Social Problems – Part 6
Disregarding the Rules
Rescinding rules is one thing, it takes time, and during that time people on each side to have a chance to defend their positions. Blatant disregard for rules is an entirely different matter. It skips the debate process altogether and encourages others to disobey the rules, even though they would never even think of doing such a thing on their own. It can bring about devastation so rapidly that no one has time to react. I personally have firsthand experience with this.
When I was in eighth grade, we had a school store of sorts, to raise money for our class trip. One day, my buddy and I were running the “store” which consisted of a folding table set up in the hallway during lunchtime. Our inventory consisted of school supplies, homemade baked goods, and one-dollar candy bars. (Which were pretty good sized back in 1976.)
It was just about the time that those bi-centennial quarters were coming into circulation, and I had not yet seen one. I mentioned this to my buddy, and he looked at me like I was stupid and said, “Are you kidding me? They’re all over! I’ll bet you a dollar there’s one in the till right now!” I took the bet, even though I was flat broke at the time, because I was entirely confident that there would be none. Guess what? There were several of them in there. Suddenly, my classmate wasn’t such a good buddy anymore and demanded immediate payment. Being resourceful, I suggested he just take one of the candy bars and I would stick a dollar in the till the next day. He was OK with that, but that day just happened to be a Friday and by Monday I had forgotten to bring a dollar to repay the store.
A dollar was a lot of money for a kid back then, and I figured that as long as I had gotten away with it so far, I’d just let it slide. I would have never stolen money directly out of the till, but somehow defaulting on an unauthorized loan did not seem as bad. This got my buddy thinking that maybe he should take out a few such “loans”. The problem was, that he was no more creditworthy than I, and soon other kids with equally bad credit ratings got the same idea. This decimated the fund raising effort for our class trip. Some kids go to Washington D.C. for a class trip. We went to Prairie Du Chien, WI.
About that same time, some boys in my brother’s class smashed the windows out of all the cars on one street in a neighborhood. The police quickly apprehended them, and when one of the boys was asked, “What could possibly bring you to smash all those windows out of all those cars?” his response was, “After the first one, it was easy.”
Since it has been proven that government spending is not the answer to all problems, especially social problems, I can see no other alternative but to return to the codes of moral conduct that we used to have. This will not happen immediately, but we must all encourage it. A lot of people may not like this, but problem solving is rarely an activity that people like.