Trust: The Other Deficit

Trust is at the heart of both Christianity and politics. It is essential to both the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of man when it is at its best. But in this column, I have my eyes on the world. I reflect on political moral legitimacy in a representative democracy when there is a significant “trust gap” (“The Trust Gap,”, Sept. 15, 2010).

Government is about trust. This is especially true in a representative democracy, the form of government in which some people govern others only because the people have entrusted authority to them. In our democracy today, public trust is at an historic low. That means an astonishingly high percentage of the population sees an unacceptably wide gap between what the government is doing and what they would like the government to be doing in matters that are decisively important to them.

Given the trust gap, and given especially how widely and clearly the gap has been publicized, people are alarmed that the governing Democrats are proceeding with the transformative change that has brought them into such wide disfavor.

I go on to show how the Democrats have proceeded not only with disregard to public outcry and plunging public trust, but with redoubled speed with the change they had in mind in 2008 as opposed to the change the public expected. I argue that while Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have the legal right to do what they’re doing, even to the point of effecting a Lame Duck Revolution, with such low public support it has the character of tyranny.

EPSA member Harold Kildow, a Locke scholar, takes my point further on our blog, saying this:

“Trust” is the sine qua non (without which not) for consent. The consent of the governed, the central legitimizing feature of a representative government, can only be present if both the institutional structure is trusted and the representatives are trusted. The tyrannous progressive coalition (shamefully including some Republicans) now in charge has severely damaged our institutions by running rough shod over the constitutional boundaries, but also by lying straight at us in a way that would make even George Orwell blush. They do not have the nation’s consent to transform us into a euro style social democracy (and they know it)–hence the long-wave reaction that is the Tea Party. Consent is given, and it is taken away. I hope it is not too late to matter. The world’s tyrants have not been overly concerned with consent, nor have they needed to be.

As usual, I stand not corrected but helpfully supplemented.

– D.C. Innes, Associate Professor of Politics, The King’s College, New York City.


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