Roth in HuffPost, on Trusting Institutions

President Michael Roth has apparently joined Arianna Huffington’s complex social network, as a blogger on Huffington Post. How did this come about? Do they have a Blackberry connection from some West Coast dinner party?

He writes about our shaken trust in the financial and political institutions of America:

It’s a cliché that trust is a lot easier to destroy than it is to build. When children tell us that this time they are telling the truth, and that they lie only some of the time, they are about to learn that even one lie destroys the credibility of all your other statements — even when these other claims are true. One lie creates general uncertainty. We are seeing this everyday on Wall Street and in the banking sector. Governments are desperately trying to restore trust, but as long as there is lingering (and, I might add, reasonable) uncertainty about who is holding the bad debts they once tried to profit from, it will be impossible to have the basic trust that makes our credit systems work.

The cure for the erosion of trust is not medicinal; it’s social. Participation builds trust. On the university campus where I work, the only ways I’ve seen trust successfully restored is to involve people once again in whatever activity they’d become uncertain about. From athletics to music, from lab science to poetry workshops, participation reduces uncertainty and builds faith through practice. When you begin again to seek or offer credit in secure ways, when investments can be protected, then you feel prepared to take a few new risks. When you get involved with your fellow-citizens in a political campaign or make your voice heard with your neighbors, you begin to see that democracy isn’t only about attack. Democracy is about participating with people who you grow to trust by working together.

Teachers know this. We have to earn the trust of our students everyday so that they can risk making mistakes, so that they can take the chance to open themselves to learning. That’s why we encourage the participation of our students.

Our current, acute crisis of confidence will pass. Then we must rebuild trust by participating in our economy and polity rather than just try to tear down others who are doing so.

A lot of people read the Huffington Post!

Huffington Post
: “Trust” in the Economy and Electoral Politics

20 thoughts on “Roth in HuffPost, on Trusting Institutions

  1. Anonymous

    President Roth may be jeapordizing Wesleyan’s status as a tax-exempt non-profit organization when he uses his position to advocate a political position.

  2. Anonymous

    President Roth may be jeapordizing Wesleyan’s status as a tax-exempt non-profit organization when he uses his position to advocate a political position.

  3. Anonymous

    I diagree with Anon 9:54. Whereas every single individual has a certain bias, President Roth does not only represent himself, but is a major representative of the university itself. By voicing his opinions on a “blatantly partisan” forum, he may have alienated some.

  4. Anonymous

    I diagree with Anon 9:54. Whereas every single individual has a certain bias, President Roth does not only represent himself, but is a major representative of the university itself. By voicing his opinions on a “blatantly partisan” forum, he may have alienated some.

  5. Anonymous

    but 2:21 has a point. why can’t he talk more to the campus newspaper. clearly, vassar’s journalists have a much more open relationship with their administration. why can’t the argus get its act together?

  6. Anonymous

    but 2:21 has a point. why can’t he talk more to the campus newspaper. clearly, vassar’s journalists have a much more open relationship with their administration. why can’t the argus get its act together?

  7. Justin L.

    Anonymous @ 2:21, the WSA hosted—and had previously publicized—an open discussion period with President Roth at least week’s WSA meeting.If you want answers to your questions, there are ample opportunities to ask them yourself, rather than relying on others to do so for you.

  8. Justin L.

    Anonymous @ 2:21, the WSA hosted—and had previously publicized—an open discussion period with President Roth at least week’s WSA meeting.

    If you want answers to your questions, there are ample opportunities to ask them yourself, rather than relying on others to do so for you.

  9. Anonymous

    how will “endowments get doubled” if a president is not careful to make statements that offend one alumni group or another?

  10. Anonymous

    how will “endowments get doubled” if a president is not careful to make statements that offend one alumni group or another?

  11. Max

    I disagree, Anon 9:45. Whether we share it publicly or not, we all have a political or social bias that affects our decisions. President Roth chose to voice his. How is his posting influencing our school? Really, it isn’t.But maybe that’s just my bias.Right on, Roth!

  12. Max

    I disagree, Anon 9:45. Whether we share it publicly or not, we all have a political or social bias that affects our decisions. President Roth chose to voice his. How is his posting influencing our school? Really, it isn’t.

    But maybe that’s just my bias.

    Right on, Roth!

  13. Anonymous

    This makes me glad that I’m graduating this year. A university President should make a little more effort to not appear like a blatantly partisan ideologue. For those of you on the left, how would you feel if our president suddenly was a blogger for National Review? I’m not at all pleased with this development.

  14. Anonymous

    This makes me glad that I’m graduating this year. A university President should make a little more effort to not appear like a blatantly partisan ideologue. For those of you on the left, how would you feel if our president suddenly was a blogger for National Review? I’m not at all pleased with this development.

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