Saturday, January 31, 2004

The New York Cynical Times

A cynic questions other people's motives. A cynic refuses to accept the stated reason for an action, preferring instead to find an ulterior motive. When cynics get carried away, they become conspiracy theorists. They find plots, intrigue, duplicity, and disingenuousness at every turn. Nothing is as it appears. Everything is concerted for disreputable--and sometimes nefarious--purposes.

A certain degree of cynicism is healthy and appropriate, but, like anything, it can be carried too far. The New York Times has gotten to the point where everything President Bush does is for an ulterior motive, usually to promote his electoral prospects. Please. Give the man credit. Evaluate what he does and forget why he does it. For one thing, you don't know why he does it. You're only speculating. Here is the latest example of excessive, gratuitous cynicism by what used to be a great newspaper but is now merely an apologist and propagandist for the Democrat party.

Bernard Williams on Counterproductive Tactics

Some utilitarian writers aim to increase a sense of indeterminate guilt in their readers. Peter Singer is an example, and in his book Practical Ethics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1980), he is evidently more interested in producing that effect than he is in the theoretical basis for it, which gets very cursory treatment. As moral persuasion, this kind of tactic is likely to be counterproductive and to lead to a defensive and resentful contraction of concern.

(Bernard Williams, Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy [Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985], 212

No comments:

Post a Comment