Investing in Precious Metals 101 Ad

Is lack of trust about to reach a tipping point?

Login or register to post comments Last Post 8730 reads   26 posts
Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 26 total)
  • Sun, Sep 13, 2015 - 04:53pm



    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 22 2008

    Posts: 311

    count placeholder

    Is lack of trust about to reach a tipping point?

Jim Quinn at The Burning is a big fan of Strauss and Howe’s 1997 Fourth Turning work ( The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997) and in the above linked article highlights how much the public is rapidly losing trust in EVERYTHING AND EVERYBODY.  Strauss and Howe write that a collapse of trust will trigger the final stage of the Collapse/Fourth Turning we have been in since 2008.  He quotes Strauss and Howe:

“As the Crisis catalyzes, these fears will rush to the surface, jagged and exposed. Distrustful of some things, individuals will feel that their survival requires them to distrust more things. This behavior could cascade into a sudden downward spiral, an implosion of societal trust.”

“But as the Crisis mood congeals, people will come to the jarring realization that they have grown helplessly dependent on a teetering edifice of anonymous transactions and paper guarantees. Many Americans won’t know where their savings are, who their employer is, what their pension is, or how their government works. The era will have left the financial world arbitraged and tentacled: Debtors won’t know who holds their notes, homeowners who owns their mortgages, and shareholders who runs their equities – and vice versa.”

The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997

I’m agnostic on Strauss and Howe’s theory but their assertion that the final nail in the coffin will be a catastrophic collapse of trust society-wide rings true to me.  I have been watching these last 5 years as trust in general has eroded rapidly throughout society.  I’ve never seen it this bad, in American society at least.  Every day brings another instance of the rapidly eroding trust of people in other people and in institutions.  It’s gotten to the point that I’m convinced that the lack of trust dynamic has become a vital indicator of where we are and may be the lens through which we see the final nail in our society’s coffin driven home.  Here are just a few examples I’ve come across in the last few days:

Once you start looking at things from the perspective of lost trust you see it everywhere.

Are others here on paying attention to the rapidly evaporating trust?  Do you agree that society can’t function without a minimum level of trust, and do you think we’re about to breach that level to the downside?   Do you think we’re reaching a tipping point?  Besides preparing for the collapse when trust is gone, is there anything we can and should do?  Are you noticing the lack of trust in your everyday lives?  I find personal anecdotes a great way to confirm or deny macro observations I’m making so I’d like to hear from you if you have some.

Here’s one contrary anecdote.  My adult daughter and her family live in very rural Iowa where many of the issues (like lack of trust) I experience on the East Coast simply don’t compute (yet).  Last year my daughter got all the way through the check out line at the tiny grocery store and when she went to pay her bill, she realized she had left her pocket book at home.  The clerk let her take her bags of food and cheerily assured her: “That’s OK.  Just come back tomorrrow and pay!”  In Philadelphia she might have been arrested.  What would’ve happened in that situation where you live and shop?  


  • Mon, Sep 14, 2015 - 12:48am



    Status Member (Offline)

    Joined: Dec 21 2011

    Posts: 18

    count placeholder

    Lack of Trust . . .

Of course we all experience this on a daily, weekly, monthly, etc. basis.

The key thing is . . .

what do we do about it in our own communities, neighborhoods, family & friends, etc.?

Easier said than done.


  • Mon, Sep 14, 2015 - 10:32pm



    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Apr 27 2010

    Posts: 1440

    count placeholder

    Descent Into Lawlessness

No wonder trust is nearly gone.  What little law is applied, is applied unequally and unpredictably.

Do you remember Lewis "Scooter" Libby?

In 2003, the Department of Justice appointed a special counsel to investigate allegations that Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, unlawfully disclosed the covert status of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

Yet Plame may not have been a covert undercover agent, based on the formal government definition of that role. And even if she were, it was widely known at the time that Secretary of State Colin Powell's subordinate, Richard Armitage, had most likely disclosed her status earlier.

In other words, Libby was in an Orwellian position of being accused of a crime that may not have existed. But if it had, it was more likely committed by someone else.

Publicity-seeking special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald convinced a Washington, D.C., jury to find Libby guilty of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements to federal investigators — not the supposed crimes for which he was originally targeted by the media.

Apparently, the very suspicion of improper behavior by high public servants once warranted vigorous legal inquiry — by supposedly independent and autonomous prosecutors.

In the eight-plus since the Libby trial, the Obama administration has blown up the law as we have known it for centuries.

