This is a fascinating question being asked in The Guardian. Should we be trying to aim for overall system fairness or should we be looking for fairness – perhaps the protection of the rights of – the one individual? Should the system of female sport be fair or should we concentrate upon the rights of and fairness to Caster Semenya?
Is fair play in running more important than fairness to Caster Semenya as a human?
What makes it such an interesting question is that the left’s answer to most such questions would be obvious. Doesn’t matter about the rights of the individual capitalist or bourgeois, kill or eliminate them as a class so that the system be fair. Who the hell worries about the rights of the baby when Mum decides she’d rather abort? 98% tax rates would strike may who have to pay them as unfair, unrighteous, but we’ve many shrieking they must be paid in order to gain that societal fairness.
Semenya’s case has now seemingly run its legal course, but the debate it started has not. Letting an athlete compete with too much of an inbuilt biological advantage feels unfair to their rivals; stopping someone competing as the woman she naturally is feels monumentally unfair to her. There is no way of resolving the moral dilemma without someone ending up wronged. And while this time it has seemingly been resolved by backing the welfare of a majority over the welfare of one individual, that indisputably leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. Running is so very clearly what Semenya excels at, athletics the one arena in which a body for which she has been so cruelly ridiculed worked gloriously in her favour. If fair play has in any sense been restored to athletics, it’s hard to shake the sense that something important has been lost.
It’s the difference in answers that interests, isn’t it?