The Not Unreasonable Podcast

Social Media Changes Politics with Martin Gurri

March 08, 2019 David Wright Season 1 Episode 33
The Not Unreasonable Podcast
Social Media Changes Politics with Martin Gurri
Show Notes Transcript

Martin Gurri is a former CIA analyst whose book, the Revolt of the Republic, has put together the best explanation I’ve heard yet for how and why social media has changed politics everywhere in the world. His theory links together the color revolutions, Brexit and *both* the Trump and Obama presidencies. 

To me most political discourse is unproductive shouting, which I loathe and Martin can explain both why the discourse looks that way and why I loathe it! 

The core insight came from Martin’s career analyzing media reports around the world and he noticed the decline of the primacy of 'papers of record'. This coincided with big changes in political discourse everywhere.

In this interview we compare various social media platforms, discuss what the public really wants and how we might get out of this mess. Martin has the unique distinction of recognizing the commonalities between Obama and Trump and his theory ties together movements on the left and the right. 

Martin stands out as a dispassionate and insightful observer of current events and I've learned an awful lot studying his work.

youtube link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv37RMaQndU

show notes:
https://notunreasonable.com/?p=7416

David Wright:

My guest today is Martin Guri, president of fifth wave analytics and former analyst at the US government's open source center, part of the CIA. Martin is the author of the book, the revolt of the Republic and the crisis of authority in the new millennium, which is the subject of today's conversation. Martin, welcome to the show.

Martin Gurri:

Thank you, David. Happy to be here in scenic, lower Manhattan.

David Wright:

You before this book, you co authored an essay called our visual persuasion gap, discussing the power of visual information. In light of that essay, I'm wondering what you think about Twitter. So you wrote that essay before really Twitter got big, yes. And Twitter being mostly a written medium there images there, but actually, it's much more about conveying thoughts with words. So just Twitter in some way in your mind rehabilitate the written word as a as an effective medium for communication?

Martin Gurri:

I don't think so. My My take is that it's pretty clear that what we call digital media really means the triumph of the image over the printed word regard. And when you look at social media, it's doubly so the two big thumping giants of social media or YouTube video, and Facebook, which is the greatest repository of still and moving images in the history of the human race, I think a big dip down below and you have Instagram, and you have LinkedIn, which is specialized. And you get a big dip down below that, and you reach Twitter. And that's both in actual numbers of users and time spent on site. Now I think what happens with Twitter and seen your question I was thinking about it is every politician and his attack dogs, or her that dogs aren't Twitter, every journalist over represented every journalist is on Twitter. So there is a kind of sense that Twitter sets the agenda. Yeah. Because it politicians say something on it. And then everybody that praises or condemns yells and rants, and then the journalists write about it, and to put it there. But that's very disproportionate to its actual, I think, influence within social life, American social life, or global social life. All the other social media networks are are far more popular.

David Wright:

Yeah, they are. And yeah, I agree that the reason that I asked the question was it feels to me like Twitter is more call it globally impactful. And, and one of the ways I would characterize the distinction between let's say, the Facebook and and, and LinkedIn and and then Twitter is that the product, the former ones are much more private and small in the sense of how people use them. So it must be much more I suppose intimate. So it's like an aggregation of a lot of little things to preview a part of our conversation. Yeah. And and Twitter is much more about larger scale movement. Let's say would you agree with that characterization?

Martin Gurri:

Nope.

David Wright:

Okay

Martin Gurri:

I think, I don't know there's a pretty amazing video from Brazil. Following the election of Bolsonaro, they're a populist, a man who makes Donald Trump sound like like an etiquette book, okay, like, I'm sure the things that he says. And these look to be in the video of fairly humble people, they're all Bolsonaro fans. And in heavily accented with Portuguese sounds, they're saying WhatsApp, Whatsapp, Facebook, Facebook, they feel like those two platforms help them win the election. They didn't mention Twitter.

David Wright:

Right. So Twitter. So what's with Twitter here, then? Is it just different here in United States? Or is

Martin Gurri:

this primarily what are the differences between Facebook, YouTube, that WhatsApp for historic reasons? It has a big presence in Brazil, I don't really know, honestly, how widespread it is in the world. But a big difference between YouTube and Facebook on one side, and, and Twitter and the other is YouTube and Facebook are global. They are global, and have been practically for the beginning. Twitter is an American thing.

David Wright:

Yeah. And in there, I would say, I mean, I don't know Do you think that's the case that they're much more color image friendly or image based or image focused on Twitter?

Martin Gurri:

Well, I just give you that example of that. Well, I actually think the image the images are all YouTube and Facebook. And that, that that video is short little video on Facebook of these bolson arrow fans, shouting, Facebook, Facebook, Whatsapp, WhatsApp, the humor to American is they don't come close to pronouncing the words correctly. Yeah, sure. But it but it's but it's very sincere and a very powerful statement. I would I would challenge any number of words that you can put down that are as persuasive. So as just looking at that little set of images for a few seconds,

David Wright:

it one of the things so I'm in the media business I suppose here on the podcast right one of the things that I I definitely definitely appeals to me the idea of, of the richer the media, right so that being audio is better the written word. I prefer the podcast to the written to the written essay, it's I consume, I don't like it. There's a more information. You can hear the voice and you can imagine what there's how they're saying, and that matters, right? Yes. And then video yet yet more powerful again. Yes, challenge that I found, though, is that video is way harder to produce. It's harder, I think that maybe and again, so we think about this. So here's my my thesis for why then the barrier to video is, is that in order to get that right video image, there's so much information, there's a lot more scope for going wrong and having just a little bit be off, right. There's thinking of like, if we were to record this as a video conversation, we did a lot of lighting to make it not look kind of ridiculous. And the technology seems to me to be not quite there to make video as easy to produce as let's say an audio medium, and then that much harder again, still than just reading a tweet.

Martin Gurri:

Yeah, this it's even worse than that. I was the government lead and basically developing a, an analytic process for for visuals. Right. Okay, visual persuasion, right. There's so many aspects of visuals and images. This is just persuasiveness. And one of the things that's very striking is even if you get everything right, all those details, the technical details you're talking about, they're so hard to get right. The effects may be totally, totally unintended. If you make yourself look to be an important person and come up and wear of your $1,000 suit with a Italian silk Thai and, and your voices very trained and the lighting is perfect on you and you have a chiseled face, you may come across in fact, you almost certainly will come across it's very inauthentic and unpersuasive phrasing,

David Wright:

yeah, there's too much information there and people can interpret it in or whatever.

