What are the Rules? Can I Break Them?

May 15, 2018

The laws, morals, and ethics which guide us, can also confuse us, and sometimes challenge us to improve or change the rules.

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe gets a look at the philosophy of rules with Scott Samuelson, a philosophy professor at Kirkwood Community College. He says that he's learned a lesson stemming from the life of Socrates that for the most part, rules are important to follow, and when they need to change, then sometimes civil disobedience is that way that is done.

"We should follow the rules even when we disagree with them because they are so important to us, but if we deeply, deeply disagree with them and think that they are totally unjust, perhaps we do have a right to break them. But we should probably break them publicly and be willing to take a punishment for them. It's in a way almost a criterion of moral seriousness."

We also hear from two people whose jobs involve rule-keeping. Kristie Hirschman is the Iowa State Ombudsman, and her office handles complaints of unfair treatment by state and local government agencies. In the final segment, we hear from Roger "Smokey" Barr, who worked as a sports official for over thirty years in Iowa. This summer, Barr will be inducted into the National Federation of State High School Association's Hall of Fame for his work as an official.