Donald Trump

Donald Trump, Lying, and Eroding Social Trust

Are presidential lies pushing us toward a low-trust society?



Americans' trust in their national government hovers around historic lows according to a Pew Research Center poll this month. The poll reports that "only 18 percent of Americans today say they can trust the government in Washington to do what is right 'just about always' (3 percent) or 'most of the time' (15 percent)." This is down from a post–September 11 high of 60 percent in 2001. In modern polling, public trust in the federal government was at its zenith at 77 percent, in 1964.

Americans are not just more skeptical of their government; their trust in their fellow citizens has also been declining. Since 1972, the General Social Survey has been asking Americans if "most people could be trusted." In 1984, 47 percent answered yes. In 2014, the last year for which data is available, interpersonal trust had fallen to 31 percent—the lowest level so far.

Our World in Data

What is going on? Perhaps President Donald Trump is partially at fault. Now why would I suggest that possibility? That brings me the results of intriguing new study, "Do Lies Erode Trust?," just published in the International Economic Review. In that study, two economists from the University of California, Merced, conduct a couple of experiments to see how lying affects the way people treat each other. Without going into great detail, the researchers first have a set of subjects play a deception game such that the first player gets a bigger payoff by lying if the second player chooses to trust the offer being made is the best deal for both.

In the next round, all the first players are sent home while each of the second players now matched with a different player. The second players are given general information on how much lying took place in the first game, and some are told whether they had personally been lied to in the first game. In the first game, 60 percent of first players told the truth to the second players. In the new game, both senders and returners are given an initial stake of $4. If the sender gives his $4 to a returner, the amounts are combined with an added $4 amounting to a total of $12. The returner then has the option of returning $7 to the sender and keeping $5 for himself (win-win) or returning only $2 while paying a $2 fine, thus netting $8 for himself (lose-win).

It turns out that players who had been lied to in the first game were much less trusting or trustworthy in the second game. Only 32 percent of the lied-to players would trust sending their $4 stake to the second players for possible gains, whereas 49 percent of told-the-truth players did. In addition, only 39 percent of lied-to returners were trustworthy (choosing to return $7), compared with 61 percent of told-the-truth returners, a difference of over 22 percentage points.

Consequently, the researchers find that "being on the receiving end of a lie (vs. a truth) leads to an erosion of trust, even in interactions with those who have nothing to do with the initial deception." They further speculate, "Given the central role that trust is known to play in promoting economic interchange and growth, this conclusion suggests that social institutions that deter dishonesty and promote norms of truthfulness are of potential economic value." In fact, the invaluable Our World in Data site shows a very strong relationship between social trust and per capita income. Economic research has found that trust is the egg that hatches into the chicken of economic development and prosperity.

So what about Trump? It is true that social trust has been declining in the United States for a while now. That being said, there is no doubt that our president is a shameless and enthusiastic liar. As of November 14, the Washington Post fact checker has tabulated 1,628 false or misleading claims made by the president over the preceding 298 days: an average of 5.5 fibs per day. If he can keep the pace up, he'll have told more than 2,000 whoppers before the end of his first year in office. And his dishonesty may be having an effect on his plunging public approval ratings. Earlier this week, the Monmouth University Poll reported that the president's "current job rating stands at a net negative 32 percent approve and 56 percent disapprove." This is the lowest so far for that poll.

Surely it's not too much of a stretch to conclude that if lies do erode trust, that the torrent of lies coming from our president may be especially corrosive.

My colleagues over at Reason TV cogently explain that people who have the misfortune to live in low-trust societies tend paradoxically to want more, not less government. They note that "it turns out that government may be growing not in spite of our lack of confidence in it, but because of our lack of confidence in it. This self-defeating spiral will only get worse if the United States fails to stem its slide toward being a low-trust country." See "Why Libertarians Should Want More Trust in Government" below:

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  1. Americans’ trust in their national government hovers around historic lows according to a Pew Research Center poll this month.