Martin Gurri:

I think I think the trouble with visuals is it's an entirely different proposition from from text, and texts, we have the all of us have a rhetorical framework that we acquired in grade school. And if we go to college, we learn to apply it ourselves, you know, to write, write rhetorically rewrite,

David Wright:

rewrite, rewrite, refine, refine, refine, and get the message right.

Martin Gurri:

visuals, bypass that

David Wright:

Yeah,

Martin Gurri:

the visuals go straight to a reptile brain. Yeah. And, and the reptile brain interprets things very differently than that our frontal cortex of it just sometimes looks at what you think you are communicating, and bypasses that and sees an entirely different thing. So it's not an easy subject. And even if you get the technical minutiae, down, you you may fail in your communication.

David Wright:

So is it possible to control it at all? Like, is there what what I mean? I mean, there are there are news programs who have used it for a long period of time, and they try and contain a particular message with a and I think that one of the implicit, I think, readings of your book is maybe that that that worked pretty well, for what it's for its intended purpose being delivering a very specific message in a very specific way. That was a visual medium. So you have this very rich information channel, but they seem to be able to constrain it or at least direct it to their purpose, that being the news broadcasting channels. Do you agree with that?

Martin Gurri:

at a certain time? Yes. Yeah. A certain time that that was definitely the case. I think, obviously, that that time is long gone.

David Wright:

Well, they I said, how about that. So they still try and they probably still do the same job that he had before. But now there's much more around them.

Martin Gurri:

Right. And but to say much more, it's almost like to say they have become a grain of sand on an endless beach. All right. So it there's so much more that they are practical, I will say irrelevant, because it's things do happen sometimes in the news that have an impact, but they're almost irrelevant. Basically, I looked at what I call the information sphere, as I mentioned in the book, which is includes that includes formal communication platforms like like network news, and cable news and newspapers, but also includes digital media of all kinds. And the division is kind of interesting and politically, but in the end information is information doesn't really matter where you pick it up. It could be on a bizarre little blog somewhere, or it could be some straight up anchor person talking strangely on CBS News, I'm descendant of Walter Cronkite. It doesn't really matter if it's if it's going to hit your persuasive, persuasive spot. It's going to do it

David Wright:

and it can The idea in your book is that there is a surprising while maybe not surprising, in retrospect, but when you were writing it most of it is surprising consequence of this the whole beach as opposed to the grain of sand. What is that?

Martin Gurri:

Let me answer that with a story. Once upon a time, I was an employee of CIA. I had what was probably considered the time the least glamorous place, and turned out to be the most consequential. Yeah, I was an analyst of global media. And when I started out, it was a fairly straightforward job. Every country had some equivalent of the New York Times, information, information streams were minute tiny little information streams emanating out of even the biggest most developed countries. And each country had one big agenda setting source, like the New York Times, and if you go to France, it would be limahl, on and so forth. And so if you wanted to find out what the media was saying, if a president What if they asked, What What, what are the French saying about my initiative in Europe, you went to them on that you could tell that was slightly left there was another slightly right. figure, oh, you took those two newspapers, you covered the entire scope of the question. At a certain moment, for us in the 90s with TV, but really when you look at the you look at the data, it's there with the O O's and the digital digital revolution,

David Wright:

data being the amount of amount of

Martin Gurri:

information just information be

David Wright:

exabytes, whatever, those crazy words are.

Martin Gurri:

Yes, yes, exactly. I think exabytes is what they measure that in. Yes, at a certain moment, the amount of information just started exploding, I guess is the word that gets used. That doesn't convey the sense of what I call it a tsunami, it was an earthquake, it was a civilizational earthquake. And what those of us who were sitting in our cozy corner of CIA noticed was this, this information scenario was sweeping over the world. And behind it, you could see incredible social and political turbulence. Incredible. And we were pointing to that

David Wright:

those were the messages being being being restored and information.

Martin Gurri:

Well, I think they were implied at the end of thinking about it for a while. I basically concluded and some of the some of the people I was with at the time agreed was that, you know, being authoritative, like all those newspapers I was talking about, like the New York Times means you have a kind of a little monopoly of information in an environment that is information scarce. So you have it. So when you talk, people listen, because what else, there's nothing else, what happens to those authoritative. And it's not just media institutions, but all institutions. Government, of course, being the chief one, what happens to those institutions that had little monopolies of information, when this tsunami swept over them is that they basically got got battered and stripped naked. And, and then the public, which was creating the information, most of this information as unlike before, which was institutional and top down. This information wasn't rising up from the public, people were blogs, people were on Facebook, people were communicating in many different ways, including what we talked about earlier, the visuals. The public took a look at these institutions now stripped of their aura, because they no longer had the semi monopoly. And something happened there where these institutions lost their authority, and the public perceive them as failed. Because every mistake they made now it was obvious, and they could hammer on it, and they will yell with each other that look, they failed here. You know, if it was Iraq, or if it was the stimulus. This is, by the way, not a partisan or ideological thing. It is absolutely both ways that there is a left manifestation of the revolt of the public. And there's a right manifestation. But when you look at both, they have a lot in common and what they have in common is they have lost the sense of these institutions have any real authority, they feel like they are run by these people that I call the elites. I mean, that word. I use that in the book, which was originally published in 2014. And at the time, nobody was using that word. So now you have to clarify what I meant by it, because everybody's That word, it i mean by that, primarily the people who run these great institutions that essentially make modern society go the way that it does, and their supporters, which are many, so but the public, which before was really good to have a silent audience, all you could do was listen. And in the end, all you could do was either vote one side of the elites, or another side of the elites is having none of it. And this is not just an American issue. The 2016 of course, and Brexit in Britain, and

David Wright:

you say America was late to it, really?

