Thinking over the changes that have occurred in the US over 45 years and some intriguing ideas of a friend of mine about a "coup", I noticed some parts of two books by Alvin Gouldner that perhaps had some connection. Below I rough out this sculpture of a government run by a New Class - not the middle class or the Left or the Right or any of the usual suspects.
The strong and broad feeling exists in the US public that government is "out of control". Who's in charge? Mostly, all we can point to are entrenched Congresspersons, Wall Street money, big corporate bosses, highly paid lawyers, high level permanent officials in the bureaucracy, technocrats, on and on ... no one or nothing specific. Yet They seem to work in rough coordination to make our lives more complicated and to run more of it from DC or State capitals. And take more money and power for themselves.
They are bipartisan - government increased under Bush I, under Clinton, under Bush II and under Obama. It increased hugely under LBJ and Nixon and Carter, too. Only under Reagan was government power held in check a bit - only a bit since Congress during that period worked hard to increase their power. The Courts are part of the Them, too.
Who are They? Not pod people who secretly at night replace normal persons with controlled zombies. They aren't the proletariat, nor the bourgeoisie, nor a revolutionary vanguard party, not socialists or libertarians or aristocrats.
What do They have in common? Advanced degrees. They are a cluster of highly educated persons who see government as a source of power. They are using their human capital to gain more and more money and power through government power.
That an Educated Class exists is rather obvious. But how can parts of it become a group that seems to have taken over the nation? Easy - They believe in an ideology - a rational system of beliefs that give them social cohesion to work together for a common cause without even communicating with each other, without even knowing each other. The core principal is something like, "with government, all things can be better". It's a mutation of Plato's Philosopher King, or the "Optimates" of Rome - rule by the "best". It's an offshoot of Positivism, where science and learning chooses the best for the people and put their solutions into practice with governmental power. But these mutations act like cancers, metastasizing out to all branches of government in DC and the States.
Ideally, that slogan sounds good. BUT apply the analysis of Hayek that we used so successfully to gut Libertarianism as a workable principal of political economy. A ruthless segment of the Educated Class - a rotten core of rotters - would naturally want to claim more and more power and money to themselves. This is not a conspiracy - it's a simple result of a distribution of humanity. Some are people are angels, some are devils and there's mass in the middle. The rotters in the Educated Class have taken over.
Not a coup, but it seems like one since their takeover has been accelerating for years. They believe in more government and make it grow. They never put breaks on government nor cut it back nor simplify it. Why should or would They? That's how They get more power and money.
They are always saying They have a solution to endless problems, but never solve a problem. They just add more and more complexity to government - rules, taxes, regulations, huge and lengthy laws, courts that are arbitrary and capricious in decisions, more departmetns and programs, etc. They love complexity - that's how they hide from sight and obscure their intents. Who can understand what They do but more persons with advanced degrees. They marry each other and their children more into powerful positions in government, too.
The Media is part of Them, too. They always are using Boob Bait for the Bubbas to fool the people and gain power. Rational, thoughtful debate in the Media has disappeared since the 1970s. The Media today gives us People magazine crap, celebrities and sports, endlessly. Nothing like the "White Papers" or true documentaries of the 1960s. Nor real debates such as on that old old show, The Advocate or on Firing Line. The Media is the propaganda machine for Them. For all the professional degrees in Journalism, is there not less true "journalism" now versus decades ago?
What to do?
Anyone proposing solutions that are not simple and clean and easily understandable is likely a knave, a rotter in the Educated Class. Just say NO!
Any new governmental action that does not restrict the power of the Ruling Classes, or help the poor in simple ways is a subterfuge for Them to get more power.
When in Doubt, Vote Them Out.
If the KISS rule doesn't apply (Keep It Simple, Stupid"), don't believe Them.
Word of the Day
"Bruit" - verb, transitive and noun [$10] pronounced, 'broot' to rhyme with a tree 'root', the 'oo' is long; followed by about or abroad.
Bruit (verb) means to spread news of, repeat.
Bruit (noun - archaic) means 1. a rumor, 2. a din, a clamor, 3. a report.
Sentence: Let's all bruit about the existence of this rotten bunch of rotters in the Educated Class who are destroying our freedoms and economy. And kick Them out!