Closing the Trust Deficit
By: Craig Chamberlain
Civil society is made up of the institutions that people interact with. It’s not just politics and economics. The real basis of society are institutions such as the church, family, schools, etc. The problem is the Americans, by and large, don’t trust these institutions anymore. Take a poll of the American people and only about one in five trusts Congress, only about one in three trusts the Presidency. Americans don’t trust the courts, they don’t trust the media, they don’t trust corporations, they don’t trust labor unions, they don’t trust the churches or the clergy, they don’t trust academia, about the only institution the American people still have any faith in is the military. This is not a recipe for success.
What went wrong? First of all the left has spent fifty years teaching the American people not to trust anyone. Never trust anyone over 30 was one of their mantra’s. Funny how the wisdom of that disappears when you pass the big 3-0. The left, and their cult of youth, attacked these institutions, because as they saw it they were corrupt. How could organizations filled with old people be a good thing for the country? As these institutions deteriorated in the eyes of the people civil society lost the glue that held it together. It’s hard to obey the law when people don’t trust the police or the courts. It’s hard to think that businesses are fair when we’re told endlessly that businesses are nothing but a bunch of murderous crooks, who poison the air, water, and their customers. This was all part of the lefts plan. Crash society into the ground and then rebuild. The communist theorist, Antonio Gramsci, was the main proponent behind this movement. He theorized that revolution wouldn’t happen until the cultural institutions of society had been infiltrated by radicals. And it is happening here. Look at the universities, look at the churches(fifty years ago the idea that the Episcopal church would ordain women priests, and bless the marriages of homosexuals and transgendered people would have been laughable. But the leftists wormed their way in and the Episcopal Church is little more than communists with Bibles. )
Sometimes the people are right to be jaded and cynical. When there is institutional corruption it’s natural for trust to erode. When the courts care more about criminals than victims who can blame people for not trusting the courts? When labor unions are in bed with the mob should we be surprised that the people don’t look to the AFL-CIO as their representatives? When politicians lie through their teeth, when they exempt themselves from their own laws, and when their more interested in screeching at each other like children then taking on the big issues facing this country, who can blame the people when they think Congress is worthless? When institutions lie, or when they try to extend their reach beyond what it should be they lose the trust of the people.
Just because cynicism might be occasionally justified doesn’t mean that it is a good thing. Voting out Congress won’t solve all of our problems. This is because the people attracted to running for public offices are the types who are inclined to be corrupt busybodies in the first place. The people, in order to trust these groups again, must insist that they play by the rules and go back to minding their own business when something is outside of their sphere. People are angry at Congress because Congress(and the rest of the federal government) is insistent that their sphere has no limit, that there is no area which they cannot interfere in. If they want to tell the churches that they have to pay for abortions and sanction gay marriages they’ll do it because they believe that nothing is beyond their reach. That’s the problem. There’s not enough mind your own business anymore.
The media has broken its promise to the American people. Instead of reporting the news they just make up anything that validates their partisan concerns. If that means forging documents from the national guard to smear President George W. Bush, it if means that the Tea party gets blamed for mass shooting in movie theaters, if it means that they take Harry Reid’s baseless and idiotic charges as gospel they will because they stopped caring about the truth a long time ago. Perhaps more people would believe NBC or CNN if they didn’t consider getting President Obama reelected their first priority.
Corporations aren’t trusted. Now part of this is due to leftist propaganda. Businessmen, when portrayed in movies, are almost always the villains. They steal, they kill, they’ll do anything for a buck. This is cartoonish nonsense. Businesses exist to make money and I don’t begrudge them their profits. But Americans don’t trust corporations because they feel they are getting ripped off. Part of this is due to the fact that most Americans understand economics the way your pet dog understands how his food gets into his bowl. He knows it gets there, and truth be told he’s not interested in how. Americans think that prices are determined by the businesses. And if they feel like arbitrarily raising prices they’ll do it. Gas prices are a good example of this theory. Even the ones who understand supply and demand and market driven prices don’t care. They still blame the business when prices go up, or you pay the same amount of money for the same amount of whatever it is you’re buying.
Churches, sadly, aren’t as trusted as they used to be. The fastest growing segment in the religious world is unaffiliated. This is partly due to the rampant secularism pushed by the left and the eat drink and be merry ethos so enthusiastically embraced by the young idiots of the current generation. But the churches themselves are also partly to blame. The abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church, and scandals involving ministers in the evangelical community have left the people feeling jaded and looking on the churches as hypocrites, and they’re not entirely wrong. Another reason is the perceived partisanship of the churches. Here I’m less sympathetic. One cannot take a moral stand without taking a partisan stand, and what are churches to do if not teach on morality?
The military is still trusted because they do what they’re supposed to do, they fight, they do it well, and as far as the public is concerned they are above the political bickering that so consumes this country. Society can’t survive without these institutions. These groups need to live up to their promises, serve as they were intended to serve and mind their business where something doesn’t concern them. The people need to understand the value of these institutions and support them when they are doing what they are supposed to do, and try to reform them when they are not. Nothing is worse for civil society than jaded indifference. The belief that these organizations are inherently corrupt and out of touch is a revolutionary mantra, and one of the main reason that trust is at an all time low. Corruption certainly exists but these institutions are needed and its better to tolerate a little corruption than do without them.