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Do as you are told!

(34 Posts)
Doodledog Wed 02-Dec-20 11:20:35

There are comments on so many threads saying that people 'should just do as they are told', 'obey the rules' etc, which made me wonder where people's boundaries would lie.

To use an extreme example and create a continuum, what if 'the rules' said that it would be better for society as a whole if all first-born children were sold into slavery, and we all had to take them to a central point so that this could be organised. Would you hand over your children or grandchildren? Would you report a neighbour if you knew that they were not complying, or ask 'what people don't understand' about the rules?

I'm guessing that most of us would draw the line long before that, so where is your own line in the sand, and what influences your attitude to compliance? Is it when your loved ones start to be affected? When you see other people doing something, so feel obliged to 'play fair' and share their pain? When you realise that the neighbours are watching you and you feel embarrassed in case you are judged? As soon as the government issue a decree, as they were voted in, and it is the law? Or something else entirely?

Do you make up your own mind about where you sit on a moral compass, and if so, do you feel that the state has a right to penalise people for sticking to their principles? What about possible reprisals if the government changes and the next one brings charges against those who were 'only obeying orders'? Would they be fair?

I realise that there are a lot of questions in there, but I wanted to leave it as open as possible, so that the thread does not become another about the virus - it would be interesting to explore attitudes without bringing the discussion back to Covid - there are plenty of other threads about that smile.

EllanVannin Wed 02-Dec-20 11:36:38

My mind's too busy to bother about what others do or don't do.

Urmstongran Wed 02-Dec-20 12:44:48

I don’t like the word ‘should’.
😊
I find it bossy. ‘Could’ is nicer!

Luckygirl Wed 02-Dec-20 12:47:47

This sort of extrapolative nonsense does not get us anywhere.

Kate1949 Wed 02-Dec-20 12:49:34

We're not doing as we're told here. We are following the advice given.

Doodledog Wed 02-Dec-20 13:13:16

Kate1949

We're not doing as we're told here. We are following the advice given.

Ok then. If the advice given were to hand in your child to be sold into slavery, would you do that?

The sense is the same, surely? The question is about when people's own moral code kicks in, in spite of laws, advice or anything else. It is a general point, specifically not about Covid, in case that wasn't clear.

Luckygirl, it is a discussion point, which is not intended to 'get us anywhere' other than to pass the time. It is extrapolative, yes - but that was to use an example which is so far from likely as to be ridiculous, and to allow freedom of thought that is not tied to a particular scenario. Obviously if you think it is 'nonsense', feel free to ignore.

MissAdventure Wed 02-Dec-20 13:22:29

I tend to be quite black and white in my thinking, although perhaps a bit less than I used to be.

I think people should do as they're told, as a rule, just because it's easier and less stressful, generally.

Jane10 Wed 02-Dec-20 13:25:52

As ever. It depends who is telling people to do whatever it is.

Judy54 Wed 02-Dec-20 13:36:51

Where do you stand on this Dodledog Would you sell your first born child into slavery? Where is your line in the sand and what influences your attitude to compliance? Where do you sit on a moral compass? Let's explore your attitudes first and then perhaps we might have something to discuss/debate.

Doodledog Wed 02-Dec-20 13:41:29

Jane10

As ever. It depends who is telling people to do whatever it is.

Yes, this is the problem, isn't it? If we take the line that everyone should do as they are told with no scope for dissent, there is always a risk that 'they' (the people in charge) are wrong, or have nefarious motives.

It is a difficult question to answer. There are times when I would go along with rules with which I didn't agree, if they were simply inconvenient, rather than (as I saw it) harmful, but I like to think that if I had been around at a time when really bad things were being done to others that I would resist. It's difficult to know how far any of us would go down this road if our own lives were at risk though.

So much of society depends on everyone doing the same thing, and complying to the same rules, that a free for all would be massively disruptive, but if we look at regimes that have imposed blatantly unfair and discriminatory practices (eg a colour bar, or a removal of rights for women) then I feel that it is a moral duty to stand up against them, (particularly for those who are not adversely affected).

petra Wed 02-Dec-20 13:43:43

There is now a label for people like me.
I will say, though that mine would be classed as mild 😄
Opposional Difiant Disorder.
Unfortunately my grandaughter has it full on.
I can still hear me asking why, why, why when given an order.

MissAdventure Wed 02-Dec-20 13:45:14

I hope I have never followed rules which I think are detrimental to someone else..
At least I hope I haven't.

