Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Who Are “They?”

     I was contemplating a phrase familiar to nearly every American this morning when it occurred to me that it might contain the answer to the question above. I’ll get to the specific phrase I have in mind a little later. For now, I want to focus on the question. I contend that most of us already know the answer but are afraid to confront it.

     If you have any acquaintance with the organized aspects of the libertarian movement, you may recognize the name of the late John Hospers, professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California and quondam presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party. Professor Hospers was an important member of the Phoenix Foundation, an organization that sought to promote new, freedom-oriented countries and enclaves. In 1980 the Phoenix Foundation took up the cause of the New Hebrides Autonomy Movement, a group that sought to establish an independent, freedom-oriented state on the island of Espiritu Santo. The movement failed, being put down militarily by the newborn socialist nation of Vanuatu, with assistance from the government of Papua New Guinea.

     In a passage about this aborted freedom movement, Professor Hospers wrote:

     The man who called the shots correctly on this situation long in advance was Robert Welch, the former head of the John Birch Society. About five years ago, when a group of us in the Phoenix Foundation were setting out to encourage “new country” projects dedicated to individual liberty, and we had already received requests by the independence leaders of the New Hebrides for financial and intellectual assistance in establishing a republic dedicated to this same cause, Welch said, “Don’t do it. They will not let it happen. The battle must first be fought and won here in America.” It is possible that by “they” he meant the international communist conspiracy, which would attempt to crush by force any independence movement in a small nation. But it is also possible that he meant that non-communist governments, with the aid of enterprises like Burns Philip, would make the world safe for Big Government, with the result that in the end the Soviet Union would establish a puppet government in the New Hebrides. The effects of the two would be much the same; only the techniques would be different. I didn’t think Welch was right at the time, but he was.

     [From “Differences of Theory and Strategy,” in Freedom and Virtue: The Conservative-Libertarian Debate]

     The Phoenix Foundation was involved with other attempts such as the New Hebrides Autonomy Movement, but all were suppressed. In the other cases, defeat came at the hands of small nations near to the projected free state...but the organization and funding of the suppressive efforts – Robert Welch’s “they” – was devilishly hard to trace.

     Today, in a rather angry piece, Ace of Spades puts a red-hot poker to the Inspector General’s report on the Russian collusion hoax:

     Word is, Barr and Durham are privately "furious" at Obama-appointee Horowitz for pulling a Comey -- mistakes were made, no "intent," case closed.

     From the post below:

     The omissions -- the deliberate lies and actual fraud perpetrated upon the FISA court -- is "concerning," but none of the rats confessed to having been responsible for the lies, therefore there are no lies, or at least we're going to pretend them away...

     It’s a brief piece; please read the whole thing. Correlate with the IG report’s failure to find anyone criminally liable the clever tactics of the principal actors:

     Fusion Co-Founders Glenn Simpson and Jonathan Winer Refused to Talk to IG; James Comey and Former FBI Attorney James Baker Also Avoided Fully Testifying

     Specifically, Comey and Baker refused to get recertified for a classification clearance, thus blocking the IG's efforts to "refresh their recollection" with classified documents.

     "Refreshing a witness' recollection" by showing him documents is a common thing at trials and in investigations.

     But sometimes witnesses lie about events, and sometimes lie about having no recollection of certain critical details. James Comey, for example, has a steel-trap recall as to things he wants to claim to his media and government coconspirators, but has all sorts of convenient memory lapses about stuff that could get him into legal trouble.

     So the IG wanted to "refresh his recollection" about this convenient periods of Lost Time by showing him classified documents and notes that would explain exactly who he talked to and when he talked to them and what he said to them.

     Rather than agreeing to do this, Comey said, "Nah, I decline to get new clearance to see classified material," thus preventing the IG from "refreshing his recollection."

     Did Inspector General Michael Horowitz take this obstruction to any higher authority – perhaps to President Trump, who has the authority to command immediate declassification? Of course not! He rested content with the result he had, knowing that his Deep State brethren would defend him as having “done his job” – “his job” as defined by the priorities of the Deep State, that is.

     It is a well known, multiply confirmed fact that, as the late Jerry Pournelle has said, in any organization we can find persons whose top priority is the benefit of the organization itself. As time passes, the incentives involved steadily promote those persons to greater and greater authority, while those dedicated to the objectives the organization was supposed to pursue are gradually marginalized out the door. Pournelle called this his Iron Law of Bureaucracy. It has strong connections to Robert Conquest’s Third Law of Politics:

     The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.

