WHO can you trust these days?
Presidents and congressional leaders who can’t tell the truth? Law enforcement agencies going after their favorite targets and letting real criminals get away scot-free?
The media making up things to suit their political goals? College professors who turn down people they don’t like?
CEOs promoting woke ideology? Scientists and public health professionals like, well, like Dr. Anthony Fauci?
America is in a crisis of confidence. It threatens the stability and even survival of American democracy.
Of all the challenges facing the… United States Today is the worst part: After decades of dishonest, incompetent and ideologically motivated leadership of the country’s most important institutions, Americans have simply stopped trusting most of the people who make the most important decisions that move the country.
Fifty years ago, polls showed that most Americans had high levels of trust in the major institutions of American culture and society: government, media, education, big business, law, experts in science, medicine and technology.
Now trust in all the pillars that support the edifice of American democracy has collapsed.
The Gallup organization has been measuring public trust in America’s most important institutions for half a century – from the presidency to the Supreme Court to big business, academia and the media.
The most recent survey this summer found that across these fourteen major institutions, the average share of Americans who said they had “a great deal or a fair amount of trust” in them was 26 percent.
This is an all-time low. When Gallup began measuring this number in the 1970s, it was close to 50 percent.
The details are striking: In the 1970s, sixty percent of Americans trusted banks; now the number is less than 30 percent; Back then, more than three-quarters of Americans said they had trust in the health care system — today, about a third say they trust it.
More than two-thirds of Americans once trusted churches, but today fewer than one in three say they trust them.
And so it goes – the media, big business, the public schools, the judiciary, the government – all have lost the trust of the American people.
What went wrong? How bad can it get and how do we begin to rebuild the bonds of trust?
These are the questions from the former editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal Gerard Baker answers in his new bookAmerican Breakdown: Why we no longer trust our leaders and institutions and how we can rebuild trust.
While many factors have contributed to the loss of confidence – poor government policies that have led to economic stagnation at home and catastrophic wars abroad; expansion and massive inequality; invasive information technology that has taken over our lives; a bipartisan political and media environment—the most important thing, he argues, is a growing divide between the elites who run most of our key institutions and the vast majority of regular Americans.
This new establishment in the media, academia, boardrooms, the permanent bureaucracy, the scientific and medical communities and elsewhere shares the same progressive ideals and values - a passion for globalization and a disdain for the nation state, open borders and woke ideas advocates about race, gender and sexuality; positions that reject most of the values that have made America great; And without trust, a society cannot function.
People need trust in their institutions and in each other if a nation is to thrive and grow together. It’s time to take the country back from the extremists who have destroyed so much trust in America.