It has been asserted by some in the chattering classes (politicians and their agents) that the Irish electorate is cynical.
The concise Oxford English Dictionary (1964) defines these words as follows:
CYNICAL: Churlish; captious; incredulous of human goodness; sneering
SCEPTICAL: Inclined to suspense of judgement, given to questioning truth of facts & soundness of inferences, critical, incredulous; accepting Pyrrhonism, denying possibility of knowledge; holding, designed to support, inspired by, the ideas of the sceptics
Pyrrhonism is a reference to one of the sceptics of antiquity – Pyrrho of Elis who held that certainty of knowledge is unattainable.
For our purposes it can be taken as a given that the Irish electorate are not debating the ideas of Pyrrho or any other sceptic of antiquity in the pubs, clubs or meeting places of Ireland.
This apart there is a clear difference between a Cynic and a Sceptic.
A voter meeting a politician is reasonable in being “Inclined to suspense of judgement, given to questioning truth of facts & soundness of inferences” as opposed to one “incredulous of human goodness”.
The obverse of this is: A politician who abuses the electorate by claiming they respond to him with denials of the possibility of human goodness, when they do nothing of the sort, being merely “Inclined to suspense of judgement, given to questioning truth of facts & soundness of inferences”, is revealing everything about himself/herself and nothing about the electorate.