Opinion: Shifting rules

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In 1735, U.S. founding-era publisher Benjamin Franklin is quoted as having said in “Poor Richard’s Almanac,”: “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”  By 1920, another American, Pulitzer-prize winner Carl Sandburg, took the adage to task, asserting, “Early to bed and early to rise and you never meet any prominent people.”  One could assume his assertion is rooted in some evolved knowledge that only a fool would get up and work hard to find success. 

There is always someone eager to give us cover for our choices. No matter the habit, vice or proclivity, there is an internet troll eager to reinforce the alternative position. Even as we destroy the existing foundations of our civil order, how does a reasonable person sift through the rubble? Should all drugs be legal? Should we encourage a healthy body mass or are we body-shaming? Is it OK to eat chocolate for breakfast? Sure, we’re cool. Right? Stay up late. Sleep in. Miss school, if you’d like. Who cares? Rules are meant to be broken. While we might argue that the world has moved in a direction where pajama pants are acceptable office attire, does this trend mean that people won’t work for a company with a dress code? Perhaps. But likewise, might said company attract those who are comfortable in trousers sporting something other than an elastic waistband? Maybe we should ask why we have offices at all. Can’t we just work from bed? Slippers are comfy.

Ours is an age of shifting standards. We challenge each basic rule as a pointless tradition. In an attempt to achieve laudable pluralism, we accept all ideologies as equivalent. But, is every approach to living deserving of equal standing, or do some achieve empirically better outcomes? 

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