Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Lines in the sand

One of the dilemmas we are frequently faced with, is how to draw boundaries to acceptable behaviour without falling foul of ambiguous cases where the boundary rules lead to situations we didn’t foresee or want to happen.

As I grow older, I tend to grow more tolerant (don’t laugh) but I also tend to think we need our boundaries warts and all. Why? Because it seems to me that in trying to accommodate all those tricky cases where our boundary rules don’t quite work, we just end up losing the boundary.

What triggered my musing on this was a post by that wise old blogger David Duff who wrote a post about abortion clinics being allowed to advertise on TV. David drew a very clear line in the sand, and although I’ve never been what you might call a pro-lifer, I found myself agreeing with him.

Lines in the sand may indeed lead to a harsh inflexibility which we didn’t intend, but if they aren’t there, then the outcome may well turn out worse. Lines in the sand do at least allow us a fighting chance to avoid malign social trends we never would have planned. 


James Higham said...

Modern relativism and PoMo fear boundaries.

David Duff said...

Old? Definitely. Wise? Hmmmn . . .

Sam Vega said...

Agreed about boundaries. I work with teenagers, and spend quite a lot of time explaining to the poor dears that boundaries are boundaries, and if we make a special case for you, then we ought to make a special case for everyone. I often feel like a voice crying in the wilderness, because most adults seem to opt for the easy life of appeasement and fudging.

I would go so far as to say that someone who lives without boundaries is scarcely human in a cultural sense.

interesting item on the "Today" programme this morning. The University of Essex have done a big study on "integrity". There is in fact less of it about than there once was. Who'd have thought it!!

A K Haart said...

JH - they do, people can relate to them more easily.

DD - I insist (:

SV - yet integrity and the work ethic are probably what got us where we are, or where we were a decade or two back.

Now it's all slipping from our grasp - due to a lack of integrity!

John Page said...

I've always thought "line in the sand" is a strange figure of speech.

For what happens to lines in sand?

They don't last long.

A K Haart said...

JP - yes, it sounds a bit temporary, like Dave's EU promises.