Friday, June 26, 2020
The moral Unitarian Universalist - The virtue of trustworthiness
In the Gideon Lewis-Kraus article in Wired magazine entitled "Trust Fails" , Gideon makes a distinction between "trust" and "trustworthiness." "Trust" is a relational dynamic whereas "trustworthiness" is perceived as an innate characteristic. Leaders, governments, and institutions who are perceived as "trustworthy" are much more likely to be effective in leading their followers than leaders who don't have this quality.
The lack of trustworthiness in government since the administration of Richard Nixon and the meme created and perpetuated by Ronald Reagan that government is not the solution but the problem has insidiously crippled the viability of Americans to act coherently and effectively as a nation in the world and at home.
It is one thing for the United States to deny climate change and withdraw from the Paris Accords, and to criticize Nato, and to withhold funding for the United Nations and the WHO, and another to mismanage its public health system to the detriment of its citizens.
The destruction of American trustworthiness domestically and internationally drastically undermines American self-efficacy leading to the spread of contagion, destruction, and death whether it is from Covid-19, climate change, unregulated corporate functioning or faith in our political processes through voter suppression and legal corruption.
What will it take to restore integrity and trustworthiness to our social institutions on which we all depend for our joint welfare? It is not a matter of intelligence but a matter or moral character, and the major component of that moral character may be trustworthiness. Should this characteristic of trustworthiness be a major criterion in voting for people running for office and selecting people who lead our major corporations and community organizations?