Martin Gurri on our future

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.

On authority:

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.

And:

It is perfectly possible for the elites to lapse into paralysis while the public staggers into nihilism.  Indeed, this could be our future.

Delicious.