impartiality Various *ideologies—including some *religions, *animal *rightists, and the *politically correct—interpret partial treatment as
in some way inherently immoral and unjust. It is true that *morality and *justice
require a form of impartiality. But the sense in which they do is that any such
rules must be applied without any bias that flouts the rules themselves. Thus
if the rule is that theft is wrong or unjust, then one cannot consistently make
exceptions such as for oneself or for an *organization
such as the *state. Pure impartiality, as
with pure *toleration, makes no sense:
one must first have a rule or principle toward which one is partial. And all
rules *discriminate in some way, so
discrimination cannot be inherently unjust or immoral unless there are to be no
rules (which risks falling into paradox: a rule against rules).

For instance, to hold that
it is immoral to kill *persons but not immoral to
kill non-persons (including other animals) does not flout moral impartiality
despite being partial to persons. Nor does impartiality as such require that,
1) there be *objective criteria for
differences in treatment, 2) all persons are treated as *equals in any way, or 3) any differences in their
treatment must be deserved. I may simply choose to favour someone with
something that he does not deserve (my patronage, a gift, a job, or whatever)
without thereby being immoral or unjust. In fact, being partial to some, such
as family and friends, can be morally admirable and even a *duty.

See *fairness; *prejudice.

A Dictionary of Libertarianism