Trust in Government at Historic Lows

By: Ryan McMaken

As an addendum to yesterday’s post in civility in government, and the Era of Consensus, take a look at new data released from Pew on faith in government .

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The percentage of those polled who say they trust the government in Washington hasn’t exceeded 25 percent in ten years.

On the other hand, the amount of trust in government as shown in the 50s and early 60s is astounding. According to this data, at least, nearly 80 percent of the population said it trusted the government in Washington.

It’s little wonder then, that the US government had a free hand to carry out thinks like The Great Society, the Vietnam War, price controls, and a variety of massive spending programs. And all the while, the population droned on with “we’re the greatest country in the world!”

Conversely, its unclear how long a regime can continue when only one-fifth of the population says it trusts the national government.

But, it’s also clear that the government doesn’t like it. This is why politicians so regularly lecture the population to vote, and tell us that “cynicism” about the government is a terrible thing — as Obama insisted the other day .

What the regime wants is enthusiastic support, and political participation — i.e., voting and little else — that can be used to claim various “mandates” for more government action.

Naturally, what the regime wants is a repeat of the 50s and early 60s, when a supermajority of the population trusted DC. The pretended posturing toward radicalism is really just a get-out-the-vote strategy. No one in DC wants turbulence. The want to re-create the calm and deferential trust Americans had in the mid-20th century.

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