     For who but an enemy would maneuver to eliminate from the organization those persons most dedicated to its supposed objectives?

     As regards governmental organizations, there are additional dynamics that worsen the two laws above. First, because of Civil Service protections, it’s exceedingly difficult to dispose of unsatisfactory employees once they’ve passed their probationary period. Second and closely tied to the first, Civil Service employment attracts persons whose foremost priority is security. Such persons will not “rock the boat” under circumstances that are other than personally threatening – and such circumstances are rare within government bureaucracies. Third and perhaps worst, government attracts above all persons who desire power over others. Their power-lust gives them a winning drive for advancement. It also fuels their willingness to defend their gains of power and prestige by any means expedient, fair or foul.

     A superficial view of such things impels us to the conclusion that insiders such as Horowitz and Comey are “they,” or at least are closely connected to them. But is it so?

     With occasional exceptions, talk about the Deep State tends to avoid naming names. There are names in the above, to be sure, but it’s a lead pipe cinch that neither Horowitz nor Comey nor Baker could have done as described without the connivance, assistance, and approval of many others. Those others are unnamed. But could we name them if we should choose to do so? More urgent yet: What would naming them oblige us to do?

     The question recalls a passage from John Ross’s Unintended Consequences:

     “You are expecting your volunteers to go out and kill people who are just like them. You aren’t saying ‘See that guy over there by the barbed wire? The one wearing a strange uniform, talking in a language you don’t understand, and laughing while his German Shepherd tears the baby out of that naked woman’s belly? Go blast him.’
     “That would be easy. That would be like sitting in your living room in Bozeman, Montana, seeing some Italian U.N. troops in blue berets smash in the door across the street. Take about three seconds to decide what to do there. Boom! Bunch of dead Italians. Ninety-four Crime Bill, where the President had that provision in it to hire a bunch of Hong Kong Municipal Police ‘cause they’d be good at seizing guns, I had to laugh. Talk about hazardous duty, Christ! You send a bunch of Chinese police to go seize guns from folks in Kentucky, undertakers’ll be working three shifts.
     “But what you’re telling people, Ray, is ‘See that guy over there, waiting for the bank’s loan officer ‘cause his wife wants to remodel the bathroom? The one wearing a suit a little more wrinkled than yours? The guy who just dropped off his kids at Little League and then ate lunch with his wife at Shoney’s? Yeah, that’s the one. He’s an ATF field agent. Last week he inspected the inventory of a local gun store. Found a single-shot .22 with a 16.5 inch barrel. Looked at it close, saw it was a smoothbore, made for .22 shot loads, so he called his supervisor. Sixteen inches is the limit for rifles, but under 18 inches for smoothbores without the $200 registration is illegal possession of a sawed-off shotgun. Store owner and his employees are now in jail, trying to raise a $250,000 bond, charged with violating the National Firearms Act, conspiracy to violate federal firearms laws, and violating RICO. The entire contents of the store have been seized under the new forfeiture laws. The agent’s about to go to the bank’s parking garage now. Pop him in the back of the head with a .22 when he fiddles with his car keys, then walk away.’
     “Ray, no one is going to do that. History proves it. You are not going to get intelligent, thoughtful, level-headed leaders to declare violent war on people that live in their neighborhood and whose kids go to their kids’ school.”

     My point “should” be “obvious:”

The Deep State Is Deep.

     It includes millions of people, many of whom are a lot like that guy “wearing a suit a little more wrinkled than yours.” And what, in all good conscience, can good people, no matter how tired unto death they are of being commanded do this and forbidden to do that, do about them? Hold a cyanide-laden neighborhood barbecue?

     Is it possible that we prefer abstract notions about conspirators maneuvering to oppress and subjugate us because in truth, we know that our oppressors live among us, that in many ways they are us, and that we are unwilling to confront them?

     Think about it. As for the phrase I mentioned at the outset, you’ll find it in the Declaration of Independence: “the consent of the governed.” Think about that one, too.

1 comment:

mobius said...

It's a little more complicated than most can imagine, for sure. It would help a lot if some upper echelon hang.