Have you ever wondered what would happen in our society if there were no rules and regulations? Anyone could just get up and do anything but you cannot complain because there is no defined behaviour for people in the society to follow. It is interesting how we are socialised to believe a particular way is the best way of doing something and we insist that things be done that way. Sometimes we do not even know the reason(s) why we are told things should be done this way or that way. If we were taught as we were growing up that it is best to greet people with our left hand, I am very sure we would have been emphasising on that and felt insulted anytime someone greets us with the right hand. Or if we were brought up to understand that slapping each other was the best way to say hello, we would have guarded this value jealously. Ironically, what is acceptable in one society may not be unacceptable in another society because different societies across the world have varying beliefs, values, rules and regulations.
The reason why rules and regulations are made in our society is to help maintain peace and order in the society. Some of these rules take their original from different places and situations such as from a small community, a big city, traditional rulers, military decrees, democratic leaders, theocratic leaders and so on. All these are put together in the constitution. It does not matter where it comes from or how it came about, what is
important id how these laws affect our lives. It is significant to mention that we can only achieve order in our society if we set rules and regulations to enhance discipline, for instance, criminal laws are passed to deter us from creating chaos and disorder in the society. Rules and regulations protect us citizen from abusing one another as well as from threats by foreigners. In Ghana and other societies, the police and other security services have the responsibility of maintaining law and order as well as well as ensuring that those who break the law are punished accordingly.
Each and every day, I come across so many Ghanaian citizens as well as foreigners
abiding to basic rules and regulations that apply to every aspect of our lives. I think the reason for this is because the law has an impact on our daily activities. These laws can be minor traffic laws like when to cross the road or when to stop driving and allow pedestrians to cross the road too. Society also makes more serious laws like not committing treason, murder, armed robbery and not beating up another person if they are frustrating you. All these laws are put together in the constitution. The question that usually comes to my mind when I think of these things and cannot seem to find answers to is “Why do we obey rules?”. People may have a thousand and one reasons why they obey rules and regulations, for me however, I believe that we obey rules and regulations for these three reasons; first reason is because we respect authority, the second reason is because we feel that it is a moral right to do so and the last and obvious reason is because we want to avoid the consequences of facing the law when we break the laws.
One significant reason why we obey rules and regulations is because of the respect we have for authority. In one way or the other, we are those we choose the people to lead us and make the laws to guide us, so we feel we have to respect the laws they have passed. In addition to that, our leaders supply us with a lot of things such as education, healthcare, transportation, security, and social amenities to make us comfortable, this is where the concept of gratitude comes into play, in return, our government and leaders expect us to follow the laid down down rules of the society. A majority of these laws are actually made to protect we the citizens. Therefore, if we refuse to obey the rules and regulations and disrespect our leaders, we will not be able to make sure that they keep their promises to us.
Another reason why we obey the law is because we feel that it is morally wrong to break it. Whenever we break a rule (even when no one sees us), we feel guilty of what
we have done, no matter how small that rule may be, we are likely to be nervous whenever anyone mentions something relating to the offence. We feel bad because those deeds are considered bad by society. For instance, a lot of people will not insult another person openly in their faces because we will be guilty that we have caused them some emotional pains. Morality can also be connected to obeying/breaking the law because we all have agreed to follow the government, so when we violate a law it is immoral because it is similar to going back on our words.
Apart from the fact that we feel it not right morally to break rules and regulations, we also obey rules because we do not want to face the consequences that come with breaking a law. This, I believe is why certain people, myself included, follow a lot of rules and regulations even though it may not hurt anyone or cause any disaster if we break them. An example is when people are driving and get to the traffic lights, they stop when the lights turn red even if they are no vehicles crossing at that time, wait for the lights to change to green before they continue. Maybe in their minds, they are thinking that the police may be watching from anywhere or someone who is also driving may report them to the police and that will land them in trouble. This makes me believe strongly that we obey rules not because we feel they are important and must be observed but because we do not want to face any consequences for breaking the law.
It does not matter how small or big a law is, how significant or insignificant it may be, what is important is that we ensure that w do what is expected of us. What we may not know is that whatever we do that is not right or whatever we do not do that we are supposed to do may be affecting someone negatively, directly or indirectly. Whenever we have the opportunity, let us try as much as we can to avoid the wrongs and promote the rights, question the status quo where necessary and criticise constructively when we have. CHEERS!!!