Category: 

What is the Status Quo?

Democracies often are subject to status quo bias, in which people vote for politicians already in office because it seems safer than risking change.
Profound change to the status quo, such as redefining marriage, can sometimes cause apprehension or fear.
Article Details
  • Written By: Sherry Holetzky
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Honeybees have hair on their eyes.  more...

August 28 ,  1963 :  250,000 marchers in a civil rights rally heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream&quo  more...

The more things change, the more things stay the same. While there is some truth to this statement, more often things work in a way that allows for very little change. Many people prefer the current state because they don’t like to take risks. They are comfortable with the status quo, or the existing status.

Fearing radical change, many prefer to continue in the current condition, even if that condition is not optimum. They consider even less than favorable circumstances to be better than the unknown. In other words, change is not necessarily considered progress. This is known as status quo bias.

The status quo is easily recognized in the realm of politics. In a democracy, people will often continue electing the same leaders, despite displeasure, rather than vote for an unknown quantity. A politician who is an “outsider,” even though numerous people say that’s what they want, tends to be met with suspicion. One who does not enjoy name recognition is generally also seen as suspect.

While not all change is bad per se, profound or radical change generally can instill fear or apprehension. This is especially true concerning cultural changes, such as redefining marriage or banning a procedure such as partial birth abortion. When an issue has been addressed under an accepted standard throughout recent history, even if reluctantly, many people will be guarded when it comes to making sudden or drastic changes in that policy.

Ad

In some cases, a move away from the status quo will be temporary. Such is the case with legislation that includes a sunset clause. A sunset clause amounts to an expiration date. The law will expire and the situation will revert to the accepted state of affairs unless the law is renewed.

This is one way politicians can manipulate questionable legislation, by assuring the people that things will go back to the way they were. However, such legislation is frequently renewed, but apparently it is an effective tool because it removes the sense of an abrupt or radical move from the status quo.

Status quo is also a concept used in some agreements. A promise to sustain the existing status of affairs may be required before another party will become a signatory. An example is in agreeing to a ceasefire. Peace must continue, hostilities must not resume, if one party expects the other to fulfill its obligations. Retaining the status quo is required if the parties hope to enjoy the benefits provided by the agreement.

Ad

Discuss this Article

Moldova
Post 4

@SurfNTurf - I agree with you. I also think that children should be taught to do what is right and not follow the status quo in order to be popular.

The feeling of wanting to fit in is the same for young kids as it is for adults. Sometimes popular kids get involved in risky or undesirable behavior and it is something that we do not want our children to follow.

We really need to make sure that they understand what peer pressure is all about and how they can deal with challenging the status quo.

For example, the peer group might isolate a child because they are different and end up bullying the kid. If we teach our children to offer a hand of friendship to that lonely child we are actually teaching them to challenge the status quo and reduce the level of cruelty directed to the bullied child.

This helps to build character in our children and a clear sense of right and wrong that will serve them well in their future.

surfNturf
Post 3

I think it is important to challenge the status quo because the way things have always been done are necessarily the best ways.

It is always important to look at other options before resorted to the status quo. For example, if most of your friends have large homes and expensive cars in order to maintain a certain status in the community, or maintain the status quo, then they are foolish to engage in this form of competition because they are hurting their finances in order to seek acceptance.

In reality people with legitimate wealth do not need to flaunt it and are much more down to earth about their money. They see no need of “Keeping up with the Joneses”. This form of keeping up with the status quo can be destructive to families and often is the leading case for divorce.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email