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Friday, February 21. 2020
The Value of Trust
I make an effort, in my role as an older member of my department, to reinforce knowing history. Not only of the industry, which critical to avoiding errors already made, but also general history because it helps create a more advanced social order. The critical part of any social order is trust. Without it, markets fail, relationships fray, and good behavior is set aside in favor of self-interest. History, at its core, teaches the value of trust.
All good teams, departments, interactions, communities, and even nations are built upon a basic level of trust. It is rarely discussed, but absolutely essential.
In the U.S., trust has begun a slow dissipation. Think of an example of someone who did things the 'right way' and was moderately, or supremely, successful (let's say the Boston Red Sox of 2018) versus those who do things the 'wrong way' and are supremely successful yet go unpunished or are barely touched (the Houston Astros of 2017). When we fail to punish those who gain rewards improperly, we reduce the ability to trust our institutions. How often have you talked about someone you admire, only to have someone else say "if he/she is so smart or good, why did person X (who wasn't as 'clean') make all the money?" That kind of response typifies the slow fraying of fundamental trust.
Another example could be our recent trials and investigations regarding Trump. In this, we see an example of retributive anger (Trump won and I hate him so he has to go), which is very damaging and occurs with the complete loss of trust (can anyone argue that the Democrats trust Trump even a little?). Transitional anger, the anger we feel as we shift from one order to the next, that sense of loss yielding anger but without feeling the need to lash out, is manageable and useful. It can help people progress. Retributive anger is dangerous and undermines the fabric of trust that is necessary to move forward.
The Democrats are suffering now because of the fact they have engaged retributive anger. They're mad they lost an election they assumed was theirs, and rather than be angry at their own shortcomings and using that anger in a transitional manner to improve themselves, they've lashed out and are destroying themselves and potentially the nation (if their behavior is followed to its logical conclusion).
We are successful as a nation because we have an innate trust in our political institutions. That trust exists regardless of those in power because the Constitution protects us, as individuals. Even if bad people are elected, one person and even a few cannot destroy the system. Checks and balances assure that. We can survive a bad president (and have many times). There are reasonable methods to oust the truly awful. Engaging those levers in wrong-headed attempts simply because someone is 'offensive' undermines that innate trust of our institutions. It causes some, and possibly many, to question the validity of our original belief in our Constitution and our laws.
This doesn't happen because of one person. It doesn't happen because "Trump did it," it happens because a group of people are hoping and trying to undermine that trust, and it isn't the Russians. Or the Chinese. It has to happen internally.
I don't love Trump, I barely tolerate him. But I've not liked plenty of presidents. I've had trust in our system, though. Thankfully, after two clear attempts to undermine that system, it has stood up to the attacks on it, and I still trust it. It's a shame there's an entire party out there so far off base that its members no longer trust the system and are proposing potential candidates to destroy it.
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Think of an example of someone who did things the 'right way' and was moderately, or supremely, successful (let's say the Boston Red Sox of 2018) versus those who do things the 'wrong way' and are supremely successful yet go unpunished or are barely touched (the Houston Astros of 2017).
Maybe a little too soon noting the 'right way'...
The Red Sox are currently under investigation by MLB for their alleged use of technology to steal signs during their 2018 World Series championship season.
They're not my team, so I have no skin in the game....but the fact even they are under investigation kind've makes my point.
Baseball has always been a cheater’s game. The Astros just did it better.
Back in the 1970s, Sissela Bok (wife of Harvard president Derek Bok) wrote an influential book about the necessity for government and other institutions to be truthful. Otherwise, trust in the institution would lessen and the institution would eventually collapse. Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life.
In the early Eighties, we cited that book to the judge in a federal court action where we had proved that the federal government had lied and cooked up the results of an official study that negatively impacted our client. (Originally it wasn't evident that the study had been faked, but our client was approached by a whistle-blower who revealed how the underlying data had been manipulated.) The Justice Department argued it was only a study and people were free to ignore it. The court sided with us, saying the government had a fundamental duty of truthfulness, and enjoined the government's actions. The case settled soon after that, and the government withdrew the study.
It seems to me we are pretty close to the state of moral collapse at this point, especially given an impeachment proceeding based on no hard evidence the president had done anything wrong. At least I haven't heard it yet.
Even if bad people are elected, one person and even a few cannot destroy the system.
Soryy, Bulldog, the treason and distrust has gone far beyond one and a few! It is pervasive among whole un-elected and , unaccountable classes of people among entire institutions : FBI, DOJ, the Federal Bench.... all need to be swept clean with a large broom, bottom to top!
