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Joseph Tomei
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In China, they take you out back and shoot you in the head like a freaking rabid dog for pulling crap like that. While the Chinese example is a bit extreme, there is sort of an Asian approach to law which goes sort of like this. 1. make laws so that they are impossibly strict 2. Use administrative discretion in choosing when or when not to enforce them 3. When public protests get really loud, crack down openly and publicly Rinse and repeat I have to try and get this across to the exchange students who come here every year, because they get a rule book about the dormitory they stay in with things like a 9:30 curfew and no bicycle riding after dark, etc etc, and they freak. If they (and I) am lucky, they realize that if they don't openly flaunt authority, they can generally do as they please. About every 4 or 5 years, one of two things happens. Either some exchange student does something so egregiously wrong that the powers that be feel compelled to start following the letter of the law, or, worse, some exchange student feels such umbrage at a set of rules that obviously have no common sense behind them that they feel compelled to openly break the rules in order to provoke a confrontation. For better or for worse, this sort of approach to setting out rules is very problematic for Westerners, so that it is hard to really justify it. But it does work, so long as everyone knows what the parameters are. When the cycle goes for too long and people really get nasty and greedy, the payback is often as Russell points out and we haven't started reducing the number of exchange students in this way. But the whole thing is premised on a different way of enforcing rules, I think.
Toggle Commented Apr 26, 2010 on Trust but Verify at Obsidian Wings
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Apr 25, 2010