Sep 11, 2023 8 min read

Decoding the Erosion of Trust in America

Decoding the Erosion of Trust in America

The Real Clear Politics Podcast with Dr Lucas Klein is the in-depth analysis and commentary on current political events through a psychological lens. The Real Clear podcast covers a wide range of topics, from the latest election results to policy debates, to exploring the impact of current events on the political landscape.


Good morning folks. It is the 22nd anniversary of 9-11 real clear podcast daily release with your host, lucas Klein. Well, some of you emailed me privately and and responded to my last episode where I wondered why you're listening to me, why you need to. Some people said that they find these episodes, and especially the daily releases and so forth, calming and that they give them hope. That was interesting to hear, because I Experience myself as actually being the bearer of grim realities, but maybe there's something grounding about that. Okay, so what are we reflecting on on 9-11? One of the themes that arises for me, as I sort of free associate to you, is trust, and crises usually unify a community as well as a culture if they're perceived as coming from outside and threatening personal and communal sovereignty. 9-11 momentarily did that. If you remember, george W Bush standing on the rubble pile with the microphone, looking paternal and guiding Oprah Winfrey, remarked that she viewed him as a paternal figure who was leading us. That did last for a moment and then, of course, deteriorated when the wrong moves were made and going into the Middle East theaters for a long, long time longest protracted military engagements in American history. And, however, trust is something that I think most Americans you as you listen to me right now view as highly sensitive and highly delicate, maybe even evaporated at present. Covid was a crisis, I think, somewhat manufactured. In some senses it's not clear. We're sort of still going through the post-mortem there. Certainly didn't unify Really, maybe unified two sides against each other, but didn't do much to abridge the differences across parties and across doctrines in America. And so where do we sit now? Well, if you look at the data, it's pretty dismal. Gallup has released some data regarding trust in institutions. There's no surprises there 11% trust in media. Very diminished trust in all institutions in the United States, including criminal justice. You know, I think both sides are pretty skeptical of that one at this point. The left views it as some sort of racist vestigial Carry down of some sort of white supremacy past. There's very little data to suggest there's any truth in that notion. The right tends to view it as some sort of progressive arm in blue states that lets criminals off because they don't want to appear as anything but quote social justice e Unquote, and so we've got a real problem there. That's a major problem. We've gotten so bizarre right now regarding crime that there are stories about Child gangs in New York City yes, you heard me correctly, you don't have to adjust the dial. Child gangs going around robbing taverns and stores and people's purses and so forth. Little kids, seven, eight years old child gangs Okay, folks, think about the generation that's about to come of age. Well, when a seven or eight year old is seven and eight, they don't have very good muscular strength and so forth, but they are developing a mindset and a sense of entitlement and so forth. Think about when these young boys become Teenagers. They have skeletal strength. That got muscular strength. They've got testosterone. We are going to see something unfold in New York City that we have not seen in generations, decades. It's not gonna be pretty and everyone's going to scurry out, leave the city because it's going to be a complete rampage. It already is. People are leaving in droves and they're going to places that have private security and so forth. They're going to the rural areas of the country and working remotely, like yours truly did. If you look at places like downtown Portland, there's no trust. And then, if you look at trust in institutions, there is 11%, as I mentioned, trust in media. Well, that's warranted, isn't it? If you look at the, the way that media is covering even simple statistics. I was looking at my former place of living, portland, oregon, recently and a crime report and the media said it's true crime is down, or personal assaults are down in downtown by a certain percentage. And then you looked at the small print and it was from 2022 to 2023. Well, folks, crime rose in 2020 to 2022 at such a staggering degree that to measure the slight decline from 22 to 23, it was really disingenuous, it would seem to me, and anyone paying attention, like I am, all the time, would notice that and say, oh god, look at that, this misdirection I can't trust, can't trust the institution of media. As opposed to why you turned to me, some people had mentioned in private messages over the weekend to me I'd mentioned in my last episode. I wanted to know why you listened to me. Some people said that they find what I'm doing here actually grounding and that it gives them hope. That was surprising to me because I experienced myself as sort of grimly staring at reality. But perhaps that is grounding, perhaps that is hope giving, that there are people out there, like I'm doing with you, giving you the real deal, as I see it, not holding much back, and so that's a place to reflect on in America right now. Do we have trust? You could start off