Comfort zones

Comfort zones are perfect incubators for ignorance and bigotry

On good days I am entertained by those who find comfort in the “law”.  On other days I am reminded that the law is often an ass.  Laws do not exist for the betterment of the lives of the majority.  They exist to control the antics of bad people.

Taking responsibility

Take for example, dog control bylaws which did not evolve to enhance the lot of responsible dog-owners.  They evolved to deal with bad dog owners.  Most dog owners are good.  Only a few are not, and thanks to them, good dog owners are imposed upon – no longer by the bad dog owners but by the laws that have been created to deal with them. 

This is called “Catering to the Lowest Common Denominator”.  A serious side effect of it is mediocrity.

Recently I was entertained and then incensed by a letter to the Taranaki Daily News from someone espousing his interpretation of the Local Government electoral act and its process to establish Maori wards for Local Government in a barely disguised cover for his (yes it was a bloke) own inherent racism.

The world (and our region) is full of people who would subvert the main conversation under cover of “what the rules say”.  I call those people Bush Lawyers.  Bush Lawyers are the ones who think they know the law and like to complicate the discussion with their interpretation of it.  They are just like the real bush lawyer ((Tataramoa or Rubus cissoides) because they are prickly beggars with minds of their own – who once attached to a topic are quite hard to get off.  Regardless of whether they are right or wrong.

Here’s the thing.  A Bush Lawyer’s interpretation of the law generally has little to do with the substantive discussion – which should be about the end objective.

In the case of Maori wards, the discussion is not really about Maori wards. 

It is about redressing the balance of years of imposing a British Colonial view on not only Maori, but the rest of us.  The result of that is that Maori have been robbed of their mana and the rest of us – our ability to objectively analyse the situation our forebears created for us.

Why has the phrase “the law is an ass” got legs?  Because most of the laws we are obliged to adhere to were developed in a time when the challenges were exceedingly different to the challenges we face today.  The process of amending laws is one of the most costly and soul-destroying activities I have ever encountered, and it is too daunting for most. 

Why I ask, do we slavishly obey the views of people long gone whose wisdom is no longer relevant in the times we currently live in?  Because its easier to stay snug within our comfort zone.

Comfort zones are perfect incubators for ignorance and bigotry

Added insult then, that the Bush Lawyers use this space to subvert the main discussion.

Doing stuff just because we have always done it; is the greatest contributor to mediocrity, and the greatest stifler of innovation.

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