How Mafia Children Learn to Distrust Everyone

A retired Mafia boss recounted that when he was a young boy, his Mafioso father made him climb a wall and then invited him to jump, promising to catch him. He at first refused, but his father insisted until finally he jumped — and promptly landed flat on his face. The wisdom his father sought to convey was summed up by these words: "You must learn to distrust even your parents."

-Francis Fukuyama on social capital (and lack thereof) in Southern Italy.

I have embraced "trust no one" with gusto on my Europe trip. No matter how friendly someone appears to be, I know that what they’re really after is my passport, and the moment I see their hand move toward my pant pocket is the moment I either run or I end their existence (probably the former).

3 Responses to How Mafia Children Learn to Distrust Everyone

  1. K says:

    Wow, what a great way to insult several hundred million people.

  2. Ben Casnocha says:


    It was a joke!

  3. Nick B. says:

    In a New York Times article from earlier this month, an American soldier in Ramadi says the policy that they have adopted is: “Be Polite, Be Curious, and have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”


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