In his 2008 book “The Last Centurion,” John Ringo has (a la Heinlein) a lot of sociopolitical and even “history and moral philosophy” discussions by the fictional narrator/writer, “Bandit Six.”
One of those is a discussion on trust in societies and the difference between societies with general trust and those who have only “familial trust” and those who have very little trust. He pointed out that while the Fifty States overall are a society with general trust, there are more and more communities which have brought the idea of familial trust only,
Today, as Ringo noted and predicted, there are also more and more communities – neighborhoods, enclaves – where there is NO trust in others. John attributes much of this to diversity and to the end of the American melting pot. People who immigrate from societies which have little or no trust except in family (if that) bring that mindset with them and do not adjust – assimilate – to the Fifty States’ once-general cultural norms. But in the last few months of the horrible year of 2020, it is clear that circumstances and governmental and political actions have further destroyed trust of other people.
Regardless of their race/ethnicity, origin, class, or first language, almost all immigrants to the Fifty States (as to Canada and even Mexico) have acclimated and assimilated to their new homeland’s society. At least, that was the case in the past – even as late as the 1970s. Even if the immigrants were not welcomed.
Today that is no longer the case. Immigrants in the last 30+ years not only have NOT all assimilated, they have been strongly discouraged fom doing so. Our diversity, we are told, is a strength and not a weakness. Schools and other institutions are effectively prohibited from encouraging and helping newcomers adjust. In the guise of civil rights, people are not taught English, not taught (or allowed to teach) basic customs of our society. And are constantly told that racism, bigotry, and other evils abound and are reasons NOT to trust others.
While John Ringo does make a good case for this recent failure of assimilation, and the reasons there is less and less trust within communities, I think that there are other factors.
Clearly, their old homeland and the society, the milieu in which they were born and raised is important on how well (and quickly) the new Americans adapted. This is especially true when it came to trusting others not in their own family or with their own background. (A couple of examples are worth looking at: Volga Germans and Russian Jews escaping from Czarist Russia in the last decades of the 19th Century, for one. Their societies in Russia were almost like pilgrims in a strange land, but the treatment there by other people and by the Czar’s government were much different. This is reflected in how these people were “melted” into their new homeland. Perhaps a subject for a different commentary – especially their views and practice of liberty.)
Another key one is experience – especially if they have migrated to someplace else first before coming to the Fifty States. If the immigrants were mistrusted and abused by government or other people in their temporary homeland, it obviously took longer for them to adjust to their new American homeland. Trust is not easily given when you are grateful just for a boot and stealing what you have, instead of being killed.
A third reason is the plague of Extreme Democrats and their ilk: the regressive “progressives” and rabid “liberals” in the last two decades: today’s counter-revolutionaries. These people have seized upon the immigrants as tools – indeed, weapons. Weapons to demonstrate the “evils” of American society and to disrupt and destroy that society. So many of the immigrants bring their habits and fears from the old country (or their temporary refuges) to the Fifty States.
The same thing is happening internal to these Fifty States: refugees from high taxes and insane government in California, or Beer Flu Panic in New York or Wisconsin, bring their attitudes and experiences with them to Texas, to Florida, or even to South Dakota. They are weapons against their new homes’ society and politics.
Furthermore, internal groups have been encouraged by these same activists and counter-revolutionaries to develop more and more distrust of those outside their group – and their group cohesion is itself damaged.
Examples? Most AmerInd tribes have very little trust in American society as a whole, because of their history if nothing else. But in the last few decades, even while more and more money (private and government) has poured into the reservations and to serve off-reservation populations, the claims and rhetoric have grown more strident, more disparraging. At the same time, the trust once enjoyed in the various tribes themselves has deteriorated: in families and communities. As suicide, homicide, rape, assault, domestic abuse, theft, and vandalism rates have climbed (at least as compared to the general population). In multiple tribes in many states, tribes with very different cultures.
Although I do not know the various Hispanic cultures well, I see indications that a similar situation exist in many of their families and communities. Both “original” populations (as in Texas Spanish culture and New Mexicano and Colorado communities) and in recent émigré populations.
The more trust erodes, the more violence increases, and the closer to outright warfare we come. Especially in the densely packed, tense massive urban areas.
And so the civil war grows.