The author is a fine, crisp writer and the narrator is effective. A deep analysis of the changes in the credibility of authority brought on by communication tech. Not a fast read and best digested in bits but still highly recommended. The Audible edition was expertly narrated and my chosen consumption method.
Although its scope includes in-depth analysis of slightly earlier democratic negations as well as other world political events before those, the Revolt of The Public was written before the election and may as well have predicted its outcome. In Gurri's revised post conclusion when pondering the usefulness of debating whether democracy can be returned to its pre status quo, Gurri fatefully asks of the modern public, "How are legitimate elites selected in a Democratic society?
The right level of analysis on Trump isn't Trump at all, but the public that endowed him with a radical direction and temper and the decadent institutions that proved too weak to stand in his way. The U. The public craves meaning and identity. From its perspective, late modern society, including government, exist to frustrate this desire. Caught in the collision between extraordinary personal expectations and feeble but intrusive political institutions, the nation-state, here and elsewhere is splintering into socio-political shards that grow less intelligible to one another by the moment.
By: Martin Gurri. Narrated by: Tony Messano. Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins.
The Revolt of The Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium | monote
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How Globalization Saved the World and Damned the West
Richard L. Charley H. Karl K. Sally A L. The problem with that of course is at some point you need a positive programme. These transitions are some kind of alternative to the status quo. The public does not seem to be interested in that.
Basically people are taking up this opportunity. The word problem is a big word in the industrial market because then you can build almost a mathematical solution to it. Every political situation, every political condition that people feel unhappy about is a problem that has a solution. Martin Gurri: If you are running, for example, for president, you have the solution. Let me give you my solution. It turns out we know a lot less than the old model, the industrial model pretended to know.
I think those are all sincere.
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These were sincere people, they were just wrong. On the other hand, who is it in a democratic country that you can say is responsible for these politicians. Nobody would vote for that person. Martin Gurri: Well the public today is very different, and I like, you sent me a list of counterfactuals to The Revolt of the Public. I loved them. I love counterfactuals. One of them was well what about ? You had it in China. You had it in the U. Martin Gurri: All we have is the instance that actually did happen. In fact, the more revolutionary that you were, the more disciplined and hierarchical that your organization was and you had an ideology, a very hard ideology and you had programs that you wanted to impose, and of course you wanted to impose, so therefore you wanted to run the government.
Martin Gurri: There were all these accepted ambitions of the turbulence of that is very different from today. Today the public has no program. It has no ideology or many ideologies. You look at a movement like the Yellow Vests today or like the Indignados in Spain, and literally they would say everybody could talk for themselves, but somehow having a general ideology was considered to be taboo. They do not want to seize the government. They have no interest in that. Another aspect of that too though is what Clay Shirky, whose book I think is a truly anticipatory document because he wrote it before all these things happened.
I had the privilege of having them happen in CIA. He was just looking into the future and predicting and projecting, and got it right. Martin Gurri: What you had before was before you could put a crowd on the streets, you needed an organization, you needed a plan, you needed printing presses to have little handouts, a mimeograph machine.
That was what I … , anti-war. You needed a lot of footwork. Martin Gurri: Every sort pretty much. If there is a typical, and I hate to use that because there many, many counterfactuals there, it tends to be relatively young people, by which I mean mids and under, tends to be very educated people, college educated mostly.
Tends to be relatively affluent people. Maybe Black Lives Matter would be the exception. Almost none of these groups, and Black Lives Matter, when you look at the people who began it, they were these educated, they were not marginalized human beings.
Book Club Potluck - The Revolt of The Public
When you look at the Yellow Vests in France, there is a deep strain of that. I mean you see this nice looking, gray haired, sort of grandmotherly lady on YouTube basically yelling at Macron for his policies, and you realize that the power of this digital instrument through which we are communicating right now is amazing. Robert Wiblin: I think something that you dwell on a bit in the book is that it is somewhat surprising that often that people who are leading these strident protest movements, are themselves people who are doing quite well.
Is that a difference from the past or is it just the case that typically protest movements have always been led by people who have the resources and the time to dedicate to political organization? Lenin was essentially a bureaucratic aristocrat, his family was. But I think the differences are that all of this has tended to be done in the past on behalf of the disadvantaged, so yes, and with participation from those groups.
Yes, when you look at the Civil Rights Movement, it was obviously not the downtrodden sharecroppers that were doing the sit-ins and stuff like that, but the leading edge of it were the black churches. They were the people who were most intimately concerned with attaining justice in that moment. Martin Gurri: Whereas now, there is very little of that. That adds to the sense that these people pretend to have authority and knowledge, but have none.
In the end we were going to solve all the problems and all human relationships were going to be somehow smoothed out if we did all the right things, and we were going to achieve utopia. All there is is anger at what people in power are doing and the wish to kind of change that or erase that in some way, sometimes just to batter it, just to smash at it.
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Martin Gurri: Well I guess you have to ask yourself what is it. You look at the economy right now and the economy since , I think was a wake-up moment for a lot of people, and I think it was less, and this is speculation, it was less people being thrown out of work. I think that has percolated down. If you want to look at how you go about changing the situation, turning it around to a more positive direction, you have to ask yourself well how do you reconcile the public with the system? Just like the public never sees incompetence, always sees vile corruption at the top, this is people who are bad people.
The elites never see people with genuine grievances, they see bad people who are almost deranged in their passions, I would say. Martin Gurri: How do you reconcile them?
Well again, we go back to I think part of what the public does not like about the current situation is the distance between themselves and their rulers. By that I mean the social distance. We elect these individuals who were, most of them, normal human beings when they got elected. It is the case that they go away to Washington, start acting strangely, speaking a language that nobody speaks like. Start hiding behind bodyguards and metal detecting machines. Have you ever been to Washington? Robert Wiblin: I have, yeah. It feels like the Imperial Capital, no question.
Right now, they stop you a block away from the State Department. Why are you here? Martin Gurri: Then that distance just basically drowns out their voices. This has happened again and again. When you have that distance …. Martin Gurri: Yeah.
You want to cure that, it becomes a question of what is a legitimate elite? How do you arrive a legitimate elite? People who are not distant. Robert Wiblin: I want to show some degree of self-awareness here by asking where do I fall in this picture and where do perhaps listeners fall? But I also wonder … when I thought about this some more, I was like is it actually the case that me and the listeners to this show are kind of part of the establishment, because so many of these people who are part of these movements that are against the existing establishment are kind of young people or very educated people or people who are potentially doing quite well and want to change the world and create a much better world.