Martin Gurri on Post-Truth

He writes,

For liberals, “post-truth” is the only possible explanation for Donald Trump’s somersault to the presidency. At some point, liberals believe, fake news metastasized into false consciousness: hence Trump. For conservatives and libertarians, the phrase aptly describes an information environment dominated by the liberal news media and entertainment industry.

Read the whole essay. I interpret one of the main points to be that the bond of trust between elites and the public has been broken, so that there is no longer a shared truth concerning the interpretation of events. I interpret his conclusion as being that we need to discover a new elite, one which has credibility. Easier said than done, to say the least.

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10 Responses to Martin Gurri on Post-Truth

  1. collin says:

    What load of nonsense here about what liberals believe.

    1) In terms of elite, I wish people put business leaders in that category. Although not the government, Koch Brothers, Apple, GE, etc. have tremendous power over our economy and nation.
    2) Trump won by running a populist campaign against elite and immigrants while not losing to many right center and pro-business voters. Remember all the campaigning about trade deals, that is all the fault of the Clintons for outsourcing. It was a very good balancing act. Look at normal Nationalist candidates in Europe as they are not doing very well. (This is one of the reasons why Bernie might have won the general.)
    3) Trump is trying to be President like a Business Leader and has not been successful at striking the right balance yet.
    4) I still think the hardest part for Republicans and Healthcare is the voters that carried Trump in the Primary/election are going to hurt the most by the Senate plan. (AK, KY, WV)

    5) We don’t know the liberal blowback yet. My teenage kids can’t believe California was Reagan country. when I was their age.

    • collin says:

      4) I still think the hardest part for Republicans and Healthcare is the voters that carried Trump in the Primary/election are going to hurt the most by the Senate plan. (AK, KY, WV)

      Note, the hard conservative media IS NOT focusing on the Healthcare Bill battles. Fox News and Breibart are only focused on Fake News CNN these days.

      So the hard Trump voters don’t care that much if the Senate healthcare bill passes.

      • asdf says:

        Trump wracked up his biggest primary votes in the Northeast and amongst the Scotts-Irish.

        Middle class Irish and Italians in the northeast aren’t on Medicaid and don’t use the exchanges (they are too wealthy to get subsidies). If they really want that kind of stuff many of their states already have them at the state level.

        The Scotts-Irish that voted for him and the parents of the Medicaid dependent Oxycontin cases that realize how devastating welfare dependency has been to their region. Medicaid expansion in particular is synonymous with Oxycontin.

        • collin says:

          It is true the ultimate Donald Trump voter was a reasonably well off 65 year old man in a diminishing Rust Belt town. (There is the Stanton Island alternative) So that helped me understand how many of Trump’s supporters were not blaming economic elites or the Reagan Revolution for their town’s problems. And didn’t most of these town start declining in the 1980s or early 1990s? My Father-In-Law who loved Trump’s message despite the fact, he owned Toyota dealerships in the 1980s (Free Trade!) and has hired illegal day over his lifetime. And in grumpier moods, wouldn’t Arnold call these factory workers PSST? Now in terms of the Oxycontin epidemic, we have seen .005% increase with Medicaid expansion but the highest states are the trending Red (OH, ME, WV, KY) not the long term Red states (UT, TX) or Blue states. Also, the strangest part of the Oxycontin epidemic today is it is the modern drug epidemic that is impacting white citizens more than minority citizens.

          But I still don’t see how Trump’s message for the Rust Belt is going to work in action. He has made relatively insignificant trade barriers for sugar and soft lumber but nothing to bring back factories. (In fact sugar restrictions will hurt food factories!) He has greatly increased ICE deportations in CA and TX but for the most part this sending back a lot of taxi drivers, dishwashers and agricultural pickers which will do very little for jobs in OH or WV.

          (The ultimate HRC voter was an Africa-American 25 year old that has a degree in educating special need children.)

    • Andrew' says:

      If Apple stopped selling i-devices how how much power would they have? It seems like there is a,fundamental difference between entities where we measure their power in how much business they do and the entity where power is measured in how much value they destroy.

  2. A Leap at the Wheel says:

    “When elites fail the test of exemplarity – when, as is the case today, they repel rather than attract – they are un-selected. ”

    This is a very good line. Who was the last elite you can think of that was shamed out of public life. Bill Cosby? Joe Paterno? Both violated the norms of the elites more than the masses.

