Who can you trust?

By Richard Nelson

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May 11, 2013

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Charles Spurgeon once noted, "A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."  It’s a fitting analogy for the world we live in, a world where we must be eternally vigilant in our quest for truth and trust worthiness.

During the past few days, Benghazi Hearings in Congress have revealed deliberate falsehoods from the highest levels of government.  A man in Cleveland deceived a neighborhood for a decade, imprisoning and abusing three women, and, living among us, the Boston Bombers may have committed previous murders. Who can we trust?

A question almost as puzzling, is why do we trust who we do?  This week Reader's Digest named the top 100 trusted people in America.  One thousand nine representative Americans ranked a list of 200 names on a five point scale of trustworthiness.  On the list were religious leaders including Billy Graham, politicians, celebrities, journalists, and academics.  Explain this one to me.  Why is Tom Hanks “The most trusted person in America” followed by Sandra Bullock?

On Tuesday the people of South Carolina gave Mark Sanford a vote of confidence, returning him to a position of public trust in the United States Congress.  That’s despite a well-documented web of lies surrounding an adulterous affair, and mishandling of public funds as Governor.

Moreover, the President last Sunday encouraged the graduating class at Ohio State University to trust Government and "reject" voices suspicious of "tyranny."  So much for eternal vigilance.

Who can we trust, and why do we trust who we do? In this fallen world, there is no mere man in whom we can or should place our full unconditional trust.  For that reason Ronald Reagan was known for the phrase “trust but verify.”  For that reason, our motto is “In God We Trust,” not “in man we trust,” or “in government we trust.”  And, in this world where “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,” that’s a good thing.  Trust me. 
 

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center