This paper makes an argument for the democratic value of distrust. It begins by analyzing distrust, since distrust is not merely the negation of trust. The account that it develops is based on Martin Luther King Jr.’s work in Why We Can’t Wait . Distrust is the confident belief that another individual, a group of individuals, or an institution will not act justly or as justice requires. This paper argues that distrust’s democratic value lies in its ability to temper tyranny. The main example discussed is King’s involvement in the Birmingham Campaign during the Black Civil Rights movement in America.

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