There maybe a few individuals who don't fit in that category, but let's stop with the pretense that the bulk of such agents, attorneys and judges stand true to their oaths, instead of acting as the untrustworthy, highly political marauders they truly are!!!
Won't dispute that there are some high-ranking and prominent people that are untrustworthy.
But I still have friends with the FBI who state the organization is trustworthy, even if there was some damage done by a few who were less than.
While administrators can be, are currently are, the problem they are less of a concern. The answer, obviously, is to shrink the size of government to make the few that are left more accountable, rather than growing it to have more people to keep an eye on the others (just adds more potential for corruption).
I remain confident that we'll overcome this. We have before.
But, there is history to consider. It's not uncommon for the damage to only become more pervasive. I just don't think it will.
They may well state that the organization is still trustworthy, but it would be a whole lot more believable if there was some indication of direct actions from within to make it so, indicating an aspiration to restore worthiness and trust. So far: Zero zip zilch nada, aside from certain people being allowed to quietly leave and take their pensions, and maybe pick up a nice TV gig. So: The evidence strongly indicates your friend might equally be speaking toward their own cynical interests. I think it's fair to say the FBI now has to show us.
I agree wholeheartedly with what Aggie says. The burden of proof has shifted.
I agree with Aggie as well. Not buying any of the Deep State bullshit any more.
The rot is deep and when a cabal of evil and powerful people within government can leverage their knowledge of how to destroy a person with the power of using the legal system to do it, all bets are off.
McCabe gets off? WTF?! So we can’t trust the federal courts to issue a ruling that any fifth-grader could issue. Got it.
Jail sentences now.
The U.S. is not that different from China and Russia right now, it is just more sophisticated in the way it manipulates the truth, using the "free press" to mislead the public. You really can't believe anything you are being told at this point.
Case in point, today's new "breaking story": "the Russians are trying to manipulate the election in favor of Bernie." The two most probable explanations are: (1) the establishment Democrats are using their press rumor machine to trying to weaken Bernie and knock him out, because he is an increasing threat; (2) Trump is turning the Russian Hoax around and now using his machinery to spin rumors against the Democrats.
Do I believe the Russians are actually doing anything? No.
We also know now that Bloomberg has been paying hundreds of internet trolls $2500 a month to spread stuff on Facebook and other internet social media sites. This technique dates all the way back to Obama.
#184.108.40.206.1 Jim Mee on 2020-02-22 14:44 (Reply)
the trouble with jail sentences for politicians or administrators is that it leads to political manipulation of the law.
I guess you could say we're already there - because it's far more common for Republicans to land in jail than Democrats. Democrats tend to get a slap on the wrist and a wagging finger but "you're a good person so you can walk" while Scooter Libby goes to jail.
There do need to be punishments for these people, though. I'd propose the confiscation of property, though. Not for the State, but for redistribution to the needy. Hillary should've had her houses confiscated and turned into homes for the poor. That would make most of these people think twice before stealing and engaging the corruption they do engage.
Tossing them in jail isn't going to fix anything except to create each side tossing people in jail every time they come to power.
But since they come to power in order to become wealthy (Clinton had next to nothing except what he gained from rigging markets), why not just take it all when they break the law?
The other thing that MUST happen is government has to shrink.
But there's no political will for that. Not even with Trump. So that's fast becoming a lost cause.
#220.127.116.11.1.1 Bulldog on 2020-02-22 22:02 (Reply)
Tossing them in jail sends a message to the American people that the rule of law still means something, that our liberty is not being crushed while we stand by helpless, and that powerful connected elites are not above the law.
Do we really want to find out what happens to a nation as those foundational concepts unravel? No we do not.
#18.104.22.168.1.1.1 Jeff Brokaw (Link) on 2020-02-23 09:02 (Reply)
> after two clear attempts to undermine that system, it has stood up to the attacks on it
Let's not forget that the sole reasons for the system withstanding these attacks are the same reasons our good host simultaneously says,
> I don't love Trump, I barely tolerate him.
Nobody, and I mean nobody, anywhere in Republican politics had a chance of standing up to this withering, never ending onslaught of insanity, lies, and treachery. None of this would have been discovered had the election gone the other way or had the attempted coup(s) succeeded, and whatever "trust" the system still enjoys would have dried up and blown away like a fart in a hurricane.
