“I am afraid we must make the world honest before we can honestly say to our children that honesty is the best policy.”
-George Bernard Shaw
First, I believe the rule of law and equality for all need to be in place as a foundation. Without these things it all just turns into the Wild West out there.
The law is there, or at least it should be, to prevent and punish injustice. So the law needs to be used as a tool to keep people in check.
But there are times when the law fails. A better way to say it is that there are places where the law has no power. And it’s idiotic to believe that if we follow the rules then everyone else will as well. This is usually where negotiation and appealing to a person’s humanity come into play.
And where that fails, this is where manipulation is necessary.
I used to think that manipulation was a kind of “four-letter-word”, that it was purely evil and was only wielded by those who choose to be evil, but then I started to experience the world.
Teachers who mistreat students in subtle but devastating ways. Landlords who overstep boundaries. Bosses who make their entire team unnecessarily miserable. Some of these “slow trickle” issues can lead to serious problems sooner or later.
There are too many grey areas where injustice and abuse (even subtle abuse) can fester and be allowed to grow.
In a country where wars are no longer fought with physical weapons, this is our battleground.
I do not advocate anarchy, but within the rule of law, when people are being hurt and all other avenues have been exhausted, manipulation should be employed. And I believe that these skills should be taught early.
It is, however, extremely vital to emphasize that this is a two-sided coin and the other equal, if not MORE IMPORTANT responsibility that we have is learning, and teaching others, to be good people.
It does seem like a fine line, but sitting back and doing nothing is so much worse.
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