DSM: Re: the need for rules

Wed, 7 Mar 2001 14:31:17 EST

This is Robert Murphy from Cedarwood.

I am responding to John Axtell ( who was responding to Marko Koskinen) as
quoted below.

> But if somebody/something (community) gives itself the right to punish
> that person for what s/he did, then it becomes a moral issue.

>>The right to punish a person has, in my philosophy, noting to do with
morality but
>>with power. . .

>>. . .As you design your school I suggest you ask just how many "rules" you
really need.
>>God only needed to make 10. It may be because people choose not to obey
those 10 they
>>perceive the need for millions :)
>>In developing policy and guidelines for our school I have found the need
for a
>>minimum of rules. In fact almost everything I write empowers people and
>>them to do something - not prevent them from doing something.
>>I have been writing policy for over 30 years and I normally find that the
best policy
>>expands people's visions while limiting them from getting themselves, or
others, into
>>dangerous areas without proper review. After all the only reason to have
policy is to
>>have a set of parameters within which to freely operate and then know when
to call a
>>meeting of the appropriate individuals when you need to violate the policy.
>>John Axtell >>



I admit I 'm a bit of a bureaucrat, so there's my bias. So, I agree that a
great many of the rules that spring up around here are about empowering
people (individuals, clerks, committees, corporations. . .) to undertake
certain activities, while preserving oversight at the School Meeting level -
which keeps access to the regulation these activities within everyone's
reach. But, I disagree with what seems to be a negative value you place on
rules ("the fewer the better".)

See Free at Last, Chapter 12, 22, & 27; and The Sudbury Valley School
Experience, (pp 140-148.)
Also, The SVS Experience's defense of the use of "Robert's Rules of Order," I
think, is a good justification of the rule of law, and the proliferation of
rules in general. (pp166-173.) Among other relevant passages:
        "Rules constitute the main protection for reason, intellect,
objectivity, and detachment in a group context, as opposed to feeling and
emotion. This is because rules ritualize the equality of all views and all
people." (p. 166)

Additionally, as it is my understanding that this is List-serve is not
restricted to those of a particular faith, I think your reference to your
"God" as universal, is inappropriate.




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