2014 February 16 Sunday
Create Private Communities To Restore High Trust?

Americans have less trust of others.

These days, only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted. Half felt that way in 1972, when the General Social Survey first asked the question.

I'd like to know how much of this declining trust is due to rising ethnic diversity and how much due to other causes. I'd like to see the trends on trust over the same time period restricted to areas which ethnically have not changed much in the last 50 years.

It is no fun watching the slow death of American exceptionalism and the decline of the lower classes. One wonders whether reverse of that decline, at least in small areas, is possible and how.

Imagine this: a community gets founded with the requirement to submit a DNA sample to test for signs of psychopathy or other attributes that would tend to make one not worthy of being trusted. People could even get tested under an MRI machine and their heart beats measured for signs of criminality.

Do you think such tests are impossible to create? See Adrian Raine's The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime. Any filtering for better people would be less than perfect. But it would work. If a community had a lot of applicants it could set its filter level to have more false negative than false positives.

Currently it is possible for some religious groups to create member-only communities. Can other groups find a way to do this? Will they have enough motive? A religious group can farm in very rural locations. But most people need to live and work near large pockets of civilization and have lots of specialized skills that would tend to scatter the people who would share the sentiments that would make creation of such a community possible.

Of course the US government no longer recognizes a right of free association. So the legal environment would be hostile to creating a restricted access community that used biological tests as part of their entrance requirements. But think about the whole world and not just the United States. In some countries it might be possible for an organized group to legally pull off creation of such a community.

But I see another problem: People feel fewer bonds to community and have become more atomized. To create a community with restricted entry requires stronger bonds outside of the family to organize against entry of people who do not fit the community requirements.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2014 February 16 06:25 PM 


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