August 8, 2023

Trust first? No.

Last week I was listening to Mike Slater on the SiriusXM Patriot channel, hosting the Breitbart News Daily morning show.  He has done a good job since taking over the hosting job in recent weeks.  But he was talking about something that while true on the surface, wasn't as simple as his thoughts on it. To be fair he said he wanted to take a deeper dive into it in the future, likely knowing he was only scratching the surface.  What he said was that America needed to regain trust.

What he meant by trust was a world (or country) where your word was your bond, your handshake was your bond. He argued America needed to get back to the point where people trusted each other, people trusted the police, people trusted their government.  All true, and very commendable as a goal.  Americans need to trust their government at a minimum, it's the only way to have a functioning society. Here's the problem; trust requires honor.

Honor is a foundational principle. Trust follows honor, not the reverse. Ronald Reagan once said about the Soviet Union during nuclear disarmament negotiations.  It's actually a Russian proverb ironically.  The concept of trust but verify makes sense.  You can trust the person with whom you have an agreement, and they may have honor and stick to it.  They may not have honor. Or worse still they may have honor but the lack of verification creates the opportunity for them to take advantage of your trust.  What started out as honor may be tempted into greed or abuse of your trust.  Verifying removes the opportunity, or at least mitigates it. 

America's motto is "In God we trust." That's about the sum of it.  It doesn't say 'in the federal government we trust', or 'in everybody we trust'. That's because we can't. Trust but verify.  Today Mike Slater was talking about illegal immigration and buoys that effectively prevent people from crossing the river into America. That isn't even trust, but it certainly is a variation of verify; they are trying to verify that the border is secure, obviating the need for trust. We do not trust illegal immigrants to immigrate legally, clearly.  Trust is merely an outcome - an end-state that is derived from honor in all parties.  That is why, with the exception of God, trust is a dangerous thing if it is a foundation rather than a result of something more foundational.

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