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Opinion

OPINION: Follow the rules or follow the fools?

Monday 29 August 2022 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Opinion

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OPINION: Follow the rules or follow the fools?
Ruta Tangiiau Mave. Photo: CI NEWS

“Rules were made for fools to follow and wise men to be guided by,” said British statesman Winston Churchill.

And American rapper Tupac Shakur said: “Know how to win by following the rules.”

But love rules without rules and it is often said there are no rules, just follow your heart because no one ever made a difference by following the rules, but if you follow your heart, you won’t get lost.

There are so many rules about how to follow or break rules, but first you must learn the rules so you know how to break them. The choice is: follow the rules or follow the fools. So what are we supposed to do?

Are we just here existing to follow the rules, to earn money and die? Or are we here to change the world? After all, you don’t learn to walk by following rules; you learn by doing and falling over.

In my life I tend to follow the course of if at first you don’t succeed, then try, try, try, again, and if you still don’t succeed, then follow the rules.

It is a combination of follow my heart and create my own rules, which can work and then other times coming to the realisation that maybe the rules or instructions for life were there for a reason to make life simple, safe and successful.  

Rules were made by communities to create societies whereby a staggering number of different personalities, wants and needs, can live together in a form of harmony that allows everyone equal opportunities.

For example, at traffic lights following the rules of stopping at a red light and going on a green light markedly reduces the number of traffic accidents.

If someone decides to break this law and runs a red light, inevitably someone gets hurt, including innocent rule following people.

Without traffic rules there would be more chaos on the road. The rules create a level playing field because they are applied equally to rich, middle class or poor.  It is during their defence where class advantages can be noticeable as to who gets off breaking the rules and who doesn’t.

Sometimes it’s not class advantage, it’s who you know; what’s more they know we all know.

And herein lies the problem in the Cook Islands which some have dubbed the Crook islands.

The world is made up of rules and laws. ‘Thou shall not kill’ is widely accepted and agreed upon, it is the definition of how, why and who in the courts of law that differ in how a society disciplines or punishes an offender.

It is we the lower society who look on and wonder how a person charged with conspiracy to defraud could remain on full pay, while a person can be thrown in jail for a traffic offence that took place a week earlier.

It all comes down to the letter of the law and how it is interpreted.

Intelligent obedience means that we take a close look at the laws God has given us to discover the main reason why he made each law.

The letter of the law requires that judges stick to the literal meaning of the words. The spirit of the law allows judges to decide what the rules mean by referring to the goals and purposes of the applied rules.

I believe a person who follows the ‘spirit’ of the law has found its actual intent. While the one who is tied to the ‘letter’ of the law has missed its true meaning.

When a person is stopped for suspected drink driving it is often necessary to remove their car keys, their car, and in extreme cases remove them from the road and put them away for a night as they are an immediate threat to the safety of the community.

These are understandable and acceptable rules in society.

When the rules are applied a week later when the threat to the community no longer exists, is no doubt the basis for local lawyer Norman George’s complaint against the police.

There are times rules protect us and there are rules that can fluster us. Like why fine someone driving at 40km per hour in a 30km per hour limit speed zone when there is no traffic, no threat of harm to others, and the old papa thought it was a 50km limit?

Why can one person be fined and another let free if the same rules apply to everyone?

Rules are rules but apparently rules can be broken by a select few.