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Trust in an age of cynicism


Trust in an age of cynicism

“I’m the doctor trust me” is no longer a given and from priests to journalists to bankers distrust is the order of the day and they are all on the panel in this illuminating Battle of Ideas debate! Is trust a distinct problem or a symptom of a deeper malaise? The ‘trust industry’ and attempts to ‘restore trust’ one speaker argues will only exacerbate the problem. If you offer to show someone your bank account to prove your worthiness – you must be dodgy.

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Related topics: Civil Liberties, Debates, Democracy-Brexit, Social Change

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Carol said:

An interesting debate which just a few years ago, would have been little more than a discussion.

I think the media has a lot to answer to regarding trust. As Joanna says, ‘positive stories don’t sell papers’.

I’m a very trusting person usually, on a personal level until as Richard Sexton says ‘you give me a reason not to trust you’. But when it comes to politicians and such like, I wouldn’t trust them as far as I can throw them!

David said:

Extreme views or obsessions are the symptoms of an unwell mind – is a Zen proverb.

So in all things we must have balance – I am not religious but I agree with the Zen proverb – if we trust people like bankers and politicians who we know are often gangsters then we are fools but if we believe that all people in our society are evil or untrustworthy we are actually letting evil achieve its aim because evil has one shared aspect & goal and that is to destroy or even make us forget the concept and reality of society.

That is why England & our nation is a cynical place but not blindly cynical to the concept of trust after all we trust our friends and families and our nation and society is our extended family and trust is its foundation stone.

Joanne said:

Really interest subject, I hadn’t thought too much about this before seeing the video. It’s certainly true that, as Claire Fox says, ‘institutionalised distrust’ is a reality these days, but I don’t think that this is because we as human beings have become more cynical. I wonder to what extent the media’s influence is to blame for this distrust – after all, positive stories about politicians keeping their word and CEOs acting responsibly don’t really sell papers! Could it be that people are actually as moral or immoral now as they have ever been, but we as a public are simply far more aware of their transgressions than ever before? If this is the reason for our cynicism and mistrust then we should also consider the positive implications of our increased awareness, which stems from an increase in freedom of speech and (the beginnings of!) a democratisation of the media. In any case, knowledge is power, and so being aware of all the reasons to distrust others also provides us with the ammunition and the motivation to try to change the roots of this attitude.

Krystle said:

Richard Sexton made a very notable statement when he said people are now thinking, “Give me a good reason to trust you” instead of “I’ll trust you until you give me a good reason not to.” Coming from the US, I primarily have an understanding of how trust works in American society. I really do believe that the lack of trust for authority figures begins with the interactions between us and others within our communities. The way our lives are in the US today, prevents us from interacting with people as near to us as our neighbours. People drive to work, sit in their offices and interact less with people in person, and more with people virtually. Then at the end of their workdays, they drive home and park in their garages and walk straight in. There is no conversation with the neighbour next door, and often times people don’t even know anything about the person or family in the next house. It is usually only small cities that have the luxury of being close to one another. The more we isolate ourselves from basic human interactions, the more we see others as strangers, making us more likely to mistrust them. We are moving towards a time where this will only get worse, unless we make an effort to truly get to know those around us.

Marisa said:

As it was said in this discussion, we always had a sense of distrust towards those in authority, but we are now at a particular low period both economically (credit crunch) and politically (e.g. MP’s expenses scandal). Furthermore, unlike before, there is a greater exposure of politicians behaving badly, but politicians have always behaved badly.

Moreover, the lack of trust is apparent in all levels of society, no just towards those in authority. There appears to be a sense of fear and distrust across families, neighbourhoods and communities, evidenced by the rise of CCTV, and security checks. But if we want to live in a more trusting world we have to be the change by communicating more with people, our neighbours, because trust derives from knowledge of the other.

Katja said:

The topic of trust was present through the whole Batlle of Ideas and I was wondering what does trust mean today? Are there differnt forms of trust? As somebody of the panel said it used to be I trust you as long there is a reason not to and now it is more like give me a good reason to trust you. So this shows how relatedt this topic is to a change of society.

noshoes onmyfeet said:

i dont remember who said, “it is better to be trusted, than to be loved.” but that thought kept going through my head during this discussion. this is such a huge debate, with a lot of generalizations, but nonetheless honest and sincere across the board. I’m apart of the millennial generation or (Y) which i think stands for “why should i give a F*ck?” WE studied in school the idea “American Dream” and the “rugged individual,” anyway, if you’re at the bottom… you’re likely to step on and backstab whoever to get to the top. That’s why trust is an issue these days, because of greed and self interest. I don’t think all people are out to betray one another, but, if anything more people are shifting to be more Nihilistic as the one lady predicted. (why should i care? attitudes) i think Nihilism in an Age of Cynicism would be a good follow to this debate.