Imagine that the Augustan era Romans had universities, textbooks and responsible teachers.
Your textbooks and teachers tell you that Rome is a republic, it does not have a king, and power is shared among senators, and plebeians.
So who is this guy Augustus?
Today, in 2017, Chinese students are that the Communist Party is, well, Communist. The Party exists to advance the principles of Marx-Lennism (though with Chinese characteristics).
So who is this guy Jack Ma? And why is he so rich?
We, today, understand that Augustus was a Monarch, yet he “restored the Republic.”
We know that, whatever else, China is not a Communist country.
The point here is that the political formula (the regime’s brand) contradicts the political reality — who, whom?
Who rules in America?
What is the structure of power in America? What is its composition?
I want to bring three articles to your attention. But first, let’s look at how Moldbug sees power in America:
I think the US is best interpreted as one country with two governments. We can call these the “red government” and the “blue government.” Basically, as a very rough approximation, the red government is the military and the blue government is everything else.
(Each house of Congress also has parallel red and blue committee systems. And there are also some departments, such as the White House, that can switch colors as the result of elections. But mainly when I talk about “government” I mean the permanent government. It is very difficult for political officials to exercise much direction over career civil servants.)
I don’t know that any such polls have been taken – it would probably be considered some sort of high-tech blasphemy – but I kind of suspect that these colors correspond to the political affiliation of the employees. That is, the military probably employs more Republicans than Democrats, and the other agencies more Democrats than Republicans – just a guess.
As a formalist, I define power as the ability to change the rules, or to clarify them when no rules exist. In a mature, sclerotic megastate like the US, it can be very hard to see where the power is, because (by historical standards) there is almost no change in the US.
But this does not indicate an absence of power. It indicates a balance of power. It means the various forces exerting pressure in various directions cancel each other, at least mostly. One of the best features of the current US regime, and one of the worst, is that it’s much easier to prevent change than to create change. The compromise is generally the status quo. But if some deus ex machina could remove one of the opposing power centers, or point one in a new and unopposed direction, we’d see instant and explosive change. The whole city of Washington is in the power business, and they don’t screw around.
The closest well-known equivalent to the way I see the Fourth Republic’s power structure is a concept that dates to the ’60s, the iron triangle. The iron triangle is certainly real, but for some reason – no doubt related to the agenda of the official intellectuals who created it – it’s missing most of its vertices. In fact, what we’re looking at here is an iron polygon.
The key to power in the Fourth Republic is that no one who has power wants anyone to think of them as having power. For example, in the traditional iron triangle, legislators do not have power. They are just expressing the will of the people. Civil servants do not have power. They are just making public policy. Lobbyists do not have power. They are just communicating their concerns.
Let’s say that to be a “major vertex” of the Polygon, you need two attributes. One, a vertex must have power – that is, responsibility. Two, it must be protected from public opinion – that is, insulated from “politics,” that is, democracy. If you have one of these but not the other, you are at best a “minor vertex.”
The press (aka “MSM”) is a major vertex because, as we’ve seen, it has power. And it is doubly protected. First, no one elects the press. And second, if journalists were elected, they’d simply elect themselves, since they pick the “credible” candidates. These would all be journalists – by definition. See how nice this system is?
The White House (customarily referred to as the “President”) is only a minor vertex. Its legal power is considerable, but its protection is lousy. It was national news a few years ago when an open mike caught the President insulting a New York Times reporter. How often do you think that one goes the other way? The White House can challenge the Polygon’s program on a few issues, which necessarily thus become high-profile. But the Fourth Republic, at any one time, is doing thousands and thousands of things. Almost all of them are done the Polygon’s way, and when they are not it is deeply shocked and offended. So in general are the voters, for obvious reasons, so there is a strong reason to minimize these deviations.
The Polygon might be defined as the “extended civil service.” It consists not of those who hold actual formal GS rank, but those whose position demands a sense of civic responsibility – real or fake. The major vertices of the Polygon, by my count, are the press, the universities, the judiciary, the Fed and the banks, the “Hill” (congressional staff), the civil service proper, the NGOs and transnationals, the military, the Beltway bandits (defense and other contractors), and corporate holders of official monopolies (such as “intellectual property”).
So, to make it simple. We have two governments, one staffed with Brahmins, and one staffed with…. Non-Brahmins.
Now, I want to present three articles, they make for an interesting contrast with Moldbug. I have little idea of how accurate, in whole, or in part they are; they do, however, appear plausible (which does not make them true.)
For many years, I have read the “news” or essays, articles and op-eds the way a General reads “reports”. I refer to my reading as a “report.”
