Distrust: Who Should We Trust?
For better or worse, we tend to divide the world into those we believe we can trust and those we can’t. Exactly where that line is drawn creates either bridges or barriers to working with others toward mutually beneficial goals. At times, our suspicions may be warranted. But these doubts can also be manipulated or based on misinformation or biases that lead us to overlook our common interests or shared fate.
The various distrust mind games that the 1% use primarily involve two overarching strategies. First, they seek to create distance between those who are most disadvantaged by their policies and the broader public whose support is needed to produce real change. The goal is to fray any positive connection—whether it’s sympathy, compassion, outrage, or a sense of solidarity. This tactic is evident, for example, in attempts to raise doubts about the character of those who are poor or unemployed. Second, today’s plutocrats try to disrupt the formation of coalitions among those who, because they suffer from similarly adverse circumstances, might logically work together in the pursuit of change. For instance, defenders of extreme inequality sow distrust as a wedge between racial, ethnic, or religious groups. In combination, these two strategies keep the moat around the 1%’s castle both wide and deep.
In POLITICAL MIND GAMES: How the 1% Manipulate Our Understanding of What’s Happening, What’s Right, and What’s Possible, I take a close look at four of the 1%’s favorite distrust mind games: They’re Devious and Dishonest, They’re Different from Us, They’re Misguided and Misinformed, and Trust Us.