Sunday, June 12, 2011

Standards

I received the following email from a maillist of which I am a member, and received permission from the author to repost it here. The maillist is military in nature, and that is the background of this particular email, but it applies to so much of life in general:
It all goes back the Cigarette Butt rule, and it's more general application by soft-hearted and soft-headed "Progressives".

Cigarette Butt rule: if you walk into the barracks, and there's one un-policed butt -- and you make no comment -- that's your new standard.

In general, anytime one sets a standard with a clear dividing line, someone is going to fall just short, and there are people that argue an exception should be made because "they're so close". You've moved (lowered) the standard. But you haven't made anyone better. There will be still be those that "miss it by that much". And now the argument will focus on that group.

Humanity is a bell curve. If you move the center point, you don't get more people doing better, you just move the curve.
I believe in standards, and I believe in holding people to those standards. Of course, it's always appropriate to consider circumstances in extenuation and mitigation when someone fails to meet the standards, but the standards themselves usually should not change.

1 comment:

MikeAT said...

Something similar to the Broken Window Theory of law enforcement...the more "anti-social" behavior you allow the more the edge is pushed....