Conspiracy Mongering "The Deep State"
In reading a book by Mike Lofgren titled "The Deep State," I didn't have high expectations for clear argumentation, despite the blurb claiming that Lofgren was encouraged to write the book by Bill Moyers. Sure enough reading it, it's the same kind of bait the base and blame the usual suspects playing out, except Mike is attacking the establishment! Mike manages to mix into a conspiratorial stew the forces of the media, bureaucracy & government, mixing left and right conspiracy stories to create a completely incoherent narrative.
"Bill Moyers! What were you thinking! I thought you were a progressive?
Anyway, the book became a textbook for both the far left and the far right. It was a text for Jill Stein, Bernie Sanders and the Trump Campaign. Which is why I waded through it in the first place.
This essay is at Bill Moyer's Website:
Mike Lofgren's Thesis
For those wanting to wade through the material without buying the book (a good idea) The Essay states his thesis in one of the few clear passages in his writing:
There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power. [Deep State Essay]
Basically he's demonizing the entire Federal Bureaucracy, Legislature, Judiciary and Executive included.
Conspiracy Theory Strung together from Conspiracy Theories
This book became one of the texts of right wing propaganda. It opens with a description of the evil of Washington DC with such a wide net the author includes himself there. He neglects to note that most of the lobbyists, grifters, operatives and Pirates who come to Washington are here to make their fortunes and flee. And many of them, like the Don himself despise the town as much as Mike Lofgren does.
Right in his book, and also his essay he claims his book:
"is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day.
Yet he paints a picture that links people who are not only at crossed swords, but regularly put each other at cross hairs, as co-conspirators in a massive conspiracy. Why? Because they follow certain rules and "breathe the same air." After denying he's conspiracy mongering he quickly turns the term "Deep State" into a "Protocols of Zion" level conspiracy theory. He's convincing enough so his book has been used that way by Donald Trump. "The Deep State" is Donald "Trumpenfuhrer"'s "Protocols of Zion." Someone said History repeats, first time as tragedy, second time as Farce. This book and Donald Trump, would be a farce except they will really kill people with this nonsense.
Anti Establishment Narrative
In his essay he notes that every country has an establishment. But then he claims:
" Nor can this other government be accurately termed an “establishment.” All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation."
And what is his purported difference between "the deep state" and an ordinary establishment? He claims that what differentiates it from an ordinary Establishment is:
"the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude."
Has he ever been outside the United States? Every establishment world wide has an establishment where the elites constantly fight, yet protect each other's privileges. He's inventing an alt-truth definition to avoid criticizing the establishment of government officials, think tanks, institutions and dueling lobbyists. His argument fails OCCAMS razor. We have an establishment. Duh. It's not a "deep state" conspiracy.
What Does Lofgren think the Deep State Is?
lofgren Tries to claim that the Deep state is:
"a hybrid association of key elements of government...top-level finance and industry"...
That in his narrative governs the country with only
"limited reference" to "consent of governed."
If he were talking about the Koch's, Mercers, Sinclair Network, ALEC, Council For National Policy, or the plethora of lobbyists, think tanks, contracting companies and media companies that influence government, he might make a clear argument that there are opposed forces and the current dysfunction is a result of those opposed forces and the shadow folks influencing them. But he pretends that the permanent government is composed of CIA, FBI and others who agree 100% with one another and engage in nefarious deeds because they are nefarious "deep state" evil people. This isn't an analysis it is a distraction.
Claiming Dysfunction is Caused by Conspiracy
However, Rather than noting the Partisan Infighting, Bribing, Propaganda and hate-mongering, Republican opposition to social services and efforts of all the parties involved to, at least sometimes, work together this guy claims that our current dysfunction is symptomatic of;
"A shadow government ruling the United States."
Instead he claims the Blob of a "Deep State" is responsible, Whose governing philosophy, he maintained;
- "profoundly influences foreign and national security policy and such domestic matters as
- spending priorities, trade, investment, income inequality, privatization of government services, media presentation
- of news, and the whole meaning and worth of citizens' participation in government."
And that's not Conspiratorial thinking?
Despising the "Liberal Elite"
A good portion of his book is an attack on "The Liberal Elite." The "liberal elite" he despises seemed liberal because they cherished the constitution as a common-wealth charter. He acts like they are still here. He forgets that folks like Donald Trump were branded "liberal elite" when they were never liberal, and only "elite" because they had huge amounts of money. He acts like our wealthy people are still mostly liberal. In the times he's writing about they are all but gone except in the ranks of the few honest bureaucrats, media & military officers remaining. Ranks he deprecates nearly as savagely as Donald Trump does.
