HSL / Newsletter Sample

Govt respect
May 2003

 

Hah! In restudying ancient history & empire records, prompted by recent press articles that distorted some facts, I’ve suddenly realized what should have been obvious to me long ago. That’s the trouble with truth. It hides by being invisibly obvious. Decades ago, when I moved from North America’s young countries to battle-hardened, over-taxed Europe, it puzzled me that there was no flag worship, no roaring patriotism, & much cynicism re govt announcements & politicians in general. But I got used to it & never questioned the rationale. Til now. West Europe has had centuries of politicians milking them dry via taxation, or going to war for (hidden or masked) economic reasons, & currency debasement, & lying, fraud, deceit, injustice, pretense, etc.

So by the end of the 20th century, Europeans (especially perhaps the British, French, Italians) were no longer so easily taken in by politicians’ promises, claims, speeches. I now better understand the meaning of “Cynicism is part of wisdom.” Britain’s Samuel Johnson said: “Patriotism is [often] the last refuge [tool] of a scoundrel.” Ambrose Bierce said: “A cynic sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.” Lillian Hellman said: “Cynicism is an unpleasant way of telling the truth.”

In modern times we’ve learned that when a govt denies something, it’s most likely to be true. North America is still too young to treat politicians & political parties with the disrespect (or at least cynicism) they usually deserve. Britain is an example of the opposite: though Blair put UK into the Iraq war (single-handedly), the public did not agree & still doesn’t. BBC-World TV & Sky News are highly cynical every day re the war. Ditto Spain, whose PM put Spain into war support, but the public disagrees, massively! Time has a way of sorting things out, sometimes for the better. •A humorous conclusion sums it up. Brendan Behan said: “It’s not that the Irish are cynical. It’s that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything & everyone.”

 

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