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A simplistic view of corruption

Ike Señeres .

IT has been said that discretion is one of the causes of corruption, because where there is discretion, there is corruption. While that is completely true and no one is arguing that point, what also usually happens is that even if there is no discretion, corrupt people are always going around the rules, so that they could extend favors to those who are asking for it, in exchange for one form of reward or another, and sometimes it is simply just another favor received for another one given. As it is supposed to be, there are punishments that are intended for those who break the rules, but as more rules are being broken without the application of punishments, those who have benefited from the dirty rewards often get away scot free.

Once upon a time in a public seminar, I heard a speaker say that his father used to reprimand him whenever he takes home simple items from the office, such as pens and paper supplies, telling him that it is a form of theft, because in effect he was stealing government property. While that may be a good example to emulate, I wonder how many people who are still alive today are still thinking that way. As I see it, something happened within our culture in our not so distant past, wherein the culture changed, so much so that what used to be wrong became acceptable or tolerable; even if it was not interpreted to mean that it is already right and is no longer wrong.

Not too long ago, I used to tell people that we need character change and not charter change. I still think that I am correct, but now I am starting to get convinced that what we need instead is culture change, or cultural revival to be more exact. I say revival because we all know that we had very good cultural values before, values that we seemed to have lost as we modernized and urbanized, although there are still remnants of these values in the provinces. All told, it could be said that the massive prevalence of corruption now is rooted in the widespread loss of values. You do not have to far, because not stealing is supposed to be a good value, until it became somehow tolerable as long as it is not abusive.

As I know it, anything done against the will of God is either sin or wrongdoing, and there is nothing in between. Wrong is wrong and there is nothing right about it. Greed is greed and no amount of moderation will make it less wrong. And so it is wrong to even try to moderate our greed. If we want to do right, we should not tolerate greed, rather than moderate it. As it is supposed to be, stealing one percent is already wrong, and so there is nothing right about tolerating a thirty percent or more kickback. Technically, the money given in a kickback belongs to the government, and taking any amount in that form is already a form of stealing. By way of extension, taking any amount of money that could have gone to the government is also a form of stealing.

Without alluding to anyone, I would dare say that in order for corruption to prosper in a Christian country, it is probably tolerated by a huge number of people who profess the faith, but do not practice it. It is either that, or they might just be practising their faith with a double standard, meaning that they might be stealing from the government or are committing acts of corruption, even if they know that what they are doing is already some form of sin or wrongdoing. And if they think that their giving alms or tithes would cleanse their transgressions, they are dead wrong and they may not even know that it may already mean the death of their souls.

In the final analysis, it is God who is the giver of justice and it is He who is ultimately the judge of what is right or wrong. That is the reason why you should not envy those people who are displaying their ill-gotten wealth, because envy is yet another sin. At the risk of sounding too naive, I think that we should continue to hope and pray for the day to come, the righteous people who are presumably in the majority will triumph over those who are corrupt, either by way of not voting for them every time there is an election, or by way of booting them out in recall elections. The truth is, the legal mechanism for the latter already exists, and the social media that could make it happen already exists as well.

E-mail: iseneres@yahoo.com

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