    THIS is the libertarian moment you guys have been talking about. Let’s get that number down to single digits and we can declare victory!

    1. (Not joking a damn bit.)

        1. I had a similar notion.

          Thirded or Fourthed or Fifthed…

          Fuck the government. People are right not to trust it. Nice to see they’re getting “woke” about the awful,evil antiquated institution.

      1. So you’re in favor of bigger government? Because it points out right in the article that people in low trust societies tend to want more government, not less.

        1. Which is an insane thing. Is it not? If that is ultimately true, then there is no hope.

        2. Is that a cause or a result tho?

        3. Scandinavian countries are all high trust, right? Japan and Korea? Not too many people in those countries looking for small government.

          1. Culturally, racially, socially mono cultures are high trust, eh? You don’t say?

        4. Completely bizarre conclusion. This feeling of distrust was a foundation of our constitution and the basis for limited government powers. It should be the very thing pushing people to a more libertarian position but instead the twisted logic makes them think the politicians on “their” side will somehow protect them.

        5. Which is why for America to survive there must be less progressives.

        6. The article says people in low trust societies want more government. That’s probably more due to a lack of trust of other citizens rather than the central government. Where people are held accountable by the government, leads to more trust.

          The good news here, is the establishment government was the one that started the lying to us (“You can keep your plan”, “I promise a more humble government”, “Read my lips, no new taxes”, etc.) and Trump just took advantage of it in his boastful marketing ways. And now the establishment is, all of a sudden, calling out the president’s lies unlike it ever has before, eroding trust for government (unlike what they’ve done in the past in covering for big government lies). And strangely enough, the crimes of Hillary and Obama are being revealed, further eroding trust in big government. And liberal women are holding liberal Democrats to their rhetoric on women via the #metoo movement, which is blowback on Democrats creating false allegations of sexual impropriety regarding GOP people just before an election or appointment.

          I think in the end, people will see Trump as really trying to MAGA, even if he’s not making much of an impact to the status quo (and on spending and debt, he hasn’t changed anything). The establishment now erodes trust in government thanks to Trump beating them at their own deceitful game.

          But of course, the real problem are the voters who vote for liars and encouraging that deceit.

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  2. Don’t worry Ron, when the next Lightbringer is elected in 2020, people will trust in the government again.

    1. Only the WaPo can take a statement that is 100% true by their own admission and rate it as mostly false. See here:

      The reviewer actually admits in the final paragraph that they gave the true statement 3 pinocchios because the audience applauded when Mike Pence made the statement – as if audience applause has something to do with veracity or non-veracity.

      Here is a laughable claim in the attempted take down of the true statement: “but that doesn’t stop the Trump administration from taking credit for a few modest economic gains since taking office.”

  3. I’d trust WAPO fact checkers just slightly more than The Donald or most any politician flapping their gums. Is there a difference between never and almost never, lol?

    1. In the unreliable WaPo’s fact checkers defense, they did award 4 Pinocchio’s to team blue’s claim that the tax bill would raise taxes on the middle class. They even explained the horrible analysis team blue used.

      OTOH, the fact checkers never gave this info to the front page headline writers. So the headlines still fact check everything said by Trump & Co, but don’t do the same for claims of the horrible burden that will be placed on the middle class to pay for tax cuts for the rich. No mention of tax cuts always helping the rich in absolute terms because the rich pay most off the taxes either.

      I wonder if part of the lack of trust comes from a complete lack of trust in the media as well as politicians. Trump is a symptom, not a cause.

      1. They also refuse to do such things as giving Warren criticisms for claiming to be Native without the tiniest sliver of evidence (they leave that fact-check up to us). I’m not sure WaPo is a good source for this sort of thing.

        1. Fauxcahontas should submit to a supervised DNA and public ally release the results.

    2. I wouldn’t trust WaPo any more than the NYT. While there are some good reporters there, there are also a bunch of propagandists. Further, it’s standard operating procedure, for the government to capture institutions that hold them accountable. It does so for the media via licensing, controlling access to government officials (to only friendly reporters and outlets), political ad spending (ask any newspaperman, they don’t bite the hand that feeds them), and promises of overpaid speech writing, communications, spokesman, and PR jobs in government.

