The Deep State behind the Democracy
The results of the presidential elections in the US and the Brexit referendum in the UK are argument enough to read Peter Dale Scott’s books. Beyond the official media narrative, both of these events can be interpreted as a revolt against the crony capitalism that ties together technocrats from specialized institutions of the state (intelligence agencies, central banks, regulators etc.) and from transnational organizations (IMF, World Bank, European Commission etc.) who were not elected to their positions but named, and the private sector decision makers, from financial and banking institutions (Wall Street), Big Law, Big Oil and others.
The vehemence of accusations designed to delegitimize rebellious voters by presenting them as ignorant and superficial, as if the elites had just now discovered “the myth of the rational voter”, can be found in the public discourses of statesmen and would-be leaders as well, as we now know thanks to Wikileaks. Those who had been apologists for democratic systems have become their sworn enemies once the masses stopped voting their way. Privately expressed preferences are, therefore, different from publicly expressed preferences. Conservatism has become a travel fellow of progressivism, seeking to preserve the system, not timeless elements such as useful traditions and social structures which Edmund Burke stressed in his critique of the French Revolution. Reverend Robert Dabney was an American intellectual during the 19th century who expressed the faults of contemporary conservatism in this way:
“This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution to be denounced and adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves towards perdition…. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle.”
The reactions of Western elites suggest that there is, indeed, a “hidden agenda” derived from other areas than the common good or the expressed preferences of a people within a competitive political system. Peter Dale Scott’s book confirms this and exhaustively documents instances which hint at the extent and power of the “deep state”, which moves and times its actions according to its own tenets. The Canadian analyst seems undecided as to whether the deep state is a monolithic entity, well organized and structured, or a pluralist environment. He points to times in history when the deep state seems to have acted in unison – the 1950s oil cartel of the “Seven Sisters” which controlled 99% of maritime oil transports and worked with the CIA to remove Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh of Iran from power, for intending to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian oil company, setting off a chain reaction leading to the eventual establishment of a theocratic government. They had first imposed a crushing embargo on Iranian oil, which reduced production from 241 million barrels in 1950 to 10.6 in 1952. Later, OPEC came to the fore and oil politics continued to rule the world, with large increases and decreases in prices due to wars and insurgencies dictating whether small scale shale energy producers in the US could survive.
The supreme test for Dale Scott’s thesis is the US election. While her party has historically been a populist and worker’s party, Hillary Clinton was the candidate of the 1%, receiving 85% of donations over a million dollars and 9 out of 10 of the largest donations of the election, including from lobbyists in the pay of corporations and foreign government. The financing was not always direct, as it involved donations to the Clinton Foundation or to Political Action Committees which are nominally independent from the campaign. Clinton donors came from Wall Street, “Big Pharma”, Hollywood, the media and the Unions.
Those who believe in Trump’s counter-establishment credentials may be wrong, according, to Robert Higgs, who argued that “the United States of America is especially immune to sweeping revolution, in great part because it has come to have such a powerful, coherent Deep State”. Barack Obama had also been perceived as a harbinger of change, yet Wikileaks published an email from banker Michael Forman to the Obama Campaign’s manager, one month before victory in 2008, which contained the almost exact appointments he made as President. When it comes to Trump, could Wall Street ask for a better Treasury Secretary than former Goldman Sachs employee Steven Mnuchin or a better Secretary of State than former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson?
But there is hope, in the form of an apparent conflict within the Deep State, with the CIA arguing against Trump and the FBI on the basis of alleged Russian interference in the elections. The mainstream media are also arrayed powerfully against Trump, as is the Democratic Party and even the chastised would-be populist Bernie Sanders. We shall see who wins in the end.