Barack Obama once warned Latino activists that he had no legal authority to suspend enforcement of federal immigration law, stop deportations and offer de facto amnesties.

But that caution was only a campaigning talking point. After his re-election in 2012 and the midterm elections in 2014, Obama made a mockery of immigration law.

Hundreds of liberal sanctuary cities have announced that federal immigration law does not apply to them. That scary, neo-Confederate idea of legal nullification was sanctioned by the Obama administration — in a way it never would have been if a city had suspended the Endangered Species Act, emissions standards or gun-control legislation.

As a result, once-detained and later-released immigrants with criminal records have murdered innocent American citizens.

Consider the proposed nuclear deal with Iran. By past custom and practice, the nonproliferation agreement would be treated as what it is — a treaty.

But ratifying treaties constitutionally requires 67 yes votes from the Senate. Obama could never obtain that margin. So he managed to downgrade the treaty into a mere legal agreement. Then he claimed that the Senate required 67 no votes to override his veto.

Obama also was worried about the political impact of his new Obamacare legislation on the 2014 midterm elections. So he simply suspended by executive fiat the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Had another president done that to the laws of Obamacare, the left would have demanded impeachment.

In Ferguson, Missouri, law enforcement eased off and allowed a city to burn. But the cause of the rioting — the supposed improper police killing of criminal suspect Michael Brown — was based on the lie that Brown was shot in the back while fleeing. No matter. The ensuing public outrage seemingly exempted arsonists and looters from arrest.

Just as scary is the application of the law on the basis of the perceived politics of a suspect.

IRS bureaucrat Lois Lerner was exposed as a rank partisan whose office gave particular scrutiny to would-be tax-exempt groups deemed opponents of Obama's re-election efforts. She invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify before a congressional committee about her actions at the IRS. Lerner has never been indicted.

Almost everything former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stated about her improper use of a private email account and server has been proven false. A State Department staffer who worked on Clinton's private server plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying before a congressional committee about his role in privatizing Clinton's email.

But like Lerner, Clinton has escaped an indictment or jailing.

Not so Kim Davis. She is a conservative Christian court clerk in Kentucky who apparently thought, given the lawless times, that she could ignore without consequence a Supreme Court decision making gay marriage legal.

Davis was jailed for not enforcing the law. That is a justifiable punishment — if it were applied equally to the progressive mayors of sanctuary cities and all officials who likewise ignore federal law.

In the same manner, rank amateur video maker Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was jailed for violating his probation. Why?

Nakoula made a video insensitive to Muslims and thus was falsely blamed for the riotous 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The most likely culprit of the preplanned Benghazi attack was not scapegoat Nakoula, but the inconvenient pre-election truth that al-Qaida was quite alive in Libya and U.S. security quite lax.

America is becoming analogous to the mess in lawless contemporary Venezuela. When the law is suspended or unevenly applied for politically protected individuals and groups, then there is no law.

So we are now seeing the logical descent into the abyss of chaos. 

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His latest book is The Savior Generals from BloomsburyBooks. You can reach him by e-mailing [email protected].



  • Mon, Sep 14, 2015 - 11:39pm



    Status Bronze Member (Offline)

    Joined: Aug 16 2009

    Posts: 36

    count placeholder

    Victor Davis Hanson!!??

…being quoted on!!?? My day is ruined…

Hanson is a notorious chickenhawk, neo-con, islamophobic hack who like the rest of his ilk, despite being wrong about everything forever, refuses any sort of accountability for past errors in judgement and general moral cretinism.

And I am being too kind…

Caveat lector!

  • Tue, Sep 15, 2015 - 12:36am



    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Oct 01 2008

    Posts: 1360

    count placeholder


…you are too kind.

A far more accurate account of the Plame affair and attempted destruction of her and her husband's reputations was written in 2005:

[quote]But two news items Tuesday managed to stand out from what President Bush last week called “the chatter.” (Funny how he used the term associated with intercepted information from al-Qaida, subtly linking terrorists and journalists. “Subliminable”? You decide.) One was the amazing New York Times report that lawyers close to Fitzgerald say the prosecutor has notes showing that I. Lewis Libby learned Plame’s identity from his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, not from journalists, as Libby apparently claimed. The other is the sad but predictable fact that the 2,000th American soldier died in Iraq today. If you miss those two pieces of news while playing Fitzgerald guessing games, you’ll miss the bigger point of Plamegate.[/quote]

