There were a lot of headlines and soul-searching editorials in the press yesterday following the tragic shooting of Rhys Jones in Liverpool. The Sun hoped that it would be a wake up call and tip us into changing as a nation, and quoted the Bishop of Liverpool. Today, alongside vital stories like 'vicious slug tried to eat my head', they are offering a £100,000 reward for help in catching Rhys's murderer, following the poor public response to appeals for help.
In a seemingly unconnected incident, a member of staff in a local jewellers yesterday encouraged me to lie in order to claim a free 'repair' under a warranty we had for a ring. It had gone in for resizing for the 2nd time, at a cost of £21, but the shop assistant advised me to say it had been damaged, so that it would be covered by the guarantee and be done for free. I wonder if, should someone break into the shop and steal a £21 watch, she'd think it no different? I said I'd rather not tell lies to save money, and paid up. She probably thought I was a fool.
But is there a connection? The Sun has to offer people money to get them to do what a decent citizen would do anyway. Why do we need to bribe people to be good? A shop assistant assumes that her average customer given the choice between
a) tell lies and save money
or b) tell the truth and pay what's owing.
would choose 'a'
In both cases, money overrides morality.
"I know, cause I've seen it, it was great, and I want it.... and I will stop at nothing just to get what I want... this is the modern way." The Kaiser Chiefs (The Modern Way) are spot on, we are not a moral nation, everything is about self interest. Shockingly, I was reading some popular Bible study notes this morning, trying to persuade me that a good reason to worship God was that it made God more likely to bless me. It's the same selfism wrapped in spiritual language.
Incidentally, £100,000 is the same as the Big Brother prize money. I don't know if that's significant.