Author and former CIA analyst, Martin Gurri, shares his insights into our global state of unrest. Gurri explains that modern institutions, ranging from government and media to academia, are being undermined by digitally networked individuals surfing the Fifth Wave information tsunami of the digital age.
Effervescent sectarian groups that he refers to as “the public” tirelessly chip away at the authority of elite gatekeepers of global institutions. The result, Gurri argues, is a stalemate between elite leaders of decaying institutions, who lack the courage and vision to carry “the people” into the future and nihilistic, borderless, sectarian groups that negate authority yet lack cogent alternatives to the status quo.
Revolt Of The Public: Author, Martin Gurri, Says That The Digital Age is Sounding The Death Knell For Elite Institutions
The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millenium
The Fifth Wave Blog
Mercatus Center of George Mason University
Definitions of Terms in the book:
The Five Waves:
- 1st & 2nd Wave - development of the alphabet and written language
- 3rd Wave - the mass production of the printing press
- 4th Wave - 20th Century Mass Media, credentialed positions, hierarchical institutions
- 5th Wave - the digital information tsunami (chaos)
The Public - It is not a fixed body of individuals. It is merely the persons who are interested in an affair and can affect it only by supporting or opposing the actors. It is many, not one. Most effectively, it negates people and institutions without providing a viable replacement.
The People - A Political abstraction. The public can never be the people because the people are an abstraction of political philosophy. (Revolt of the Public, p.98, Kindle edition).
A Legal Definition:
The aggregate of the individuals who comprise a state or a nation. In a more restricted sense, as generally used in Constitutional Law, the entire body of those citizens of a state or a nation who are invested with political power for political purposes (the qualified voters).
Authority - The incumbent hierarchical structures which are established and accredited. Government first and foremost, but also corporations, universities and the whole roster of institutions from the industrial age.
Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today's Students
Allan Bloom (1987)
The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy
Christopher Lasch (1996)
A Time To Build
Yuval Levin (2020)
Nassim Taleb (Skin in the Game)
Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo Press Conference - “You won. What do you want?”
Antonio Garcia Martinez
Student Loan Debt - A raison d'etre of the public’s revolt?
The Big Lebowski
Fight With Nihilist Scene (graphic language and violence)
José Ortega y Gasset
The Mob Rules by Black Sabbath
Dramatic Reading of the Declaration of Independence by Max McLean
(Demonstrates the difference between a revolt and a revolution)
Not discussed in this episode, but an interesting corollary to the show:
Bishop Barron’s Admonition to Catholic Twitter Mobs - “Cut It Out!”
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IPR Podcasts presents issues and analysis that matter to you from the world's thought leaders. The Institute for Policy Research [IPR] is an interdisciplinary policy research center of the Catholic University of America.