“Who Can you Trust”, the book by Rachel Botsman, should be required reading for all eligible voters.
The quick answer to the title question: Engineers!
Our currency says “In God We Trust” but as Thomas Jefferson once quipped “I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”
Given what our government has done and continues to do to us and others around the world is there any question about why few trust it.
From the beginning our government failed to codify the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God” when engineering the Constitution, the foundation of our government system and structures.
First it condoned slavery and other injustices against Native Americans leading to a civil war that cost more American lives than all the wars we have fought since then combined.
Today our foreign policy and war fighting strategies still ignore the self-evident truth that all people are created equal and deserving of the unalienable rights to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”.
Given the evolution of weaponry and war, the consequences of injustices related to our worshiped Constitution will be far greater than most people imagine.
So what do we trust? When we flip a light switch we trust the lights will come on. When we drive over a bridge we trust it won't collapse into the water. When we go into surgery, we ultimately trust those involved in the operation to rely on proven medical procedures and medicines, and the hospital systems and structures intended to keep us safe while we are sedated and long after we awake.
Why can't we trust our policy makers to enact a fair tax code? How about a health care system to protect all children equally? Or the elderly regardless of their income level. Can we trust our government to protect the natural systems and structures we need to ensure every American has access to clean air and water, nutritious food and a relatively predictable climate?
Most engineers and health professionals swear oaths to protect public health and safety. Elected government officials, military leaders, and most public servants swear to protect the Constitution -- a document that used political principles but is allowed by 'we the people" to overlook the laws of nature and even nature’s God.
We tend to trust professions that rely on science and engineering but not those that rely on unscientific principles like “peace through strength”, "if it leads it bleeds" or “if it feels good do it”.
Some professions may follow a moral or spiritual compass that they might attribute to ‘nature’s God’, the greater good of humanity, or justice (‘golden rule’) as a fundamental principle. But then ignore the laws of nature and blame God when things don't turn out right. They fail to grasp the self evident truth that nature always has the last vote.
Too often government laws and policies are based on alternative principles. Political or party principles based on hypothetically good, but largely untested, ideas. And then wonder why our government is increasing dysfunctional. Engineers and doctors don’t rely on witchcraft or prayer to build strong bridges or heal the sick. The Defense Department doesn’t rely on partisan principles in designing weapons systems.
In reality, every aspect of our national security depends on well-functioning systems and reliable structures that are based on fundamental principles. Protecting our freedoms, our security and our prosperity rely on all systems and structures operating smoothly.
Thomas Freedman once said “Government moves at the speed of trust”. Our government hasn’t passed a significant piece of legislation favoring 'justice for all' for decades. According to a survey of US national security experts two years ago our own government’s dysfunction was the second greatest threat to our nation, just below terrorism. Few would dispute that our government’s dysfunction has continued to worsen since then.
The inevitable lethal consequences of our loss of trust in government will be calculated in lives lost from the threat from gun nuts or homegrown lone-wolf terrorists using IEDs or drone delivered chemical or biological WMD. It is impossible to protect both our Constitutional rights to bear arms and maintain our privacy (2nd & 4nd Amendments) while also protecting our individual/national security.
Our only reliable means of maximizing both our freedom and national security is by re engineering our government and all of its policies (foreign and domestic) to responsibly following “the laws of nature and Nature’s God” and codify the “Truths” that we hold to be “Self-evident”.
It was 69 years ago to the day - of the printing of this Washington Post book review, Dec. 10, 1948, - that the world attempted to follow the genius of a unique government design - that put human rights above states’ rights. It was after the horrors of World War II that all nations agreed to ratify the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to protect the security of future generations.
Humanity has yet to trust any system of world government and the creation of structures that would be needed to hold individuals and governments accountable for violations of human rights or crimes against the environment on which all life and prosperity depends. But the world has recently agreed on meeting a comprehensive set of goals called the Sustainable Development Goals. These represent the world’s best path to maximizing humanities freedoms, security and shared prosperity.
If ‘we the people’ and governments of the world took on this set of 17 goals to the same degree we invest in our military readiness, we would spark the transformation of change needed at every level to bring trust back into the hearts and minds of people worldwide.
Any government constitution that continues to codify injustices at home or abroad cannot be trusted to deliver freedom, security, or prosperity indefinitely. That should now be a ‘self-evident truth’ to any individual who trusts in the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God”.