Tuesday, May 13, 2003

cynics v sceptics

I used to argue that I was a sceptic, not a cynic, because I used to regard the one as demonstrating a positive, and the other a negative take on the world. I think I still am, but in order to fight my corner I have to bend my own definitions somewhat.
the sceptic interrogates all 'official' information about the world with suspicion, on the lookout for the lies, the hypocrisy, the deceit, from a position of moral rectitude - in other words, the sceptic believes in a fundamental human inclination to decency - to right behaviour, or behaviour in line with his or her understanding about truth - which is consistently attacked and undermined by the controlling agenda of the authorised establishment.
the cynic, on the other hand, is the pallid, gollum-like creature that emerges at the other end of the tunnel when his faith has been fatally eroded by experience: he or she has learnt that there is absolutely no chance whatsoever of this righteous expectation of a glimmer of truth emerging out of the self-serving mouths of these various organs of control, and has come instead to expect to be lied to.
I think the reason why I still can't say that I've completely moved over to the cynics camp is that I still get angry at this - especially at such a time as this when all truth has been seen, yet again, to be equivocal grist, minced in the grinder of the basest imaginable nationalistic chauvinism.
the actual differences between Sadam Hussein and his supposed nemesis are awfully slight: the America of George Dubya is not a bastion of democracy - its current leader rigged the elections to win the race, and couldn't give a monkey's tit what the rest of the world thinks about his petty vendetta with the man who bested his daddy. he simply has the power to do this - first to pulverise the rubble of Afghanistan in search of one man (who was never found) - and now to run rampage through an already sanctions-ruined Iraq in search of another (who will - almost certainly with covert connivance - survive to a ripe old age in luxury somewhere - the Crimean peninsula, perhaps - or the Hamptons) - and no-one can stop him.
the anti-war movement still has plenty of energy left to run. Iraq, clearly, is a basket-case - we're going to be mopping up the blood for generations - no hope now of preventing that. but what seems to have happened is that a whole new generation of young Americans (they especially, but the same sense of outrage has been experienced in the UK) have been politicised by this in a way that hasn't happened since Vietnam. there's a real feeling of overwhelming anger and dismay coming from across the pond at the realisation that certain sorts of administration - the ones that get elected when the proper checks and balances fail for want of attention - will only ever act on behalf of the suits and the uniforms. as long as these same young people can be persuaded to vote next time, George and his despicable team of yoiks and yahoos will be taking a walk.

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