I’ve said it countless times since I returned to Ireland in 2004, after years abroad. Fairness and honest-dealing are not core cultural values here. Perhaps they are within families and among cliques, but not broadly across Irish life. Here, you are bit of a “dope” for being honest.
Without these values it is impossible to build long-term wealth, instead you have economies like in west africa and central america. I speak from personal experience of both areas.
It’s a Catholic thing.
Not only does the church create a ruling elite, above the law, above morality and above reproach, but the members are told they don’t have to take personal responsibility for their action because they won’t “ultimately” be held accountable,and if you’re not comfortable with getting away with it, then you can just pop into the nearest “branch office” say sorry, chant an incantation or two and the slate is wiped clean. That attitude then pervades society. Couple that with the history of our little island, where breaking what was seen as foreign laws without being caught added to your kudos.
Countries with a strong Catholic influence as well as countries that won independence from colonial rule tend to be more “corrupt”. With both in our past, t’s no wonder that we celebrate the cute hoor here.
This is one of the things I wrestle with.
Take a simple example.
If you are hit by another driver, even in a relatively minor tip, you will obviously
pursue that person for any damage to your car. But are you the kind of person who
will also exaggerate or invent personal injuries? The stiff neck being the classic example.
Let’s assume that over your life the number of accidents you’re in breaks down 50/50 between
those where you are at fault and those where you are not at fault.
For a dishonest person any increases in premiums from accidents you cause will be more than
covered by compensation for imaginary injuries when someone hits you.
If you are an honest person you will pay higher premiums for causing an accident, and you
will not only foregoe the dishonest windfall from lying when you are in the right, but if the person
who hit you is dishonest you’re also saving them from higher premiums.
In short, it doesn’t seem to pay to be honest. Yet many of us still are.
I find myself questioning being honest, looking after yourself, studying, getting a profession.
I see dishonesty being rewarded.
I see dropping out and letting the state look after you being rewarded.
I have to keep convincing myself that it’s a marathon, not a sprint and
doing it the right way pays off over the long term, but it’s getting harder.
We all get values from our parents, and we pass them on in turn. I have to wonder whether
passing on honesty, hard work and taking care of yourself really is the right thing to do.
Or is it just a fairy story to keep people compliant while their pockets are picked.
It could be said that the only freedom practiced is freedom from responsibility, hence the inability to learn from mistakes. It is institutional insanity and the only way to defend against it is to be sure that you can easily move your wealth.
I find my personal morality is heavily influenced by the system I’m living in. When I lived in Canada I was far more law abiding. Why? Cos they have extremely fair and egalitarian laws that are ruthlessly enforced. And that’s how Canadians like it. Honduras? Obey the rules… gimme a break!
I know what you mean. I definitely wonder if I’d be doing any children of mine a favour by teaching them to be honest. Or if I should teach them a philosophy I once heard expressed as “Fuck them all son. Fuck them as hard as you can for as long as you can. And then run like hell”.
If its good enough for Bertie…
It is naive to expect to be honest all the time and expect a consistent advantage over your competitors. Ireland is too small and close knit (some would say backwards) to be open and fair.
I don’t know if this is related, but I think it is. I have to be careful here, because if you
discuss any negative aspects of life in Ireland it’s more likely to start a row about masochism
than lead to anything worthwhile, but here goes anyway…
There seems to be some fundamental gene missing in Irish society when it comes to
a) manners and b) an ability to call out rudeness when we see it.
A very pregnant woman gets on the Dart. She looks around hoping
someone will give her a seat and a guy does.
Next morning she gets on, nobody stands up, but the same guy as
the previous day some distance from the door beckons her over and gives
her the seat.
Day after day she gets on, people bury their heads in newspapers or look
out the window to avoid making eye contact, and the same guy ends up
giving her a seat when it’s clear that nobody else will.
She’s embarrassed that the same person has to help her.
I was on the Luas last week and three kids get on. They are pushing people around,
swinging from the handrails, they don’t have tickets because they are on the look
out for the inspector. They are deliberately knocking into other passengers, they
are tapping people on the shoulder.
I’m watching from a distance, but had I been closer I’d have grabbed at least two of
them and fucked them off the LUAS at the next stop, and I would have probably
been done for assault.
Nobody, told them to stop. Nobody said anything to them.
I was at a screening of Godfather 2 a few months ago. From the start of the movie
there’s a group of people laughing joking loud. They seem to think it’s Mystery Science
Theatre and they are entertaining everyone.
A few people try shushing. No avail.
Eventually I shout “Hey. Shut the Fuck Up!”
It works, after a few minutes they leave.
I’ve never had a bad experience on the DC Metro, the Tube in London, The EL in Chicago, The T in Boston
or even the NY subway. Perhaps I’ve been very lucky, or perhaps I’m unlucky in Ireland.
