The triumph of America’s ruling class: secrecy is the key to their power

The triumph of America’s ruling class: secrecy is the key to their power. By Jacob Siegel.

America is caught in a “revolutionary spiral”. An oligarchy composed of a small number of corporate and government rulers may be in control, but they face opposition from Rednecks clutching at guns and God, working-class peasants of colour resistant to polygender empowerment doctrines and vaccine mandates, and the fact that roughly half of the US population has so far refused to submit to their rule. …

Pretensions of democracy aside, this is the real political landscape in the US, argued the American scholar of statecraft Angelo Codevilla. The oligarchy demands complete submission, the locals refuse, each party grants itself greater licence in what is permitted to defeat the other and the country spirals toward revolutionary violence. Codevilla, who last month died aged 78 near his vineyards in California, termed it a “cold civil war”.

For Codevilla, America’s founding tradition of republican self-government has been replaced by a ruling class of both Democrats and Republicans that is steeped in progressive ideology and hides its power in the operations of a vast administrative Leviathan. …

Codevilla became highly-influential because he was right:

When I had the chance to interview Codevilla in 2017, his generosity left an impression, as did his voice. For someone who came to America as an early adolescent, he had no discernible accent save a highly articulated diction and crisp, mid-Atlantic consonants. It was the voice of someone obviously learned, slightly mischievous, direct and lacking pretension.

He was a government insider who internalised the vision of America’s founders and an unsparing critic of the intelligence agencies who failed to make the country safer while hijacking its politics. You could disagree with his conclusions, as many did when he defended first the Tea Party and later the political movement around Donald Trump. But it was clear he was a man who lived partly outside his own time, translating Machiavelli into English and consulting Thucydides to diagnose the causes and effects of a growing administrative state.

Codevilla was best known for his writing on the American ruling class. Indeed, the idea that America is no longer ruled by a collection of individuals selected on their merits — and its popularity on the American Right — is largely Codevilla’s legacy. …

What he said about our ruling class:

“Today’s ruling class,” Codevilla wrote, “was formed by an educational system that exposed them to the same ideas and gave them remarkably uniform guidance, as well as tastes and habits”. From Washington to Silicon Valley, progressive elites share a “social canon of judgments about good and evil, complete with secular sacred history, sins (against minorities and the environment), and saints”. While the test for entry into this class is moral and aesthetic, it exercises power through offices of the administrative state, whose authority rests on secrecy.

Codevilla’s most original and striking contribution was to argue that secrecy, rather than expertise, is the foundation of ruling class power. ...

“The bipartisan ruling class that grew in the Cold War, who imagined themselves and who managed to be regarded as entitled by expertise to conduct America’s business of war and peace, protected its status against a public from which it continued to diverge by translating the commonsense business of war and peace into a private, pseudo-technical language impenetrable to the uninitiated.”

As used by American spy agencies, “secrecy” can mean hiding information or obtaining it surreptitiously. But it might equally refer to the deployment of academic and scientific obscurantism to justify unpopular policies such as the forced masking of school children or the imposition of racial mysticism in school curricula and corporate boardrooms.

No debate, just do as you are told:

The logic of such policies is never straightforwardly presented to the public, where it can be refuted on its own terms, because the logic of this or that policy is beside the point. In the end, the secular utopianism of early twentieth century progressive ideology combined with a secrecy-powered security state built to win the cold war and produced a strange offspring: our new America.

Socialised into the belief that they alone have the skill and moral sensitivity required to govern, America’s elites regard their countrymen not as fellow citizens to be reasoned with but as subjects to be ruled, no different in principle from the Afghans and Iraqis designated for liberation. …

The Biden regime:

Biden shows no interest at all in dismantling the massive and immensely powerful war on terror security apparatus that, left intact, will always find new enemies to justify its existence. In fact, part of Biden’s motivation to get out of Afghanistan was to … refocus the surveillance and policing power of the national security state on political enemies at home.

The plan, outlined in June, deems white supremacist and anti-government militia groups the “most persistent and lethal threat” to the US out of all “domestic terrorist” ideologies. To combat this, the National Security Council strategy calls for increased government spying powers combined with efforts at reeducation. It is “the first document,” writes the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “to directly tie US counterterrorism efforts to broader social issues such as systemic racism, police reform and gun control”.

All of this is as Codevilla predicted. Many have criticised US military policy in Afghanistan and the opaque and divisive racial theories being imposed in American schools. Codevilla recognised that they are structurally indivisible, two sides of an American ruling-class ideology that defines itself in opposition to the values and preferences of most American citizens.

This ideology generates endless cycles of failure because it reflects not particular policies but the gross inadequacies of those who have a monopoly on institutional power. It “guarantees,” as Codevilla wrote in 2014, “unending conflict with all nations and strife among ourselves”.

Leftists compete with each other by being more virtuous, which they define as being more unlike traditional Americans. After all, you cannot stand out as more virtuous than your fellow man if you are just the same as him. Eventually difference became hatred — “look how different I am, look how much I hate the common man!”

Yet, in a democracy, the left needs the votes of the common man. No problem, they said, they would replace the common man — demographics is destiny. But then what? Personnel is policy. The left really didn’t think this through. They just virtue signalled too much, and now look at the mess they made.