  4. For the graph shown President Trump cannot be at fault, as there was not a President Trump yet in 2014. Who was President in 2014? The answer is lost to history it seems.

    1. The suckitude of politicians, especially presidents, is incredible. Certainly, Trump comes across as untrustworthy and clownish, but is he worse than his recent predecessors? Not yet.

      1. Maybe Trump is a result, rather than the cause of the political climate created since the sixties by his predecessors? I am still amazed by the political punditry’s attitude during Bill Clinton’s administration, whete they knew he was lying but were charmed by the quality and audacity of his lies. We have been building up to this strange moment in history and it has many fathers.

        1. Modern America craves this, by and large. I don’t know why, but it’s true. We should never trust politicians, of course, but we sure the heck shouldn’t mindlessly defend them. Even if they nominally represent some of our views.

      2. When it comes to lying the core difference between Trump and Obama is that the press is all over every misstatement by Trump — from mistaken assertion to outright lie — whereas Obama got a pass on everything.

      3. Yes, of course he is, you idiot.

        1. Tony, stop insulting your betters (I.e. Anyone who isn’t you).

      4. Agreed. The only discernible difference between the last liar in chief and the current one is that Trump is way more crass in public. The net result of low trust in government ought to be a benefit to society. Trump is a walking stereotype in the extreme of all the lying politicians that have come before. This isn’t a bad thing.

    2. MR: Americans have been losing social trust for a while now – my point is that a president who is an enthusiastic liar will not help build social trust back up.

      1. My.point is, he cannot be a cause, he is a product of that erosion of trust.

        1. There is probably some truth in this. Honestly I suspect people find Trump to be relatively honest just because he’s such a douche. People sometimes ascribe more honesty to individuals that are…loud and curse a lot. Go figure.

          Of course, there was also Hillary Clinton in that race who is a serial liar and goes so far out of her way to keep secrets from the electorate that she almost ended up being indicted over it.

          1. And it took some seriously sketchy actions by the “impartial” FBI to protect her.

            Maybe not having the feds basically give her a pass for something they publicly punished others for doing the same thing (hello David Petraeus) would help bring back a bit of faith.

          2. Being a douche equates to being more trustworthy? I can buy that, but I also think that Trump is a really poor liar which naturally makes him seem less threatening. The last liar in chief could say anything with a straight face.

        2. In can be both if we have a positive feed back loop scenario. If so, then I once again express despair.

      2. Nothing a little more media literacy can’t help, right? Thankfully we have journalists to show us the true way.

      3. Society doesn’t trust politicians and never will, we hope for the best. Social Trusts sounds like a new government program.

        1. Too much like ‘social justice’.

      4. Enthusiastic liar.

        But enough about Obama.

      5. “Enthusiastic liar”

        Bah…thats a crock. We had an ethusiastic liar in office for the previous eight years. Trump is just a blowhard who is loose with facts.

        There is a difference….a very big difference.

        When trump starts lying to the people about things of critical importance to the country…like, um healthcare, war, taxes, then i will care. But frankly, just being lied to about crowd sizes is a refreshing improvement.

        1. You make a good point. Trump is an egotistaical blowhard, but he isn’t a complete lying piece of shit like Obama, or Hillary. Also, despite his personality defects, and some bad ideas on certain subjects (mostly on spending) I believe Trump actually wants America to be a better place. Obama wanted to tear it apart because Marxism, and Hillary just cared about more money and power (all she’s capable of as a clinical psychopath).