Martin Gurri:

America was late to it. That's actually correct. It's funny to look back on this, this whole concept, because those of us who weren't CIA can pointing to a saying something has got to happen. This is this is something gonna happen here. Oh, no, something's gonna happen there. Right. That time? It was the beginning of this. You could just see the world revolution. Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and people the answer we got and and this, by the way, continued pretty much until the year 2011 was two things. The one was a guy with a gun is gonna shut a guy with a laptop 10 times out of 10. All right, so this is all people talking on the internet. And yes, they're very outraged. Interesting that so many people in the Arab world are outraged, and I know voicing it. But what does that matter? The dictators still have the guns. That was the one thing you got. Second thing you got was a Malcolm Gladwell idea of to the crowds of people who have met online and never know each other. I never going to do this, the personal sacrificing and putting their lives on the line that truly committed radicals who have known each other from some sort of structured way some sort of radical group have done traditionally, I mean, a radical to a guy like Malcolm Malcolm Gladwell is a professional. The people that we were talking about the public, were just people, they were amateurs. All right. So it was very difficult to persuade anybody that this really had any powerful impact people like Clay Shirky, I mean, he really saw it coming and said, there are bound to be there are bound to be enormous and unpredictable political and social consequences for almost good not fail. And in the year 2011, which I call the book, the year of phase change, phase change being Of course, when almost without any noticing, very, very cold water suddenly hardens into ice. And it's the same stuff, but it's very different. And so we had the same kind of yelling and screaming online, but in the year 2011, it it, it crossed the line,

David Wright:

maybe it's good, good spot to interject and introduce a bit of some definitions. Yes. And you define a few terms in the book, and two of them, which are, which are, I think, interesting and important, certainly, in the context of comments made their Republic and crowd, you know, mind maybe telling us what those are, and where that where those come from definitions,

Martin Gurri:

the public, that's a really good question, and is a lot harder than you might think, to, to go to the app to finish. As you notice, in the book, I spent a lot of time explaining what the public was not sort of defining it by negatives. It's not the people, for example, although if you every revolted, you see where the public is involved, like an Arab Spring or the occupiers, they claim to be the 99%, or they claim to be the Egyptian people they, they claim to be, but they're not. They are not the masses, that's a very 20th century term that connotes that there's a mass movement that is controlled from unhide. This is this is a very uncontrolled movement. When it when when these things crossover into the streets into street protests, they tend to be very non organized, if not disorganized. And the crowd of course, that's a hard the hardest one, the crowd and the public. The way I think I put it in the book is, if you were talking the talk about them in terms of a Facebook relationship, you would say it's complicated. The public is not the crowd, but it has intimate relationship with with a crowd in the streets, which is usually voicing principles and ideals that the public has manifested in its opinions. All right. And today, thanks to digital devices that can be a one to one communication between a crowd in the street and a public that's diffusing this throughout the information sphere. So those are different now in the end, I I don't have my definition in front of me. I wish I did. But I went with Walter Whitman's definition of the public Look, what a weapon, one of the smartest men of the 20th century, although he was wrong about many things, he has a couple of books dwelling on the public and what it is and what it should be. And he came to the conclusion very sad for him, because he was one of the people who thought the public and the citizens should be the same thing, the public and the people ought to be the same thing. And it gives the decision that it was they were not the public, or just the people who are interested in an affair is the way he puts it, if I remember correctly, and are able to influence the actors for or against. I was a 1920s definition today, of course, one of the big thesis, the main thesis of my book is that the public has become one of the most powerful actors themselves on the political stage. But the definition holds. And I think what that means is that there isn't just one public. There many I like I said before, it could be right or left, it could be the Bernie Sanders public was not a Donald Trump public.

David Wright:

There was a Hillary Clinton public. And so there's one and another interesting idea that I was thinking about quite a lot was the public can, it manifest itself by I think the word the word niche interest was used there, right? So people, right people have, you can be part of many publics yourself. And, and those publics are for the most part passive. So they don't act so much typically. And they and they, and they're defined by their little world that they'd like to create for themselves and live in it.

Martin Gurri:

Yeah, I mean, passive, I think, I think there's a lot of activity that goes on, because of those nations, because I think that was the original, the original impact of that digital tsunami was to take the mass audience, which was completely a fiction of the industrial age, and break it up into the things that that audience was really and truly interested in. And, of course, you know, if you are the New York Times, and you were the kingpin of the industrial age, in terms of information, you said, well, politics is important know, what the president says is important than, you know, events in Europe might be important. Honestly, the public what you see that happen online is cute kittens suddenly takes over the internet. And pornography takes over the internet. Okay, so you have the public has very many strange tastes that are not those of the elites or the elites wish to discuss. But also, for example, there was a incredibly interesting economist, you know, blogosphere, places like Iraq developed, very advanced of blogosphere. So people will talk about things like feminism. So these little niche constellations, were the first step to where we are today, which is a think way beyond that, in terms of a lot of a lot of these groups are almost hyperactive. They're not only not passive, they're they're hyperactive, they are looking looking for, for sources of outrage, so they can get themselves jacked up and go shout at somebody,

David Wright:

I want to come back to Lippmann for a second. Yeah, because in his his perspective, I think he had a very, I didn't read the original book, but I read some of his other work. And his The Phantom public being the book that he wrote there. And in his perspective on the problem that he was identifying a little bit different than yours, you remember that his his kind of concern about the public at the time, it was a disempowerment of the elites, I think it was was that right?

Martin Gurri:

his concern was that the public, which he identify with the citizenry, right, um, had a was was suffering, that is that there was a theory of liberal democracy was sovereign, and then the end they elected our rulers and their opinion, guided them, public opinion guided them that public opinion you may have read, I mean, that's, that's probably the best book. And this was kind of a follow on to that one. He was a complete top down elite guy, and he was probably at the beginning of the progressive wave where he thought experts should take over the government

David Wright:

Insider, he attorney used as like as like a compliment.

Martin Gurri:

No, no, they It was like the only person that counted, yes, it was, was the insanely amazing and, and, of course, a public where the vast majority of I mean, I won't say he called them deplorables. But but it was a little bit of us, you could see that the Walter Lippmann, he was a brilliant man and, you know, knew many languages. And so you could see his lips kind of curling when he talked about the public a little bit. And he was a little bit in despair because he didn't believe in democracy somewhat. And he came to the conclusion that the public and the people were not the same, and that the public only got engaged in a very, Ill informed way, and stampeded and kind of these cascades. of public opinion in one direction or another, either by a manipulative media or by manipulative politicians.

David Wright:

And and a lot of similar themes to what you write about and are concerned about. Now, Walter was in what I think we would call the third wave or fourth wave, maybe you can define what the waves are. And tell me where you think he sat?

