Rules Are Meant To Be…

When do rules apply to you?

Hi Laurie

A real depth of issue here.

Clearly, from the perspective of the legal system, laws are there to be obeyed.

Clearly, I don’t see it quite that way.

Having spent over 40 years creating rule based systems for computers, and almost as long deeply engaged in the legal system of creating and administering law, I am left with a confidence that no rule based system can work for the community good all the time.

The more rules you give people, the less people think about what they are doing, and just follow the rules – often with very sub-optimal outcomes.

I am all for getting people to think for themselves, to trust their own judgements, and to act in fundamentally cooperative ways towards everyone else. And the law wont necessarily see it like that.

And I see it as a matter of personal integrity to act in ways that are in the long term best interests of everyone, irrespective of what the law might have to say about any specific action.

And it can be a very complex set of issues.

I have liked the quote from Douglas Bader ever since I first heard it about 55 years ago “Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools” – and I believe it predates him by a substantial margin.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
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