Trust in a Polarized Age

Trust in a Polarized Age

by Kevin Vallier


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Americans today don't trust each other and their institutions as much as they once did. The collapse of social and political trust has arguably fueled our increasingly ferocious ideological conflicts and hardened partisanship. But is today's decline in trust inevitable or avoidable? Are we caught in a downward spiral that must end in institutional decay or even civil war, or can we restore trust through our shared social institutions?

In Trust in a Polarized Age, political philosopher Kevin Vallier offers a powerful counter-narrative to the prevailing sense of hopelessness that dogs the American political landscape. In an unapologetic defense of liberalism that synthesizes political philosophy and empirical trust research,
Vallier restores faith in our power to reduce polarization and rebuild social and political trust. The solution is to strengthen liberal democratic political and economic institutions--high-quality governance, procedural fairness, markets, social welfare programs, freedom of association, and democracy. These institutions not only create trust, they do so justly, by recognizing and respecting our basic human rights.

Liberal institutions have safeguarded trust through the most tumultuous periods of our history. If we heed the arguments and data in this book, trust could return.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780190887223
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 10/21/2020
Pages: 324
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Kevin Vallier is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University, where he directs the program in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law. He is the author of three monographs, four edited volumes, and over forty peer-reviewed book chapters and journal articles. His books include Liberal Politics and Public Faith: Beyond Separation (Routledge, 2014) and Must Politics Be War? Restoring Our Trust in the Open Society (Oxford University Press, 2019).

Table of Contents

Introduction: Trust and Polarization
Chapter 1: Must Politics Be War Here and Now?
Chapter 2: Social and Political Trust: Concepts, Causes, and Consequences
Chapter 3: Civil Society and Freedom of Association
Chapter 4: The Market Economy
Chapter 5: The Welfare State
Chapter 6: Against Egalitarianism
Chapter 7: Democratic Constitutionalism
Chapter 8: Elections and Process Democracy
Epilogue: How is Trust Restored?

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