God sent a stutterer to talk to Pharaoh, maybe he sent this guy. I certainly didn't see it coming before the escalator trip, but the results have been better than anyone had a reason to expect. So really, I've had quite enough of the griping and bellyaching from those on the side of the republic, and every time I spot it, it gives me a headache. Can we put a sock in it yet?
As with Aggie above, I agree wholeheartedly with what Brother John says. Trump is a very badly needed wrecking ball, and if there is ever to be trust restored in government institutions, it will be through actions he initiates.
My point is that I don't like Trump, but I don't hate him enough to destroy the system because of him.
The reality is he IS needed - but we must be cautious about what we want and need. Caesar was needed, as well, the Republic turned to Pompey to 'save' itself, and wound up with an Emperor.
The question is what do we want. What we want is to preserve the Constitution and the individual rights it protects. The Democrats CLAIM (falsely) that's what they are doing. Trump isn't making these claims at all...so he MAY be Pompey to the Democrats' Caesar...but let's be clear that what would have likely come from Pompey is unclear and probably not that different from what the Romans got with Caesar.
So it's a cautious position I hold. One that rejects anger, save of a transitional nature, and relies on trust.
Agree 100% with Aggie, Bro. John, Publius, Jeff and my good man Donald J. Trump, pbuh 4evah.
Esp. with Bor. John's "put a sock in it" directive - all the whiners haven't done a fraction of what Trump has done AGAINST ALL ODDS, nor could they withstand the hurricane forces of media, both party's apparati, both houses of CONgress and damn near every political pundit on the planet aligned against them.
God bless our great president.
No, I think I'll continue to criticise any president when he's wrong, thanks, because I'm an American.
You've completely missed the point I was making, but thanks for playing anyway.
Paul Sperry on Twitter:
“The father of the Obama Democrat-donating prosecutor who let admitted perjurer Andrew McCabe off the hook happens to be partners with Eric Holder at the DC law firm of Covington & Burling. Did the former AG have something to do with McCabe getting off?” https://twitter.com/paulsperry_/status/1230920208220594180
Shocking. What a stunning coincidence.
Northwest Europe developed as a collection of high-trust societies gradually starting about a thousand years ago. They outlawed cousin marriage, and more people actually obeyed that law than elsewhere. That reduced clan power and increased the number of people that everyone had to get along with. Feudalism also reduced clan power in favor of a network of independent powers. Internal violence declined and economic cooperation increased, as Steven Pinker's [Better Angels] details. Ironically, this added cooperation made them better at waging war on others, which we have also seen since.
Well, it did increase war for a time, but it also taught them all that war impoverishes, it doesn't increase wealth or power.
Not that war is impossible now in these nations, but they probably are more unlikely to engage it...until a younger generation fails to learn the lessons of history. This is why I opened with a comment on history, and led into trust. The two go hand-in-hand.
I want to add comment about Trust and the Houston Astros. It has been written in a Sports Illustrated article by Tom Verducci that the Astros cheated in the World Series in 2017 IN REAL TIME. That means the Astro hitters knew exactly what pitch was coming as they were at the plate using a relay system from a center field camera or from live TV. Verducci called that a felony compared to a hitter relaying the signs from second base. They purposely, as a team, cheated during the season and during the post season in order to win the WS, get the Trophy, get huge bonuses, and then they proudly accepted the title of World Series Champions. Clayton Kershaw and many other players during the 17 season suffered damages to their career, their reputation, and some lost any chance of ever making it in the Show. The NY Yankees lost the chance to be in the World Series. The Dodgers lost the chance to win the
Series. OK, some say we should just move on and it won't happen again. I say with anger, NO, we must not just move on. The Astros absolutely do not deserve to keep their WS title, trophy, and the privilege of hanging a WS Champion banner at their home stadium. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has exhibited the oh so typical lack of courage, integrity, and honor, of the modern CEO, by refusing to strip the WS Champions title from the cheating Astros. Until that happens, I am not satisfied and can not just move on. Our trust in MLB has been permanently shaken. That alone should motivate Manfred.
I agree. Punishments are important in order to restore trust.
This is why, when the NFL takes a weak approach to a clear infraction or bad player behavior, it makes the NFL less trustworthy and ruins the brand. The MLB will suffer, just as it did with steroids and the blind eye it turned toward their use for many years. Unless, of course, the league steps up.
