‘Ethos and arbitrary power’


A chara, – Fintan O’Toole’s intelligent investigation of the different perspectives on the meaning of “ethos” is enlightening (“Ethos is a word for arbitrary power”, Opinion & Analysis, May 2nd). In highlighting changing values that would now make it unthinkable for a school principal to sack an unmarried pregnant teacher, O’Toole’s suggestion that “there is no practical difference between someone who has a vision of God and someone who is just making it up” emphasises the essence of belief. Belief is personal, and it should not shape the law in a democratic republic. – Is mise,



Co Clare.

Sir, – In surveying our public services from Olympian heights, Fintan O’Toole regards “ethos” as a fancy Latin name which should be replaced by a good Greek one “democracy”. I’m sure he will have been reminded by now that both words are of Greek origin.

There is another more pertinent Greek word that I would like to eliminate in relation to our public services, “chaos”. – Yours, etc,



Co Donegal.