Martin Gurri:

Oh, I love to talk about that. Yes. When I started researching information, because this idea that information has, it's more than something you learn from, so information has effect information has power, it can it can strip an institution naked. That was very puzzling to me. So I, I actually researched the history of information, which is a harder thing to do, you might think it's not a subject that people engage in often, right? Yeah. But I came into you know, every category like this, every historical categorization is up for grabs, but this one satisfied my purposes, I information spreads not in in I would say gradual manner, but but in pulses in waves, I called it. And the first pulse I saw that was remarkable was of course, the invention of writing. And you see the effect that has, that leads to a class of, of society that is pretty much ruled by a mandarin or priestly group, right, that can decipher these very complex right into the head. The second wave is the alphabet. And the alphabets massively simplifies that, and now you have literal, literate populations of citizens, you could not have had the classical republics of recent Rome, without the alphabet, not to say that they created the alphabet created Athens perfectly in Athens. But it would have been an impossibility without people being able to read or write. And that couldn't have been done with with hieroglyphs, for example. The third one, and possibly the most powerful is the printing press. And I'm not even going to dwell on that much. And it's pretty obvious. The fourth, which is where our friend Walt Walt Whitman was sitting was mass media. It was essentially a democratic decision, although it doesn't feel that way today of information. By commercializing it, it was the industrial model of information. So you went from having gentlemen who read these, they call them newspapers, or magazines, but it was meant for a handful of gentlemen who knew each other, and who also often corresponded in letters and often had them printed in newspapers as almost literary devices, to millions of people reading the newspaper, and the newspaper being an industry that makes a lot of money that had the effect of putting those millions of people there they were the audience at that point, I call them within the same informational framework, which is I had never been before before the gentleman knew. And you didn't. Now pretty much everybody knows what the newspaper knows, okay. But it was very top down. It was very industrial. It was very arbitrary. What is news? I mean, ask yourself, what is news? We grappled with that I actually think there was a moment in the life of the American Congress where they were trying to Protect Journalists, from having to reveal their sources to prosecutors, for example. And they wanted to somehow create some legal protections for journalism. But the problem was, they couldn't come up with a definition of what a journalist was. Alright. So the idea of just somebody working for a newspaper is a journalist is about as close as you can to get whatever gets produced by the news business is news and it can be a runaway bride, or it can be a war. It's either one of those things read, also Walter Lippmann on news, that he's pretty ferocious about that. But that's, that was a very top down system, very controlling system. Very easy, for example, although the model was was invented in what might be the democratic countries, but it's very easy to take that model and turn it into, for example, was happening in the Soviet Union, where the party pretty much dictated every word that was printed in every newspaper or every every word that was said on television news. It was very easy to control there. It was, it was the industrial system, which is the way our institutions are organized, top down very hierarchical. Very unyielding is not even in the democracies, a democratic democratic organization. It's very Through authority driven?

David Wright:

Well, you know, one of the things that interested me I researched some of ancient Greece recently for for actually a podcast. And I noticed that what they called democracy then was really ruled by the elite, actually. So is democracy for for those who are citizens, and that was something like I don't know, a quarter of the male population. And so democracy has meant different things, perhaps as these waves have crested.

Martin Gurri:

Yeah, but the Athenians, they were smart, because what they had was, this is a critical ostracism. And the point of ostracism wasn't anybody who you thought was getting too big for his britches, and had to be an elite. You just put your little chip with his name on a pot. And if you go to the museums in Athens, they still have those. And if you've got enough votes of that, not so good kind, you're supposed to go into exile, I think for five or 10 years,

David Wright:

I'd say Socrates, he was famous example of that.

Martin Gurri:

Well, he wasan't ostracized, he was actually executed. And that was a different case.

David Wright:

I thought he committed suicide after being ostracized?

Martin Gurri:

No, no, no, he was he was executed for, I think, an entirely different thing. No, and the ostracism ended when it was manipulated to basically get somebody exiled, who was not an elite. And after that, it was, well, that's not the point of this, and they didn't have any more. So yes. So to conclude, my, my waves, the fifth wave is, of course, this, this tsunami. And, and I want to dwell on that just a little bit longer. I know that that I've talked about it a bit already, but it information, it pulses, but if you if you look at the overall line for it, although obviously it grew with the printing press, and it grew for the mass media, it was the people who have charted this, it was a fairly steady and, and deadly growth. Alright. If you look at what happened at the beginning of the O's is just startling, I mean, the data on it, um, somebody measured the amount of information produced in the year 2002. And it had doubled the amount produced in the entire previous history, all right, from the caveman. times to now, somebody's measured 2003 and a half double 2002, that that trend has pretty much continued to the present day, you chart that. And I think there's a chart, there is a chart, following that, that process in my book, and it really does look like a tsunami, it's a stupendous wave, this enormous thing that goes over then spikes up and keeps keeps going higher and higher and higher. So that's the fifth wave, the fifth wave is unprecedented in human history, honestly.

David Wright:

So probably, in each of these waves, though, somebody will have said something similar and lepen did himself in the last wave, which is to say this information, there's too much getting out there, what's going to happen when the public gets empowered, what's going to overthrow all the institutions we know and care about, but they persisted. And and, and you're saying it's gonna happen this time. So tell me a little bit about kind of why they might be wrong and why now might be a more dire time, not that you're necessarily predicting that it's gonna happen now. But

Martin Gurri:

you're absolutely right. I mean, it's it's very fun to read is the reaction to the printing press and printed books. And the devil everybody said was, by everybody, I mean, those who have been used to having books because they could afford very expensive handwritten handwritten manuscript books. They said things like, but this is all pornography. This is all fake news. Yeah. This is this is the being people who are not experts are publishing books on areas that they're not expert in, this should never be allowed to happen. Yes, it had always happened. And once the information is out of the cat is out of the bag, you're not going to put it back in. I am not saying I'm not saying that. The situation today is more dire than before. And I have been called a dark prophet. I've been called a techno pessimists. I've got all kinds of names. And I I rise in dignity and dignity, I guess those characterizations Okay, I am doing two things. I am I am a fairly straightforward simple believer in our liberal democratic system. I don't put too many ifs or buts on it. And I, I think this I mean, if there's a sickness, there's a problem, there's a turbulence. So my my feeling is if you can came to me and said, I feel terrible. And I told you, I'm a doctor. By the way, I've taken some tests, you have double pneumonia, you wouldn't turn to me and say, well, you're a techno pessimist. You know, you would say, Well, how do I get better? Now that we know what we got? How do I get better? So the book is my analysis of Okay, what why are things seem to be so out of the times are so out of joint today? Why is there this turbulence? Is it just fictitious? Is this something we imagined? Because the noise is so much greater? Or is it real, I think is that it's real, it's real at every level. I mean, if you look, for example, people feel like but there's so many new things, and you just want to get used to the old devices, new devices come. And so is that just did everybody always say that every age? No, you'd again, that chart is very interesting. We are exposed to many, many more new things, which, which means many things we're used to doing become obsolete, which means we're now very uncomfortable by that sort of thing. So there was a lot of turbulence around that out of resistance, probably as well. So we have to understand that the causes are, number one, a public that was basically silent from its entire history. And now that it's out, it's it's very angry, and it's very mutinous.

