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fransgeraedts (99.57)

Investing in trust



August 06, 2010 – Comments (2)

One of the biggest problems of our time is the erosion of trust within western societies. That erosion takes place all over but the most important is probably the loss of trust in politics.


ChrisGraley wrote a post here on Caps that demonstrated a deep distrust in politics. He is not of course the only one to do so. It is bon ton to do so here. There is, so it seems, something like a  consensus that says that our political system does not deserve our trust.

I think that to be untrue and dangerous. I repost here my answer to a question Chris put to me:

You asked: "are you saying that our political system has demonstrated a reason to trust".

Yes, i am saying that. Not just a reason but several, very very big ones.

(1) The democracies enable our individual pursuits of freedom, wealth and happiness. (Think both about traditional societies and modern totalitarian systems to see how unusual that is.)

(2) The democracies have lowered the amount of warfare in the world immensely (Because wars between democracies occur only seldom.)

(3) The democracies have won two world wide wars against totalitarian systems.(Fascism, Communism;we will win the third one against religious fundamentalism as well.)

(4) The democracies have maintained the monopoly of violence of the state and brought its use under the rule of law and due process. (Think police-state to see the difference)

(5) The democracies have maintained the monopoly of taxes of the state and brought its use under the rule of law and majority rule.(Think tax-farming to see the difference)

(6) The democracies support our pursuits of freedom, wealth and happiness with collective facilities like, among others,the army, the justice system, education, infrastructure, city planning, cultural institutions, the arts, the sciences  and the democratic institutions themselves.  (Imagine to create and maintain a park in a purely marketdriven town to see the necessity of statebased collective facilities; think of "the problem of the commons" and "the problem of the free rider")

(7)The democracies learn and adapt.That makes it possible to enhance continually the collective facilities and the policies that try to steer the development of the pursuits.(Look at the problems traditional and totalitarian systems have to accomadate the new to see the difference.)

(8) The democracies have created and supported open societies where people can think and speak freely and where forms of collective learning are always ongoing. (For example Caps.)

(9) The democracies serve justice. They do so quiet well when it comes to freedom (Think the abolishement of serfdom and slavery, the constitution of the liberties as fundamental rights for everybody, the emancipation of women and gay's, the secularisation of the political sphere and the right to belief  -or not to belief.)They have begun to do so when it comes to wealth. (Think private property, contract-law, minimum wage, social security, health care) They begin to have an inkling what justice should be about when it is about happiness. 

How about those reasons Chris?


2 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On August 06, 2010 at 2:39 PM, EnigmaDude (58.54) wrote:

Well spoken.  You won't get as many recs as Chris for the reason you stated:

...something like a  consensus that says that our political system does not deserve our trust

and I doubt that you have convinced them, but I think it will be difficult to argue against your points.

Here are some additional thoughts:

"Democracy is a form of government in which it is permitted to wonder aloud what the country could do under first-class management." Senator Soaper

"Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few." George Bernard Shaw

"Democracy is a government where you can say what you think even if you don't think." Anonymous

"Democracy is a process by which people are free to choose the man who will get the blame." Laurence J. Peter

"Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses." H. L. Mencken

"Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time." E. B. White

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard." H. L. Mencken

"Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage." H. L. Meneken

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#2) On August 06, 2010 at 4:10 PM, Option1307 (30.59) wrote:

+1, valid points and nicely written.

I can't speak for Chris, but I think you are slightly missing the point. When I speak about a distrust of government, I am refering to our current situation and current times. Yes, democracy has provided Americans, and the world, with countless positive benefits and likely will continue to do so going forward.

However, I have a distrust currently because there is so much corruption within the US government. See Blagojevich, senator Rangel, representative Waters, Geithner, Bush II fighting crap wars based on pis-poor "intelligence, representative Conyers, representative Foley, and how about the US government passing/shoving down our throats bills that the vast majority of Americans disapprove of, e.g. TARP and the financial stimulus bill.

Reasons like these and countless others are why I currently have a distrust of politicians. They haven't proved to me that they can, and should, be trusted. Until they do, I will continue being skeptical of their promises etc.


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