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If we could rely on people to be honest, objective, intelligent, and reasonable, would we need any rules at all?

Expanding the idea that we should expect moral individuals to know when to break or expand the rule base, couldn't we also expect people to know what is right and fair based on their own sense of morality. Simply applying the 'golden rule' to know that if we were on the receiving end of our own actions that we would find them unfair, unsafe, or unreasonable. Ignoring whether this is possible or not, would such a hypothetical culture be able to resolve differences based only on the law of reason and fairness?


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  • Feb 3 2013: Know what's weird?

    The fact that we might not have a 100% rule-free world or society, but rather
    have one that might have very, very few rules, because they are no longer needed,
    doesn't seem to interest many. Odd, that.

    Why is it necessary to throw out a good idea, or not work towards it, simply because it wouldn't produce
    I have asked many if they are interested, or would be, or do they think the world would be a better place without crime and they say, "yes!"

    But when I suggest ridding ourselves of the major causes of and for crime, they dismiss it almost immediately because they don't believe it would reduce crime to a 100% successful reduction rate.

    It's gotta be 100%, perfection, or nothing, and I can no longer engage with them in discussion about how much better we all would be if crime were reduced by 90% or higher.

    They want all the answers now, all the problems foreseen and solved, before they will take a chance at even thinking about something new, which only serves to keep them in their little coffin box of thought and action, which is always no action, no results except the same 'ole, same 'ole.

    In order for your idea to work, and it can be implemented, we as a species must get rid of the reasons or causes for crime, corruption, unethical behavior and so on. People just refuse to think in that realm.

    "What? Get rid of the causes? How is that gonna help? What a ridiculous idea!"
    Of course, getting rid of the causes also eliminates the behavior and the need for most rules to rule by.

    We, as an animal, do not act badly because it is our nature. We act the way we do because our genes give us choices on how to respond depending upon to what degree our environment is supporting us, can support us or is failing in any area upon which we as said animal, depend.

    We're a higher animal, most will agree, but then we follow like sheeple as TED Lover said, and live like wild animals to survive, never eliminating the causes that push us around.
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      Feb 3 2013: I am confused. Why do you say that people are not interested in making improvements that are unlikely to have a 100% success rate? Isn't change of ANY kind in this category? Or do you mean a particular suggestion doesn't attract a lot of interest?

      Who says or believes that getting rid of or reducing the reasons for crime, corruption, and unethical behavior isn't a pursuit worthy of thought, effort, and action? These issues are discussed all the time here and in arenas of policy action. Or again is it a particular strategy that people don't find as promising as others they consider more seriously?

      Why do you say there is little interest in reducing rules and regulations? Even on TED, ideas along these lines are put forward and discussed by many people regularly and many people's campaign platforms in the US, at least, are based very much on this idea. Ronald Reagan was the first I remember really to emphasize this, but others probably did before him as well.
      • Feb 4 2013: Hi Fritzie
        Well, people I talk to. All kinds of people, mainly westerners, so that is mostly what I hear in return.
        I guess, as usual, I made some of my "blanket statements", from emotions.
        Sorry about that.

        For myself, speaking face-to-face with others, the usual response I get, and it is on a variety of topics such as what is discussed here on ted, is a quick dismissal and then a refusal to discuss further.

        I would like to add to this however, that it seems to me that many seem to forget (based on their comments like, "Let's say I tell you with honesty, intelligence, objectivity, and reasonableness that I am going to scratch your new car because it will relieve the feelings of jealousy and disappointment I have been experiencing since you were promoted instead of me." from Mr. Long, overlooks the idea that by getting rid of causes and reasons, we will get rid of the type of behavior he uses as one example of an argument, that the topic can't work or won't work.

        Training ourselves can help but changing the system we slave around in would do what we really want and need...eliminate what we need to eliminate. There would be no reason for behaving badly towards others, most of the time and in most ways, that we currently have by the ton.
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          Feb 4 2013: I understand now, RC. I have experienced frustration at how a team/community of pretty large size can be working very much as Reef describes- on the basis of honest, commited, and creative dispositions and hard work toward meaningful goals... and then a couple of people move in with their own self-interested agendae and muck up the whole works entirely. It can be somewhere between depressing and traumatic.

          In fact it's maybe the biggest challenge in community building.

          I think in many circumstances, though, the vast majority of people want to live and work in that sort of cohesive, tolerant, and constructive community and it's a few who don't care as much about that as they do in their own power or whatever.

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