Revolution 2020: The Administrative State is Taking Over

Revolution 2020: The Administrative State is Taking Over, By Angelo Codevilla.

Aristotle, in Book 5 of the Politics, describes how revolutions kill regimes (such as America’s) that balance the contrasting interests of ordinary people with those of the wealthy, of officials, and of other prominent persons. As the balance between any complex regime’s components shifts over time, the system may seamlessly transform into unmixed democracy, oligarchy, or some kind of monarchy. The revolution may be barely perceptible — providing that those who impose themselves, whether from above or below, do so without adding insult to injury.

But, if the party that takes power thereby destroys the friendship that had bound the several parts, even trifling incidents can spiral into all-consuming violence. … Today, the oligarchic transformation of America’s republic is turning violent. …

The U.S. Constitution had codified as fine a balance between the powers of the Many, the Few, and the One … Its authors … were under no illusions about the efficacy of “parchment barriers” to prevent interests from coalescing into factions against the common good.

During the 19th century, interests and opinions in the South and the North coalesced into antagonistic ruling classes that fought the century’s bloodiest war.

In the 20th, the notion that good government proceeds from scientific expertise, as well as the growing identity between big business and government, fostered the growth of a single nationwide Progressive ruling class. Between the 1930s and the early 21st century, the centralization of administrative power in this class’s hands did much to transform the American republic established in 1776-89 into an oligarchy. …

From the very first, the blurring of lines between public and private — the focus of government on distributing tasks and rewards– shifted decision-making from citizens who merely vote to the administrative system’s “stakeholders.” …

As the decades passed, it became ever clearer that membership in the U.S. ruling class depends primarily on sharing the right socio-political opinions.

Education become indoctrination, and a recruiting ground for the administrative state:

The European tradition of government by experts reaches back beyond Napoleon and Hegel to royal techno-bureaucrats. Being essentially amoral, it treats transgressors as merely ignorant. It may punish them as rebellious, but not as bad people. …

America’s growing oligarchy, however, always had a moralistic, puritan streak that indicts dissenters as bad people. More and more, America’s ruling class, shaped and serviced by an increasingly uniform pretend-meritocratic educational system, claimed for itself monopoly access to truth and goodness, and made moral as well as technical-intellectual contempt for the rest of Americans into their identity’s chief element.

The education system has failed to educate, but does a nice job of feeding the administrative state:

In 1950, Americans at all levels of government spent 2% of GDP on K-12 education and 0.37% on higher education. In our time we spend 4.4% on K-12 and 1.9% on higher education, of a GDP that is about ten times as large. By any measure, the increases have been huge. These were supposed to uplift Americans intellectually and (maybe) morally.

But they have dumbed down the nation to the point of mass illiteracy at the bottom and, at the top, created herds of ignorant, haughty, debt-ridden college graduates, fit only to enforce government edicts against Americans they despise.

But the money also built up and entitled a class of monied, entitled, self-indulgent educrats — mostly administrators. U.S. college towns nowadays are islands of luxury, ease, and hate. They act as the ruling class’s gatekeepers.

The war on poverty was really an aid program for the administrative class:

In 1965, the Census counted some 40 million people as “poor” — roughly the same number as today. Over the succeeding half-century, the Federal government has spent some $22 trillion to lift people out of poverty. Had that money been divided evenly between all the poor, each would have been a millionaire.

Instead, the War on Poverty swelled and solidified America’s underclass. Because the government paid to support women with children so long as they were not married, marriage and family cohesion declined. With only about one in eight black children growing to adulthood with two married parents, the black community and America as a whole are beset by a self-perpetuating flow of dysfunctional youth. This led to the long-term imprisonment of more than a million people. Prisons became an industry.

But the war on poverty enriched countless contractors, consultants and members of the “helping professions.”

These initiatives are scams. Whatever else they have done, they have increased the number of people whose livelihoods depend on government. … Whatever else these initiatives have done, they surely have created a lot of patronage.

Looking at the results instead of the claimed motivations reveals the real goals of the administrative state.

Trump’s election was perhaps the last gasp of democracy. But the administrative state prevented him from implementing his promises:

  • He couldn’t build a wall.
  • He could prevent immigration from the third world, especially of culturally-antagonistic Muslims.
  • He couldn’t control or close the borders, even during a pandemic.
  • He couldn’t withdraw the US from the wars in the Middle East.

Trump was simply overruled by … some unelected, vaguely identified members of the administrative state, and of course the Democrats and the media. Instead, he has spent much of his time fighting off claims that he was a Russian agent, or being impeached for what the Democrats did as a matter of course in the Ukraine.

hat-tip Charles