1/27/2020

Revolt, Populism, and Reaction

"For the first time in human experience, the decisive struggle was over information rather than power—and for good reason. Government institutions, established on the top-down principles of the industrial age, required control over the flow of information for their legitimacy. But a tsunami of digital content has swept away that control and that legitimacy, and the institutions that depended on these conditions have lapsed into crisis. This holds true for all government institutions, from the White House to the local police.

The elites in charge once spoke from on high with the voice of authority, certain that the masses would never talk back. But today the public, riding that tsunami of content, is aware of every government failure, error, and falsehood, and it aims an endless roar of frustration and condemnation at the mighty of the earth. The disaffected find one another on encrypted applications like WhatsApp and Telegram, then materialize in vast numbers to disrupt a shopping district or an airport. This digital dispensation has brought rulers and ruled into unbearable proximity. The elites have responded by fleeing ever higher into the top of the pyramid. The public, in turn, has been driven by a loathing of the existing system that borders on nihilism. Meanwhile, the structures of power, adapted to a simpler, slower era, have begun to crack apart at the seams."