International

Corruption in Portugal | Opinion

Portugal is a country mired in corruption of all kinds. The agents of justice do not escape the seduction of a mirage of life well above what the salary they receive legally would allow them either. What you have read in the press and heard on the news over the past few days is simply depressing. Some sell for a high price, some sell for a low price, but the impression that remains is that too many people are used to bribing or selling themselves to pave the way for their goals. These invariably amount to a life of the rich without the work and effort that honestly earned wealth requires.

The number of cases currently pending before the Lisbon courts is impressive. Even more impressive is the sense of impunity with which the offenders necessarily acted: as if the law did not apply to them and justice did not affect them. Perhaps the collaboration of a sociologist and a psychologist could clarify what lies behind this attitude so bizarre that it borders on psychopathy, and incomprehensible in the eyes of a normal citizen. The flood of defendants and defendants responsible for the commission of so many illegalities and crimes reveals that they are nothing but amoral creatures. In fact, one must have lost all moral sense to embark on such a criminal path. And, on this subject, we must be absolutely convinced that in the event of a trip, we can count on the effective protection of the other big fish, whose solidarity will not fail to show itself.

What makes luxury so irresistibly appealing? Luxury is irresistible because it satisfies vanity and conveys a sense of superiority and security which, without being real, nevertheless comforts those who allow themselves to be deceived. Vanity is an unbeatable motivation. There were times, a long, long time ago, when it was forbidden to display wealth – an attitude dictated by modesty and instinctive sobriety. We live today at the antipodes of the self-imposed reserve of yesteryear. Today, it is not enough to be rich. It is necessary to show signs of wealth even when it is not real and is nothing more than an appearance. It doesn’t matter: what matters is to be seen as someone who swims with money: big cars, big houses, luxury vacations in ski resorts or on tropical beaches, shoes and clothes. most expensive brands, etc.

Is it illicit or immoral to dream and have ambitions? Obviously not, quite the contrary. What is morally (and legally) prohibited for us is to use illicit means to achieve our goals. Where does this outrage, this greed for money and luxury come from?

Not everyone can become miraculously rich overnight. For these disadvantaged people, there is an Ersatz that fuels the imagination and the desire of many, many people: to have a black car with a driver, a sure indication that an important place in the oligarchy which governs us is occupied; a sign of power, even if it is little or even purely illusory. The waiter, who solicitously opens the door of the restaurant to His Excellency, knows nothing and does not need to know the real power that the customer has just arrived. He only knows, and suffices, that he is an important person. The creature, served with obvious deference, is delighted – likes to be flattered. He fulfilled the dream of his life: to have a black car with a driver – a satisfying Ersatz for those who cannot make a personal fortune.

But is it illegal or immoral to dream and have ambitions? Obviously not, quite the contrary. What is morally (and legally) prohibited for us is to use illicit means to achieve our goals. But where does this outrage, this greed for money and luxury come from?

If we go back in history, we will see that the process began during Marcelism. At that time, however, the lucky ones were relatively few, due to the general poverty of the country, and in this regard, April 25, for the time being, favored few people. (But some favored it: just think of Macau and, later, the entourage of Cavaco Silva.) The real windfall only began to flow after joining the EU and accessing the funds. community. From that point on, it was a lot of nastiness. What we are witnessing today is the continuation and expansion of a “system” of direct or indirect appropriation of public money, which, for the most part, comes from taxes paid by citizens. The establishment and constant expansion of this “system” goes hand in hand with the democratization of politics and society. It is a consequence of democracy.

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Portuguese democracy, yes. And – I regret to have to admit it – the democracies of the Catholic south of Europe, which for centuries have contrasted with the Protestant north. They are very different moral, religious and civic cultures. Protestantism is certainly more demanding than Catholicism, whose believers always have salvation at hand through repentance. The democracies of southern Europe all suffer from the same evil: corruption erodes the social body and passes to the ruling oligarchy.

Here, we hear a lot that the laws are not good, that they are badly made and that they contain “holes” through which it is possible for a person skilled in the art to squeeze and fabricate them. It will be true and it is easy to understand. Laws are made by MPs, politicians by definition, many of whom are primarily interested in legislative ambivalence. I believe that the country suffers, in general, from a great inertia. But there is no legislative inertia, there is a lot of legislation that allows or promotes fraud. It benefits from a democratic procession of upstarts eager for ostentation and social recognition, who have completely transformed the sociological landscape of Portugal.

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