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The rhetoric of values

When in Cyprus, one cannot escape the occasional reference to ‘values’. The ‘rhetoric of values’ is often expressed through a legalistic interpretation of political and social affairs in order to give a seemingly undisputed interpretation of reality. When this rhetoric is applied, the analysis is abstracted from reality in order to give an account of it. I’m not saying that I have a problem with abstraction per se. On the contrary, I believe abstraction is a very useful analytical tool for reducing the complexity of situations that seem unsolvable. The problem arises when, like in the case of the ‘rhetoric of values’, the abstraction from reality is utilised in order to distort reality. Unfortunately, this is the case in Cyprus, where the definition of ‘values’ becomes so thick that encompasses a holistic understanding of reality, making any future reference to ‘values’ an attempt to maintain a static version of history. The outcome of this process is what can be described as ‘conservatism’, which is the ideology that underpins the totality of the Cypriot political scene. There are a few exceptions here and there of course, but they have not (yet) managed to dissolve or transform the existing structures.

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