Tuesday 30 May 2017

Kevin Myers: A society that lies about itself is doomed to exile and decay

The revelations about the corruption in Irish life in the Nineties and Noughties are devastating. But by now, we must surely be aware that dishonesty in this country was endemic. Architects, broadcasters, columnists, designers, entrepreneurs, farmers, et cetera: all, save zero, succumbed to the allure of easy money. Irish people, we now know beyond all doubt, are intrinsically corrupt.

But are they more corrupt than other people? That depends on your definition of corruption. If failure to keep your word is the start-line of corruption, then answer this question: even at the height of this recession, if you booked a plumber for 9am on Tuesday, which nationality is least likely to be on time -- Irish, English, Norwegian, German, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Danish, Czech or Italian?

You've probably put the Irish in the top two of no-shows. And that's based on bitter personal experience. Being late in Irish life is still regarded as being colourful and eccentric, whereas it is in fact the shirt-sleeve in the whirring agricultural-machinery of dishonesty: for if you are prepared to steal other people's time, and therefore part of their lives, how long before you also relieve them of their savings? Later-comers are merely making a statement about their ethical cosmos. Do not then be surprised by anything else that they do.

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