Saturday, August 24, 2013

Trust and Distrust

M. Johnston has some interesting thoughts about trust and distrust. His analysis is bound up in current politics and so I will generalize a bit:
If [someone in a position of power] starts with the perspective that whatever he wants is necessarily right, all of this is beside the point to him. If an act on his behalf, or by one who works on his behalf, is even arguably legal, it’s right (and do you think that [an underling in a position of power] doesn’t have his back on any and all close calls about legality?). [The person in a position of power] doesn’t care about your idea of what’s right or wrong, except insofar as it limits what he can do.

The rest of us, though, live in a world where our faith in the integrity of our most senior elected and appointed officials matters very much. If we think that they are self-interested mandarins who treat their “friends” well and their “enemies” roughly, we will have a very different perspective on the social contract than the one that we have had. And, sadly, it’s beginning to look that way.