The other side of the argument is that they encourage a sense of belonging and allegiance, and, to a certain extent, that needn’t be a bad thing. The problem is that the need for allegiance and a sense of belonging are often taken to a level beyond what I find acceptable, especially by the commercial world and by politicians who will seek to justify anything under the guise of patriotism. Breeding an exaggerated sense of belonging and allegiance into people from an early age is what enables them to get away with it.
And so I was interested to read today that a Catholic school in Coventry, England has sent a hundred pupils home for wearing the wrong coloured shoes. Only black is permitted as part of the correct school uniform, apparently. Isn’t this taking things a bit too far? Isn’t this vindicating the disquiet I feel about school uniforms?
But maybe there’s another issue at stake here. This is a faith school, and it seems to me that most, if not all, organised religion is based on the unthinking acceptance of dogma. Wouldn’t it, therefore, be in the interests of such a school to lay down excessive rules and enforce them with excessive zeal? Isn’t this one of the primary tools with which to indoctrinate their faithful into thinking strictly inside the box?