You know, we go on about the constant move to regulate by the EU and other bodies, the drawing up of masses of statutes and directives, the proliferation of signs everywhere saying: “Thou shalt not …” and this almost crazed desire to order other people about and get them to conform to externally imposed constraints.
People seem to WANT to be regulated.
I’m halfway on it. When a child, reasonable limits need to be set by parents and other authorities and the child grows up within those. In this country, on the whole, he either grows up hidebound by regulation or else he is licentious whereas, say, in Australia, it’s far more uniformly free and the Australian tended to buck against authority – until now, it seems.
This was shown in war where the British soldier was disciplined and achieved much by a combination of that inner discipline which comes from external discipline and a certain quirkiness which gave it an edge. The American was fairly undisciplined, especially in Vietnam, the Australian was known for being rough round the edges and taking no prisoners.
While once I would accept a certain amount of regulation and was thus useful in society, now I’m way beyond any kind of restriction in any field and that makes people uneasy. My limits are the ones I grew up with and which were internalized – therefore I believe in hard work, seeing a job through to completion, listening to others etc. – values of a time gone by and by which nations are built. Also, by subscribing to the gospels, I’ve self-imposed limits in my behaviour and heaven knows it needs some sorts of limits.
So yes, this is conforming but I’d suggest there’s a huge difference between conforming to the point everyone can move forward, e.g. in those interminable meetings where everyone wants to get away – and in this sort of regulation below, governing how a sailboat [the 505 class] will be built.
I mean – just look at these rules:
Who wrote that stuff? Why? What sort of minds do those people have?
In sailing, there are what they call One Design and then Development classes. The theory behind one design is that, with all boats precisely the same, then it is the skill of the sailor which determines the outcome. In practice, there are all sorts of little go-fast moves, even down to the paint used.
The Development class gives some basic limits, e.g. 18 feet by 7 foot six, with 150 square feet of sail and then says go for it. Naturally, I tended to classes like the Moth and A Class and supported the C Class Little America’s Cup. Talk about exciting and the idea was it was a combination of design ability, coupled with sailing ability.
But hey – why does one need to race anyway? There is this madness in the west which is all for cutting edge technology and spewing out last year’s model … and then the South Pacific concept of just having fun. Time and again in my years in Oz, I’d sail away from our club’s race day regulations – you have to be here at this time, in this gear, in order to be told exactly where I have to spend the afternoon running around buoys.
To hell with that, methought and I’d go off cruising along the coast, only to sail into someone else’s race day and enter the race at another club. What is this conformity in people’s minds? You’ve heard of the mile-high club. My idea was to take the girlfriend [later wife] and do the mile-offshore club, along with a bit of exploring of other kinds. To me, that was what sailing was meant to be, not whether my foretriangle measurement was within 3mm of a tolerance some concentric thinkers decided over a glass of port and then wrote The Rules about.
The day the Seacliffe Yacht Club took the Little America’s Cup away from the magnificently eccentric C Class and gave it to some 18 foot off-the-beach clone called F18, that was the day it died as far as I can see. And they’re doing it again with the big America’s Cup. OK, sure it’s the playground of multibillionnaires but it was innovative, exciting, one never knew what was coming next and what did people do?
Authority types were desperate to “bring a bit of order back”. Why? TF why? The whole excitement was the free atmosphere and now it’s snuffed out and sailed by cloned boats built from the same mould. And the Review Panel sits in judgement at the end of a race which they haven’t personally sailed and they decide who shall be disqualified for not following the rules and who shall be favoured.
It’s everywhere – the Rugby Union, the AFL downunder, cricket, football – anything where people just want to have a bit of fun – in come the killjoys to regulate it and draw up the restrictions. They adore drawing up restrictions, for fear someone’s going to have some fun. To hell with them.
Sure there need to be agreed limits. If you and I are going to have a race, we have to be on the same field, the same track but it can be done spontaneously. And sure we’ve agreed 100m, 200m and 400m in track events – we’re all happy to accept that. But not when some petty tyrants sit in judgement and start ordering the game around.
Now, if you don’t mind and it meets regulations, I’m off for an unregulated breakfast of congealed offal tube and GM veg, washed down with E number juice and sugar.