As Morgan notes in a fascinating Medium piece on our declining trust in one another: “The percentage of all respondents who said that most people can be trusted dropped from about 46 percent in 1972 to about 32 percent in 2012.”
Morgan doesn’t attempt to draw a single conclusion for the “why” behind our erosion in trust. And, there’s no way a single factor is responsible for such a large societal change. But, he does note that the ubiquity of television, the Internet and smart phones have fueled less direct human interaction and, therefore, perhaps also fueled a lack of willingness to give others the benefit of the doubt.
I think both Doug ans Chris miss an important reality. I will copy and paste my comment to Doug’s post.
The problem is Doug we are genetically tribal creatures. Even though we may live in one country or even one state we are still members of individual tribes. We have the urban tribe and the rural tribe, The southern tribe, the Midwest tribe and the northern tribe. Here in Oregon we have the Western tribe, the majority, and the Eastern tribe. We have the social conservative religious tribe and the secular tribe. I am a member of the left of center independent tribe while you are a member of the Libertarian tribe. I’m not really sure that this is a situation that can be resolved. It might be interesting to see a Venn diagram of the tribes in the US.
We are indeed tribal creatures whether we like it or not. My tribe and Doug’s tribe likely have more in common than we would like to admit.