Cynicism Is Your Friend
There's a war against cynicism these days, and it's a war that the cynical must win. Why? As a life long cynic, I've come to appreciate cynicism for it's many proud and useful qualities.
First of all, being cynical almost always equals being right. Almost every time someone tells you to stop being cynical, what they're really telling you to do is to stop being objective and accurate and buy into the fuzzy wuzzy 'everything is good' philosophy that people use to bury their heads in the sand. Oftentimes, people confuse objective thought for cynicism.
People called anti war protesters cynical when they accused the British and American governments of invading Iraq for oil. Now, seven years later, BP, Exxon Mobile and a bunch of other multinational Western oil companies have access to Iraq's oil fields for the first time. Iraq itself is a blood bath that continues to claim the lives of Americans and Iraqis alike, but that's okay because the oil is secure. You'll still get called a cynic for stating that fact, even though it is now history and no longer a prediction. Why? Because society demonizes those who don't get with the agenda, and it really hates people who say 'I told you so.'
Cynicism is your friend. People don't like cynicism because it cuts through false cheer and propaganda and gets to the heart of the issue: that fact that most people, even the nice ones, act consistently in their own self interest. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Even reviving charity often comes at a cost.
It's hard to persuade a cynic using flashing lights, buzzwords, fear, and pretty pictures, which is how governments and people with money and an agenda usually try to push their messages. A cynical mind, one that analyzes things and looks behind the obvious facade for the motivation behind an action or message, is one less likely to be drawn into a mob that can be steered and used by those who like to draw and steer mobs of minds.
Is this to say that there is no good in the world at all? No. Of course there is. But being cynical helps you to identify that which is truly good over that which simply appears to be so. Cynicism isn't a set of beliefs that determines your opinions and outlook, it is a valuable tool. Be cynical first, then ask questions, then formulate your position. Don't believe things because they are shiny and sound good and a politician and / or celebrity says them.
Being a cynic may not help you to win friends and influence people, but it will stop you from jumping on dangerous bandwagons and being the victim of lies that organizations much larger than you desperately want you to believe.