David Wright:

Was it always angry before? We don't know, right?

Martin Gurri:

Yeah, who knows? Who knows, because they never spoke. Right? Now they're speaking, and they are angry. Yeah. And, and facing them. And they're networked. Because they are creatures of the digital environment, and then against them, and they're used to living that environment. So for example, you can get a date in a nanosecond. Of course, I've been married for many, many decades. So I look at that and think, boy, that would have been nice way back when you can buy a car in a nanosecond. But then you turn to those institutions that rule your life, the government, and it takes you hours to get a driver's license, it takes you weeks to get a passport, and it sometimes takes you years to get a building permit, okay. And it's this conflict between the digital world with is incredibly fast feedback loops. You know, people who bought what you bought, also bought this, here's more things that are from people just like you, we want to please you to these, you turn to these institutions that are arranged on the industrial model, that basically are telling you you are so you are at the bottom of this hierarchy, the lowest person in this government hierarchy is higher than you are. And you now have to dance to your tune. And you're used to pushing a button and getting what you want. And you hearing this, and you're seeing what's going on with these, these governmental entities and in your perception. And I think to some extent, empirically, you see a lot of failure. And you see a lot of people who seem to be benefiting from being the people that run these institutions. I mean, I live in the suburbs of Washington, several of the wealthiest municipalities, I guess you would call it in the States of America, or in the suburbs of Washington, I was a bureaucrat, you do well as a bureaucrat, okay. People see that, and they say, okay, but what do we get out of it, you seem to be failing again and again. And now we have this conflict between the elite class that seems very panicked, very clueless. If you're the elite, everything in your mind must come from the top down. So the elite classes eternally surprised by these big eruptions from below, like you will do but happen with Trump would have with Sanders, what happens in the Arab Spring? They are, that's not supposed to happen. The Arab Spring was a complete surprise to them. Brexit was a shock. And Trump, I mean, my feeling about that is that they haven't even come to terms with that they, in some way, there is a resistance movement against the reality that there is such a thing as a President Trump.

David Wright:

So maybe that's an interesting thought to to pause on as well, which is, the bigger picture there being what happens when the angry public, let's say turns into a crowd, and then gets what it wants. What do they left with? And what are they holding? And what do they do?

Martin Gurri:

Well, I think the deeper question there is, what do they want?

David Wright:

What indeed,

Martin Gurri:

what do they want? And you know, I talked about there that the public is really many. And but I always felt like I could speak of the public as a thing, because they share certain characteristics, right, left middle, or all these little war bands have started calling them because that seems to be what they become. I mean, they were niche communities to begin with, but in our highly highly I don't know what the word to use that sort of super energize hyperactive moment in both social and political history. They've become like roaming war bands looking for things to yell about. And and, and that sort of gives them away. One of the things that have in common is they don't have leaders there, there's a tremendous egalitarian feeling anybody, and that comes from the web, I don't know how much you've seen this happen, we're able to stick their heads out on the weapons as somebody gets cut down to size within seconds, right. And if there's anything that verses past, or anything that person has ever said, that can be tracked to mark or humiliate or destroy them, that will be out online in seconds. So this is tend to be very egalitarian, tend to be very non programmatic. They do not espouse program a they do not know they're not for some very complicated government thing that should happen because they have a problem that needs a solution. And they are mostly non ideological. I think there is an ideology that infuses each variation of the public, there is a Sanders kind of left public and a Trump kind of right public. But if you look at that, and you ask, what is it that brings these people together is that they're against. They're just against, they look at the established order. And they see these people who don't listen to them, and exist at an enormous social distance. Politicians today live in an enormous social distance from the public. They're way up in the clouds. They talk differently than we do. They say things about things that most people are not interested in, but they feel is interesting, you know, so the things that the public happens to be interested in. They sometimes chats and pornography. Well, yeah. Yeah. I mean, they basically that is that is the idea elite ideas above the game? What are these people talking about, and then racism or, or they're a bunch of crazy leftists who wants to destroy capitalism, if you're on the other side, the public, these, the public has no real unifying principle. It has no organization that leads it, it has no programs that it has normally gathered about, I'm trying to think of any acceptance that I can think of it at the moment. It just finds these objects and people and institutions that it certainly is very violently against, okay. And you can be a unified I mean, if you looked at the crowd, in Tahrir Square, in Egypt, back in the Arab Spring of 2011, you would find extreme left secular socialists, that were in that crowd, you would find mainstream educated, kind of normal, everyday Egyptian youth that were on the crowd, you would find Muslim Brotherhood people, young people, the older people didn't support it, but the younger wasn't. So. And they were many varieties of each of those. So what happened was a terrier square crowd, which was the public inaction in that case, of course, it it. It unified itself around the objective of overthrowing Mubarak. Now, the thing happened that you that you said, right, they got what they wanted. they overthrew Mubarak, and they disintegrated. They just fell apart. There was there was no, no cohesive principle. Most of them thought they were doing for democracy. But they had you had the Muslim Brotherhood that doesn't believe in that. So we're very had a very progressive left this idea of democracy somewhere far more restrict. I mean, it was not they had nothing to gather about. And so they push Mubarak out and clear the field for two top down institutions, the Muslim Brotherhood that won the First Presidency in Egypt, and then the army that knocked them out and took over the end.

David Wright:

Where do these then? And I agree with your point, I mean, I completely agree with it that that there's nothing that they want. There's no such thing as a political platform for a crowd. Right, right. They're just targeting something. So where do these platforms come from? I mean, if people don't walk around with them in their head, then is it just nothing more than a fiction of the elites?

