Cynicism is that attitude of mind characterized by a general distrust of others’ motives.
Cynics believe that humans are selfish by nature, ruled by emotion, and heavily influenced by the same primitive instincts that helped humans survive since the dawn of civilization. Those instincts include ambition, desire, greed, gratification, materialism, and opinions that a cynic perceives as vain, unobtainable, or ultimately meaningless.
Modern cynicism manifests itself as frustration, disillusionment, and distrust in organizations, authorities, and other aspects of society. Nowhere are those feelings greater than in the world of politics.
The problem is that cynicism regarding government or politics can logically lead to political withdrawal and effective political helplessness.
In 2003, Hillary Clinton commented: “The worst thing that can happen in a democracy—as well as in an individual’s life—is to become cynical about the future and lose hope. That is the end. And we cannot let that happen.”
For true cynics it is already too late, since trust and belief in politicians is probably at an all time low. Some of the observations of the people below are a good indication of how that came about:
Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.
One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.
Politics have no relation to morals.
If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.
Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.
If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.
Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.
We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
H. L. Mencken:
In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.
I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
A fool and his money are soon elected.
In most places in the country, voting is looked upon as a right and a duty, but in Chicago it’s a sport.
By the time a man gets to be presidential material, he’s been bought ten times over.
Henry A. Kissinger:
Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.
One active aspect of cynicism is the desire to expose hypocrisy and to point out the gulf between society’s ideals and its practices.
As the author, George Bernard Shaw succinctly pointed out: “The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who don’t have it”.
Are you cynical about politics and politicians? Do you still vote? Why?
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