Increasingly, it looks like the political fight isn’t between Republicans and Democrats, but rather the American people against the Deep State. More and more often we are seeing bureaucrats, lobbyists, and elected officials of both parties circle the wagons so to say in an effort to prevent any true reforms of our government.
While we the American people may believe the government isn’t working, for an elite group embedded throughout our government and media, the government is working quite well -- for them!
So, how did this come to be in a nation that’s founding document begins with “We the People”? For a take on the development of the Deep State and what it represents, we turn to Joost Meerloo in his seminal book The Rape of the Mind.
Presciently, in his discussion of the Deep State or the "administrative machine" published in 1956, Meerloo states,
“The burning psychological question is whether man will eventually master his institutions so that these will serve him and not rule him.”
Here’s how he describes the rise of the Deep State:
“… The development of a kind of bureaucratic absolutism is not limited, however, to totalitarian countries. A mild form of professional absolutism is evident in every country in the mediating class of civil servants who bridge the gap between man and his rulers. Such a bureaucracy may be used to help or to harm the citizens it should serve.
It is important to realize that a peculiar, silent form of battle goes on in all of the countries of the world -- under every form of government -- a battle between the common man and the government apparatus he himself has created. In many places we can see that this governing tool, which was originally meant to serve and assist man, has gradually obtained more power than it was intended to have.
… Governmental techniques are no different from any other psychological strategy; the deadening hold of regimentation can take mental possession of those dedicated to it, if they are not alert. And this is the intrinsic danger of the various agencies that mediate between the common man and his government. It is a tragic aspect of life that man has to place another fallible man between himself and the attainment of his highest ideals.”
But you might say that only seems to describe the expansion of “red tape” that entrepreneurs and individuals complain about, not a group of individuals who seem united to keep government operating as it is currently, and under their control. Isn’t there a difference between red-tape bureaucracy and the Deep State that we’re seeing today? Arguably, yes. But it is the regimentation and red tape that seems to foster the environment in which the Deep State comes into being and then thrives.
Meerloo expands on that point in detail:
“Which human failings will manifest themselves most readily in the administrative machine? Lust for power, automatism, and mental rigidity -- all these breed suspicion and intrigue. Being a high civil servant subjects man to a dangerous temptation, simply because he is a part of the ruling apparatus. He finds himself caught in the strategy complex. The magic of becoming an executive and a strategist provokes long-repressed feelings of omnipotence. A strategist feels like a chess player. He wants to manipulate the world by remote control. Now he can keep others waiting, as he was forced to wait himself in his salad days, and thus he can feel himself superior. He can entrench himself behind his official regulations and responsibilities.
At the same time he must continually convince others of his indispensability because he is loath to vacate his seat. As a defense against his relative unimportance, he has to expand his staff, increasing his bureaucratic apparatus. In order to become a V.I.P. one needs a big office. Each new staff member requests new secretaries and new typewriters. Everything begins to get out of hand, but everything must be controlled; new and better files must be installed, new conferences called, and committees set up. The staff-interaction committee talks for days on end. New supervisors are created to supervise the old supervisors and to keep the whole group in a state of infantile servility. And what was formerly done by one man is now done by an entire staff…”
Now we see how the Deep State became so deeply entrenched in our government and why its members will fight against any threat to it. The members of the Deep State are fighting for not only their jobs and their power, but their very sense of being. What meaning do they have in life if they were shown that they are in fact dispensable, that they can be replaced or their positions or departments can be eliminated? In the end, their egos depend upon the maintenance and growth of personal power and prestige.
Understanding that the fight is not just about power and money, but self-identity and ego, goes a long way to seeing how ugly the battle between the American people and the Deep State over the government will become -- and how the battle has actually been raging for years.
“Compulsive order, red tape, and regulation become more important than freedom and justice, and in the meantime suspicion between management, employees, and subjects increases.
Written and printed documents and reports have become dangerous objects in the world. After a conversation, even when there are harsh words, inanities are soon forgotten. But on paper these words are perpetuated and can become part of a system of growing suspicion.”
That sounds quite a bit like some of the latest intrigues in D.C., does it not? And how about this insight about the politicians who perpetuate and strengthen the Deep State, rather than dismantle it?
“Sooner or later nearly all politicians become infected with the bug. Under the burden of their responsibilities, they give in to the desire to play the game of diplomacy. They start to compromise in their thinking, to bend backwards and to be circumspect, lest their remarks be criticized by the higher echelons. Or they fall back into infantile feelings of magic omnipotence. They want to have their fingers in every pie -- to the left and to the right.
All these are dangerous mental streaks of every human being which can develop more easily in politicians and administrators because of the growing impact of modern governmental techniques and their threat to free expression. When a man gets entangled in strategical and political talk, something changes in his attitude. He is no longer straightforward; he doesn’t express and communicate what he thinks, but he worries about what others are thinking about him behind their facades. He becomes too prudent and starts to build all kinds of mental defenses and justifications around himself. In short, he learns to assume the strategic attitude. Forget spontaneity, deny enthusiasm; don’t demand inner honesty of yourself or others, never reveal yourself, never expose yourself, play the strategist. Be careful and use more buts and howevers. Never commit yourself.”
We, the American people, have quite a task ahead of us if we are to wrest control of our government from the Deep State. Over many decades, it has put in place compulsive orders, red tape, and regulations while growing layer upon layer to enforce what it creates. All the while, its roots drive deeper and deeper into our government. Even the politicians who we send to D.C. to represent us are ensnared in the game. They begin to play by the rules set forth by the Deep State; indeed, our elected officials even become dependent upon the Deep State.
And so it is that we face an interlocking defense apparatus that is employed full time by us, using its time to further entrench itself. Further, the politicians who promised to take on the Deep State on behalf of their constituents, though not in so many words, have actually joined forces with those who they were supposed to uproot.
Without a doubt, the Deep State must be confronted and defeated for the health of our nation. But how?
Image Credit: Flickr
Devin is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Charlemagne Institute, which operates Intellectual Takeout, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and the Alcuin Internship. He is a graduate of Hillsdale College where he studied history and political science. Prior to co-founding Charlemagne Institute, he served as the Director of Development at the Center of the American Experiment, a state-based think tank in Minnesota.
Devin is a contributor to local and national newspapers, a frequent guest on a variety of talk shows, such as Minneapolis' KTLK and NPR's Talk of the Nation, and regularly shares culture and education insights presenting to civic groups, schools, and other organizations. In 2011, he was named a Young Leader by the American Swiss Foundation.
Devin and his wife have been married for eighteen years and have six children. When he's not working, Devin enjoys time with family while also relaxing through reading, horticulture, home projects, and skiing and snowboarding.