What do secret wars, regime change, spying on Americans, and bailouts for Wall Street have in common?
They’re all policies of the deep state, according to Mike Lofgren, the Republican congressional staffer who wrote the groundbreaking essay Anatomy of a Deep State, and is the author of a new book, entitled DEEP STATE: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government.
This deep state hides in plain sight, says Lofgren, and is made up of the permanent parts of the US government, the military/industrial/complex, as well as Wall Street and Silicon Valley, and is “…a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose.”
This unaccountable governing entity exercises more control over the US government than do our elected representatives.
Nevertheless, Lofgren argues that the American deep state contains the seeds of its own demise in that it has cynically stoked anti-intellectual energies as a means of gaining control of the nominal government. “Another problem the Deep State faces, although it is not yet an imminent threat, is the contradiction between the means of its survival and the cultural forces it has either unleashed or played a part in amplifying. At bottom, the military-industrial complex, Silicon Valley, and Wall Street are what Max Weber would have described as components of the process of modernization and rationalization of life: systematizing, quantifying, and bureaucratizing the spheres that they control. They are all dependent on the progress of science and technology…
The cultural forces that help politically sustain both the militaristic and the corporate functions of the Deep State, however, are growing more irrational and anti-science. A military tradition that glories in force and appeals to self-sacrifice is the polar opposite of the Enlightenment heritage of rationality, the search for peace, and a belief in the common destiny of mankind.
A similar paradox is observable in the relations between the business elites and the political movements they have funded. Rich corporations and their executives have spent decades egging on the foot soldiers of the conservative coalition to get the electoral results they desire: low marginal income tax rates on the wealthy, even lower tax rates on capital, and anti-regulatory and antilabor governance. Along with the laissez-faire economic agenda that the oligarchy wants, however, the contemporary conservative coalition has brought a cultural agenda the CEOs may sniff at as retrograde and silly, and that incidentally has the potential to undermine the rationalist foundations of the society they command.”
Lofgren points out that no one has been held accountable for recent catastrophic policy failures, like the invasion of Iraq, and Wall Street crash. Not only have these American elite been given a pass on criminal behavior, but their careers have flourished precisely because they were wrong. They were, however, wrong in a way that benefited their class. “Being in favor of the Iraq War may have been objectively wrong, but it was an astute career move for many government operatives and contractors.”
It’s been pretty obvious that the deep state primarily benefits the 1% at the expense to the rest of us. That’s really the purpose of a deep state, after all–to evade democracy and enable rule by elite.
The deep state should be the story of the 2016 election, but it won’t be.
The only bright spot to this dreary tale of intrigue is that the American deep state appears to be run by the gang that couldn’t shoot straight because of greedy/ideology, where they’re in thrall to ideology and to greed–the spawn of free-market magic thinking and the old-fashioned American desire to make a buck.
Update: “Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change.”