Martin Gurri about himself:
Martin Gurri worked for eons as a foreign media analyst for the U.S. government, where he earned many splendid bureaucratic titles but somehow learned a couple of things along the way.
He also worked for a CIA-funded think tank. His book is available on Amazon. An enjoyable and stimulating read. Recommended.
Now, authority, which is a bit more like beauty: we know it when we see it. Authority pertains to the source. We believe a report, obey a command, or accept a judgment, because of the standing of the originator. At the individual level, this standing is achieved by professionalization. The person in authority is a trained professional. He’s an expert with access to hidden knowledge. He perches near the top of some specialized hierarchy, managing a bureaucracy, say, or conducting research. And, almost invariably, he got there by a torturous process of accreditation, usually entailing many years of higher education. Persons in authority have had to jump through hoops of fire to achieve their lofty posts – and feel disinclined to pay attention to anyone who has not done the same.
On the dictator’s dilemma:
“the dictator’s dilemma” – a frequent affliction of authority in the new environment. The dilemma works this way. For security reasons, dictators must control and restrict communications to a minimum. To make their rule legitimate, however, they need prosperity, which can only be attained by the open exchange of information. Choose.
On the authority of men in charge, Egyptian edition:
The political system in Egypt rested on pure gangsterism, lacking any ideological justification other than the authority of the men in charge: they alone, it was claimed, possessed the expertise to maintain security, grow the economy, and manage the complexities of a modern government.
It is perfectly possible for the elites to lapse into paralysis while the public staggers into nihilism. Indeed, this could be our future.