The No-Trust Society

The No-Trust Society, by Rod Dreher.

I try never to talk about anything controversial in personal company unless I’m sure that everyone around me already agrees with me. It’s not simply that I don’t want to get into it with a screaming SJW who wants to have it out with me at a cocktail party because I don’t share her view of some political issue. That’s part of it, but I am a public figure, and say lots of controversial things in this space. I try to leave work here on the blog, and not take it into private life. With me, it’s more the case that I don’t want to say something controversial that I wouldn’t say on the blog, and have someone overhear it, send it out on social media, and ruin me.

I can’t think offhand what kind of remark that might be, but these days, who knows? …

You have to go to cocktail parties and social gatherings being very conscious of what you say and don’t say, because some angry person might put it on social media. Everybody is potentially working for the secret police. …

When I was in Hungary recently, my friend A. told me that her country still hadn’t recovered the social capital plundered by the communists. That is, Hungarians — like everyone living under communism — had to learn not to trust anybody. You truly didn’t know who was a secret police informer. An ill-considered word could cost you your job. A thoughtless joke overheard by the wrong set of ears could land you in prison. We don’t have a totalitarian state here, but we are creating that kind of society. …

You would have to be a fool in this environment to risk saying something that could get you tagged as a racist, sexist, homophobe, bigot, etc. — especially when the rules are constantly changing, and what defines bigotry is in the mind of the person whose feelings determine truth. It’s much safer to stay silent, and only speak to those you trust. This is simply reality.

Fifty years ago the West had high trust societies. People around us rarely used to lock doors. Who is responsible for the loss of trust? It’s pretty obvious for those without ideological blinkers.

hat-tip Stephen Neil