Tuesday 6 December 2016

Kevin Myers: Some questions that we should never have to ask

Published 04/10/2011 | 18:00

A peaceful society only exists when we largely repress whatever emotions, desires, ambitions, likes and dislikes that would cause gratuitous offence or hurt or pain.

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Society requires the assertion of a common virtue as a primary adhesive, binding unfriends in an agreed commonwealth of bogus esteem. Therefore the head of state of any republic must at least SEEM to be the embodiment of that adhesive, and a lifelong public adherence to the Ten Commandments is a primary requirement for such an office.

Journalists, on the other hand, are obliged neither to supply the adhesive that binds a society nor even to pretend to follow most of the commandments, though some deference to the one about not bearing false witness is generally advisable. And since most of us at one time have had the morals of a drunken polecat at a ferret orgy, we are usually ill-placed to deliver sermons on ethics. However, if only from the vantage point of a swamp, we are able to say who, like ourselves, does not embody the required morals of a president.

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