        2. Well said. That they would distort this truth in reporting is the telling fact.

      6. It’s likely a positive feedback loop.

    3. Came to the comments just to post this, but you had already done it for me.

      1. Nice handle. Very 1601.

    4. Looks like TDS is still in fashion.

      1. Two servings required in every Reason article.

    5. Yeah, my thoughts exactly.

      In 2014, the last year for which data is available, interpersonal trust had fallen to 31 percent?the lowest level so far. What is going on? Perhaps President Donald Trump is partially at fault.

      Say what you will about Trump ? and there’s so much to be said ? but he entered the presidential race in mid-2015, so he has nothing to do with any of the numbers here. Auditioning for CNN, much?

  5. Where we’ve gone wrong as a culture is in ever trusting any level or part of government. That distrust and open skepticism was one of the great strengths of the U.S. While that characteristic is not gone, it’s diminishing.

    The short answer is that government is rarely the correct solution and is usually the direct cause of whatever problem it’s called on to address. The evidence is so overwhelming that you have to wonder if we’re hardwired to operate with this irrational “trust.”

    1. The answer lies in one of my simple rule for life: Never trust anyone who says “trust me”

    2. I think it is safe to say that the founding fathers had little trust in government.

    3. ^^^This

      But I also want to see a number for how much people expect government to do, and then plot the ratio of expectations to trust/satisfaction. I suspect that back inthe good ol’ days, trust and expectations were both low, and so most people were not disappointed. Now many people expect a lot from government, and get bummed when it does not deliver–leading to low approval and low trust.

      1. I think people were happier when they controlled and were responsible for their own lives. And there’s the disconnection from family and community, which at least in part is due to the rise of Leviathan.

    4. You would think after the Snowden revelations, the lying by James Clapper about spying, the IRS attacks on conservatives, the Hilary scandal with classified info, Comey, Strzok, McCabe, and Trump’s association with those like Manafort, Bannon et al should be enough to justify why the power of government should be restricted.

  6. “…our president is a shameless and enthusiastic liar.”

    Where are the “Reason” articles with this same quote about O’Bambam?

    Furthermore, is Trump a liar or just sometimes very gullible?

    1. Where was the honesty in government before Trump??? Please relate who gave us all the sweetness and light that we aspire to. Secret slush funds and payoffs all before Trump hit the scene. This whole Russian thing and the Hillary investigation with an FBI agent who thought it was his mission to stop the President. It’s all bullshit, please tell us exactly what you really mean. Honesty in politics, Trump so far actually is trying in his first year to fulfill his promises, besides that yes he is a bullshit artist with everything being the biggest in history with relations to him. Nonetheless he is trying.

    2. F: Well there is this and this. That’s just couple to start with – if you try searching the website you’ll find plenty of articles were Reason called Obama for being less than honest. Just saying.

      1. Regardless, wouldn’t you do better for your content quality if you didn’t center the whole thing around a forced hot-take reference to Obama or Trump, and longform put this rather provocative and counterintuitive thesis under a harsh microscope? You’re the science editor and this seems a little scattershot and overly credulous, is what we’re saying. I mean, you’re trying to convince a bunch of libertarians that, given the actual level of government malfeasance, it’s actually a bad thing that the public is aware of it. (Not, presumably, that we’re actually applauding malfeasance, which is an absurd straw man.)
        Not the highest quality article, basically.

        1. And considering that Trump is actually more libertarian than the democrats in almost everything, it wouldn’t kill Bailey and co. to actually throw out a few pro Trumo articles here and there. Even though I suspect that the Reason staff that didn’t vote Johnson went for Hillary (which is unfathomabke to me).

    3. Haven’t you seen? The New York Times released yesterday an official list claiming that Obama only lied 18 times while in office. If the major media said it, it has to be true!

      1. When that number is proven to be BS, the NYT will say, “Oh, we meant while Obama was physically in the Oval Office. While we were present. With the candlestick.”

        1. And the lie had to be *this* big to be included!

    4. “Furthermore, is Trump a liar or just sometimes very gullible?”

      Don’t forget stupid. People can be dumb enough to believe the shit they make up.

