It seems that more and more people are thinking that standards don’t matter.  Even worse, some people think we should not have standards at all.

Standards matter and are very important.

Millions of cars travel the roadways on tires that meet federal safety standards for tires.  The wiring and electrical infrastructure of millions of homes meet certain building codes for safety and fitness of purpose.  The running water in your house meets EPA standards for purity.  Cell phones must meet FCC standards for communication devices.  International trade and sales are made possible by uniform standard weights and measures.

We have standards for nearly everything.  We ruthlessly impose standards for inanimate objects with no will of their own.

Why are we so loath to even suggest standards for people when people are so much more important than objects?

The reasons people don’t want standards likely fall into a few common categories.  1- Fear of not meeting the standards so it is better to ignore them or pretend they don’t exist, 2- Ambivalence about whether the standards matter, 3- Ulterior motives to be allowed to behave badly to inspire bad behavior in others, or 4- Observed Hypocrisy where people who are not perfect continue to push for a higher standard while falling short themselves.  None of these reasons are good ones or sufficient.  Standards matter.

We need standards so that we can know what sort of behavior to aspire to.  Standards are required if we want to measure our own behavior to see how we are doing.

What standards are you following?

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