Martin Gurri:

I mean, I, that's a good question. And I, the answer is probably Who knows? But since we're talking about it, I'm just gonna go ahead and plunge into speculation. All right. How about it? Yeah. So with those caveats, I, I think there is a tremendous sort of reservoir of anger in the public, against the elites. And what you can never tell, you can never tell is where the tipping point if you want to go back to Malcolm Gladwell, you know where the tipping point is going to hit. And I've got to give you a very recent example, you know, Emmanuel Macron, got elected President of France in an almost revolt of a public sort of way. I mean, his party had basically been created less than a year before he got elected. He brought in a whole bunch of new people with him. He was not an establishment person. Totally. I mean, he belonged to that class, by training and education. And he had been, I think, economics minister, with a socialist going for like a year. So it wasn't completely out of nowhere that way, Trump was but but almost. But he chose what he said he wanted to be a joopa terian precedent. He wanted to be lofty, he wants to live in Olympus. And many, many Frenchmen felt very angry that they did not want a Olympian figure. I mean, that was birthed he was imitating the goal that worked before the fifth wave. That does not work. During the fifth wave. The problem is, he had these encounters these normals that institutional encounters with, for example, labor unions that always tend to the rail presidents in France who want to reform the economy. And he won. He won. Everybody was astonished what a successful man. And then he raised a few pennies, the diesel tax? Well, I mean, there's a long history in that. But among other things, the entire French population had been pushed to diesel because it was supposed to be clean. Now they're saying no, no, no, it's terrible. So now they're taxing it, so they don't use it. There is a whole population in France that feels like they're taxed to death, and that their mobility, for example, you know, they have those speed. The speed limits have been brought down, and they have tolls in the road that keep going up. So if you live in Paris, you're a happy guy. You live in a globalized world. And you're probably educated and you are the equivalent of anybody, say, in New York or London. But you if you live in the provinces, where the goal, the periphery of France, you are very angry. And it was just you what you ask, what happens was just that little two or three cents tax that ignited that yellow vest protest, that pretty much has destroyed Emmanuel Macron as a political figure in Europe. I mean, so could you or I could not have predicted that the protests over I mean, if you have given me 1000 choices, it would have been not even one of them. Okay, so there is a degree of unpredictability as to what is the trigger the tipping point. And I would venture to say it is probably wholly unpredictable.

David Wright:

So is it the case that the what's changed about the society in the fifth wave is that it's just become easier for these? Yes. Crowds to develop?

Martin Gurri:

Yeah, that is exactly right. This anger isn't always crowd. Sometimes it's an online discussion. All right. crowd in the abstract. Yeah, yeah. Yes, I would prefer to call in the public. Okay. But But I mean, yeah, that's exactly right. It can happen at any moment at any moment. I mean, if you read the book, in Israel at a moment where the country was booming, and they had just had an election the year before, and Mr. Netanyahu had won handily, with all his fairly, I would say, pretty pro business ideas. This one young woman who basically found that she couldn't afford an apartment in Tel Aviv anymore, got angry and started a tent city in Russia Boulevard and Tel Aviv, which is a fancy district. And within weeks, there were a million people on the streets of Israel. I mean, Israel, at that time had eight or 9 million, this is like a gigantic proportion of the population. Netanyahu has responded far more nimbly than that governments, you know, the institutions tend to this is the bigger bully, just they just stare in disbelief, and have no idea what's going on until basically they get swept away. As happened, for example, in Spain, with the ruling party there when the indignados were doing the same thing. But But basically, he was a pro business guy, and and a whole lot of not pro business rules were imposed as a concession to these demonstrations. Why did it happen, then? What what triggered it this one woman, I mean, so it's so easy, and I'm predictable. That if, if I were, and thank goodness, I'm not a ruler of a country. I was I would stay awake at night. Because you just don't know when the next eruption from below is going to happen. And if you have any savvy and mostly they don't, if you have any savvy, you, you're going to be the last to know because all the instruments of knowledge that you have are very hierarchical, and sort of industrial model and all of this is happening happening way outside their kin.

David Wright:

And I think that was one of the things that I learned reading your book or thought about it. Your book was actually the way in which politicians themselves are evolving. So you're probably they have the distinction of the first person I've ever seen who draws a similarity between Obama and Trump? Yes. In terms of how they manage actually the public. Yes. Maybe you ought to give us that analysis and surprise everybody. It's actually say they're very similar.

Martin Gurri:

Yes. Well, I will say they're similar. I mean, they they're they're very different than almost every way, except there were similar in the way that they managed right now. There is a kind of a democrats dilemma when people talk about the dictators dilemma, and we could talk about that because it came back to bite Mubarak in the butt. But there's also a democrats dilemma. And that is that to get elected to be president, you have to promise things that you cannot possibly deliver on I mean, I'm a believer in I don't believe in conspiracy theories, I believe that these people sincerely think they can do the things that they say they intend to, to implement. And they always speak of our society, in mathematical terms as problems that have a solution, rather than as a an enormous number of interrelationships that are so tangled up that anything you pick up on one side is going to have a dozen or more unintended effects. So when these people are elected, and they try to do the things that they have promised, as actually most of they try and do, it tends to backfire. As for example, President Obama was elected and he put in the stimulus and we put in Obamacare, and in his first midterm elections, his governing majority was slipped out. Alright, the Tea Party arose, the Tea Party were one of the earlier revolts of the public, the party arose and swept out the the Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. So Obama reacted by essentially becoming somebody who took the side of the of the angry public, if you look at the Obama rhetoric, it's very condemnatory, he condemns a lot. Presidents tended until the moment to say, this is like wonderful. The United States of America, no greater country, things are magnificent. Everything is just going wonderfully. Right. Right, right. President Obama took the opposite tack. He I think person searly would say things like women's rights are under attack, he would say, no inequality, both political, but particularly economic is on the rise. And it's stuck. There are no, there's no social or economic mobility. And then he would stop. Normally, again, American presidents would say, and here's my program to fix this, I am my solution to that problem. He stopped saying that once he lost his governing majority, and it probably always helped them get reelected, because he became the voice of a public that was very angry about a lot of things. And and never went to the next step, which was, like I said, before, the public is very united against, but very divided about what to do about it. It's not like people don't have ideas about this, that there is no united public to do that. The second you start talking positive programs, the public fractures, and Obama knew enough to stop at that line. He said, I think this is bad. I think that is bad. I think we should keep our eye on this. And he's gonna saw his job, I think, as being like a prophet in the wilderness, somebody who called out these in justices, which if he hadn't done so would be happening in the dark. Right, and nobody would pay attention. And, of course, Trump. I mean, I don't know what can say about that. I think Trump has spent his entire time finding things to be against. It he his his whole take on immigration. Much of a debate, he was against Obama much, by the way, Obama was against the George W. Bush, but evolved beyond that. I think he is his, the reason people gathered around him. I mean, you think about the man, okay, and I say this about the book to anybody listening, if you can guess what, my I have political opinions. But if you can guess what they are from the book, I failed in some way, right. So as I'm talking right now, I'm not talking as a political advocate, but as a complete analyst. All right. And when you look at a person like Trump, and you look at the 2016 and the primary moment, and you ask yourself, Well, what happened there? Well, this is a man who had zero government experience at any level. He didn't have political allies. He was ideal or connections. He was ideologically formless Okay, he had been for and against abortion that his date for example. A person that innocent of qualifications and political direction gets elected. for a very simple reason, the Public saw him as a club in their hands with which to bash at the established order he got elected precisely because not in spite of his seeming lack of qualifications, he is, I think, an effect, not a cause of the revolt of the public,

