In this week’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution column Congressman Bob Barr, the 2008 Libertarian presidential candidate and former Georgia representative, notes Americans’ tremendous lack of faith in government and the effect it may be having on future generations.
…One of the more revealing annual surveys of this phenomenon is conducted each year by the non-partisan Ponemon Institute. The institute’s annual “Privacy Trust Study of the United States Government” probes the views of citizens across the country to gauge their level of trust regarding various federal government agencies.
For the past four years, the U.S. Postal Service has received the highest score. Although that may surprise some people, what should universally shock Americans is the fact that the U.S. Department of Justice is among the least trusted of federal agencies. That’s right —- the one government office tasked above all others with maintaining the standards of justice, fairness and privacy, is among the least trusted. Nearly four times more Americans found the Postal Service worthy of their trust than they did Justice.
Confidence in the Justice Department’s ability to operate according to high standards of fairness is essential to upholding the rule of law in America. Lack of trust in government erodes the ability of the Justice Department to successfully prosecute important cases, including those involving corruption in government. If the citizenry lacks trust in law enforcement, especially at the federal level, they will be more hesitant to bring information to the government’s attention. If the average citizen perceives top government officials as thumbing their noses at the law, those citizens may feel emboldened to themselves violate the laws…