Who’s Leading Public Debate?
The media (admittedly a multifaceted beast) has also played a role in narrowing public discourse, to the extent that fundamental questions, like, “what should you do with your short time on earth?” or “how can you really be happy?”, are virtually never discussed. This is all the more serious because the Catholic Church, which might once have generated debate on these issues, has made itself irrelevant (through self-inflicted wounds) and there is no other institution which can readily substitute.
Worse still, the place once occupied by priests and philosophers in the public sphere is now almost entirely populated by technocratic or managerial know-it-alls. It is more than a year since novelist Colman Toibin first called for economists to be banned from the airwaves and, without wanting to be flippant, heeding his request might be one step towards rediscovering our sense of humanity.
From today’s Irish Times in a piece by Joe Humphreys on the impact of the recession on mental health.