I was once in a position to help someone I knew personally to get justice for their interests. I worked for an official organisation which had a supervisory role and powers in relation to various types of organisation. One particular rogue organisation was known to us . The person I knew privately had suffered significantly at the hands of this rogue outfit, and he asked me to use my official position to put pressure on the rogue outfit with the intention of ‘pressuring’ them to right the wrong he had suffered.
I refused, out of hand. It did not take much thought.
I was not placed in a position of public trust pursuing the public interest and welfare in order to use that place for any form of private intervention.
My role was a public interest role. It was framed by legislation and by official protocols to ensure objective treatment for all. I was there to perform that role and make the system work in a democracy which conducts itself according to the spirit and the rule of law.
Now, I might have legitimately taken action to apply the pressure requested – and justified it in official terms. I was in a unique position with unique opportunity. But I was clear in my own mind that a conflict of interest might arise; that to mix professional and private life in any way whatsoever was to invite complications which might adversely affect my ability to perform my work professionally and impartially, as the public has every right to expect.
Morally speaking, the rogue organisation fully deserved to be pressured, indeed punished because they were demonstrably in the wrong. But that justification would have involved crossing the line of a fundamental principle – a principle which must come before every other consideration.
Public office is a public trust and a public matter. Any one with any personal interest must exclude themselves from all and any involvement whatsoever; they must leave all consideration, decisions and action to others who are beholden only to the proper procedures and rules.
So, you may imagine the disgust I feel about recent news reports regarding the names David Cameron, Lex Greensill, Rishi Sunak, and Matt Hancock.
However, none of this surprises me. Frankly, it is inevitable in a society which both officially and unofficially teaches Materialism as Orthodox Religion.
In today’s world, fundamental principles are mocked; duty is a dirty word; integrity is distorted by self excuse and personal interest. Self service is the basic motivation and expectation in the world of work where resumes and CVs are regularly “enhanced”, and everyone, everywhere expects to put their own career above every other interest.
The world of politics, of course, merely amplifies this. In a domain where Machiavelli’s Prince is both hero and the standard, Jesus Christ is just a joke.
So David Cameron’s endeavours reference the Greensill operations come as no surprise. Indeed, I will say this.
I firmly believe it is but the tip of the iceberg re politicians in general, and the Conservative Party in particular.
Questionable contracts and connections surface every so often in the media re politicians of all stripes, but especially in the party of “business”. Business, of course, is all for Materialism – production and consumption are too often today treated as its rituals with material accumulation its god.
Yes, you are reading a blog on the website titled, Right Wing Institute. I believe in the free market [which is not the same as a free-for-all!]; I believe in profit; I believe in the fundamental right of everyone to pool their capital/ their labour/ their skills/ their ideas to achieve whatever they want to achieve together. Free enterprise; free assembly; free assocation for whatever their common cause may be. Yes, freedom.
But freedom requires the exercise of trust and respect. It requires self discipline and a sense of duty to others – to respect their interests and their concerns. It requires we lay aside inordinate and selfish, self interest; it requires an understanding of proper and legitimate self interest.
Materialism does not teach that. It teaches the very opposite. And it requires its acolytes to operate accordingly. Selfishly, immoderately, immorally.
Not so with Christianity.
Christianity teaches us the vital psychological essentials for a cohesive society, for a balanced, fair and effective economy; for a reputable, trustworthy politics.
Love your neighbour as yourself must be a “win-win” psychology in every domain.
But a creed of exclusive self interest, self promotion, self absorption, self centredness must be the best mindset to corrupt every area of activity. That is what’s happening now.
We are reaping the harvest of decades of Mammon worship.
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