Cynicism is one of the reactions to the fact that there are no rules that have universal validity, the reaction being the rejection of all rules. Cynics are in fact idealists who have made the observation that ideals donít work. They are still idealists, because the reaction to the observation is still one which they give universal applicability; rejection of all rules is the same as stating that there are no valid rules, which is a universal rule.
Cynicism is an attitude that seems to have some advantages, the major one being that it seems to lead to good descriptions of reality. As soon as a rule fails, or some ideal doesnít work, the cynics can boast that he has predicted this outcome. In actual fact, in many cases this situation is less honourable than it seems, because in many cases the rule fails, and the ideals do not work, because of the actions of cynics. The cynics that spoil the general rules or the ideals may not be the same cynics that do the predicting or even as those drawing the conclusions, but this is really a moot point. The next time the rule or ideal is broken, it may be by those who did the predicting in the first case, and vice versa. It is the group of cynics as a whole that is responsible for the larger scale influence on rules and ideals. Red Eye the Atavist from the similarly named parable is an excellent example of a cynic, but of course the most important ones are politicians, almost all of whom seem to be cynics in some degree or another.
Another group that deserves special attention are the cynics among the intellectuals. Their danger lies in the fact that their efforts do not only undermine bad rules and ideals, but also the good ones, to name a more practical example: whatís the use of paying any taxes, when ten percent of it is wasted (or: why stop weapons trading, if someone else is going to do it). This undermining of good rules creates a moral vacuum, in which the bad attitudes can flourish; more on this elsewhere.