The following is an excerpt from Chapter 6: Prioritizing Trustworthiness in the book Holy War for True Democracy.
Our trust in someone or something is our belief in the likelihood that a desired outcome will actually happen. For example, we trust that the Earth will continue to rotate around the sun, and we trust our cell phones to accurately give us the date and time. On the human side, even if we drive defensively, we trust that drivers stopped at a red light will wait for their light to turn green before entering the intersection. In commerce, we trust Starbucks to deliver a particular beverage quality and ambience no matter where in the world we find a store. In the West, we trust the government in various ways even if we are naturally cynical, such as trusting the fire department to come in case of fire.
In the age of the Internet and social media, we trust people we don’t know all of the time. When we are deciding on which restaurant to go for dinner, we often rely on restaurant reviews written by unknown people. When we bid on something at an auction site, we look at seller ratings from people we don’t know to decide whether the promise of a bargain is worth the chance the seller is dishonest. When we need to learn about an unfamiliar topic, we usually feel we can trust the information we find in the crowd-sourced online encyclopedia Wikipedia, particularly for topics without ideological controversy.
Without trust, life would be much less convenient and more stressful. Suppose we could not trust that interstate highways are safely maintained – e.g., suppose those highways were often full of potholes and various forms of metal debris. Then, driving would be highly stressful and traffic would slow to a crawl. Fortunately, in reality, the government is highly trustworthy in maintaining the interstates, so we feel confident as we drive fast.
On the world stage, many countries in the West have no military or an inadequate one because they trust the USA to protect them (and uphold America’s traditional ideals in the process).