Picking up on a comment by Walt in which he wrote:
As far as TC’s hideous goals, more frightening to me than a few zealots out to rule the world through inflammatory pitches is the fact that the world has been so easily manipulated to go along with the gag. That’s the deeply depressing and apparently eternal flaw in human nature–the same one that’s led to witch-burning, lynching, gassing, and beheading. Against which one urgently needs to Do Something.
In my reply I suggested that the ‘flaw’ lay in how readily we trusted each other. But I suggested that this trustfulness was what enabled us to form societies and work together in common projects. It was a Good Thing. But also meant that we’d all too readily believe con artists and snake oil salesmen. We are too trusting. Trust really needs to be leavened with a little bit of distrust.
It reminded me that Nigel Farage said that he came from a business environment that operated on trust. And that was the world that Donald Trump came from. But the political world was one which didn’t operate on trust. And Trump, in surrounding himself with people from the business world and the military and his own family, would seem to be surrounding himself with people who he thinks (or hopes) he can trust. If they break that trust, they’ll be ejected. Trump kicked lots of people out of his campaign because they broke trust. Chris Christie, for example. Something to do with a bridge.
Ann Coulter wrote a book late last year entitled In Trump We Trust. And a great many Americans placed their trust in him when they voted for him on November 8 last year. And so far, in his new administration, he does seem to have started doing exactly what he said he’d do. And that will have increased their trust in him. Although I heard Ann Coulter expressing doubt about all the Goldman Sachs people he’d hired. So she’s not really sure whether he actually is trustworthy. But that’s because banks run by “banksters” are widely distrusted.
The odd thing about Trump is perhaps not so much that so many people have placed their trust in him, but that almost as many others have no trust in him whatsoever. They see him as a clown, an idiot, an incompetent, a loose cannon, and even a new Hitler.
I’m not quite sure how such a polarised range of opinion has arisen. But I suspect that it may simply be that the people who can’t stand Trump are people who trust established authorities and experts, in every field. They trust experienced politicians like Hillary Clinton, who know the ropes, and are A Safe Pair Of Hands. And they trust scientists who tell them that carbon dioxide causes global warming. And doctors who tell them that smoking causes lung cancer. And Donald Trump has no political experience whatsoever, doesn’t know the ropes, and is manifestly not a safe pair of hands. Putting him at the helm of the ship of state is like putting a precocious 8-year-old child in charge. It’s bound to end in disaster.
And the people who have placed their trust in Trump are the people who’ve lost trust in the established authorities and experts, in more or less every field. They’re people who no longer trust the established political class, because they have been betrayed too often. And they’re people who have ceased trusting the mainstream media. And they’re people who have little or no trust in climate scientists (Climategate). And if they’re like me they don’t even trust the doctors who tell them that smoking causes lung cancer (in my case largely because of my encounter, at age 17, with the antismoking Dr W). Very few of them go as far as I do, in distrusting even the space scientists in NASA. But these distrustful people would like to be able to trust somebody, even if there any number of people they don’t trust. And if they’re going to place their trust in someone, it’s going to be in somebody outside the distrusted political class, and the distrusted media, and all the other groups they don’t trust. They’re likely to pick an outsider.
And Donald Trump successfully sold himself to them as exactly that sort of outsider. Here was a highly successful businessman, who’d made a success of more or less everything he’d done. And he didn’t trust politicians or the MSM or climate scientists either. And his vice-president doesn’t believe the doctors either (something that has attracted hostile comment, see right). He was just like them. Why not give the guy a chance, even if he was rather flamboyant, and shot his mouth off a bit much? None of the alternatives was in the least bit appealing.
Hillary Clinton’s supporters were people who still trusted authorities and experts, and couldn’t understand anyone who didn’t. Donald Trump’s were people who didn’t trust the authorities anymore, and couldn’t understand anyone who did.
If Donald Trump manages to do even half what he said he was going to do, trust in him will rise. And splenetic criticism of him will diminish. And at the moment, the signs are looking pretty good that he’s going to do what he said, regardless of all the banksters and mad dog generals in his administration – although I was a bit disconcerted yesterday when half the State Department resigned, and Trump got into a Twitter spat with the Mexican president. But maybe it’s a good thing that half the State Department walked out? And maybe it’s a good thing that the Mexican president won’t be visiting next week? And why not conduct your diplomacy through Twitter?
I think we’re living in a time of deepening distrust. It’s an era of distrust that follows an era of unquestioning blind trust, when people trusted their politicians and their news media and their scientists and their doctors. The politicians and media and scientists and doctors don’t seem to realise that they’ve lost a lot of the trust that they regard themselves as entitled to by right. It’s going to come as a shock to many of them that they’re going to have a job on their hands to regain the trust they’ve lost. And I don’t think they’re going to manage it without lots of their heads rolling. If the BBC is going to survive, it’ll have to break the stranglehold of the political left on it. And if the BMA is to survive, it’s going to kick out all the healthists and eugenicists. And then maybe, just maybe, trust will begin creeping back.
The deeply depressing and apparently eternal flaw in human nature is maybe simply that that we believe stuff, and when we believe stuff we place our trust in the people who sold us that stuff. And because we don’t really know very much about anything, most of the stuff we believe is just plain wrong. In fact, perhaps all of it is. But at any one time we have to believe something, and trust somebody, because if we didn’t we’d never do anything. And maybe that’s indeed an eternal flaw – the eternal flaw that goes with eternal ignorance.