This is a book about the realities of power and how it functions, stripped of all ideological baggage. It has at its core a thesis, which absolutely contradicts the democratic or populist delusion, that the people are or ever could be sovereign. An organized minority always rules over the majority. Perhaps as a testament to that fact, a recent empirical study showed that public opinion has a near-zero impact on law-making in the USA across 1,779 policy issues.
– page 3. The Populist Delusion (Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens)
In the new form of society, sovereignty is localized in administrative bureaus. They proclaim the rules, make the laws, issue the decrees. The shift from parliament to the bureaus occurs on a world scale […] The actual directing and administrative work of the bureaus is carried on by new men, a new type of men. It is, specifically, the managerial type […] The active heads of bureaus are the managers-in-government, the same, or nearly the same, in training, functions, skills, habits of thought as the managers-in-industry.
– page 92. The Populist Delusion (The Managerial Revolution)
There is revolutionary change (1) when the elite cannot or will not adjust to the new technological and social forces; (2) when a significant proportion of the elite rejects ruling for cultural and aesthetic activities; (3) when the elite fails to assimilate promising new elements; (4) when a sizeable percentage of the elite questions the legitimacy of its rule; (5) when elite and non-elite reject the mythological basis of order in the society; and finally (6) when the ruling class lacks courage to employ forced effectively.
– page 103. The Populist Delusion (The Political Philosophy of James Burnham)