Published in Intrepid Report on June 7, 2012
By Larry Pinkney

Have you ever wondered from where the fallacious notion of the-lesser-of-the evils derives? Indeed, why must a political system be rooted in evil at all, whether that evil be perceived as more evil or less evil?

The lesser-of-the-evils myth is firmly based in cynicism, i.e., the belief that people are motivated primarily by selfish concerns. Everyday ordinary people have, from cradle to grave, been thoroughly programmed to believe that they are somehow inherently evil. The irony of this is, of course, that the pious pronouncements which emanate from the very politicians, supposedly democratically elected by the people of the United States, are nevertheless steeped in (what are now hollow) phrases such as “liberty and justice for all.” How then can a people who are allegedly inherently evil be seriously inclined to believe in “liberty and justice for all?” The answer is that it is not the ordinary people who are inherently cynical or evil; it is the political system, owned and operated by the avaricious wealthy elite that is built upon and steeped in both cynicism and concomitant hypocrisy.

This is precisely why, for example, this nation’s political misleaders (be they Democrat or Republican) can, with a straight face, pay rhetorical homage to so-called “justice and human rights” even as they simultaneously order killings, military invasions, and wars—which utterly obliterate “justice and human rights.” Thus, Wall Street banksters and other bloated crooks of the corporate elite have no problem lauding the U.S. “free enterprise” system even as they simultaneously and mercilessly economically suck the blood, homes, life savings, and aspirations of ordinary everyday people down to the very bone. This is the essence of a political system whose de facto guiding edicts are hypocrisy and cynicism. By this standard, evil is not only acceptable but absolutely necessary for the political system to function—the masses of everyday people be damned. The lesser-of-the-evils myth is deeply rooted in this pathological scenario. This is the politics of cynicism. It is unacceptable.

Ultimately, it is the politics of cynicism that the systemic puppet-masters so adroitly utilize to divide, manipulate, and control ordinary people on the basis of color, ethnicity, and gender, etc. People have been systemically ingrained to confuse pragmatism with cynicism when, in fact, they are quite different. Cynicism is in reality the antithesis of pragmatism. Cynicism breeds lethargy and a sense of helplessness, wherein pragmatism demands action to correct that which is wrong, intolerable, or unacceptable.

In these perilous times in which we live, we are sorely in need of a collective everyday people’s pragmatism whose focus and goal is to alleviate the systemic pain and suffering of ordinary people, not enhance it. This calls for creativity and collective action—not cynicism.

The power brokers and politicians of the U.S. political system are beholden not to the ordinary people—but to themselves and each other. They are the real cynics who, notwithstanding their misleading and obfuscated rhetoric, perpetuate the system and the misery of the people.

Let us dispense with the systemic politics of cynicism once and for all. Let us replace it with the politics of creativity and collectivity. Let us struggle long and hard to bring about a model that reflects the collective social, economic, and political interests, needs and aspirations of just plain everyday ordinary people. This will not be an overnight occurrence, but it can and must be done by we the people—collectively!

Each one, reach one. Each one, teach one. We’ve much work to do. Onward then, my sisters and brothers! Onward!

Larry Pinkney is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil/political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities, Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour. Pinkney is a former university instructor of political science and international relations, and his writings have been published in various places, including The Boston Globe, San Francisco BayView newspaper, Black Commentator, Intrepid Report, Global Research (Canada), LINKE ZEITUNG (Germany), 107Cowgate (Ireland and Scotland), and Mayihlome News (Azania/South Africa). For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a 20th Century Activist and Thinker, by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. (Click here to read excerpts from the book.)


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