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  • Posted by Zenphamy 3 years, 9 months ago
    The very basis for the Revolution and the Constitution founding this country was essentially the distrust of the 'institutions' of the day and that distrust has been proven correct for over two centuries. We have a long and storied history of placing trust in ourselves and our own abilities than in those of public 'experts' from any field.
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    • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 3 years, 9 months ago
      See my comment to preimert1 above. If you read The Federalist Papers, you will see that the phrases about "trust" are very specific, not general to the institution. And the only institution they wanted to fix was the central government. They did not distrust religion or public education, especially as "public education" barely existed. (They might condemn a Harvard professor for being a Tory. They did not condemn the institution of Harvard College -- or "most colleges" -- as being corrupt.)

      This loss of trust in public institutions is new, a newly framed discussion. You can project it on the past and say that the people of Rome were willing to accept Julius Caesar as dictator for life because they lost faith in the institution of government, but they did not speak from that frame of mind.
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  • Posted by jdg 3 years, 9 months ago
    I believe this phenomenon cuts both ways, depending on what you call an institution. Most of the "progressive" platform seems to consist of shutting down, usually by force, the extended families, churches, and other spontaneous organizations most people created and used to facilitate cooperative efforts 200 years ago and replaced them with government agencies, for no better reason than that it enables the "progressive" busybodies to meddle in other people's affairs.

    Any serious effort to restore liberty, whether in a "Gulch" or in a broader nation, will need to start by restoring those ad hoc organizations. To do that without being shut down by authorities will require us, I believe, to make a broader commitment to protect each other from government as a matter of principle. Thus we must be prepared to jettison "respect for the law" even to the extent of shunning its supporters.
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  • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 3 years, 9 months ago
    The report is weak on several points. In the first place, the very question could not have been asked even 100 years ago, certainly not 200 years ago. The concept of "trust in public institutions" did not exist.

    At least in those (simpler) times, the "public institutions" could be identified the same by everyone: church and state; king and country. In our world, we have very many more "public institutions." Should Major League Baseball allow Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame? That question could not have been asked in 1850, even though baseball existed. (In fact, baseball of 1775 was an informal girls' game. Read Pride and Prejudice.)

    Trusting yourself and your peers sounds good to engineers who enjoy the works of Ayn Rand, but it is just an invitation to superstition for most of the rest of the people.

    "In addition, more people worldwide are relying on themselves or peers – often via social media – than on experts. A good example: 59 percent of those surveyed would believe a search engine over a human editor. The reason: More than 80 percent of people distrust traditional media."

    They distrust books and libraries, newspapers and magazines. This is a thread in US history, the anti-intellectual tradition. Richard Hofstadter traced its origins to the Jacksonian revolution. We have it here in the Gulch.

    The common experience is that facts do not matter. Evidence alone is not enough. (See here http://www.motherjones.com/files/kaha... ) The experiment cited created fictitious "experts" of opposed opinions, all with the same level of academic credentials. Test subjects tended to discredit the credentials of the writers they disagreed with, yet supported the very equal academic standing of those they did agree with. Again, we see this here in the Gulch.
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    • Posted by $ CBJ 3 years, 9 months ago
      Re: “the very question could not have been asked even 100 years ago, certainly not 200 years ago. The concept of ‘trust in public institutions’ did not exist.” Sure it did. Distrust of the British government helped initiate the American Revolution. Distrust of government in general led to the separation of powers in the U.S. Constitution. Distrust of the Medieval Church led to the rise of Protestantism and the separation of the secular and religious domains. A healthy amount of distrust of public institutions is a good thing.
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      • Posted by LibertyBelle 3 years, 9 months ago
        There seems to be a widespread notion in this cul-
        ture that trust is somehow a virtue in itself. I have
        worked with cashiers who were hurt/offended if a
        fellow worker counted her change. I would have considered it unprofessional not to." [Cherryl Brooks Taggart] had learned, in the slums of her
        childhood, that honest people were never touchy
        about the matter of being trusted." (Atlas Shrugged). But I do admit that there is a dif-
        ference between trusting an institution and trust-
        ing an individual. But I deeply agree with a heal-
        thy distrust of government as such.
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      • Posted by $ MikeMarotta 3 years, 9 months ago
        You are projecting modern sentiments on the past. Nowhere in the Declaration of Independence did they say that they no longer trusted public institutions. It is true that they did not trust King George, but they did not frame the discussion in those terms. We do now. It is common talk, political vernacular. And it is a broader discussion. Not trusting this king is very different from not trusting government. And, as I pointed out, we have many more "public institutions" than in the past. No one could distrust universities before they were invented.
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        • Posted by $ CBJ 3 years, 9 months ago
          You are conflating sentiments with language. “Distrust of public institutions” is a modern formulation of a sentiment that goes centuries if not millennia into the past. All limits placed on the powers of secular or religious institutions arise from a lack of trust in their ability to properly perform their functions in the absence of such limits.
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  • Posted by dbhalling 3 years, 9 months ago
    How could you trust something called "nongovernmental organizations". Their name is a lie, since they are receive government money and work for the same objectives as the government leaders. Talk about double speak.
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  • Posted by coaldigger 3 years, 9 months ago
    I have read that babies are born with a fear of falling. I don't know if this is true but I suspect that a fear of falling is developed early in the life of an infant. When carried all they have to do is look at the floor and contemplate the harm of being let go. I would then reach the conclusion that the baby did not trust the parent and distrust is a natural survival instinct. In nature, some of the most attractive creatures are the most deadly. Trusting that their beauty means that they are pleasant can lead to your demise.

    Being a skeptic is the best defense. Trusting ones on reason needs to come first and then that reasoning can be used to determine the degree to which one can trust another person or institution. Perhaps we are confusing a reawakening of self reasoning to erosion of trust and we are heading in a better direction. Evil once again proves it is self defeating. Controlling people with lies leads to their becoming distrustful and you lose control.
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