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The Elite are Desperately Clinging to Legitimacy, and Failing

This blog post does a good job of describing the realization we are having collectively as a society about the truth of our “leaders.”

I’ve not watched “mainstream” news for many years now. That includes Fox News, the “alt-right” punching bag derisively spat out by the left. So, where do I get my news from? I get it from many sources, and it’s honestly a lot of work to keep up with filtering out and discerning and coming to an understanding of what is true and based in reality. It’s not easy, and even if I’m 95% sure of the news, the 5% still makes the edges blurry. And I think that in the 24/7 psyop world of information warfare and media propaganda, that’s by design. The deep state cabal doesn’t want citizens to be aware of the real truth. Rather, they want each group to have their own version of “truth,” which oddly pits them against each other.

I don’t deny that I’m in one group–the conservative one. But, my battle isn’t against any other group per se. It’s actually a battle (war, more like) against false information believed by people opposed to my values. If only people could stop and think critically about what they hear, they can finally see how their emotions have been manipulated to hate the “other.”

The great predicament of our moment in history is the collapse of the public’s trust in democratic institutions. That collapse is long-running, well-established, and catastrophic. Every corner of our fractured political landscape feels compelled to express, vociferously, its anger and repudiation. The default rhetorical posture of the web has become the rant.

At the extremes, there has been real violence. Black Lives Matter militants rampaged in our urban centers because they claimed to feel oppressed by the systemic racism of American society. QAnon protesters violated the Capitol building in Washington because they believed the electoral process was a fraud. Lives were lost in these incidents. …

In his essay “Classical Liberals in a Polarized Age,” Kevin Vallier suggests that the crisis of trust hasn’t received the attention it deserves. That is certainly true, but not for lack of scholars who have tried to make sense of it. Yuval Levin, for one, has found the hemorrhage of trust to be largely deserved. The institutions, Levin writes, were once “formative” – they molded the character and discipline of those who inhabited them – but are now “performative” – mere platforms for elite self-expression and the promotion of personal brands. The military, which still manages to imbue its members with a code of conduct as well as functional skills, has retained the highest levels of trust among the public.

I accept Levin’s description of the decadence of the institutions, and I have tried to explain it in terms of their maladaptation to a radically transformed information environment.

The great institutions of the twenty-first century – government, political parties, media – received their shape in the twentieth. That was the heyday of the top-down, I-talk-you-listen model of organizing humanity – and this model could be accepted as legitimate only so long as it enjoyed a semi-monopoly over information in every domain. The elites at the top of the pyramid talked, certain that nobody would talk back. They promised utopia and asked to be judged on their intentions, not their performance.

The digital tsunami has simply swept away the legitimacy of this model. The storm of information has reduced the institutions to theatrical stages, and the political class is utterly demoralized as the public, in their hundreds of millions, not only talks but screams back its opposition on every question. The public’s disenchantment with the institutions may be compared to modern science’s disenchantment of the world of fairies and goblins. The collapse in trust, at the deepest level, is the falling away of an old faith.

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