  7. So, yeah, we can thank Nixon appears to be the correct answer.

    Not that any of the Presidents since Nixon have been amazing tellers of truth, mind you, but Tricky Dick is among the biggest Presidential liars.

    Another answer would probably be ‘we didn’t measure this shit very well before the 1970’s, if at all’. For all we know, people trusted Abraham Lincoln the least. At least one guy probably thought so when he blew him away in a theatre.

    1. Not really. Looks like the first secular shift occurred in 86 and then in 95 with a steady trend down after that. I would say that is coincides with polarization more than anything.

      As to the study itself, Ron seems to be impressed that the researchers rediscovered induction. Of course he could have also pointed out that this behavior is also basicslly optimal game theory for prisoners’ dilemma.

    2. LBJ was just as much of a liar. I remember the chant of the day “LBJ lied and 60,000 died”. It is sort of like the line from Casablanca: “I’m shocked, shocked politicians are lying”.

  8. our president is a shameless and enthusiastic liar.”

    But enough about Barry. As mentioned above, Trump may very well be the result, but he is not the cause of govt distrust*. And idk about any of you guys, but thus far I’d vote for him again. Do it for the lulz.

    *You should distrust the govt and politicians by default. They are the ones that take your freedom.

    1. Lulz, judges, Devos, Pai, regulators… And the fact that all the innumerable things he is shitty on are things for which the alternative would have been no better. When you think about it item by item, he starts looking pretty good in the grand scheme of things.

  9. We’ve always known politicians lie. It’s something Roman satirists lampooned all the time. That they lie is nothing new to human nature and is known to all countries and cultures.

    The (liberal. Don’t act like it’s not a real thing) media on the other hand…now there’s a subject worth tackling because their behaviour in the Age of Trump has been downright irresponsible and quite frankly borderline seditious.

    1. *Prog media. Use the libertarianly-correct lingo or you’re out of the club!

      1. Prog media!

  10. Did you bother to read the wapo article, Ron. Most of what they cite is arguable and they only call Trump a liar because the wapo believes their own opinion is the only truth.

    Wapo claims its a lie for Trump to state obamacare exchanges are imploding. So thats a lie? Hmmmph. I have seen that same claim main by many unbaised analysts.

    1. How does the quote go… something like… “The WaPo Fact Checkers have a well-known liberal bias”?

  11. Uh, about 8 years late with the question.

  12. “We need smaller government that does a better job…”
    LOL no libertarian wants a government that is corrupt, incompetent, authoritarian, and wasteful at what it does do just so we can gin up further anti-government sentiment. That is a cartoon prog paranoiac’s view of the Small-Government Conspiracy. The only issue is whether we believe that, given the actual level of government malfeasance, we should be happy if at least there is an increase of public awareness of it, or whether–as the article seems to claim, if it has a point at all–this will create some sort of perverse feedback whereby a frightened and cynical public runs further into the comforting strong arms of Father State.
    There may well be something to this thesis. But surely we should need a lot of convincing for us to actually mourn greater public awareness of government malfeasance. And I don’t know that this study–with its blatant causation-direction problems (cynical, authoritarian Russia, etc.)–really does the trick.
    And as usual, Reason has eschewed any serious intellectual exploration of an interesting issue in favor of embedding a mention of it in a “Trump’s America” hot take.

    1. no libertarian wants a government that is corrupt, incompetent, authoritarian, and wasteful at what it does do just so we can gin up further anti-government sentiment

      Further up thread, there’s a bunch of libertarians that want exactly that.

      1. Weird I read the whole thread and didn’t see that.

        1. Yeah, Stormy is a lefty who, not surprisingly, has a problem backing his bullshit claims.
          Hey, Stormy! STFU.

      2. Stormy, your progtardation is in no way attractive.

  13. Why would Trump’s lies be catestrophic when Obumbles and President Bubba and his charming wife Bruno lied with every breath they took?

  14. One man’s trust is another man’s gullibility.

    Given that 77% of the public trusted the government in 1964, I would vote for gullible. Things were just about to get interesting in Vietnam.

