RE: Chris Kemp's Response to Rules & Regs Violation
From: truddick (
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2006 06:04:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: Liz <liz [at]>
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Chris Kemp's Response to Rules & Regs Violation
To: Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at]>

"And I am hearing, mostly, from this list that if my community decides
on a principle that is important to us, and comes to consensus on
that issue, that we should not assume that there is any good reason
to actually FOLLOW what we agreed to."

In the messy world of human interaction, I've never found a principle that
is entirely good or effective.

If I cited the ancient Athenian democracy's decision that Socrates should
drink hemlock, you'd rightly take offense and note that cohousers would not
demand ideological purity nor impose the death penalty.  But when you
express abstract generalizations, it opens the door to the entire range of

In assessing whether a particular rule should be followed, generalizations
fail.  In general, I think people in cohousing would applaud acts of civil
disobedience in service of a humanistic cause, yet would condemn
self-centered rule-breaking.  In the specific case we're discussing, we
don't have such ethical clarity.  Some of us enjoy exploring complex

Even if once you agreed that a rule was beneficial, time and tide may reveal
it to be odious and restrictive.

In the attempt to balance our needs for cohesiveness and independence,
little things may mean a lot.

"After all, I'm paying good money for this home, why should I follow a
rule that I helped create?"

Are you asking "why change?"  Conditions change, and what once seemed
pleasant may eventually become an irritant.  In particular, if the rule
requires you to choose between depriving yourself /or/ dealing with a
service provider that you find noxious /or/ giving up your home, the choice
just ain't that simple.

"AND, if I were to go to a co-housing list and ask for advice on how
to deal with an issue, in addition to some good ideas, I'd get 50%
feedback that it was wrong for my community to want what it did and,
by consensus agree to it."

Let me make certain I understand.  You disapprove of our expression of our
opinions-is that right?  And you don't agree that, when there's a dispute,
it's a good thing to try to understand the motives and values of all
parties, to think critically about the issues, and then to try to reach an
integrative, win-win resolution?

It sounds to me like you favor "no-tolerance" policies.

"This isn't quite the ideal I was imagining."

I guess most people imagine an ideal world; I'm certain no one has ever
gotten it.  Moreover, it seems to me, historically, that when individuals or
groups attempt to impose their imagined utopias, life is less satisfactory.

  !    _    Thomas E. "TR" Ruddick
  !   !_)   Nunquam Vadis Levis!
      !  \

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