The relevant question is not Who are we going to trust but What are we going to trust?
Arnold Kling wrote a freewheeling essay last year Should You Trust the Government? in which he points out
In the case of government, there is good trust and there is bad trust. Good trust is trust in processes that promote public service. Bad trust is trust in the virtue of leaders or the wisdom of voters.
Trusting the virtues of government leaders is a bad thing. It leads one to cede rights and powers to government that are easily abused. The more that our ideology demands virtue from leaders, the more likely it is that our leaders will prove to be evil.
If you can trust the processes of government, then that is a good thing. Good trust in government is based on processes that provide for accountability, checks and balances, equal protection, and punishment of official corruption. [emphasis mine]
Is India circa 2008 better off vis-à-vis 1950 with regard to the processes that Arnold lists above? My answer would be yes. After all, the percentage of the population that’s literate and educated is much higher. The media’s reach is far greater, especially thanks to the advent of TV. And a lot of the other factors that ensure checks and balances are probably stronger today. While there’s a (very) long, uphill road to climb, I’d aver that we’re better off today. However, many people that I know, if asked to choose between the governments of 1950 and 2008 would opt for the 1950 version.
Q) Do you think the processes that make for effective governance have improved over the last six decades? Were things really better back in 1950 or are we romanticizing the past?