Friday, February 28, 2014

The Deep State

An interesting over at Chicago Boyz entitled The Deep State. The worries of Bill Moyers, though still frozen in liberal amber, are a significant part of the discussion.

The privacy and surveillance concerns have been topics for the conspiracy theorists.  Yet that is hardly necessary.  The number of people in federal government, plus the enormous number of hangers-on as lobbyists and contractors, now constitutes a group so large that they are a class interest unto themselves.  They don't have to have any ill motives or secret agendas to be dangerous.  They just have to be regular folks who have jobs and want to keep them, who have some understanding what is good for their "industry," and some power to protect themselves.  That in itself makes them a threat to other Americans.  That this much power attracts the super-ambitious and under-conscienced only makes it worse.

The right gets distracted by the similarity of such behavior to the State under dictatorships, which is true but unnecessary to notice.  Yet the left is worse, continuing to believe that the Real Problem is super-ambitious and under-conscienced people in business, a place those can actually do little harm.  It comes from deriving one's political beliefs from stories rather than knowledge.  We can easily envision rich businessmen doing evil things and not caring much about others - heck, the scriptwriters for the Muppets have been doing it for years. It is harder to write a simple morality tale about government empire-builders in shadowy places. We make up hero-stories about fighting baddies, and it is easier to write one script than the other in our feeble imaginations, so dependent on inherited themes.

It is a continuing belief of mine that this reliance on narrative explains most of our politics. Once one is an ideologue, intelligence is only used to play chess against oneself.

1 comment:

Christopher B said...

I don't think there is a shortage of narratives of lefties fighting the good fight against government baddies. Enemy of the State comes to mind from way back, and it was a subplot in more recent films such as White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen. It's true that the ultimate puppet masters are often business (or at least non-governmental) people but it's not like the left doesn't recognize that real damage can be done by government power misused. If anything, it brings more despair that they just don't get it, or are happy to see the power used in ways they like. Ergo, the virtual banning of tobacco products at the same time weed is (virually) decriminalized.