David Wright:

not dissimilar from Obama. Right? Not very experienced, I mean, experience and in some areas, but not in federal politics. Right. And and wama once famously said, I'm like a mirror, I've heard the words are exactly, and people hold up, and they see what they want to see or see themselves. And, and so very similar. Is the politician, the 21st century.

Martin Gurri:

I think that Well, I think we're still we're stumbling our way to a new political mode. And these are the early versions of that, I think we may look back on them, and think that they were kind of clumsy and awkward because they were themselves. We're figuring out how on earth you can, given this democrats dilemma that is a dilemma of democracy that you get elected, promising, what can I possibly be implemented? How do you maintain your authority as an elected figure number one, that tends to go away very soon? And, of course, they want to get reelected. So how did that happen? So I think they're just figuring this out, I think we've got a long ways to go.

David Wright:

And the elites are freaking out. And and they say, they see, and this is a lot of what I've read is that the elites often with a bit of a bias to but they'll look at, say, a Trump and say, This is so dark, the rhetoric is so negative. And one of the things that I've learned talking to you just now in reading your book is that it's possible that that that always was what the public wanted. But now they're just actually being a bit better about implementing it. You think about that?

Martin Gurri:

Well, I mean, this is my take on that is, I am astounded. I'm kind of astounded by the, the reaction of the elites. And I feel by the way that that every modern society has to have an elite class of some kind. Now, the steepness of the pyramid is up for debate, I think. And I think it's probably way, way too steep. But you, I mean, this is, I can't perform heart surgery, I probably shouldn't be President of the United States. And so there have to be people who are qualified to do these things, who at least get allocated the job of doing it in some way or another. But so that's to begin with, I'm not anti elite, necessarily, on principle, but in the olden days, and CIA, were fighting communism in those days. We studied, we studied the bad guys, right, the common weed, and we tried to see see them as they saw themselves, drugs understand what made them tick. There has been such an absolute lack of attempts to understand what brought Trump to the presidency. Such an absolute lag is to me astonishing. It is, if you want to, and and by the way, if you go to Britain, it's the same thing with Brexit. If you go to France, it's the same thing with the yellow jackets, the yellow vests. You go to Germany is the same thing with the Alternative for Germany party. They, they feel the elites feel that these are people who have no legitimacy and in the public sphere, they should be shut down, shut up somehow. And and we're nesc with e. s. And with Trump. Of course, they there is a sense that explanation via conspiracy theory of the Russians and Facebook and this and that and the other that are transparently I mean, if you look at analyze the data transparently bogus, these are, these are just screams of anguish, you know, intellectual screams of anguish, by people who think democracy has died in darkness, because such a creature as Trump has been elected. And they should perhaps stand back from it and say, Well, why, why does such a person with so few qualifications get to be elected President of the United States? I mean, I hope the book provides a few answers. But it is to me, when I talk to those people, it's I feel like I'm talking in Sanskrit, sometimes they, they just gotta look at me, like, What are you talking about? I mean, they're not interested, there is no interest in understanding the thing that they're opposing. And without taking sides, whether they're right or wrong, or Trump is right or wrong. And I think actually, my my analytic opinion is that they're both in some sense, right? And both in some sense, very wrong. Trump has the advantage that he knows the elite, he's wonderful. He's been moving in that absolute, you know, he's been swimming in that in that pond for for his whole life, whereas the elites have no clue. They They just have no clue what this thing is that he is, or the people behind them. Right? And and they don't want to have a clue they want him to go away. And I feel like that's, that's not good for democracy, because it kind of takes the half of the country that voted for Trump and sort of marginalizes them in some ways, instead of trying to understand if you disagree, but you obviously well, try to understand the motives. The motives are always dark, you know, so you have Washington boasts a second, Trump got elected, changed his motto, democracy dies in darkness. Okay. Well, I mean, hasn't died yet. This is just another moment in this very turbulent era that we're living through. Let's understand it, and let's, let's save the pieces of our democracy that are worth saving. And, and maybe there are some other set, like, for example, those enormous pyramids, the fact that there seems to be once somebody gets elected to the federal government, there's almost no difference between them and say, a Hollywood star, not only in terms of how distant they are from ordinary people, but by God, their sexual behavior, you know, sure.

David Wright:

People, people, you know, think that really appeals me about the whole line of thought is that, as I think to myself in real life, right, where there's such a natural inclination for people, myself included, to to, to, maybe it's like, we can call it often a gala, terian impulse where you want to kind of bring down the people you don't know, to your level, right? And think about the celebrity magazines, it's about pictures of them and unflattering positions and know that doesn't suit and whatever. And, and I think that there's a there's something deep about that idea. And then now it's maybe just getting broadcast more, more widely through social media.

Martin Gurri:

Yeah, yeah, I think there's a lot of that. I think it's a lot of that. I think part of what happens is our heroes, kind of all the warts are out there now. And they went with this enormous tsunami of information everybody. And and, and honestly, the public for whatever reasons, and that I haven't, you know, I won't even go into it, but tends to look at the wards and just want to deal with that. And, you know, in our democracy, okay,

David Wright:

make some feel good. Hey, oh, that big fancy person? Oh, yeah, they screwed up, too. And I feel better about myself. I want more

Martin Gurri:

of that. But but that's true. That's true. You know, we have a word for that is called envy. And it's not a pretty thing. And I think Joseph Broida Yeah, right. I think this there's almost too much to

David Wright:

say it's good. I'm just saying it's always been there. And we'll always no

Martin Gurri:

question. No question. But, but it goes deeper than that, again, because you people will have this idea that we're living through a very terrible time. And that's universal, by the way that everybody seems to think that. And, and I look around me, I mean, he, I've come to New York City, as I do very frequently. And every time I come a half of it has been torn down and rebuilt, you know. So it's always under construction. My city of Washington, DC, I live in Virginia suburbs is even more that way. Okay. But I have traveled beyond that. And yes, there are other places that are less prosperous. But the United States of America is doing pretty well, it seems to me, at almost every level not perfect. There are things you can point are, are not working as well as it could be and so forth. But you think about the Great Depression, you think about World War Two and the fact that the totalitarians came within an ace of conquering the world, you think about the Cold War and the fact that could have devastated each other with nuclear weapons at any moment, that almost did a couple of times. And you think about now, and you go, Okay, yeah, I get it, you're unhappy, because a lot of social and political the words I guess I would call them are visible to you that weren't visible before. But I think we should have a sense of proportion about this as well.

