Re: Re: more perspective on rules and regs
From: ken (
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006 03:31:58 -0700 (PDT)
Hans G. Ehrbar wrote:
> Thank you for forwarding the New York Times article
> reference.  I live at Wasatch Commons in Salt Lake City.  In
> our community we tend to think that one cannot force people
> to be good community members, this must and will come
> voluntarily.  Of course, if we don't enforce rules, this
> makes it possible for parasites to encroach, as the New
> York Times article says.  What can we do about this?
> I teach Marxism at the University of Utah, and from my
> perspective, we should resist the temptation to fall back
> onto a more rule-oriented regimen.  Reasons:
> (1) It is not possible to design rules which, if followed,
> turn you into a good community member.

Rules aren't for good community members.  They're for those who tend
toward self-interest and egoism.

> (2) As long as capitalism is rampant, self-serving parasitic
> behavior is encouraged and even necessary.  People who are
> socialized this way are not necessarily bad.

True.  But neither are those who profess IC visions and values
necessarily good.

> (3) Our economic system is such that most people get robbed,
> oppressed and exploited 8 hours a day on their jobs, and
> they don't seem to mind.  But if they perceive their
> neighbor to act a little selfish, they are all up in arms
> about it, although the damage to them is usually not very
> great.  The greatest damage is that it discourages us, but
> we do have that under control.  We can just laugh it off and
> not be discouraged.  If we can survive capitalism, we can
> certainly survive cohousing.

Setting up, or even just getting into, cohousing requires more time and
effort and perhaps too more money than just buying a single-family house
in the burbs.  The compensation and rationale for enduring these is that
we'll have a better, nicer place to live than what the larger society
has to offer.  So people's expectations for community are higher and, to
my mind, these expectations are justified.  (This isn't to say that we
can't see failures with a sense of humor and a bit of tolerance.)  So I
hope we wouldn't excuse crap here because there's crap there.  This is a
setup for a "slippery slope" argument.

> (4) Participation in the community is fun and very fulfilling.
> People who don't receive the benefits of this will probably
> move out again.
> Hans.

Having read most all of the posts on this thread and having both agreed
and disagreed on both sides of the rules/no-rules arguments, it seems
that rules are necessary at times and so should be in place.  But the
community should strive to live and work together without having to
resort to using rules, i.e., that the community's common values and
vision by themselves should make things work and make people happy... or
at least content.  When values and vision fail-- which we'd hope would
not happen often-- then the hard reality of rules would kick in.  Aren't
more options generally better than fewer?

"This world ain't big enough for the both of us,"
said the big noema to the little noema.

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