a story by saying two Americans from one from a red state, one from a blue state walk into a bar. Can they still have a beer with each other? And I don't know, I'm still working that one out. I think Americans are so phobic of anyone who comes from the other side, so to speak, that it's not clear at this point whether we can tolerate each other. I mean, we have tribalized, we have collected ourselves as personalities behind a series of values that really are antithetical to the opposing series of values. I mean, they don't fit it's square peg round hole. It's like there's two different species, politically and personality wise, in America that don't know how to talk to each other. They're running different code and when there is a incompatibility between the code, the outcome is rage and anger and disgust. And who knows how much of that is just amplified by social media and has been a human tendency that has been exploited by that blazingly new technology that has overwhelmed our senses, as I believe. I don't know, we'll see, but when you have child gangs roving around and no one's doing anything about it and the parents, by the way, are letting these kids do this. That's pretty crazy. Then you have to wonder if crime is stretching far and wide, as it is right now, across the United States, and it's really a rural, urban divide. It's not a red state, blue state divide, it's city countryside right now, in terms of crime differences in America, you have to wonder how is it that we're going to develop a sense of unity when we have these Balkanized regions of crime? You know and it goes into exquisite irony that the justice, so-called justice movements beginning in 2020 really, in a sense, had the effect of isolating urban regions and driving revenue as well as safety from those regions, which, of course, hurts the very people that those movements claimed to be supporting. It's just an unbelievably terrible irony. So, gosh, I'm not coming to you with very positive notions on 9-11, but that in and of itself was a hell of a crisis, wouldn't you say? It would be maybe contrived to come to you with some sort of conversion of that day into a positive, although we have to convert misery into optimism in order to survive this life, don't we? And this only thing that is true and guaranteed is taxes and then death, and we try to evade one or both and we can sometimes evade them both, but only for a short period of time. Maybe you can just trust your loved ones. Maybe you can reach out to those closest. I look over to my left and you might hear it a little bit in the microphone. You can hear a slight snore. Well, that's my black lab, maverick, and when I began recording he burst into the room because, unlike other days, I forgot to let him in and I started recording without him. And he slams open the door because it doesn't quite latch and he looks at me and bewilderment, like how could you start recording without me? He doesn't know what I'm doing, but he knows I'm in here and he's got to be next to me all the time to have a sense of cohesiveness and sublimity. And I think it goes both ways frankly. Then he plops down in the bed next to me with a head scratch distance and we begin and there's trust there. But you don't trust a black lab when he's between six months old and two years old. They're more like velociraptors at that time. And then they go over two and a half years, they coast into three years and then they are a man's best friend and you can't imagine going through your day without them, even though you know at some point in the future you're going to have to. What can I say? Life is not without risk and is pale without risk. And that's trust right there, for two entities to really become co-dependent, frankly, beautifully co-dependent, and that's what a good marriage is, that's what a good friendship is A certain amount of co-dependency, a sense that you know, if you're in my life, I'm good, and if you're not, I'm really questioning what's going on, I'm questioning the ground that I'm standing on, and I think that's what communal cohesion is A sense that you're at home with someone else in your midst, that you're at home with them, that you're not viewing them as some sort of external marauder of sanity and rationality and safety. We should find safety and comfort in each other and question why we don't. And that's really the nature of this podcast is trying to spelunk the depths of those kinds of questions. Okay, so I'm going to be releasing something tomorrow morning a bit earlier. Mondays usually get released a bit later because, you know, I don't record on Sunday. I think there's some historical relevance to the Sabbath, you know, carried down, you have to have a day of rest, so I don't release on early Monday morning, I release. You're probably getting this if you're over in Britain or other parts of the world in the evening or if you're on the East Coast, and noon and so forth. That's just what Mondays are going to be. But Tuesdays through, thursdays and Fridays I'm going to be releasing pretty early in the morning so that everyone gets it and in time for your morning drive. And so I've got some pretty interesting news as well. As I mentioned last time, I'm going to have a co-host coming on. He's an amazing guy. He is a hell of a scholar and one of the smartest people I've ever known, and he's coming on my podcast on a monthly basis. We're still working out the details and I'll be telling you about that soon. Okay, folks, as always, be well.

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