David Wright:

What about the theory that actually the unhappiness is and this is something that you allude to in your book, if not discussed explicitly for a moment, really the that we're actually because we're in good shape? We're complaining a little bit more where so here's something that I don't think you discuss, but it's an idea that I think about sometimes is that actually World War Two, although horrific, and all kinds of ways, produced a society following it. That was pretty Gala. terian pretty institutionally supportive. People, the social club membership went up, right people were more, there's more camaraderie, there's more cohesion, let's call it social cohesion. And and that was a result of having gone we've all seen what that's like, let's let's, let's do a little Kumbaya. Thanks very much generation a couple generations later, and nobody remembers that anymore. And so now it's just let's just fight it out in the street.

Martin Gurri:

Yeah, well, we're not fighting it out in the street. I mean, yeah. I mean, yes, Dylan? No, this you have to distinguish that because I mean, in Paris. They're fighting out on the streets. So We are not like that. And yet we are just as grumpy and grouchy as our French counterparts. So yeah, that is, I think, the turn it all around. I think what we have is a terrible crisis of authority. I think part of what you say is true. There's shadows, shatter the froideur, and then there is there is envy. But I think also, people want to admire those who have risen above them. All right, this is not a this is not a thing that Americans should find bizarre, okay, for many, many years, with George Washington, including in his lifetime, by the way, everybody said, He's, he's the model we all aspire to. I mean, we'll never get there because he had such integrity to his character. But, you know, this is the enemy that they basically wrote the presidency into the Constitution, knowing that he was going to be the first one. And so we're safe. It's gonna happen. or later on, you could say, Thomas Edison, but man, I mean, I was told when I was a kid, you know, the filaments didn't invent the light bulb? They were, I don't know how many hundreds or dozens or whatever. filamentary with persistence, he was not just an inventor. He was a guy percent. Bruce Bruce. Yes, yeah, he had a certain kind of persistent character. And although we weren't inventors, we could share in that attribute, and we could admire it. Okay. If you ever want to see two very different takes on two very similar people, you compare 1940 or so movie called young Edison, I think it's called or something like that. With social network, I mean, and you need to two very different approaches as to what a young, cranky, eccentric and brilliant, brilliant, and, and world changing in some ways, inventor who they are interesting. Yeah. So, I mean, there's a crisis of authority. And I think we want as much to have faith and admiration for the people who are in the among the elites, as we have envy of them, I think we're both things are at least equally strong. And my belief is, in the end, there is an interaction between elites and the public, that you get to choose your elites, to some degree, there really is a dictator is I mean, a democrats dilemma. If you vote for somebody who says, I'm going to solve your problems, then when that problem fails, you deserve it, because you should no, read my book, you should know that. He should never have said that. He really did not know even if he intended as I think most of them do sincerely. Of course, it never gets interpreted that way. But we said they lied is it then conspiracy theories immediately kick in when failure happens. But even if he meant that, sincerely, he or she meant it sincerely. The fact is, you should never vote for somebody who promises to solve your problems. Because human interactions are not mathematical problems. They are very complex, and they're very difficult to get around. So it's a question of a certain amount of modesty in our leadership, a certain amount of integrity and our leadership, and courage to say things that are basically I'm not a divinity that can just wave a wand and and make healthcare become magnificent and free. It can't happen. There are no solutions. There are programs and you can and you can test them. And you can certainly do trial and error. And when they fail. I mean, I'm waiting for the first I will vote for the first politician who says no, I was wrong. I thought this thing this program was going to go this way. But now I'm looking at the data. I think we need to change it in this direction. The first one that says I'm wrong, that man's got my vote.

David Wright:

On a similar note, and we're running out of time. So just one last question here, which is you quite carefully and gingerly suggest a possible recommendation, let's say to how we manage our government institutions. Careful to caveat that, but let me know let us know what the what you think it is can be done, could be done by the government. Right?

Martin Gurri:

I am very careful, because although I think I'm a very good analyst, and I think I provide a good framework of description for for what is ailing our times politically and socially. I'm not sure why anybody should listen to anything I've got to say other than the people who already agree with me, right? I will say I'll give one. One example of where the revolt of the public is leading. And where we got to start thinking differently and we do. We are after maybe since the post war period that you mentioned, an enormous amount of integration and everything had to be the more You could bring together into a regional or global umbrella, the more of a moral kiled you had. So you had the economy run by the World Bank to some extent, and you had the European countries becoming the EU. And so everything was coalescing and integrating, and then that has now gone into reverse. That has gotten into severe reverse things. So then, and this is not a new thing, it probably started way back when with the Soviet Union, but only now has that become apparent to me at least. I think our divisions are such we're very fractured, we're very divided. And I think the old industrial model believed in one size fits all. And that's the problem solution model, right? You we have a gigantic problem, and I've got a gigantic solution. And when you do that, at least half of the people are going to feel oppressed, or a field. They don't want it to the degree that you decentralize government, to the degree that you allow local and state authorities to make decisions. So that it's closer to the people on the ground once in the US that would match I think our our political demographic, because people tend to be concentrated in areas, you know, the red states of the blue states, except for a few a handful, like like my Virginia, which is sort of purple. I think, trending blue. If you will then get solutions if that's the word you want to I don't like the word so you will get programs that are of the kind that are amenable to you, the Californians would get something very state driven something very top down something very industrial. And maybe the Texans will get something bottom up something very open up the opportunity. And we'd have competition and everybody would be I think a little less outraged all the time at the federal government.

David Wright:

My guest today is Martin Gurri. His latest book is the revolt of Republic. Martin thanks for joining me.

Martin Gurri:

Thank you