Living in a society that is governed by law Rules and order is something we can proud of. It is essential to able follow established rules in order to facilitate the smooth. Functioning of all the necessary transactions that are part of daily life. It is one of the paradoxes in life that society can become dysfunctional if it does not follow the rules. Life is not as predictable as we would like. One must be flexible.
It is not the same as being lawless. The rule of law guarantees that citizens have the right to access. Certain goods and services, rather than being manipulated by someone in power.
People who have lived in societies with minimal law and order know that even small. Transactions like getting a driver’s license can be very stressful. It’s a lot of going up and coming down buildings, beg people, explaining what should be obvious to them, paying a bribe for a paper stamp, and seeing people who are after you being served because they know this etc.
Many people are homogenized by the law. We live by the motto that “everyone’s equal before the law”. However, in real life we often find ourselves in situations where we need to go beyond the law and apply the rules to accommodate particular people or situations.
Work To Rule
This is something that trade unionists know well. Work-to-rule can be consider an industrial action. Working strictly by the book or according to law can slow down everything and make it unviable.
This is true for society as well. It not only seen as unhealthy, but too many law and order is also perceive as socially dysfunctional. Individuals who follow too many rules can be perceive as rigid and anti-social.
Societies that too driven by law, order, and social control are view as pathological in Western liberal countries. These societies are often associate with dictatorships. We see them as creating rigid individuals who have lost their sense of freedom or creativity.
Liberal education is about finding the right balance between requiring students to follow certain rules and giving them some freedom to think differently. This is crucial to encourage participation and foster creativity. Humanity is dependent on giving and taking.
Rules Too Strictly
People who adhere to rules too strictly often deem anti-social and immoral. A woman was carrying her two children and pushing her pram when she asked a bus driver to help her climb onto the bus. He said it wasn’t part of his job and refused to do so.
The woman was shock and felt entitle to have him violate her rules. The driver notice, and immediately respond by saying that he was not allow to do this. Although the driver was probably following the rules and within his rights, most people on the bus were furious and jumped to help the woman, while others looked disapproval at the driver.
This case shows that, even though we may be passionate about law and order, it is part of our human nature to give others space outside the laws. This allows for some give and take and allows for some flexibility when it is necessary.
However, the example of the bus driver demonstrates that we have the ability to act inhumanly when needed. We can refuse flexibility and deny others the space to meet their needs.
It doesn’t matter if we do it because it’s a deliberate act or because it’s not worth the effort, most of the time we resort to the law to do it. We cover up our excess legality.
Two Sets Of Rules In History
This excessive legality can be random and unpredictable, but it is more consistent and structural when we look at the history of Western colonialism or racism. We see a pattern in the history of social interactions where Westerners demand that their racialised friends and family follow the law to the letter. They do not expect it in their interactions with one another.
This is the most visible space for airport security today, be it in paper screening or the extra-meticulous random search to which some are subject.
There still the classic occurrence in government departments, where a person of colour told that a document that she forgot absolutely essential for a transaction to be complete. A simple Sorry I forgot this paper can be enough to get by another person.