Corona Virus: Who to Trust

A short message from NHFC’s Law and Public Policy Director, Diane Miller JD

Americans are doing their very best to make sense out of the information they are receiving about a circulating virus, in order to make health and survival decisions for their families.  But when they are told that they are required to stay in their homes or they will be fined or charged with a crime, Americans are needing to make sense out of a much broader topic, i.e. Freedom.  They are needing to make sense out of executive orders, laws, police power, and their personal rights to move about, work, and have an education. 

Survival decisions demand trust from the moment we are born.  Who do we trust for our wellbeing?  Cultures develop hierarchies of trust within families, local communities, larger communities, and the world.  If you ask 20 different people from 20 different backgrounds the question, “Who are the 10 people you would consult if your health or survival were in jeopardy?”, you most likely would get 20 different answers.  First responses might be family or local community members. 

But who are the people that you would trust who you do not know?  Trusting others who we do not know is much more challenging than trusting our family or friends.  In the complex world in which we live, we are often forced to include “strangers” that are part of a larger circle based on the outcomes of modern civilization and technology. The industrialization of the world and its resources puts us in a challenging position of needing to trust people who we do not know for our food and water, the quality of the air that we breathe, and our fuel and energy sources. 

How do we trust those we do not know?  Since time immemorial we have developed a “chain of trust that meets our needs.  Our chain starts with those we know.  But it expands into systems of people who we trust in our communities who we believe will bring us back information, products, and even people, that they learn about, verify, and share with us.   And it expands into systems of laws and infrastructures that we believe will promote our safety and wellbeing. 

Right now, the conventional media narrative is mostly telling Americans that they are in danger and that the police should force you to stay in your homes, don’t go to work or school outside of your home, and if you go out of your home, a recommendation to wear a mask.  It’s important to acknowledge that those messages depend on you having a chain of trust with the source of that information and that it is your right to be evaluating your chain in order to make decisions for your family including being alert for any signs of mistrust. 

Given the many sources of information now available to regular citizens and the role of governments and multinational corporations in our daily lives, I think it is important for Americans to take the time to examine their own personal “chain of trust”.   We are seeing and hearing that there are very real possibilities that government officials might be impacted by financial or election pressures and that scientists may have ties to financial interests or public policy agendas, or multinational corporations might have public policy agendas that do not match your own value system.

If America is to survive and not be absorbed into the financial and policy opinions of those who hold money and power, similar to monarchs of years ago, Americans will need to step up and think for themselves, before their personal liberties are defined by outside sources or obliterated.

Can we as Americans muster the courage to check out the chain of trust in our own lives and make our own conclusions?  Who do we trust?  Examine your chain of trust when you are being told by someone else that in order to maintain your health and survival and the health of your community,  you need to shut down your business, cancel your surgery or dental appointment, avoid walking on a beach, stay inside of your home,  avoid going to your holistic practitioner, and that your Facebook posts and alternative sources of information are being censored.  Examine those someones including community leaders, state and federal agency employees, media outlets, corporate entities, and government officials.

Examine your chain of trust and keep America alive and free.

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