In defense of distrust in government

From Cato Institute Gene Healy in the DC Examiner:

For five decades, researchers at the University of Michigan have asked Americans “How much of the time do you think you can trust the government in Washington to do what is right?”
In the early 1960s, three-quarters of respondents answered “just about always” or “most of the time.” After Vietnam and Watergate, Americans weren’t quite so gullible, and the trust numbers never again reached their Kennedy/Johnson-era peak.
This month, Michigan’s National Election Studies group released new survey data that reveals another decline: Only some 30 percent of Americans trust the feds most of the time or always, which is down sharply from trust’s post-9/11 high.
When political trust declines, the D.C. cognoscenti typically wring their hands and hold earnest conferences at the Brookings Institution, exploring how best to restore the people’s faith in their rulers.
But, as usual, the political elites have it precisely backwards. Declining trust in government is a good thing, something that Americans of every political stripe ought to celebrate.
Read the rest here.
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