Monday, December 22, 2008

Conformity. The Enemy of Growth.

When you think of the word "conformity", what do you think of? I picture by mother saying to me, "If your friends chose to jump off a cliff, would you follow them?" Or, I think of a herd of cows, following each other through a field to pasture. My guess is that not often do we think of society and the decisions made by our governing authorities. Do we go along blindly, or do we get involved in the process?

"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth." -- John F. Kennedy

Let’s take a look at the definition of conformity.

"Conformity is the process by which an individual's attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors are influenced by other people. It may occur as the result of subtle, even unconscious influences, or by direct and overt social pressure. Conformity may also occur by the "implied presence" of others, when other people are not actually present.

People often conform from a desire to achieve a sense of security within a group-- typically a group that is of a similar age, culture, religion, or educational status. Conformity is common among young people as an aspect of youth culture. It is present in society as a whole and among small groups of friends. Any unwillingness to conform carries with it the very real risk of social rejection." -- Wikipedia

"Conformity, adherence to the practices or beliefs of the majority.

For information on:

*processes bringing groups and individuals within society into conformity, see Acculturation; Assimilation; Integration; Social Psychology

*ideas supporting nonconformity, see Individualism; Liberty

*political ideology of forced conformity, see Totalitarianism" -- Encarta

Please notice the “ideas supporting nonconformity”, which include “Liberty”. Within the United States of America, we know liberty because of the Founding Fathers and the sacrifices they made as nonconformists.

“Liberty, the freedom to act or believe without being stopped by unnecessary force, is generally considered in modern time to be a concept of political philosophy and identifies the condition in which an individual has the right to act according to his or her own will.” -- Wikipedia

Of course, there are guidelines for liberty. Without guidelines, we would not know as peaceful of an existence as we are blessed to experience. The guidelines are in the Constitution, and in the laws of the land. You may notice that when there are those who do not live by the laws of the land that the peace is disrupted.

“Article VI (The United States Constitution)
All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” -- Cornell University Law School

All elected officials are to uphold the laws as much (if not more stringently) than regular citizens. Unfortunately, we find that there are many who do not uphold these laws according to their oaths and therefore they are not very good examples to regular citizens. When elected officials break the laws of the land, break their oaths, they give permission to many regular citizens to do likewise. Therefore, our elected officials should uphold the oaths they have made to live according to the laws of the land, and when they break those oaths, they should have a stiffer penalty than the average citizen so that an example can be made.

Understand, conformity is important to a degree, however, conformity including redistribution of wealth and Totalitarianism is not liberty, but bondage.

“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have... a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean the characters and conduct of their rulers.” – John Adams

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