Wednesday, November 18, 2009

You and Your Rules!

You know what really boils my potatoes? Stupid expressions. Like "rules were made to be broken". Er, no they weren't! They were made to be followed. Just try using that argument in court: "Your honor, I know it's against the law to do an eight ball of cocaine off the naked back of a dead hooker, but you know what they say--rules are made to be broken!"

Now, let's explore the context behind the saying "rules were made to be broken." Whenever someone says it, what they're really trying to point out is that it's okay to break a rule every now and again. This of course I agree with--perhaps the rule itself is stupid, like 18 year olds being allowed to go fight for their country, be tried as adults, marry and have kids, pay taxes--but not have a beer legally. A terribly stupid rule, as well as grossly offensive to anyone with the ability to fire off a few neurons in their brain (and of course this wouldn't include Congress because they have the collective brainpower of primordial ooze).

Or, the rule isn't stupid, but the application of it to a particular case is unjust or useless. It's against the rules to run a red light, because of the obvious dangers of collisions (which is something I wish my fellow drivers on my morning commute could understand, but of course this is Fairfax). However, in some situations--late at night on an empty road and you're trying to drive your wife to a hospital, and you can see clearly that there is no other driver or pedestrian at the intersection--there's nothing wrong with going through the light while it's red. Sure, a cop spotting that might pull you over, but on learning the situation would more likely give you an escort to the hospital and let you off. (Unless the cop is a jerkface).

So yes, there are situations in which it should be okay to violate a rule. Perhaps it would make more sense to say "rules can be broken when unjust or unreasonable in certain circumstances" but I guess that's not as catchy as "rules are made to be broken".


  1. I guess we'll have to just "agree to disagree" on this one.

  2. Beck--I disagree that we have to agree to disagree! Agreed?

  3. How about just "rules suck"? That's my new rule.

  4. you rule, brando. btw, i saw the post office has simpson stamps...

  5. Lacochran's evil twin--rules do suck! Or, as I prefer, "rules are for other people."

    Geoff--thanks, I'll check them out.