Never been a big baseball fan. I really don't know that much about hitting a baseball. Take this for the ignorance it is. Even if you know what pitch might be coming, how good of hitter must you be to take advantage of that information? So, I know it is going to be a fastball. Where is the fastball going to end up as it is going across the plate? No pitcher alive can guarantee his pitch ending up in the exact spot he wants it, every single pitch. I still must hit the pitch, or layoff it, but you are still relying on the pitcher to put the ball where the stolen sign says it is going to go. And hope it is not a strike. I think you would need to be an exceptional batter, and an exceptional pitcher, to take advantage of knowing the pitch.
Baseball is all about stats, this much I do know. Houston had to go seven games, to win the World Series. Game two was extra innings, and slugger from each team hit a home run. They had to go seven games, to win the American League pennant. Four games to win the divisional round. Did they do this on purpose? To cover their tracks? If stealing pitch signs is such a tremendous advantage, why didn’t they win playoff series in four or three games?
Looking at Altuve’s stats for the year 2017, he seems to be an exceptional hitter. Can one exceptional hitter get you all the way to a World Series win? Being a Colorado Rockies fan, I can tell you, no, one hitter can not get you a World Series title. The Rockies have had loads of good hitters on one team. No title insight. I guess I should accuse Boston of cheating us out of the only World Series we were in. They cleaned our clocks in four games! Cheaters!
I can tell you that I'm not a good player either.
But I played, and I've played with really good players and one former pro pitcher, who spent a season in the MLB.
Being able to know the pitch helps tremendously for a hitter. That's why in the All Star Home Run Derby, they all pretty much get the same pitch - it gives them the best chance to give their best effort to get the ball over the fence. Guess what? They can.
If they know it's likely to be a low fastball, their swing can go lower. High fastball, adjust accordingly. Curveball, just knowing the breaking area gives the hitter an advantage.
If you can raise your odds by 50%, you go from being a .300 hitter to .450. That, in baseball, is amazing. More importantly, if your power hitter knows a fastball down the pipe is coming - you have a 50/50 chance of having it knocked out of the park.
The outrage directed against the Red Sox and Astros disgusts me.
They did nothing wrong. Teams have been stealing each others signals since the game began. These teams just found a more efficient way to steal signs.
They were punished for violating a rule that didn't exist, and that is the real outrage, and that in my view erodes trust.
This seems to be happening with increasing frequency in Government as well. Use the weight and power of Government to back up a false charge to bully and intimidate people. Happens all the time. This erodes trust as well.
Applying the rule of law selectively also reduces trust. Note that it has been Republican operatives who has gone to jail in the war with Trump while Dems aren't even charged.
This isn't new with Trump either. It has been going on at least since the Clinton administration.
The rot is deep and nothing is being done to fix things.
I couldn't help but laugh when I read this essay. Trust in America is completely gone. Nobody trusts anybody. When people talk about our government, or any of our institutions, all you get are cynical jokes. We can't trust the schools, the media, Washington, our employers, the farmers, or anybody. As the book title goes, we live in a lonely crowd.
Rebuilding trust means filtering-out the untrustworthy people. But how? You see, our untrustworthy government doesn't want us to filter-out untrustworthy people. After all, they are untrustworthy. So they claim that not including untrustworthy people is racist. In my opinion, most black people are untrustworthy. And it's illegal to filter them out. As a result, our schools are untrustworthy. Our government is untrustworthy. And so is our entire society.
Washington is pulling a neat trick. They're saying that filtering-out black people is racist. But black people are also untrustworthy. So since blacks are both black and untrustworthy, they fit into both categories. Therefore, you can't filter them out as untrustworthy without also filtering them as black; which would be illegal. As a result, Washington says that untrustworthy people must be treated as if they were trustworthy. We must all participate in a huge farce. And we all must hire, and respect black people; because trust doesn't matter anymore.
I'm a natural cynic. You can't live in NYC, not be Progressive, and not be a cynic.
But if trust in the US is gone, then we're already doomed and it doesn't matter who is in office.
I don't see trust being gone. Eroding? Yes - the more we allow it to erode, the more we engage in cynical "eh, it's just one more thing" or "well, he made a buck off it", then we're going to suffer.
I don't think it's gone. It is going...but it's salvageable with effort. And good training.
However, I've watched the next generation of kids coming out of public schools. It's not hopeful. They lack an understanding of history, they're not taught the value of trust, they're emboldened to push their self-interested 'SJW' agenda, not realizing that's the least trust-based agenda there can be, and they're told what they feel is more important than what actually IS. So yes...there is not a lot of reason to feel good about the next 20-40 years.
That said, Rome went through cycles, too. Trust ebbed and flowed. But it always returned. Until it didn't....