74 – Lay down Others’ Law with Others

At times, you will need to lay down the law. It’s never fun, especially when the law has been ignored. It makes people feel constricted and oppressed, no matter how valuable the law may be to people who obey it. Painting lines where we once roamed freely isn’t fun.

Some laws, however, should not be implemented. No man-made law anticipates every scenario, this is one reason for courts. The purpose which a law was written to achieve is the common question asked by every judge and debated by every lawyer. Once enforcement of a law serves against the initial purpose of the law, even a hard line judge will want to throw out the court case.

This is much more normal in legal courts than among friends, family, and corporate hierarchies.

Companies will often enforce their own rules long after they have out-served their purposes. Unbending parents will refuse to give circumstantial flexibility to their own rules, even under comparable circumstances that highway patrol would let someone off on a moving violation. Don’t be so rigid in enforcing rules that you rule yourself a fool.

Sometimes, the hard line law to lay down relates to basic respect to humanity. Those are the rules you should lay down everywhere you go. If a shop keeper insists that an old lady stand in the rain rather than in his store, step in and tell him that the lady will stand out of the rain and he will have to figure out a way to deal with it. If he is “only” a clerk fearing the wrath of his boss, tell him that his boss should fear your wrath if he doesn’t act with humane decency.

Lay down the law, mainly the humane.

Sometimes you must firmly stand for your own rights, even if you’re the old lady needing a dry place to stand. It could be password-only access or policies about giving information over the phone. Beneficial laws need enforcement for everyone’s sake.

You may need to enforce a “shoes off” policy, even in someone else’s house. We step on all kinds of filth and disease. As inconvenient as cleanliness is, somewhere shoes must be taken off.