Summary: The sands on the hourglass slowly run out for America’s Second Republic. Anyone who cares to look can see this in a thousand ways, large and small. Today we review an especially ominous indicator: Gallup’s annual Confidence in Institutions Poll. The laughter that greets it each year shows the decayed state of the Republic. We don’t need a Nostradamus to see how this trend might end. It’s time for DEFCON 2.
And therefore never ask for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee — and thy nation.
— Meditation XVII of John Donne’s Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624), slightly tweaked.
- Confidence in Institutions
- Look at the trends
- The news media, the new and the old
- The bad news: we love the military
- For More Information
(1) Confidence in Institutions
Each year we look at Gallup’s Confidence in Institutions Poll (which they’ve run since 1973). Each year things deteriorate at little more.
Our confidence declines in the Republic’s democratic institutions and in the non-governmental institutions that are the ribs of America’s social fabric. But confidence increases in the authoritarian institutions of society, the police and military. We’re a people at risk for fascism or some other regime in which the few use force and guile to rule the many who lack the confidence to stand together.
One graph shows the problem. Every year Gallup posts this chart; laughter is a common reaction. Or disgust that we don’t have a Congress worthy of our awesomeness. We vote for Congress like we choose which TV show to watch: as consumers, assuming no responsibility for the show. This is how we get such a Congress. This is how the Republic dies a little each year.
Here’s the big picture
Note that “small business” and “big business” are not institutions or systems in the same sense as your church, or local school and criminal justice systems.
(2) The bad news: look at the trends
These show a slow-motion collapse in our confidence in the institutions of the Republic.
Average percent of people saying they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in each institution:
|Years||Military||Supreme Court||Congress||President||Police||Medical||Criminal Justice System|
|2000 – 2009||74%||43%||22%||43%||59%||39%||26%|
|1990 – 1999||68%||46%||23%||46%||57%||39%||20%|
|1980 – 1989||58%||50%||33%|
|1973 – 1979||56%||46%||39%|
Of course these trends did not fall like rain from Heaven. Many are the result of wealth applied intelligently over decades to remold society. Or rather, erode of confidence in the Republic’s institutions, in ourselves, in order to break our society so that it can be rebuilt to their wishes.
Let’s look at trends for two institutions.
(3) The news media, the new and the old
There were those with great hopes for the new news media, delivered via the internet. So far there is no visible improvement.
(4) The worst news: we love the military above all other institutions
During a period of great stress people turn to the institution they trust the most. The following graph gives a peak into a likely future for America.
(5) For More Information
For updates see the Twitter Feed FabiusMaximus01 (see the follow button on the top of the right side menu). Post your sightings of the New America with the hashtag #NewAmerica.
(a) Reference pages listing all posts about America:
- How can we stop the quiet coup now in progress?
- Reforming America: steps to political change
- Politics in America
(b) Some posts about New America:
- 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
- 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
- Undercutting people’s trust in the Republic: another step to destroying the Republic, 27 August 2012
- Under the cloak of liberalism America slides to Fascism, 20 October 2012
- A third try at describing The First Step to reforming America, 28 May 2013
- Compare our New America to the America-that-once-was (a great nation), 12 June 2013
- Glimpses of the New America being born now, 18 June 2013
- The bad news about reforming America: time is our enemy, 27 June 2013