The True Nature of Western Governments

The True Nature of Western Governments. By Eugyppius.

At all levels of policy, Western democracies act with near-total independence of the popular will.

Mass immigration, lockdowns, the massive expansion of taxation and the welfare state, nearly all foreign policy interventions, climate change mitigations and the entire apparatus of intrusive regulations in social and economic life, all happened well in advance of popular demand.

Plainly, our governments just do whatever they want. At best, in select cases, they work afterwards to establish some basis of support for their actions. The will of the people is neither necessary nor sufficient, but it makes the execution of certain policies a great deal simpler and cheaper.

It’s a real problem, how political systems founded to express the popular will have come to operate with almost perfect independence of this will. …

A key thesis is Robert Michels’s iron law of oligarchy, which holds that organisational pressures force any political arrangement to function sooner or later as an oligarchic system broadly independent of the masses. It’s obvious that the permanent bureaucracy plays a key role in modern liberal oligarchic systems, but there are other means of escaping democratic constraints as well, and the precise mechanisms in every case aren’t totally clear. …

None of this means that populist discontent doesn’t matter, but the depressing truth is that our states can sustain quite a bit of it, and I don’t think our rulers show any sign of being seriously affected by recent events. Certainly, none of these rise to the level of the 2016 populist backlash, which truly rattled Western elites, sending them down a path of repression which they’re still eagerly pursuing.

It’s great that Tucker Carlson is reaching an audience of many millions on Twitter, but I fear our rulers prefer that he have a bigger audience on alternative populist platforms rather than a smaller one on a cable news channel, and I’d suggest the reason has something to do with the very different political role played by formal media outlets. The formal discourse, naturally, insists on propagating a very naive literal view of politics, which has many benefits. Among other things, this view disorients the populist opposition, permitting the people to enjoy periodic symbolic victories and now and again even to feel genuinely represented.

Government at the consent of the governed has been quietly replaced.

Perhaps the national security state centered on the US has, after WWII, quietly taken over. Or perhaps under the pressure of complexity and specialization our bureaucracies have simply evolved into an all encompassing administrative state. But increasingly those in charge are tiring of democracy, and it’s showing.