Several years ago at Christmas, one of my daughters gave me a T-shirt that has the picture of a 1911 on it and says, “I love my guns” and then in small print underneath, “and like three people.” We all laughed at the accuracy of that statement. Who knew they made a T-shirt just for me?
These days, I’m thinking it should say “I trust my guns and like three people.” Trust in my fellow man is declining. My trust in someone doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing no longer exists. Now I treat strangers with a degree of distrust, acquaintances with trust, but verify, and very few get my absolute trust.
Sadly, the number of institutions, professions, and people you can trust has rapidly declined.
For example, in the past couple of years, we learned you can’t trust the FDA, the FBI, or the ATF. (They all lied to us.) We can’t trust our election officials, big-city prosecutors, governors, public school administrators, or much of Congress. We can’t trust the president to answer questions without lying, to keep our border secure, and not to abuse his position of power by funneling money into the hands of his family members. Sad, isn’t it?
The Twitter Files have shown us we can’t trust social media or big tech, and we have learned that “fact checkers” are neither factual nor actually checking anything. We learned it’s not just the algorithm. Twitter employees may have banned users it disagreed with and shadow banned tweets, but TikTok took the opposite approach. TikTok employees can flip a switch and send someone or something viral, picking winners and promoting causes they believe in.
It’s not just the new media. We can’t trust the legacy media, either.
Unfortunately, we can no longer trust “the science” because it is brought to us by untrustworthy people via untrustworthy channels. Big pharma is not only untrustworthy, but possibly corrupt or in cahoots with corrupt government officials. Even peer-reviewed journals have lost my trust. In fact, there are few corporations, CEOs, or board members I would trust to put the good of their shareholders or the country ahead of their own elf interest. It’s all about power and money, both of which corrupt people and institutions. (Just look at our government if you need proof.)
Sadly, the untrustworthy only get caught when people die, whether it’s in airplane crashes or a sudden onslaught of young athletes dying from “coincidences.”
Deepfakes and Artificial Intelligence
You used to trust a photo or a photo copy. Today, we can modify either one in seconds, whether you are trying to create a Hawaiian birth certificate or make your waist look slimmer. Video was once the gold standard. Now deepfakes can not only put your head on someone else’s body, they can put you somewhere you’ve never been, doing something you’ve never done, with someone you’ve never met.
In Orwell’s 1984, Big Brother changed the meaning of words. They use that trick today, but they can also change your words. An AI can duplicate your voice after hearing just three seconds of it. Other AIs can pass the bar exam, write an essay, create art, and do your kid’s homework.
But can we trust the AI? Or will we find ourselves in the Matrix or fighting SkyNet? (Anyone know if a .45-70 or a 12-gauge slug would stop that robot dog?)
What can you Trust?
You can trust most people to do what is quick or easy, especially if it makes them a quick buck. Likewise, you can trust them to take advantage of a situation. This is how many scams and cons operate. You and I may know that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch, but many get suckered by its lure. How many? Well, how many time shares have been sold?
Like P. T. Barnum, you can trust there’s “a sucker born every minute.” The trick is to avoid joining them by putting your trust in someone or something that isn’t worthy. Test people. Make them prove themselves. Follow up and see if they do what they say. I need a repeatable record demonstrating trustworthiness before I give someone my trust.
When faced with hard work or a shortcut, you can trust that most will take the shortcut. For example, if your new prepper buddy throws rice in a bucket and snaps on the lid, pooh-poohing your plan to use Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers, you’ll know you can’t trust him to do his other preps. When the SHTF, he’s likely to show up with a gun he never sighted in, no sling, and only three magazines.
You used to be able to trust a man’s word and his handshake was his contract. Not too many people work like that anymore. In fact, not too many people work these days. For those that do, you can trust some will stop working and goof off when no one is looking.
Yeah, the world is changing, and it’s not for the better. Trust me on that.