All-but-defeated authoritarians’ hurrah

An essential assumption in an authoritarian system of social organization is that elites are somehow morally, intellectually, or functionally superior to the rest of us. It’s a bogus assumption, contradicted by experience anyway,[1] but especially in the cases of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.



Donald Trump
Coup attempt

Fig. 1. “Jake Angeli (Qanon Shaman), seen holding a Qanon sign at the intersection of Bell Rd and 75th Ave in Peoria, Arizona, on 2020 October 15.” Photography by TheUnseen011101 [pseud.], October 15, 2020, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

Tori Otten, “‘We’re Ready to Go’: Georgia DA Warns New Trump Charges Are Coming,” New Republic, July 31, 2023,

Jan Wolfe and Cameron McWhirter, “Judge Criticizes Trump for ‘Overwrought’ Complaints About Georgia Election Probe,” Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2023,




Fig. 1. “Destroyed Russian military vehicles located on the main street Khreshchatyk are seen as part of the celebration of the Independence Day of Ukraine in Kyiv, August 24.” Photograph by Gleb Garanich for Reuters, August 24, 2022,[2] fair use.

Andrew Osborn, “Russia’s Medvedev: We’d have to use a nuclear weapon if Ukrainian offensive was a success,” Reuters, July 30, 2023,

Joe Barnes, “Elon Musk ‘refuses to turn on Starlink’ for Crimea drone attack,” Telegraph, July 31, 2023,

Owen Matthews, “Vladimir Putin is finally losing his psychological grip,” Telegraph, July 31, 2023,

  1. [1]Christopher Hayes, Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy (New York: Crown, 2012); C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite (1956; repr., New York: Oxford University, 2000).
  2. [2]Reuters, “Ukraine puts destroyed Russian tanks on display in Kyiv,” August 25, 2022,

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