America’s declining trust in institutions/ Chris Hayes why meritocracy is just a myth

From Joshua Holland’s alternet interview with Chris Hayes on his new book:

One of the toxic aspects of our politics is that the gap between the American Dream and the reality is something people feel viscerally.

Photo by the amazing Sarah Shatz

The data is really clear — when you look across the landscape, American trust in pillar institutions, like the financial sector, big business, media, science and academia, and even religion are at or near all-time lows.

They’re at all-time lows even compared to when this polling was initiated in the 1970s, in the wake of Watergate… The irony is that the polling was initiated in the 1970s, and what was then viewed as the nadir of public trust in institutions turns out to have been the high watermark…

The project of the book started with trying to get to the bottom of why this was the case… the argument in the book that I assert is if you take a step back and look at the record of the last 10 years in American life — what I call in the book the “fail decade” — it is a cascade of incompetence and corruption.

You start with the Bush v Gore decision where a slim majority on the court hands the election over to the favored candidate even though he doesn’t win the popular vote, and even though the legal logic is tortured. Then there’s the failure of the largest security apparatus in the history of human civilization, the American security state, when it couldn’t stop 19 men with box cutters. Then you go to Iraq and the fallout there. You go to the botched Katrina rescue. Then you go to a financial crisis. Running through there you have Enron, Major League Baseball’s steroids issue, the child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. So there’s a long-winded answer to the question you set up, which is we are less trusting of our institutions because they appear less trustworthy. They’ve had a very poor record of institutional performance over the last decade.

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Posted on June 22, 2012, in US. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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