What do you do after you lose trust in your institutions? All your institutions? What happens to a civilization when every public institution, everything we are supposed to trust and believe has provably lied to us?
From the media with their increasingly crazy and public lying and insanity, to professional associations (“gun epidemic”), to our schools (really, really, children walking out to protest climate change? Because yes, children know things you didn’t tell them), to our scientific studies that no one can actually reproduced, to our contaminated, cheating elections (really, Arizona? We’ll keep the polls open till the leftist wins?) to the fact that one party in the US is fronting candidates that no one can actually believe and who seem to be living in a parallel universe, to our corrupted statistics for both census and production and cost of living, to the frigging polls, to–
Look, all “elites” lie to the people, and arguably our institutions lied a lot more to us in the past. Or if not more, at least as much.
Now for the first time, though, there are ways to verify and to question what we’re being told, and again, I must ask: What happens when the people lose all trust in their institutions?
Perhaps it’s an effect of catastrophic technological change. Perhaps it’s why it’s not so obvious in the rest of the world?
Or is it obvious in the rest of the world? There seems to be a lot of “unexpectedly” in foreign elections recently.
Or perhaps it’s the result of our elites going off on a kind of determined vision of what the future is that prevents them from seeing the reality that everyone else sees. But then again this has happened to a lot of elites throughout the ages without people losing all confidence.
Except of course, when people have and Madame la Guillotine worked overtime, and when there were sudden and horrible upheavals.
Look, I’ll be honest, with people losing all respect for all institutions and credentials, we’re running close to the idea of the people who take revenge on the elites after nuclear war in A Canticle for Leibowitz: “Yes, we’re simple, and we shall have a great simplification.”
I don’t see any way out of this that doesn’t involve an upheaval and the throwing away of the baby with the bathwater. Some things are possible, like the replacing of the corrupt mass media by people on the scene. And perhaps other things, like replacing corrupt politicians (we hope.) But how do you replace scientists? how do you investigate scientific knowledge and determine the wheat from the shaft? How do you regain trust in our government agencies?
Throughout the world, when people have bragged of bodies composed entirely of women (Sweden) and awards given on the basis of everything but what the award is actually for, how do you regain trust.
Trust is built slowly, over generations. It can be squandered very quickly. Once it’s squandered, how do you regain it?
Look, guys, we make lots of fun of people who think the Earth is flat. Rightly so. But there are things you can’t verify for yourself.
If someone tells us that Iran has launched missiles at us, do you believe them? What institution would you believe, if there were a big explosion somewhere and we were told “Oh, that was an Iranian missile.” Or, alternately “That was a meteor.” Any?
Because I have to tell you — I’m all out of trust, and I don’t think I’m alone in this.
Is this survivable? Or are we like a marriage where you come home and find your spouse in bed with the paper boy and she tells you “I’m completely faithful. Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” Where divorce is the only possible recourse. But how do you divorce your own institutions: schools, universities, professional certification bodies, corporations, agencies, the press itself?
In this year of the great unmasking, where the kings and queens dance naked in the streets, how do we survive this perilous times? Whom can we trust?
Build under, build over, build around. Tell the truth or at least don’t lie. Remember to build in truth, because there is no hiding from it. We live in the times when the secret of every heart shall be revealed.
Build under, build over, build around. Build solid. Because the only other bridge past this time of troubles is built of blood, of human bones, and of a dark age that might or might not flourish again into the light.
Be not afraid, but be aware. And don’t be lulled into either complacence or despondence. We’re surrounded by lies. It’s up to us to find our way through them.