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I disagree with Gerard Howlin’s bleak conclusion that ‘we’ are all to blame for the collapse in the credibility of our ‘once towering institutions ... but we won’t admit our complicity in the delusion’ [May 10].
I especially disagree with his comparison of the ideals of our religious and democratic institutions to the sale of soap powder. The sellers of soap powder have a vested interest in the pursuit of profit. The ideals of love of neighbour and equality among human beings are of more fundamental importance. In contrast to an ethic, which preaches that arrogance will get you everywhere, the Christian ethic of love of neighbour is, therefore, worth defending.
Similarly, as distinct from the granting all power to an insider elite, the ideal that all of us have a basic equality in a democracy is worth pursuing.
True, these aspirations have been undermined by some of the people in charge of the various human institutions set up to guard them.
However, the fact that the human beings in charge of our institutions did not live up to the ideals which these institutions proclaimed, does not mean that the ideals are not valid.
The collective ‘we’ referred to in Gerard Howlin’s article, were, therefore, not complicit in delusion when we expected those in charge of our most powerful and influential institutions to do their jobs.
Neither were ‘we’ deluded in expecting those in charge of these institutions to live up to the ethics and ideals on which they were founded.
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