Comment: The sign of a closed society is distrust

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The sign of a closed society is distrust

I trust Greenwald, from what I've read of him, things written by him, and interviews done with him. However, it is the nature of a closed society that there is pervasive distrust, even among allies.

No one knows who is a government or corporate plant and who is a regular person. It becomes difficult to determine truth from falsehood. Your world closes in and you learn to share little with anyone you have not known for many years. Strangers are always perceived as potentially dangerous and to be avoided. Social interactions become blunt, rude, and defensive.

A distrustful society will never practice a robust freedom. The irony of a free society is that it requires two things at the same time: vigilant suspicion (caveat emptor), and trust. No free society can function for long without constantly fending off those who will work to use force and fraud to enrich themselves, but no free society can function if we cannot trust each other to do as we say we are going to do. If businessmen cannot trust each other to fulfill contracts, there will be no contracts. If workers can't be trusted to work, nobody will be employed. If employers cannot be trusted to pay as promised, there will be no workers. If everyone cannot be trusted to respect private property, there will be no generosity.

The mind-set for freedom is cultural. It cannot be legislated. It must be learned over time. The past century has been all about learning not to trust, which is why so few people have any faith in the ability of the market to provide for our needs. If we don't learn to trust again, we won't have a free society no matter who is President.

Jill, I'm not saying you're wrong about Greenwald. Time will tell. I just don't see any conclusive evidence that would lead me to NOT trust him. Caveat Emptor.