Heard on the news that a lifeguard was fired for saving a drowning swimmer out of his assigned area. Two other lifeguards quit in protest. I think this is outrageous. It reminds me of the time that I was severely reprimanded for showing at risk-kids a wonderful and relevant movie that had a couple of cuss words in it. I was also reprimanded for writing a quote on the blackboard with wide application, beyond Christianity.
Legalism can strangle innovation in the USA. I suggest that we resist this trend, and stand up to the bosses, in thses instances.
There is a place for rules and a place for innovative action. Sadly, schools tend to be rule-driven. (Witness the insistence that kids walk in an absolutely straight line in the halls.)
Children are taught that they cannot deviate from the 5-7-5, three-line straightjacket in their haiku, though modern haiku often deviates from this formula.
I could go on and on.
In another context, we were reprimanded when we moved into our condo because I left a bike and fishing pole on the porch.
The vast majority of newspapers refuse to publish poetry. Why? Poetry displaying clarity and depth would be much appreciated.
These examples may seem to be relatively insignificant, but they are symptoms of a wider problem in our culture.
One more unstated rule with serious consequences: employees are expected to keep quiet about corruption in their organizations. Even abuse is tolerated, as it was (tragically) at Penn State.
Obsession with following rules can kill the American spirit.