2013 October 05 Saturday
US Military Has Over Twice The Trust Of The Presidency

Under what conditions is a military coup possible? How about when people trust the military far more than they trust other major institutions of society?

As of June 2013 the US military rates as engendering a great deal of trust (43%) or quite a lot (33%). By contrast, the presidency scores 19% and 17% for those answers to the same question. Small business (29%, 36%) scores in second place after the military with the police (26%, 31%) in third place. The US Supreme Court is 7th place at 13% and 21%. Perhaps they shouldn't act like legislators so much?

Institutions below the US Supreme Court in trust: Congress (5%, 5%) is at the bottom. Congress is rated even lower than Health Maintenance Organizations (8%, 11%). Banks score higher in trust than newspapers and big business but below public schools..

Why does Congress rate so low? My guess: Congress is where a zero sum game gets played out over money. When Congress gives some group money other groups do not get what they want. In a society where the pie is not expanding less money is available to placate groups. More groups are frustrated about not getting what they want. Old promises can't not even be fulfilled (e.g. because the number of retired is growing and they cost much more to placate). The net taxpayers (those who pay more than they get) know they are paying for all this and getting less in return. So Congress can no longer buy off enough interest groups to keep them happy.

Other articles on the Gallup site fit into a general theme of declining public trust in major societal institutions: Americans' Confidence in Congress Falls to Lowest on Record and Americans' Confidence in Newspapers Continues to Erode.

The American people still have fairly high trust in their fellow citizens (why?) but the trend is downward: In U.S., Political Trust in "American People" at New Low. America is definitely on the road of declining trust. Immigration is one of the reasons why.

This all brings to mind Dennis Mangan's post Asabiya and America (with Asabiya defined as "social solidarity with an emphasis on unity, group consciousness and sense of shared purpose, and social cohesion,[1] originally in a context of "tribalism" and "clanism"."). Mangan takes a look at Peter Turchin's War and Peace and War: The Rise and Fall of Empires. Turchin says higher levels of cooperation happen when an empire are threatened by a common enemy. Then once an empire becomes very powerful conflicts within it grow and these conflicts undermine the empire, leading to collapse.

Americans live in a nation with stagnant or declining incomes (especially Michigan), declining trust, younger generations that are achieving less than older generations. Generation Y Millennials are saddled with debt and more part-time work. Huge debts and no savings. Most have poor career prospects. Are we witnessing the slow death in the belief in American exceptionalism?

My advice: get skills that make you more relevant. Master the hardest topics you can handle. Work your brain harder. Or become a loser.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2013 October 05 08:50 AM 


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