    1. Bubba, should I run for President? Bubba, should I trust the government?

      1. Oh man.

        *Cranks up “Mother”*

    2. Wasn’t 1964 the year of Specter’s Magic Bullet hypothesis? From six floors up a bullet hits the Prez from behind near the shoulderblade, angles upward to nick his tie by his collarbone, then rises to next descend through John Connally as though coming from six floors up, in next to a right shoulderblade and out to hit the left thigh near the knee. 1964 would be a good year to begin wondering if those that rob through the communist manifesto income tax, and enslave kids to murder in Vietnam in violation of the 13th Amendment, might also say things that are “false OR misleading”.

      1. But wasn’t that the fault of something that happened in 1932, or the GO pee pee (aka God’s own Prohibitionist’s)?

  15. Why is this shit being published in an ostensibly libertarian magazine/website?

    1. Goes over well at cosmo parties. Something something jacket, something something pretty hair. Bro, do you even HnR?

  16. This poll isn’t necessarily about Americans’ trust in politicians to tell the truth. The question was whether one trusts the government to “do what is right.” That’s a big difference. Doing what is “right” is a matter of opinion.

  17. Do you trust your friend, your wife, your co-workers less because of Trump? If you do, it isn’t Trump you should consider the problem.

    Do you trust political sociopaths, state agents of coercion, spy and police agencies less because of Trump? If you do, it isn’t Trump you should consider the problem.

  18. The erosion of public trust in the government has been with us as long as governments have existed, so it is absurdly simplistic to see this as a Trump issue. Has the author never heard of Nixon or the Clintons? Is the author oblivious about what has been going in the CIA, the FBI, and the IRS? Is the author unaware that the government manipulates employment statistics, the CPI, the GDP, and cooks the books to defend global warming? Trump makes a lot of mistakes because he shoots from the hip and wears his emotions on his sleeves. But at least he isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind, and doesn’t have a covert personality.

  19. It feels like the end of Invasion of the Body Snatchers around here.

    Oh, no, they got Bailey, too?!

    Has anyone else been tracking what the Liar in Chief has been doing to the Federal Register?

    “During President Obama’s final year in office the Federal Register, which contains new and proposed rules and regulations, ran to 95,894 pages, according to a Competitive Enterprise Institute report. This was the highest level in its history and 19% higher than the previous year’s 80,260 pages.

    . . . .

    President Trump has charted a new course, prioritizing the removal of red tape and rolling back regulations through executive orders. The Federal Register page count is down 32% this year.”

    —-Wall Street Journal

    If Trump keeps shrinking the Federal Register, I don’t give a shit what he tweets or whether his tweets are true or false. Some things are more important than others.

    1. Oh, no, they got Bailey, too?!

      I saw the idiot headline on twitter, but was further disappointed to come here and find that Ron wrote it.

      But maybe bragging up all their articles in the New York Times during the webathon was a hint on the direction Reason was going.

    2. Ken, that is absolutely correct. If Trump does the right things, some regrettable tweets are come,Evelyn irrelevant. It also probably keeps at least some of the progtards focused on his tweets instead of more important things. Which is good.

      In that way, Trump reminds of a few people who worked for me in the past. I could barely to,erase being around them. However. They did terrific work and increased revenue. Which is what they were there for.

  20. So this comments board is a bunch of people whining like bitches that whatabout Obama! What a sparkling intellectual salon this place is.

    Do you not listen to Trump? Check the fact-checker places? Are your faces as suctioned to FOX News as his is or what?

    1. “whatabout Obama! ”

      Except? part of the article is comparisons like that.

      How fucking stupid are you?

      1. Maybe I’m as stupid as to say “Obama said 57 states once! That means Trump with his preschool vocabulary and almost complete inability to even accidentally tell the truth is the bestest president ever!” Except not.