[quote]In many ways the Fitzgerald investigation is a sideshow; we have plenty of evidence showing what happened. The secret Office of Special Plans, the “stovepiped” intelligence, the Pentagon’s war against State and the CIA — it has all been reported, and new evidence and accusations keep coming in. Just in the last week, former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, blamed the war on “a cabal between the Vice President of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the Secretary of Defense … that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.” In the Oct. 31 issue of the New Yorker, Brent Scowcroft, who was national security advisor under Bush I, blasted the neocons who dreamed up the Iraq war, and uttered this amazing statement: “I consider Cheney a good friend — I’ve known him for thirty years. But Dick Cheney I don’t know anymore.”[/quote]


Cheney and Libby are fellow travelers in a particularly corrupt form of governance.  Wilkerson is as honest and honorable as they come.  I've seen videos of him giving numerous speeches and interviews over the years.  He is always mild mannered and straight forward.  Here's a recent statement by him that is anything but mild mannered.

  • Tue, Sep 15, 2015 - 05:26am


    Mark Cochrane

    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: May 24 2011

    Posts: 1189

    count placeholder

    Distrust of society

FYI – here is part 2 of Jim Quinn's article.

For what it is worth, I do believe that there is a fundamental breakdown of trust in anything and everything that is beyond the personal level. Governments, businesses, organizations, or other groups or entities that are faceless have been shown again and again to be faithless too. For me this is the Age of Fraud. Does anyone really believe that these groups are working for the common good or dedicated to maintaining even a level playing field? My sense is that general apathy has taken over with anger not far behind when the pain becomes personal.

That said, I am not sure that the level of distrust has become endemic everywhere down to the personal level. I live out in South Dakota and this is the best place in the world to ever breakdown on the road. People will damn near fight each other to help you. In my town my wife has managed to leave her wallet behind several times and has always gotten it back with every dollar accounted for. In places where there is a good chance that you are going to see the same people again I do not think that it is quite so easy to descend into personal anarchy. Not sure how that works when you get into a city environment though.

What I wonder is what will happen when the Federal or State level government's lose their moral authority with enough of the population? If the Fourth Turning 'Gray Champion' doesn't appear soon we might end up with a lot of fiefdoms instead.


  • Tue, Sep 15, 2015 - 09:57pm



    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3113

    count placeholder

    measuring trust

Fascinating subject Tom.  Nicole Foss (as I'm sure you know) talks about the declining trust horizon as something that is an outgrowth of descent – narrowing of the trust horizon.  And of course Armstrong talks about declining confidence in government, which is more or less the same thing.

My question, being a chart guy, is how do we measure this?  Anecdotes are great, but … is there some kind of metric we can use?  CAF has the Popsicle Index, but that's another anecdote-in-stat-clothing. 

How do we measure trust?

Seriously!  I want a chart!

It would be simply fascinating to see how it correlated with the price of gold.

  • Tue, Sep 15, 2015 - 10:24pm



    Status Gold Member (Offline)

    Joined: Mar 06 2012

    Posts: 571

    count placeholder

    Three polls on trust

Here are links to three polls on trust. Careful, though, as trust shot up post 9/11 according to most of this data.  Talk about Stockholm Syndrome! I wonder if/how the next peak will be engineered.

Gallup's Trust in Government 1993 – 2010

Gallup's Trust in the Three Branches

Pew's Public Trust in Government 1958-2014

  • Wed, Sep 16, 2015 - 05:51am



    Status Platinum Member (Offline)

    Joined: Jun 08 2011

    Posts: 2226

    count placeholder

    The Story of Steve

So one sunny Sunday afternoon Steve and his son were attending a BBQ lunch at a local beach park with a group of his son’s friends and their parents.  The picnic spot was located atop a short hill, with a clear view down to the beach about 30 or so feet away to the west.  Just before the beach there was a slight seawall a foot or two high. Steve found himself helping set up the picnic, talking to a few of the parents, and enjoying himself.  Steve’s son spent most of that afternoon playing at the water’s edge with two of his friends on a small alligator shaped inflatable.  So Steve split his attention between conversing with others at the picnic and keeping an eye on his son.  Oh, and did I mention?  Steve tends to naturally remain aware of his surroundings.  Things out of the ordinary tend to catch Steve’s eye.

An hour or so goes by.  Steve and the group are enjoying lunch; the boys have quickly eaten theirs and then returned to the beach, splashing in the light surf.  Steve helps clean up, and is talking to another parent, when movement catches his eye from the south.  Steve notices a man in a local uniform, let’s say his name is Leo, walking up along the seawall from the south.  Steve mentally files that away.