Smileless2012 Wed 02-Dec-20 13:58:31

It also depends on the consequences of not following the rules. Those who have blatantly disregarded the rules that have been, and are in place due the pandemic, are potentially putting their lives and the lives of others at risk.

People who are living under the control of a brutal regime may find themselves complying for fear of the consequences if they don't, so they are obedient despite their moral compass telling them that what they're complying with, is wrong.

Doodledog Wed 02-Dec-20 14:07:17

People who are living under the control of a brutal regime may find themselves complying for fear of the consequences if they don't, so they are obedient despite their moral compass telling them that what they're complying with, is wrong.

Yes, and if the consequences are likely to be that their loved ones are harmed, as is so often the case in oppressive regimes, then the moral dilemma becomes a moral maze.

All of this is why I can't come down on the side of 'just do as you are told', and believe that it is a black and white issue. It is so rarely as simple as that.

I do feel that as adults, we should at least think about why we are obeying rules, and not follow them blindly 'just because'. What we then do about it will depend on all sorts of things, but I think that people should be held responsible for what they do, even if they did it because it was the law. The obvious example here is war crimes committed by people who obeyed the orders of others. It is not a straightforward example, and is fraught with all sorts of difficulties.

Maybe there should be mitigation for those who had reason to fear for their lives if they did not comply, but the bottom line has to be that we are not given a free licence to behave badly just because we were told to do so.

MissAdventure Wed 02-Dec-20 14:14:48

People can be surprisingly sheep like though, in groups.
Safety in numbers?

I would always challenge rules which had been imposed on people where I worked, because some were not in people's best interest, and least restrictive (which, incidentally is what is stated they should be, in another, important set of rules!)

Smileless2012 Wed 02-Dec-20 14:21:47

Your post has reminded me of the My Lai massacre by American soldiers during the Vietnam war Doodledog.

There were no enemy soldiers present at the time of the attack, all the villagers were elderly men, women of all ages and children.

It was reported after the event that there was akin to 'mass hysteria' amongst the American soldiers and everyone found there was killed. One soldier was so horrified at what he was witnessing, that rather than take part he shot himself in the foot.

Doodledog Wed 02-Dec-20 14:29:23

That's horrible, Smileless. There are numerous studies that show how difficult it can be to stand against what the majority of people around us are doing, however much we might feel that we would do so - it's quite scary.

MissAdventure, are you referring to the Ten Commandments? They are very sensible rules, but we all know how they can be used to justify all sorts of oppression and cruelty, and how many of them can be reinterpreted to suit different agendas. Thou shalt not kill, unless . . .

ExD Wed 02-Dec-20 14:29:48

Thank you Kate. Following advice is a much better expression.

GrannyGravy13 Wed 02-Dec-20 14:37:17

Wouldn’t give first eldest child but the second one is up for grabs grin

Doodledog Wed 02-Dec-20 14:37:46

ExD

Thank you Kate. Following advice is a much better expression.

Doesn't it depend on the context? Advice is something that can be followed or not - 'this is what I would do', 'or I suggest that you consider' is advice. There is not a moral dilemma about following it or not - it is simply advice.

When something is the law, however, and there are risks attached to not complying, people have more difficult decisions to make, which is what this thread is asking about.

And again, it is not about Covid grin

Blossoming Wed 02-Dec-20 14:39:13

Ok then. If the advice given were to hand in your child to be sold into slavery, would you do that?

Would you, Doodledog?

Doodledog Wed 02-Dec-20 14:39:22

GrannyGravy13

Wouldn’t give first eldest child but the second one is up for grabs grin

:grin; :grin:

I am pleading the fifth amendment on that one!

MissAdventure Wed 02-Dec-20 14:39:28

I was referring to the mental capacity act, deprivation of liberty legislation, and that kind of thing. smile

Doodledog Wed 02-Dec-20 14:42:05

Blossoming

*Ok then. If the advice given were to hand in your child to be sold into slavery, would you do that?*

Would you, Doodledog?

No. I would absolutely break the law on that, and not feel a pang of remorse. I would probably be sacred in case I were caught, and would be fearful for the consequences for my other loved ones, but I like to think that I would do whatever it took to keep him safe, and I sincerely hope that I would have the courage to do so.

Doodledog Wed 02-Dec-20 14:42:35

Scared, not sacred!