High Trust Coffee

The university coffee shop sells beans, bagged snacks, and cups as well as the usual high-test brews and baked goods. When the shop closes, the displays of nibbles and cups stays out. No one messes with it, no one fingers the goods, unless it is to read the back of the bean-bag for description and then put it back. Because that’s just how it is. The student union is a high-trust environment. And no one wants to mess that up, so the students police themselves. Yes, there are cameras, and security on occasion, and it’s never smart to leave something valuable laying out to tempt the weak (or the gods of spilled liquids), but while I was there all day, no one bothered things that didn’t belong to them. Guests to the campus followed the same rules. People left things alone, did not move or unplug what did not belong to them. The omnipresent sponsors and chaperones played a role, I’m sure. I wouldn’t want to ride back to school on the same bus as a teacher who had just scolded me, then catch more scolding from my parents and the principal. However, I did not hear any fussing or cautions needed.

No, most people are not going to pilfer coffee beans, at least not most college students. The “good stuff” like chocolate-covered espresso beans were locked up. (Given the punch those things pack, it might have been for public safety, like keeping pharmaceuticals under lock-and-key.) But popcorn, jerky, fancy mugs and cups… Untouched all day.

I live in a high-trust society for the most part. People leave decorations on their porches, or in their yards, without fear of someone stealing them or using them as break-in tools. There are fences around the back yards but not the front, with the exception of a decorative picket fence that serves to keep roses under control. Mostly. Some of the roses still like to make escape attempts or grab the wallets of passers-by. Heck, someone even grows tomatoes beside the sidewalk!

My school is also high-trust. That the doors lock after the first bell and we limit in and out makes it easier, but students just do not mess with other people’s books, clothes, lunches, and what have you. I can have decorative junk on my desk and trust that it will not be molested or broken. No, the kids are not saints and one of the math teachers read his kids the riot act and put all of them in detention for “sword-fighting” with the rulers and breaking some of them. The teacher bought those out of his own pocket. He was not pleased. Neither was the headmaster, and the class got to wear their dress uniforms all week, and clean the building two days in a row. The behavior has not been repeated.

I enjoy living and working in a high-trust society. Alas, that has been eroded a little by people coming in from low or no-trust societies and abusing the rest of us, but most of that behavior gets stopped. Texas having Castle Doctrine might have something to do with it, depending on how the citizenship and language teachers phrase things. Or it might not.

Men are not angels, as Federalist 51 points out. But enough people at the university like being able to leave a backpack or jacket, get a drink, and come back to their bag or jacket that no one touches what is not theirs. Here’s hoping it stays that way.



8 thoughts on “High Trust Coffee

  1. To be frank, you live in a Western Civilization area. With a few rare exceptions, this sort of “high trust” behavior does not happen anyplace else in the world. And as the barbarians continue to invade, the area under Western values and control dwindles.

    Use Google Earth. Any place where the average home is a walled (or fenced) compound, is a low-trust society. And that’s pretty much the rest of the entire world.

  2. One thing I’ve noticed over time is a boundary at about 10% of organization members or a community. Below that bound, it’s fairly easy to maintain high trust conditions if the population is high trust to begin with. There aren’t enough troublemakers to cause major disaster.
    Above the bound, it’s harder and causes more friction. At around 20%, the group is in trouble and decays fast. Keeping people to those bounds, and persuading them to follow Western norms, takes a fair amount of attention, tending, and occasional weeding.

    You mentioned roses – good example, especially a robust one (but please, not rugosa). They can be tended, trimmed, and pruned to stay where and how desired. Ignore one for a season, and suddenly the fence and sidewalk are covered with canes. It’s hard work to prune back and clear. Ignore one for a year, and it will take months to cut down, uproot, and eradicate a briar patch (looks at thorn scars under fur).

    We were fortunate to live with a tended, orderly garden. Now we must deal with invasive pests and internal rot and rust, for the next generation.

    • A little “paranoia” goes a long away. Sure, too much can go overboard, but still given my experiences in supposedly NICE places… “Trust, but VERIFY.” makes a LOT of sense.

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