“Sarah, there’s a government inside the government, and I don’t control it.” (President Bill Clinton to Sarah McClendon)
The above q&a apparently had something to do with UFO’s, so it is hard to know if Clinton was merely treating a subject with disguised contempt. I stay far away from the subject myself. Without evidence, why speculate?
And the same goes for the notion of a “government inside the government,” except that …
… I ran for office in Billings, Montana in 1996, and probably visited 2,000 household doorsteps. In 2000 I collected signatures for Ralph Nader, visiting as many homes, if only briefly. My belief in democracy was shaken, but in the subsequent years, I would still pay homage to the voice of the people. In the back of my mind echoed this:
“No serious sociologist any longer believes that the voice of the people expresses any divine or specially wise and lofty idea. The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by group leaders in who it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion. It is composed of inherited prejudices and symbols and clichés and verbal formulas supplied to them by the leaders.” (Edward Bernays, Propaganda (1928))
Bernays, the “Father of Modern Advertising” and nephew of Sigmund Freud, had a point. As much as I resent advertising, I too do not believe in the voice of the people. I have visited too much with the people. As Montanans like to say of neighbor state North Dakota, “there is no there there.”
How are supposed leaders supposed to deal with the people, who know nothing? Elected officials are monitored closely (read “controlled”) by oligarchs who pay close attention to their activities. In ’96 I would have thought it was as simple as campaign contributions holding sway over elected officials. I would have been naive enough to assume that campaign finance reform would fix things.
I am seasoned enough now to realize that it is more complex, and yet simpler. For appointed leaders (and I deliberately choose that word over “elected”), the “voice of the people” is no more than an echo from some faraway island.
So I now know there is a “government within the government,” and no elected official controls it. Quite the opposite. And I regret to say that it has to be that way. It may well be that the oligarchs are no smarter than the people, and as prone to jump from one disaster to another, but our only hope, truly, is better oligarchs.
And where once I thought that such a body was a loose consensus making its power felt by dog whistles, I now accept that it is a structured body with real people holding titular power, and carefully hidden from view. If we know the name of a group, such as CFR or Bilderberger, we can as easily be certain that ain’t it. (Isn’t it interesting that the debauchery of Bohemian Grove is reflected at Burning Man? We are all one people!)
Who are they? If you don’t know the names of the most powerful families in this country, then you won’t recognize them. Here’s a fake glance … our “10 most powerful families.” Do you notice what I notice? It lists Kerry’s, McCain’s, Bush’s, Powell’s – these are mere servants of power! It is as if the real names cannot be spoken!
Here’s one to consider: musician David Crosby’s full name is David van Cortlandt Crosby. He is a descendant of that family and the Van Rensselaer’s. He’s rare – a well-known public face of an oligarchic family (who would not be known based on musical skills alone, as he has none). Most like to stay behind the scenes, or like the Rockefeller’s, pretend their fortune has dissipated. Same with the Kennedy’s – Joe Sr. was a powerful mobster, had sons in highest public office, and we imagine they are busy doing charitable work and public service?
Here’s an article from “Liberty Blitzkreig” based on a study from Princeton and Northwestern (for which I am not willing to pay $30) which outlines the power of oligarchy versus citizen power. An interesting snippet – even when 80% of the public favors something, it will be implemented only 43% of the time.
But I get that. Two things to remember: One, I’ve been on thousands of doorsteps. I too would ignore what 80% believe. Secondly, as Bernays reminds us, that 80% doesn’t come to its beliefs by accident. They are merely following their leaders.
More interesting is this: Liberty Blitzkrieg does not name any oligarchs! Whether the actual study does I do not know – remember, I didn’t pay the $30.
So who are our rulers? How do they organize? I’ll have more to say on the matter, but for now simply want to assert that “oligarchy” cannot rule without formal structure – that would be chaotic. Structure exists, but is hidden from view, as Clinton noted.