You want multiple sources, from multiple backgrounds. You need to interrogate the sources, and sift through the reports. You are aiming at building a comprehensive picture of the subject. Consistency is good, but far, far from definitive. Vested interests and bias need to be taken into account. Simplicity is good, but it is hard to know how to apply it in each case. You want a picture that explains what needs to be explained, but again, sometimes that isn’t enough.
Perhaps, the best thing is if someone or a theory tells you that something will happen, and it does. And if they have a consistent pattern, then this is the most reliable criterion.
So, with caveats on these “reports” duly noted, let’s proceed.
First of all, read this:
The seven books sound fascinating, and I am going to read them shortly. However, what is missing? What is not given enough emphasis? How accurate is it?
Next, from the same author.
Here is the author’s main claim:
The 2016 US election, like all other US elections, featured a gallery of pre-selected candidates that represented the three factions and their interests within the power elite. The 2016 US election, however, was vastly different from previous elections. As the election dragged on the power elite became bitterly divided, with the majority supporting Hilary Clinton, the candidate pre-selected by the political and corporate factions, while the military faction rallied around their choice of Donald Trump.
During the election campaign the power elite’s military faction under Trump confounded all political pundits by outflanking and decisively defeating the power elite’s political faction. In fact by capturing the Republican nomination and overwhelmingly defeating the Democratic establishment, Trump and the military faction not just shattered the power elites’ political faction, within both the Democratic and Republican parties, but simultaneously ended both the Clinton and Bush dynasties.
During the election campaign the power elite’s corporate faction realised, far too late, that Trump was a direct threat to their power base, and turned the full force of their corporate media against Trump’s military faction, while Trump using social media bypassed and eviscerated the corporate media causing them to lose all remaining credibility.
As the election reached a crescendo this battle between the power elite’s factions became visible within the US establishment’s entities. A schism developed between the Defense Department and the highly politicized CIA. This schism, which can be attributed to the corporate-deep-state’s covert foreign policy, traces back to the CIA orchestrated “color revolutions” that had swept the Middle East and North Africa.
How accurate is this? Is there any inconsistencies? Is there anything factually wrong? What’s missing?
Read the rest of the article where the author provides evidence, sources and analysis.
Personally, there is some claims in the that I think are directly false, some interpretations that are misconceived, and some that are doubtful.
For the past few years, I have been suggesting there is a profound split in the Deep State that is not just about power or ideology, but about the nature and future of National Security: in other words, what policies and priorities are actually weakening or threatening the long-term security of the United States?
I have proposed that there are progressive elements within the sprawling Deep State that view the dominant neocon-neoliberal agenda of the past 24 years as a disaster for the long-term security of the U.S. and its global interests (a.k.a. the Imperial Project).
There are also elements within the Deep State that view Wall Street’s dominance as a threat to America’s security and global interests. (This is not to say that American-based banks and corporations aren’t essential parts of the Imperial Project; it’s more about the question of who is controlling whom.)
So let’s dig in by noting that the warmongers in the Deep State are civilians, not military. It’s popular among so-called Liberals (the vast majority of whom did not serve nor do they have offspring in uniform–that’s fallen to the disenfranchised and the working class) to see the military as a permanent source of warmongering.
(It’s remarkably easy to send other people’s children off to war, while your own little darlings have cush jobs in Wall Street, foundations, think tanks, academia, government agencies, etc.)
These misguided souls are ignoring that it’s civilians who order the military to go into harm’s way, not the other way around. The neocons who have waged permanent war as policy are virtually all civilians, few of whom served in the U.S. armed forces and none of whom (to my knowledge) have actual combat experience.
These civilian neocons were busily sacking and/or discrediting critics of their warmongering within the U.S. military all through the Iraqi debacle. now that we got that straightened out–active-duty service personnel have borne the brunt of civilian planned, ordered and executed warmongering–let’s move on to the split between the civilian Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the DoD (Department of Defense) intelligence and special ops agencies: DIA, Army Intelligence, Navy Intelligence, etc.
If you doubt this analysis, please consider the unprecedentedly politicized (and pathetically childish) comments by outgoing CIA director Brennan against an incoming president. Even if you can’t stand Trump, please document another instance in which the CIA director went off on an incoming president– and this after the CIA spewed a blatant misinformation campaign claiming a hacked Democratic Party email account constituted a successful Russian effort to influence the U.S. election–a surreal absurdity.
Let me translate for you: our chosen Insider lost the election; how dare you!
Given my thesis of a profound disunity in the Deep State, and the emergence of a progressive element hostile to neocons and neoliberalism (including Wall Street), then it’s not much of a stretch to speculate that this rogue Deep State opposed to neocon-neoliberalism has Trump’s back, as a new administration is pretty much the only hope to rid the nation’s top echelons of the neocon-neoliberal policies that have driven the U.S. into the ground.
In a number of articles coming soon I am going to show that Trump’s victory means profound change for the U.S and the world.