How Standards Are Eroded
First, we have the standard. Then, we apply it. Then instances of its application are discussed by people who focus solely on the effects of the application and not on the reason for the standard. Many of those participating in the discussion believe there should be no standard at all but that is rarely admitted. Invariably, some of the cases seem harsh or unfair and those judgments are reached without balancing them against the reason for the standard. As a result, exceptions are sought and obtained because it is difficult to defend a standard when only the facts and impact of an individual instance are considered. With such a slant, the standard's benefits seem remote, if not nonexistent. Eventually, the exception becomes the standard. Once that happens, the process starts over again.