News, Current Affairs, Politics, Media, Sport, Entertainment and Life in General from Ireland
In the Dail yesterday Lucinda Creighton spoke about a culture of ‘Group Think’ in Irish society, she was speaking about the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013, but her comments raise a question of how we are influenced to act and think a certain way because it is the acceptable viewpoint now in our society. Today four TD’s will be expelled from the Fine Gael party because they defied the three line whip imposed on the vote by the Taoiseach. Why should independent and free thought and in this case a free vote be dictated to us and our representatives. Society in general behaves in a sheep mentality, follows the accepted views of society in general. It is part of the reason that we hear about a Dublin centric D.4 media dominating the accepted norms of opinion on current affairs. Any viewpoint that differs from this outlook is seen as background, outdated or regressive.
We as a society should revel in our diversity or viewpoint and outlook, we should be able to be proud that we have differing views on matters of public discourse, because diversity of opinion, discussion and argument is what makes life interesting, it is what makes radio compelling listening and it what incites us to react and reply to powerful newspaper opinion editorial pieces. Ethical and moral debates in the media make for the most fascinating of debates, be the moral question one of abortion, end of life choices, alcohol and sports advertising, religious beliefs and symbols, same sex marriage or whatever the latest contentious topic may be. We must be aware of ‘Group Think’ and not succumb to its allure, we must be passionate in our beliefs and not feel we must hide our opinions because the collective will not approve.
The current abortion debate has brought to the forefront issues of social conscience for politicians and members of the public, the euthanasia debate has made us question whether or not we should be merciful or protect life at all times, these moral and ethical issues are not matters of Catholic or Christian doctrine. It is the right of people to have social, moral and ethical position on these matters, that do not necessarily pigeon hole us all as liberal, left wing, right wing, conservative or centrist. We have a right to freedom of speech and thought, to personal freedom once our freedom of action does not interfere with another’s personal freedom. On ethical and moral issues surely we must not impose our viewpoints on others through political necessity, desire or manipulation, surely we should have our own free will on matters of conscience and we should not be neutered by general consensus and group think. We must not assimilate individuality in political discourse and must respect and accept diversity of outlook, perception and opinion.