When it comes to rules there are some that should be followed and some that shouldn’t, people who follow the rules to the word and people who always break the rules, and people who enforce the rules strictly along with those who don’t at all. I have a certain philosophy concerning rules in general, and that is how I determine what the importance of a particular rule is.
The validity of rules is all about the reason behind them. If there is a valid reason behind them, then obviously they should be followed. If there is not a good reason for the rule, then breaking it is not that bad. For example, when a parent gives their child the rule of don’t lie, the reason behind it is usually to not cause harm or damage by not telling the truth. Lying about cheating on a test is bad because it causes harm to the validity of your grades and tries to prevent that from being discovered. However, if you have to tell a lie to save someone’s life, than you are actually doing more harm by not lying. Therefore, not only are rules good or bad based on their reasons, the same rule could be good or bad based on the context of the situation.
Another example arises from the Bible. God gave the ten commandments to be followed with the underlying reason of simply loving Him and loving other people. Many people who followed these rules to the exact word were able to do without loving their neighbors. Therefore, Jesus had to come to Earth and explain to everyone what the point of the ten commandments was. I also got into a conversation regarding another rule from the Bible about not getting drunk. My argument was that getting drunk is not bad as long as you are not causing harm to anyone else or yourself. The opposing argument was that getting drunk makes you more likely to make bad decisions. The problem behind this is that you are making a rule based on a hypothetical. There are plenty of situations where you can get drunk and have a fun time without making bad decisions. The people I was arguing with made the assumption that getting drunk automatically leads to bad decisions.
In general, rules are put in place for good reasons, but there are always exceptions, interpretations, and situations where rules need to be broken. You have to assess what the best possible outcome is when faced with whether or not to break a rule. The same thing goes for enforcing rules. The police officers at Bryant could choose to strictly enforce the underage drinking laws on campus, but this most likely means people will leave campus to drink and that will increase the risk of drunk driving and accidents. It’s all about the greater good.
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