Tony Leon Columnist

In life, the opposite of shame is shamelessness. In public life, the antonym of shame is impunity. In both cases, it means you act unbound by the norms of decency, accountability, probity and ethics. Consequences for wrongful acts are for dummies and dupes.

In a country where shamelessness and impunity are the norm, the abnormal and the outrageous become normalised and even standardised. Expectations are lowered, mediocrity becomes the synonym for excellence, hypocrisy replaces hope. The wise retreat from public engagement and the skilled find greener pastures far away.

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