact upon one particular group are behaving like draconian political dictators and should be challenged by the media, academia and wider public accordingly, because failure to account for clearly identifiable unequally unjust actions is democratically irrational in Western democratic politics. And here I mean that it is irrational in the sense that it is marked by a failure to accord with reason or sound judgement. In fact, it appears to be based upon an irrational dislike of the victims of the targeted injustice.
One such example of political dysology is British Prime Minister David Cameron’s 2013 unjustly unequal taxation treatment of some families and his governments outright refusal to answer questions about the personal impact of this injustice upon its victims, or to admit that it is unjust. From January 2013, in the UK, a single wage earning household with children loses all child benefit payments to which the family was eligible if the sole wage earner's salary is above £60,000 per annum. And yet a dual wage earning household (e.g. each partner earning £50,000 per year) with an annual income totalling £100,000 is permitted to receive full child benefit allowance.
You can read more about this particular case of targeted injustice over at my Best Thinking blog by clicking here and from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, who estimate that 880,000 families will be hit by this targetted injustice: here
Frankfurt, H.G. (2007) On Truth. London. Pimlico