Summary: The key to forecasting the future lies in seeing the trends that produced the present. For example, Americans have lost trust in almost all of our institutions, both public and private. During the coming time of troubles, we probably will turn to the two remaining institutions that we trust. We can only guess what will follow; probably large mistakes with long-term horrific consequences. Tomorrow is part two.
“Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
— The Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key (1814)
A reader asks “How does America’s glorification of the military affect our future.”
That might be one of the key questions of our time. Look at the graphic from “In Nothing We Trust“, National Journal, 19 April 2012 — “Americans are losing faith in the institutions that made this country great.” Who we trust might determine the fate of the Republic.
This graphic shows the change from 2002 to 2011 in Gallup’s Confidence in Institutions survey. The results are more striking from the their first survey in 1999 to the 2011 survey. Confidence in almost every institution has declined. Especially note the loss of confidence in the 3 branches of government.
- the medical system: -1%
- public schools: -2%
- newspapers: -5%
- organized labor: -7%
- TV news: -7%
- church: -10%
- big business: -11%
- the presidency: -12%
- Congress: -14%
- the supreme court: -14%
- banks: -20%
Our confidence has increased in a few institutions.
- the police: +2%
- the criminal justice system: +5%
- the military: +10%
These results should not surprise us.
These are fitting results for the nation ranked #1 in per cent of its population in prison, fifth in the number of executions, and spending more than the rest of the world combined on foreign intelligence and the military. For a frightened people (as our reaction to 9-11 proved). A people with low confidence in their political institutions. A people with low confidence in each other, and low confidence in ourselves and our ability to work together.
Who would you expect such people to turn to in troubled times? To simple people wielding force.
How will this work? We can ask our neighbors to the south. How well have military and police-dominated governments worked for them? Worked for Africa? Europe?
We can already see the effects of this shift in our patterns of this. Tomorrow’s part two gives some valuable if disturbing evidence.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
— Revelations 19:11-16
Other Chapters in this series
- A look at the future of the Republic: we will choose leaders that we trust, 14 May 2012
- A look at the future of the Republic: we will choose leaders that we trust, not the ones we need (part 2), 15 May 2012
- More evidence that the military is slowly cutting itself off from civilian control, 15 July 2012
For more information
See the FM Reference Page America’s military, and our national defense strategy.
For more information about our future:
- A Washington Insider looks at America, but does not understand what he sees, 7 September 2011
- America is the new Rome. Late Republican Rome (not the best of times), 13 October 2011
- What will replace the Constitution in Americans’ hearts? Let’s check for Fascism., 29 March 2012