Groucho Marx, the US humourist, probably now has more followers who share his understanding of politics than Karl Marx, the father of modern communism. This chapter asks why cynicism matters and might have negative consequences. It looks for where cynicism about politics might originate. Is it because we have come to see many public aspects of society through the eyes of neoliberal style public choice theory? It is because politicians lie more? Or it is because the media presents politics in a way that encourages cynicism? There is something in all those explanations but the final section of the chapter explores another idea: that cynicism reflects a sense that the balancing of the books central to our understanding of politics as a moral practice is more difficult to achieve in today’s democracies.
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