Ryan Tubridy told a story on Radio a few years ago about seeing a guy at a petrol station being incredibly
rude. So Tubridy walked over and said simply “You sir are very rude” and walked away.
Don’t know if it achieved anything, but we do seem to tolerate rudeness in a way that simply would not fly
in the US. I wonder if that tolerance of being inconvenienced generally seeps into other aspects of life
and leads to us being walked on by those in a position to walk on us.
We might laugh at jokes about the French in WW2 but does anyone think that Dublin would have survived the last
year without something burning outside Leinster house if this was France.
The problem is that the standards and the value system of the welfare dependent underclass and, at the other end of the spectrum, the oligarchy, are spreading. The nature of corruption is to corrupt. That’s what it does. But if you talk about middle class virtues you are called a snob.
Irish people are reluctant to pull people up on things on public, but there is no way in hell we are less mannerly than the French, Italians or Germans.
Daltonr I think it’s related to our inability to create a civic culture in general rather than rudeness specifically. It goes all the way from rudeness on public transport (incidentally the pregnant woman thing drives me nuts: when it was me I used to make a point of embarrassing the biggest, healthiest looking bollix into giving me his seat. The only people who offered their seat voluntarily were non-Irish) to widespread tolerance of abuse by clerics, corruption in our elected officials and so on. We are still a collection of feudal villages - our electoral system reflects that and we completely bypassed the real “Republican” phase in our history. It’s incredibly depressing.
You could be right. I’ve never been to Germany or Italy, and although I didn’t have any serious issues in France or Spain
I did pick up on a strange kind of rudeness in Spain. In one restaurant we waited and waited while the staff chatted
and laughed amongst them selves. Even when I asked for them to take our order they kept chatting.
So we left.
The problem I have here isn’t so much the rudeness, you get that everywhere.
The problem here is that people tolerate it, even when the rudeness crosses the line
from rude to downright intimidation, as with the 3 kids on the Luas.
These kids weren’t teenagers, anyone who could lift a suitcase could have picked them
up by the collar and had them off the LUAS.
If we live in a country where nobody says stop to very straightforward public bullying,
If we’d rather sit quietly and pray for our stop to arrive soon, then of course we’ll
get screwed by much more elaborate and secretive corruption.
Your experiences on the Luas are mild enough.
I’ve seen plenty of goings on the Red Line in my time.
Its mostly from drunks/junkies who are out of it, or loud tracksuited skanger kids with attention deficit issues making a show of themselves.
The worst will be when a cream cracker gets caught without a ticket by the security guards (who are predominately of African origin). Inevitably, as night follows days, the ticketless scumbag will start racially abusing the security guard. Its always embarrassing because you know its coming as soon as any confrontation begins.
However apart from the handout reared underclass and their sense of entitlement, Irish people are generally courteous.
For example I’ve found Mediterranean and Asian countries terrible for things like queue jumping, which is a pet hate of mine.
Better to see a pregnant woman standing than a fat woman crying I always see people getting up for older people on the luas
I see lots of women park in handicapped spaces and same women would attack you for parking in a mother and child space
It is the culture of entitlement and an inability to see anything other than from one’s own limited perspective. There is also an element of damage limitation and self preservation but having said that I have never felt menace on a luas the way I have felt menace on certain sections of NY subway or the T in Boston
I find the self hating of Irish people a bit annoying though - Germany, Italy and Spain have all in living memory had fascist regimes and France had Vichy France.
My sister and my Aunt were in a branch of IKEA in Germany and they came to the hot-dog counter. There’s a big sign saying ‘Plain Hot-Dog 50c / De-luxe Hot-dog 75c’ or something to that effect. The de-luxe was a basic hot-dog with sauerkraut etc. but all the dressings were on the condiment table. My sister asked my aunt why people wouldn’t just pay for the basic and then load up on the toppings anyway…my aunt said ‘are you kidding, this is Germany, they don’t do that sort of thing here’
Now I know they have a fascist history but could you imagine that sort of compliance in Ireland…you can’t even get people to queue properly here
Some people like being rude and disrespectful, it makes them feel big about themselves.
Another thing I’ve noticed when out and about is that strangers don’t bother to salute you anymore. Either eyes down or gazing straight ahead.
I think a sense of the ‘common good’, isn’t as well developed in Ireland as it could be. We need some leadership on that score.
Everyday is a struggle not to lose the rag and start kicking throats and poking eyes.
The overwhelming rudeness and ignorance of Irish people is disgusting. As already alluded to, it seems to be the extremeties of the class divide that are the worst culprits.
Basic manners, generally and in particular driving.
What the fuck has this to do with:
“We’re bedevilled by ‘pull’ culture”