        1. Go drink Drano you lying cunt.

      2. Will, Tony is INCREDIBLY fucking stupid. So much so that a personal friend of mine who reads and posts here is convinced he can’t be real.

    2. Tony|12.15.17 @ 10:05PM|#
      “So this comments board is a bunch of people whining like bitches that whatabout Obama! What a sparkling intellectual salon this place is.”

      Nope. It’s a bunch of people who have read your lies and proven them to be such.

    3. I sometimes think you are treated unfairly but then you go and often post comments like this. What’s the point? His is a classic internet troll post with no redeeming qualities.

        1. That’s a shame.

          1. Dammit Sevo, you beat me to it.

    4. Some of what Tony just wrote is false OR misleading. False has a definition, at least in perjury trials it does. But what thing published in the entire looter press since 1964 has NOT been misleading by some garbled standard or another?

  21. Goddamn, look at all the idiot conservatives upthread defending the congenital liar Trump.

    Trump has lied 53 times to every one Obama told.

    1. “The New York Times”

      don’t care

    2. Turd, you have again proven yourself to be among the most imbecilic lefty posting here. You never, asshole 8%, read your own links.
      Follow the embedded link in the one you posted and you’ll find such jems as this:

      “”You had millions of people that now aren’t insured anymore.” (The real number is less than 1 million, according to the Urban Institute.)”
      Well, keep right on digging and you’ll find that statement wasn’t the one in question but since the NYT doesn’t allow copy paste, I’ll point out that you and the NYT are lying pieces of shit, turd.

      You want to prove that claim, let’s see it.
      Go fuck your daddy.

  22. What is going on? Perhaps President Donald Trump is partially at fault. Now why would I suggest that possibility? That brings me the results of intriguing new study, “Do Lies Erode Trust?,”

    You know what erodes trust? Endless media propaganda. 8 years of the most corrupt administration ever.

    But at Reason, the explanation for all things bad is Trump.


    See “Why Libertarians Should Want More Trust in Government”

    “Libertarian Moment” at Reason.

  23. But not media driven at all.

  24. Since 1972, the General Social Survey has been asking Americans if “most people could be trusted.” In 1984, 47 percent answered yes. In 2014, the last year for which data is available, interpersonal trust had fallen to 31 percent?the lowest level so far.

    Yep, low trust in each other in 2014 is definitely Trumps fault.

    What is truly sad is that Ron is trying to blame anything but the real causes of the eroding of trust. It is well documented that this is what happens in racially diverse societies. The more we import others the less people trust each other.

    Simultaneously the influx of “diversity” causes a cry for law and order from the natives. While the low IQ barbarians demand more government because they want free stuff.

    But we can’t talk about that. It would undermine Reason’s cry for open borders. Plus, if Ron said that he’d be labeled a racist and who wants that.

    1. e pluribus multum

    2. Actually, the most enthusiastic open borders types use the erosion of social trust as an argument FOR open borders. Bryan Caplan has repeatedly argued that open borders would erode trust and support for the welfare state, and so libertarians and conservatives should support it if they want to shrink government. His empirical support for the argument has been less than convincing to me, however, as he generally just points to Scandinavia and says “See! They’re homogeneous and have big welfare states!” without accounting for anything else, such as jus soli citizenship here.

  25. Anyone believing a WaPo poll still believes in Santa, the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.
    Reason should fact check WaPo’s “facts” before citing them.

  26. Kind of like how the lies of the Professional Fake Libertarians who now control Reason magazine have eroded most of the trust that used to exist in this once great entity. That’s why so many people left here for good.

  27. Ronald’s impersonation of an ethicist makes his scientist impersonation look good by comparison. A single example suffices. The looter media he goes to for factual premises asserts that it has tabulated 1,628 false or misleading claims over time. This betrays childlike innocence of logical disjunction. The statement A or B converts a half-truth into something Bailey believes is the real deal. Only one of the assertions need contains an iota of fact for the disjunction to be true. If today’s Voelkischer Beobachter were to list actual lies, I’ll wager the number would be two orders of magnitude smaller, and exactly the same for Trump as for any Washington politician picked at random.

