Understanding that civilized society has boundaries that individuals must operate within in order for it to remain civilized is one thing, but I think that we have gone a little nutso with rules in our culture. I still believe that those rules could be summed up in the philosophy of the juris naturalis by saying that there are only two standards by which we must life:
1. Do all that you say you will do
2. Do not infringe on another person or their property
These two things would be so simple if it weren't for the sin nature. Ah - what to do about that?
What set me off about the rules thing was opening the newspaper this afternoon to find a three page spread of the local school districts "dress code". Some things make sense - if clothing has offensive language, graphics, illegal activity, etc. it should not be allowed. Body parts being exposed would also be a no-no. I know that all these things can be subjective - but there seems to be a basic understanding of what is okay and what is not. However, where it got to me was when they started listing that clothing could not be frayed, no holes, etc. What about economically-challenged kids who finally found a popular style that they can afford and not feel ashamed? Now the style has been forbidden, and they'll get it from both the teachers and the other kids. There is also a hair length and no covering the ears requirement for boys, as well as a hem-length for girls. What about self-expression? What about individuality? They did more than moderate inappropriate clothing, they are trying to create a homogenous society, where everybody is the same.
I have been offended when someone donning a graphic t-shirt sits across a table from me at a party and there is nowhere else to look. It is disgusting and frightening the things that some people come up with and feel comfortable thrusting upon others. Yet, what scares me more is taking away the individual's right to get up and decide for themselves what to wear that day. I don't know the answer. Think about it like this - what if you think one specific issue - maybe what kids wear to school and how they cut their hair is no big deal, next thing may be much more dear to you. Maybe they'll decide that government institutions are better places to raise children than families? What if the government outlaws reading, and we must form all our ideas from media? Read Farenheit 451. We could easily go there, and it could all start with a hemline and a ban on frayed clothing.