I Used to Be Disgusted, Now I'm Just Tired
The midterm elections, the “most important elections of our lifetimes,” are over. Whoever won, it wasn’t really going to change much. Today’s system is simply too deeply entrenched.
While the much-touted differences between America’s political parties get obsessive, hysterical attention, the sameness of Imperial corruption, waste and squalor regardless of who’s in power gets little notice.
Scrape away the differences — mostly in domestic and cultural issues — and we see the dead hand of Imperial Corruption is on the tiller.
The core of Imperial Corruption is the disconnect between the nation’s ideals of representational democracy and open markets and the sordid reality: elites serve their interests by corrupting both democracy and open markets.
Elites Against Democracy
Unfettered democracy and markets cannot be controlled by a tiny, self-serving elite. Stripped of corruption, democracy and markets are free-for-alls that are constantly evolving. This open-ended dynamism is the beating heart of both democracy and open markets.
But the dynamic adaptive churn of unfettered representative democracy and open markets are anathema to insiders, vested interests and elites. Each has gained asymmetric power by subverting democracy and markets to serve their private interests. They’ve destroyed the system’s natural dynamism.
When “competition” has been reduced to two telecoms, two healthcare insurers, two pork processors, etc., the system has been stripped of adaptability and resilience.
Democracy has been replaced by an auction of political power to the highest bidder.
Everything’s Up for Grabs
It rewards cronies and devotes all its resources not to solving the nation’s problems but to whipping up conflagrations of divisiveness and partisan hysteria that wash away the middle ground where problems can actually be addressed.
This crippling of the nation’s ability to actually solve difficult problems serves the interests of self-serving elites whose sole interest is accumulating personal wealth and power.
Their proclaimed interest in solving the nations’ real-world problems are fraudulent tissues designed to hide the putrid reality that all their so-called “solutions” distill down to sluicing huge sums of state money to cronies and campaign contributors under the guise of “solving problems.”
The only “problem” America’s elites know how to solve is the “problem” of how to get personally richer while tightening their control of the nation-state’s vast flood of (taxed/ borrowed) money.
Cronies and contributors get tax breaks hidden in 1,000-page legislation and overflowing rivers of money (here’s looking at you, Big Pharma, Big Defense, Higher Education, Sickcare, et al.).
Masters at Misdirection and Distraction
America’s elites are masters at misdirection and distraction: it’s always the other side’s fault that the nation is sliding down the chute. The elites don’t really care which side is in power, as they control them both to serve their own interests.
Any advance that increases efficiency and productivity and furthers the public good is squelched, suppressed or co-opted by vested interests. They fear, rightly, that their share of the spoils might be diminished by advances that render obsolete their particular cartel, monopoly or other embedded skim, scam, fraud, embezzlement or simply unproductive dead weight.
But something funny happens on the way to gaining control of complex emerging systems: that control destroys the system’s self-correcting mechanisms and adaptability. Rigging the system to serve one’s own interests destroys the system’s ability to adapt to changing circumstances and selective pressures.
Adapt or Die
Once a system has been crippled to serve the interest of an elite, when forced to adapt or die, it can only die as its mechanisms of adaptation were destroyed by the power-grab of elites.
An economy dominated by a handful of cartels and quasi-monopolies is an economy that is doomed to slide into the dustbin of history, as cartels and monopolies “win” by crushing competition, as competition threatens their profits and control of markets and governance, a.k.a. “democracy.”
Any system that serves the interests of the few by choking off adaptability and the dynamisms of a free-for-all churn lacks the tools needed to avoid systemic collapse. By enabling elites to organize the nation to serve their personal interests, America has been stripped of the dynamics needed to adapt.
Without these dynamics, collapse is the only possible outcome.
Don’t Forget the Deep State!
But no mention of today’s “democracy” can ignore the Deep State — the unelected and unaccountable Administrative State.
The Administrative State has existed in some form in every nation-state/empire, but the U.S. Deep State only gained its vast global powers in World War II and the Cold War. That was when the Deep State learned the lesson that the public can’t always be counted on to do “the right thing.” They may choose unwisely (for example, choosing appeasement over preparation).
And so the really important decisions needed to preserve the nation cannot be left to the public or parochial politicos in elected office. Those decisions must be in the hands of those who know what has to be done.
Democracy is simply the rubber stamp for doing what’s necessary. Beyond that, it’s a potentially fatal hindrance. That’s the mindset of the Deep State, and if you and I were in upper-echelon positions in the Administrative State, we’d agree with this mindset when things get serious.
Why do you think they were so opposed to Donald Trump? Whatever you think of Trump personally, or what I think of him personally, is completely beside the point. This isn’t about politics. The fact is, the Deep State perceived him as a grave threat to its interests and did everything it could to stop him.
This mindset is a self-reinforcing group-think feedback loop. Those who believe the public should set policy are weeded out, either by self-selection or via being sent to bureaucratic Siberia.
We’re protecting you. That’s all you need to know.
This opens the door to functionaries who came to do good but stayed to do well, i.e. those with the right credentials and connections to enter the Power Circle to “serve the public” but soon become insiders maximizing their own private gains. That’s the problem with the Administrative State: it’s ultimately unaccountable, not just to the public or elected officials but to itself.
Enjoy the Circus
But in the meantime, enjoy the political theatrics we’ve been treated to down on the sand-strewn floor of the Coliseum.
While Imperial Corruption undermines what’s left of the nation’s ability to adapt fast enough and successfully enough to survive what lies ahead, we can cheer the “winners” of the political bloodsport. We can simply ignore the winds of disorder sweeping the land.
It seems like it can just go on forever. But everything is forever until systemic weaknesses reveal themselves, typically at the most inopportune junctures. We could well be at one of them.
It’s easy to be disgusted. But I’ve found that being disabused of the fantasy that the system is self-correcting is the healthier perspective.
I used to be infuriated by it all. Now I’m just tired of it all.