  28. So trust has dropped 15% in the last 45 years. A significant drop to be sure. But not the cliff dive suggested by the graph provided. By compressing the range from 30-46%, it makes the drop look more dramatic than it really is.

    This is part of the problem. People are so eager to prove their points, they feel they have to present things in the most dire looking way.

    Politicians are well known liars. The line from Nixon to Clinton to Trump is pretty clear. But when scientists and reporters feel the need to distort things to prove a point, it makes me distrust the whole damned lot.

    1. Nixon began media subsidies to finance looter kleptocracy party campaigns pretty much the day the LP filed its papers as an organization. Of course the sewage trickled into the State Science Institutes! Now the press and bureaucracies are PAID tax money to lie and ignore LP candidates. How else could that have panned out?

  29. Have Americans’ trust in an impartial media risen?

  30. ” In 2014, the last year for which data is available, interpersonal trust had fallen to 31 percent?the lowest level so far.
    What is going on? Perhaps President Donald Trump is partially at fault. ”

    So, Trump has the power of time travel? Only a liberal is capable of attributing causation to a future event.

    1. Maybe he got ahold of Grover Cleveland’s Presidential Time Machine.

  31. “Rainy sidewalks cause rain.” Indeed.

    Ron, is it your hatred of Trump, or just a lack of curiosity?

    Social trust is not the same thing as trust in government. Social trust is the trust between individuals in a society, and studies have shown that the more homogeneous the society, the higher the social trust. If you really want to keep social trust high, you would want to better control things like immigration and enshrine policies that encourage a better melting pot and a stronger sense of fellowship/citizenship.

    Now, you might have argued that social trust also drives trust in government instead of just assuming they’re the same thing. And while there’s a little something to it, why would a citizenry trust government when government regularly shows that it is unworthy of that trust?

    Anyway, social trust has been on a bender for a long time. As so many have pointed out, the last survey’s from 2014, when maybe only Trump himself had any clue that he would be running for office two years later. The bald faced, and much more impactful, lies that became major political party policy starting with Clinton had already done the damage. Most recently: “If you like your insurance, you can keep it.” or “You can’t disagree with the President, that’s racist!”

    Indeed, many would say that’s how you got Trump in the first place. So, it’s likely you’re confusing the cause and effect.

    1. Social trust is not the same thing as trust in government

      It isn’t for libertarians. It is for progressives, socialists, and fascists. Ron Bailey probably fits into one of those (largely interchangeable) categories.

  32. I’ve seen a lot more anti-trump stuff end up being a lie than stuff Trump himself has said. You can blame Trump for a lot, but not the erosion of trust.

  33. As of November 14, the Washington Post fact checker has tabulated 1,628 false or misleading claims made by the president over the preceding 298 days:

    So, your source is a bunch of liars saying that someone ELSE is the liar.



  34. Americans’ trust in their national government hovers around historic lows according to a Pew Research Center poll this month.

    Good! As a libertarian, I fully approve. I hope we can get trust down to zero, in the government, in academia, and in media corporations.

    That being said, there is no doubt that our president is a shameless and enthusiastic liar.

    As opposed to Hillary, who was a shameless, enthusiastic, and highly skilled liar and fraud; and Sanders, who was a useful idiot repeating other people’s lies. I think with Trump, we actually got the best deal among the available choices.

  35. As of November 14, the Washington Post fact checker has tabulated 1,628 false or misleading claims

    Apparently, Ronald Bailey is still a gullible fool. Obviously, we still have to do a lot more work eroding trust in “established institutions”.

  36. Please give us some articles that are useful or interesting.

    1. Bob, just where the HELL do you think you are?

  37. Please give us some articles that are useful or interesting.

  38. People are wising up. Why exactly is that a bad thing?

    Government is lousy with power-hungry assholes. We should never trust any elected official or government employee as far as we can throw them.


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