So Steve goes back to his discussion with the parent, and a moment or two pass, when Steve’s attention turns back south.  Leo, in the interim, has changed his direction and is now heading directly for the picnic site.  Ok, no biggie.  The site has two picnic tables, aligned north-to-south, and just west of these (at the top of the short hill) is a large folding canopy.  There is maybe 10 feet of clearance between the picnic tables and the canopy.  People are arranged in and around both.  There are large open spaces to the east and west of the picnic site.  Leo’s track takes him right through the center of the picnic area, close to everyone, and as he approaches within about 5 feet of Steve in passing, Steve say’s “Hello Sir, how are you today?”.  Leo has dark hair and a dark black moustache.  He’s wearing smoke black aviators…can’t see Leo’s eyes. Steve knows a good number of locals that wear uniforms where he lives, but he’s never seen Leo before.  Leo says “Hello” and keeps moving at a slow walk, right on through the picnic site.  Steve is facing Leo’s left side when he passes. For some reason the situation feels odd to Steve.  Hmmm, walking right through the picnic site?  Lots of room to walk around it. But still, no big deal.  Leo walking through the park and all, Steve mentally files that away.  Back to talking with the parents, and keeping one eye on the boy.  Leo heads off towards the North end of the park.

About 20 minutes pass, and Steve is back to enjoying the company of neighbors and watching his son and friends.  Steve notices that Leo is now heading back south, this time heading down towards the seawall and water’s edge a little ways to the north. Cool. Steve is talking with someone, and then notices that Leo has stopped the seawall’s edge just above the boys, and appears to be looking out over the water.  Steve doesn’t think much of it, Leo could have stopped anywhere, and it is a beautiful day, and a great view.  So Steve goes back to conversation and then walks over to grab a soda (no one is drinking at the picnic, it’s not that kind of picnic) and maybe five minutes pass.  When Steve returns he notices that Leo is still there, standing at the seawall, just over the boys. The boys are playing happily in the surf, couldn’t be bothered.  Steve files that away and goes back to talking with the parents. 

After a minute or two Steve looks back to the seawall.  Leo is still there, standing on the seawall above the boys.  Leo sure seems to be standing there for quite a while, Steve thinks.  It is about that time that Steve notices Leo’s hands.  His left hand is down, relaxed, while his right hand is resting in a grip on his sidearm.  That seems odd to Steve.  Steve focuses on the right hand. Confirmed.  Hand is in a grip on the sidearm, appears at this distance to be relaxed.  Huh. Seems odd.  Steve continues to focus on the right hand.  Leo has been standing there for a good while now, Steve thinks to himself.  Leo continues to grip his sidearm, holstered, and though Steve can’t be 100% sure at this distance, Leo appears to be thumbing his holster.

Huh, that’s odd.  Suddenly a cold, dark feeling washes over Steve like a tidal wave, and a single thought overrides everything.

There is someone with a grip on their firearm, thumbing the holster, directly above my son.

Steve locks up momentarily, frozen in an OO loop, trying to make sense of what he is seeing.  A thought finally overrides the loop.  Son.

With what feels like a colossal effort Steve moves forward a step, and then freezes.  As Steve starts to move, Leo removes his right hand from the grip, holds his hand to his right ear and turns his head to the right slightly.  Steve is behind and above Leo this whole time, there’s no way Leo can see him.

Instinctively, Steve quickly scans north, then behind him to the east.  Seeing nothing in the quick scan, Steve looks back towards Leo.

Leo is standing at the seawall, and is now directly facing Steve. Steve’s eyes lock with Leo. Is Leo looking right at him??? Can’t be sure with those smoked glasses…then Leo turns his frame and starts to walk south.  Keeping his face locked in Steve’s direction.  After a moment, Leo turns his head south and head’s off.

What just happened?  Was that all just an odd series of coincidences?  Steve trusts his instincts, and they say no.

Steve has always trusted Leo before.  Steve realizes that he couldn’t have stopped Leo…if…if…Steve couldn’t have protected his son.

Steve’s mind folds inwards.

  • Wed, Sep 16, 2015 - 07:05am



    Status Diamond Member (Offline)

    Joined: Sep 03 2008

    Posts: 3113

    count placeholder

    trust in government


That's a great set of surveys.  It is interesting how the fall in trust aligns with the rise in the price of gold through 1981.  It will be an interesting data set to get.

I agree on the 9/11 peak being…let's just say its fortutitous.


Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 26 total)

Login or Register to post comments