Rant and remorse

Last month I wrote about the apparent lack of humility in bankers and others, and the outrage caused by their taxpayer-funded bonuses. While I have no great wish to get a reputation for immoderate ranting that’s any greater than the one I already have, I have more to say. It was interesting when we were in San Antonio to listen to US news, and to talk to Texans, and hear of their anger about exactly the same issue. If anything, I think the desolation and outrage are even greater in the US than here, but there seems a greater willingness there for politicians to upbraid the bonus-takers in public and speak on behalf of those they represent. What can we do about this? Now I suppose I’ll have to put these remarks into some theological framework, so here goes. We all make mistakes. We all are greedy. We all want the advantages of investment dividends if we are lucky enough to have money invested, and our pension funds depend on them. In this regard, we are all complicit in the problems that afflict us, and our children and grandchildren will have to bear the burden of the mistakes our generation has made. I accept all that, and I can’t and don’t condemn anyone for faults that also afflict me. However, the arrogance and lack of remorse that we see in public life at the moment is something beyond all this. According to the Gospels, Jesus was censorious about very little, but always, always, always about hypocrisy and complacency. Even Josef Fritzl seems to have acknowledged, eventually, the enormity of his actions after being confronted by his daughter’s account of their effects on her and her children, holed up for 24 years in a damp and mouldy cellar. Even Fritzl.


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