A Cynic's Dictionary

A Cynic's Dictionary: D-E

cynic (’sin-ick) n.—One who no longer believes in the comforting illusions and protective half-truths that others use unreflectively to get through their lives.


debt, n.—An ingenious device cooked up in the early days of capitalism to promote the work of bankers and others of wealth by convincing people of the counterintuitive truth that owing money is the successful way to ultimate riches; the device has been used by modern American governments largely to make wars by vast expenditures of public money with the promise of ultimate riches, behind curtains that assure that the accumulated expenditures remain illusory.

defense, n.—The act of resisting an attack from without, or the fortifications for such a purpose; cap., a modern American department not for defense of any substantial kind but for waging war (formerly, until 1947 and America’s embarkation on a series of wars every year since then down to the present, the properly named War Department) on a scale so vast that it now acknowledges spending more than the next 25 countries in the world, combined.

democracy, n.—A system of government according to which a majority gets to decide the fate of a minority, regardless of the justice, truth, morality, temperance, and common sense of the decisions,...

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