Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Rules Are Made To Be Broken

All my life I've had an aversion to rules. It made for an interesting childhood, as my parents and I butted heads regularly. One of my first memories is visiting my grandparents when I was around 5 or 6. I was poking around in their basement and found a leather harness attached to a short leash. When I asked my grandmother about it, she told me that as a toddler I would run away and do what I wanted, rather than stay close or come back when called. So they got a harness and leash to keep me under control.

I don't like being told what to do and not do. That's one of the reasons I got out of the Army after three years.

Then I got married...

But that's a long story for another day.

At least I came by my aversion to rules and orders naturally. My father would pick and choose which rules he followed. This caused a few problems, especially since he was a career military man. I recall one occasion where he got into trouble for raffling off his paycheck. He made about twice as much from the raffle as the check was worth. This went on for several months before the brass caught wind of it and put a halt to it.

If you think about it, here in America we're historically conditioned to break the rules. After all, our country was founded by a bunch of people who were fed up with the Crown's rules, and decided to go their own way.

I was raised in Texas, which was likewise founded by a bunch of people who didn't like being told what to do. So I'm a victim of both genealogy and culture. I'm not reckless, however. My rule-breaking is governed by a few ... well ... rules.

Maybe a better way to say it is there are guidelines that can help one become a principled scofflaw.

1. Make sure you know what you're doing. We all like to think we're smarter than the average bear, but sometimes there's a good reason for a rule. Like, for example, "Don't Feed the Bears."

This ended badly for the lady in red.

2. Perform a Cost/Benefits Analysis. It doesn't make sense to break a rule if the potential consequences outweigh any benefits you might gain.

3. Be true to yourself. If a rule forces you to act in a way contrary to your values, ethics, or morals, the hell with it. Do what you believe is right.  (Corollary - if breaking the rule would violate your values, ethics, or morals, then behave yourself.)

Last, beware of blindly following the rules. Doing so can lead to situations like the following.

In closing:
Learn rules carefully so you can break them properly.
 -- Anonymous

If you obey all the rules you'll miss all the fun.
 -- Anonymous

Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.
 -- Franklin D Roosevelt quotes

Rules are mostly made to be broken and are too often for the lazy to hide behind.
 -- Douglas MacArthur quotes


Old NFO said...

LOL, "guidelines that can help one become a principled scofflaw"... I LIKE that!

Well Seasoned Fool said...

What are the rules for joining the scofflaw movement? Already a member but would be comforted to know I broke rules when I joined.

CenTexTim said...

NFO - even scofflaws need rules... 😉

WSF - You just broke the rule regarding asking about the rules.