Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Do Rules, Regulations, and Standards Really Matter?

Recently, I was listening to an interview with James Randi. James commented on why he stopped visiting high schools. One reason given happened at his last visit to a high school. He commented to the principal that the clocks were several minutes fast. The principal said that's because if they set the clocks to the right time, the students would all be late to class.

It made me wonder two things:

1) Do the students have adequate time between classes?

2) Does it actually matter that they get to class on time?

This came back to me recently. I was watching a documentary on coal last night. It mostly takes place in West Virginia. In one scene, a lawyer from an environmental group said that every time they try to sue the coal companies for being in violation of a law, the Bush administration changed the law so they weren't in violation of it. (This documentary was apparently finished in 2006). What the...?

This documentary is free to watch for Amazon Prime members.

So again, does the rule matter? Why would we put rules in place if they can be changed whenever somebody breaks them?

On the coal issue, I'd say the rule damn sure matters. Same for nuclear power, another industry in which the rules are changed every time somebody fails an inspection. Then when a meltdown happens, people will whine and cry about how "we need rules! If only the government made us follow rules, this never would have happened!"

For the high school, again, if being on time to class actually matters, then enforce the rule. My high school tried a policy once where as soon as the bell rang, the doors were shut and locked. If you weren't in a classroom, you had to go to the office and get a pass. If this happened too often (like 2 or 3 times), you got detention.

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