Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Group-think, not conservatism is to blame

Elaine Byrne says that much of the wrong-doing in Irish public life was uncovered by outsiders who were not influenced by "Irish conservatism." Conservatism is not the problem; it's more of a national group-think. It's very difficult to stand against the tide.

If conservatism is blamed then we are destined to repeat this process again and again. We have to recognize the extent to which group-think dominates Irish politics and social structures and even conversations with friends.

It may be that such a small country will always be prone to these problems. Madison believed a big republic was preferable to a small one. The best argument for Ireland being part of the EU.
The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other.