Attacking Military, CIA
Indeed both Bernie, Jill and Trump took their cues from books like this. He calls Obama a "would be dictator" in Chapter 2. Because Obama used drone strikes to try to fight radical Jihadi forces that were fighting our allies in Iraq and Syria.
He then attacks our national security institutions as The components of the "deep state." Essentially his book made the case that the FBI, CIA, intelligence services and police.
Mixing Up Left and Right
He does describe the Powell memo and the rise of corporate meddling in government. But then he goes from bad to nuts. He claims that the folks mobilized by the Powell Memo; the Kochs, Right wing billionaires and the think tanks, "neo-con" and "neo-liberal" pundits they created, are somehow in cahoots with Democrats and progressives they hate. Well maybe at the billionaire level.
In classic propagandist fashion he mixes valid observations with outright falsehoods. He touches on the role of libertarian corporations in dominating our politics. Then claims that Liberal Democrats and Conservative Libertarians are "the same."
The only reason I read this book at all was because Trump picked up his narrative in an even more confused fashion than Lofgren. Despite the deep state narrative being pretty much descriptive of the right wing movement. It became part of Donald Trump's campaign.
In his inconsistent narrative. He admits that much of what he criticizes is in Republican decision making. In his last chapter he even describes the Tea Party and how they are pursuing agendas of the people funding them. But his "both parties are the same" theme subverts the reality of the real issues.
- Unqualified Ideologues
- Bizaaroworld behavior
Yet he goes on to say both parties do it!
Fact is he was mixing things. There is the:
- Military police state privateers dominated by authoritarian types
- The professionals, who are a mix of privateers & people dedicated to service, with a lot of overlap.
- the religious right.
- The libertarian right composed of narcissistic leaders & often allied with the religious right.
- And always in the background business interests and their billionaire leadership playing games.
These forces were in an uneasy balance held together by rule of law [in Breach sometimes]. At least until we elected Donald Trump.
Thanks to Mike Lofgren the libertarian right, alt left & religious right went to war with the professionals using "deep state" as their slogan. He provided the kind of crazy arguments that fascists love. The result is a government that epitomizes all the things associated with the "Deep state" while bashing the professionals in government an unleashing efforts to return their behavior back to the bad old days of torture and secret support for dictators. The Right loved the term and applied it to their enemies. And ignored the fact that most of the ills Lofgren describes are their work!
The last chapter describes the Tea Party, which wound up being Trump's core. The Tea Party, Trump, Bannon & company essentially raised "Deep State" as their banner. Backed by Right wing groups like ALEC, Council for National Policy... etc...
Conspirators and Conspiracies
It is easy to generate a lurid scenario of what is wrong with Society. Conspiracy mongering is how we got ALEC, Council for National Policy, etc... Folks like Tim LaHaye won followers by using buzz words like "Deep State" and portraying liberals and the Federal Government as a massive anti-constitutional conspiracy. Like Hitler and the Protocols of Zion, they admire what they attack and want to imitate it.
- Further Reading:
- Slate Article on Trump's collaboration with Russians
- Privateering and Piracy
- Many Kinds of Privateering
- An Ideology of Privateering
- Many forms of Freebooting
- Pirates and Privateers/Privatizing History
- Origins of the East India Company
- Bretton Woods, NeoColonialism and the "Money Men."
- Origins of the East India Company
- Corrupt Court and Undue Influence
- East India Company and Islamic Jihad
- Utility Versus the Pirates
- Tribunals Admiralty Courts & Privateers
- Related Articles on the GOP:
- Hannah Arendt and Totalitarianism:
- Authoritarianism, Sociopathy, Narcissism and Why Trump is so Dangerous:
- Hannah Arendt & totalitarianism
- Trump's GOP Totalitarian Movement and Totalitarian Propaganda
- Hannah Arendt Trump and the Stateless
- The Dictator in Front of the Mob
- Hannah Arendt on Donald Trump's Mob
- Our Democratic Movement is not Totalitarian
- The Power of Doublespeak
- Being a Little Less Naive about Politics
- Authoritarians and Totalitarians, Altemeyer & Arendt
- EMAD Trump
- Subsidiarity and Fascism