Without a need for rules — 4 Comments

  1. McWilliams’ observation about rules and discretion is acute. I think it captures a specifically Irish attitude of long standing – as a society we have a tendency to break the rules if we think it sensible or convenient, and we expect others to turn a blind eye accordingly. It makes us a flexible people able to respond to opportunities as they arise. But it is also extremely dangerous – arguably this attitude accounts for much of our present misfortune – corupt politics, effectively unregulated banks, lunatic development, and the hiding of abuse. I’m no better than anyone else – I’ve long recognised it as a defect in my character I must confront, though I value flexibility, informality and lack of heirarchy as much as the next man.

  2. Getting older one leans slightly to the right, well maybe not slightly. People make their own choices you say. They seem a rather well behaved people says David MacW. But you know as well as I do that this is a misrepresentation, not a deliberate one I have to add.
    People all over the world are generally well behaved. Generally. Here in the West, specifically Ireland, we have this “ad hoc morality”. But it is not real freedom. The apparent freedom of will is tightly bound. Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful to sit in a bar of an afternoon talking and debating about everything, including religion, politics, morality. Lots of places in the world one cannot do that.
    We are bounded by debt, envy, greed, individualism, family ties, the golf club, common law. As long as the system generally works, it will continue. But threaten those who have much to lose and the system is in danger. I would posit that this is such a time in Ireland. The government was quick so keep senior bond holders happy. Not so quick to help those involved floods last year.

    I am a happy individual, but keenly aware that my freedoms, such as they are, may disappear in a flash.

  3. Maybe our situation arose from years of people being dominated by institutions. People bought into the credit bubble, and its catastrophic consequences, because they were told by those in high places that negative equity could not happen; because the likes of Seanie Fitzpatrick told them that the world was looking on in astonishment when anyone half wise was looking on with scepticism. They were told that our headlong dash into hedonism (and bankruptcy) was good for everyone. They believed because believing was part of the culture.

    Being subject to hierarchies and authorities meant there was always someone to blame always someone responsible for one’s plight- listen to the radio phone ins and it comes through very clearly. Maybe postmodernism brings freedom, but also the burden of responsibility. Get rid of the structures and there is no-one on whom to be dependent. Perhaps it’s a scary prospect.

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