21 June 2007

Confidence in a Police State?

A number of articles and opinion pieces are making a big deal out of the fact that Congress's approval rating is at an all-time low, according to a new Gallup poll. The fact that the presidency and Congress is so low seems to me to miss the point. The point seems to be that Americans have lost their confidence in the pillars of our republic.

Americans expressing a great deal of
or quite a lot of confidence in …

Military 69%
Small Business 59%
Police 54%
Organized Religion 46%
Banks 41%
U.S. Supreme Court 34%
Public Schools 33%
Medical System 31%
Presidency 25%
Television News 23%
Newspapers 22%
Criminal Justice System 19%
Organized Labor 19%
Big Business 18%
Congress 14%

Americans have little trust in the three branches of government that define our government. Congress, the presidency, and the Supreme Court have a combined approval rating of 73% - a rating just barely better than that of the military alone.

What does this suggest? What is the real story? It doesn't take a great leap to suspect that Americans are at the stage of serious flirtation with the idea of a police state. Weary of democracy, we are ready to hand ourselves over to the guys with guns, like Spain under Franco. Unable to export our own democracy to Iraq, we’re now leaning towards simply throwing it away. One can't help but wonder whether we might find ourselves in a police state should the combined approval rating for our three branches of government should ever slip below that of the military.

As a side note, only 34% of Americans still feel a great deal of confidence in polls, a number you’ll never see reported by the pollsters for obvious reasons (and, of, course, the less obvious reason that I simply made up the number).

Curiously, Gallup failed to inquire about the level of confidence in blogs, an institution apparently too new to deserve its own score. it may be that the sarcasm, wit, and insightful prose of bloggers is the only thing that now stands between us and a coup in which the military is welcomed as leaders.


Anonymous said...

I am reluctant to comment on statistics unless I see the sources of the numbers, or unless they are factual, as opposed to opinion-based figures.

But since you have earned some credulity, I will say if I was to take your numbers at face value, it says to me that people are hungry for justice, whatever that means.

Justice can mean many things to many people. Personally, I always try and find common ground when defining it. Yet ultimately, on a personal level, this has not always been the path to justice, because there are many, many instinct-injured people out there who are deeply programmed to pick at any display of leadership which is in their best interests.

And thus, the polls may well be completely unreliable. I think statistically speaking, they do not reflect the realities behind the numbers. Only an insightful mind has this ability, with or without the numbers.

Anonymous said...

This article might interest you:


Anonymous said...

I read that link and I shall say that it is a simplistic view of what has happened, which is why it is ineffectual in terms of creating dissent. People choose to be brainwashed. We choose to be placated with materialism and poison in our food chain. Even the wealthiest people opt for this lifestyle.

There _is_ no more class distinction. The media killed it. But is this pseudo socialistic capitalism the answer? Is mundanity the ultimate price of comfort? Have we reached the pinnacle of this so-called civilization?

The answer lies in EDUCATION. And I intend on getting _paid_ to do it, thank-you very much.

Life Hiker said...

I think the confidence in the military is not misplaced. Our officer corps is highly educated and devoted to democracy. They even follow this stupid president because he was elected (maybe fraudulently) and they do not have any intention to upset the applecart of democracy.

When I was an officer in the 101st Airborne, my senior officers had advanced degrees from major universities including Princeton. Our military people don't think about a coup because they have been exposed to the liberal thinking that their educations provided.

Would that the rest of the government world had such capable people running it!

Anonymous said...

How can you say that people in government are less educated than people in the military? Do you have stats to validate this odd statement? If there is a problem in Government, it is not due to a lack of credentials or credibility. It would more than likely be due to cultural isolation, which will accompany any beurocratic quagmire. Things are never so simplistic.

The problem is due to a shift in values. Values which we all need to take responsibility for. And don't take for granted that I am talking about the "Boomers". I know you all like talking about yourselves, but you are not more interesting than the rest of us moronic humanids.

Ron Davison said...

Thomas Jefferson felt that each generation should create its own government - a messy affair that suggests that he thought most systems should come with an expiration date. It does make one wonder when the dissasatisfaction will translate into a "throw the bums out" approach to politics.

As I wander around this country, I usually impressed with the folks I encounter. Big business has some amazing folks, but people don't trust big business (judging from this and other polls). I seriously doubt that the quality of people varies much from institution to institution, but the confidence in that institution does. All that to say that I wonder why great people with military strength are respected and great people with legislative skills are not. It worries me.

Anonymous said...

That generational Thomas Jefferson thing is hilarious! Manifest destiny meets poetic justice.

Big business-- well that's not a hard one. People are jealous of those with lots of money. They could be saints and they'd still get pooped on. Still-- they should be enabled to keep their vision and integrity, no?:)