Institutional Distrust

25 Jan

It is sometimes assumed that high levels of institutional distrust in America are peculiar to it. So much so that a variety of theories have been offered to ‘explain’ this peculiarity including, but not limited to, elite polarization, income inequality, polarized media, etc. Empirical support for the ‘American exceptionalism’ however is somewhat less clear – across some major Western democracies (outside of the perennially ‘sunny’ Danes; one may talk about Scandinavian Exceptionalism perhaps), percent who ‘tend not to trust’ [pay attention to the y-axis] national government, national parliament, and political parties is alarmingly high. These high levels raise concerns about the legitimacy of the system.