    Lois Lerner? H Clinton? The brain trust behind Operation Wide Receiver? Military officials that authorize bombing of weddings or teenage Americans? They didn’t get un-selected. And it pisses people off.

  3. Andrew' says:

    It is the undermining of the previous PSST. The establishment fake news doesn’t realize they are fake because they only ever has to internal incentives.

  4. Jeff R. says:

    In the right relation between elites and the public, the former act as exemplars to the latter. They embody and live out the master narratives. (George Washington returning to his farm after the Revolution is a striking example.)

    In a sickly society, conversely, elites fear the public and seek to flatter and deceive it – they display popular tastes and attitudes, then barricade themselves behind a wall of bodyguards and metal-detecting machines.

    Interesting paragraph. We are definitely stuck somewhere between the former and the latter.

  5. R Richard Schweitzer says:

    In the interest of egotism, here is a somewhat prolix comment (one of 4) which appears in the comments to Gurri’s essay:

    Rulers, Ruled & Rules:

    Backing up still further into Martin Gurri’s examination, it appears that he, like a great many, perhaps a majority of, thinkers, adopt and adapt the concepts of social orders enunciated by Gaetano Mosca, illuminated by Pareto, extended by Robert Michel and as is more recently being reasserted by Angelo Codevilla for our own society.

    “A complex society can’t dispense with elites. That is the hard reality of our condition, and it involves much more than a demand for scarce technical skills. In all human history, across continents and cultures, the way to get things done has been command and control within a formal hierarchy.”

    There is, perhaps, another perspective on the “position” of an “elite” within a social order (to be considered without regard to whether it applies to our own society) that would instead perceive of the establishment, or “carving out,” of a class of “elites” as a facility or instrumentality (with such powers as necessary) to preserve and moderate any changes in the rules evolved from the relational experiences of, and recognized and accepted by, the members of a society. As such, the facility functions of elites are preservation and moderation, but not promulgation and imposition of rules. In such a society rules are the province of the members, and are based on their relationships and the circumstances in which they occur.

    While not controlling as a concept, the Athenian “democracy,” offers an example in which the “Elite” were that class of individuals from whom the qualified members of the society elected qualified individuals for those specific functions, making them facilitators of the desired (and needed) facility.

    To the extent that the members of a society are determined to, or find it to their advantage to, avoid or prevent the imposition of rules by or for any particular segment(s) of their membership, in particular when such impositions intrude upon the rules evolved from relational experiences (and ideological traditions), conditions of aggregations of individual powers arise under the label of “Democracy.” Such “Democracy,” as a process, while it requires facilities and instrumentalities for the preservation, implementation and moderation of changes in rules, is generally not conducive to the “Ruler & Ruled” concept. In fact, that condition might likely be one of continuous tensions with that concept.

    Those considerations can take us down a different line of thinking from:

    “So here is the heart of the matter. The sociopolitical disorders that torment our moment in history, including the fragmentation of truth into “post-truth,” flow primarily from a failure of legitimacy, of
    **the bond of trust between –rulers and ruled–.** Everything begins with the **public’s** conviction that elites have lost their authorizing magic. Those at the top have forsaken their function yet cling, illicitly, to their privileged perches. Only in this context do we come to questions of equality or democracy.” [** & — supplied]

    We might instead, be observing the reactions of aggregations of individuals who are not, and resist being, “ruled,” and become unaccepting of the imposition of rules for objectives of determining the nature of relationships and the circumstances in which they occur; and therefore resistant (to the point of hostility) to those assuming the authority for such impositions. As Martin Gurri notes, this is not something that can be labeled “populism.”

    “. . . the public doesn’t really exist. The word signifies a divided and unstructured mass of opinion, a bottom-up surge of contradictory repudiations, a war of the war-bands: any claim to authority by any part will be demolished by the rest. Stable interpretations of reality seldom arise from a free-for-all.”

    So when he concludes:

    “As members of the public, we are not helpless. We retain the power to select and un-select, and we wield that power constantly –”

    It is not that we are “members” of something that does not exist. We are individuals who can aggregate our individual powers through the process labeled Democracy. It remains to be seen whether that aggregation will be cohesive; and whether it can produce a suitable facility or instrumentality of particular individuals qualified to preserve and moderate changes in, but not promulgate and impose, rules.

    [It should be understood that the use of the term “elites” in this examination is distinct from the intents of its use, inter alia, in works such as NBER Working Paper 12759 & “Violence and Social Orders” (North,Wallis &Weingast).]

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