Power cannot function without formal structure

“The first rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: You do not talk about Fight Club.” (Tyler Durden)

I’ve been putting off this task, as it is daunting. I have basically set out to describe something that does not want to be described or known, something that wishes to remain hidden from view. I have often said on this blog that power, real power, chooses to remain anonymous and hidden. If we see and know about some public figure, a household name like “Trump” or “Clinton” or “Schweitzer,” we can safely conclude that person has no power.

I am just going to dabble a bit here – I’ll dig deeper over time. First want to acquaint the reader with a theater of absurdities. Our supposedly learned punditry discussing supposedly important public issues, is theater. Politics as we know it is theater. Education is designed to make kids stupid, to prevent development of critical thinking abilities rather than develop it. Entertainment is controlled so that thought crime never makes its way across a stage (or if it does, the audience is too dumb to recognize it). Television is a drug that keeps the public occupied, asleep, and entranced in fairy tales.

Thus do we live in a stupid country, meant to be stupid, and kept stupid. Russians generally regard Americans as the most deeply brainwashed people on the planet, and they are good at geography, fully aware of a place called North Korea.

But we are governed, and policy decisions are made and carried out. It is all done outside the political process, however. The voice of the people is a faint echo on a distant island, marginalized, fractured, and ignored.

Steve-BullockImagine that you are Steve Bullock, governor of Montana. Mr. Bullock has some power, but he is constrained in his activities by real power, people behind the scenes who really do call the shots. His job is to be an actor, to pretend for the benefit of his audience, the voters, that he is a leader. Voters mostly ignore him, as they are too busy in their own lives, and he knows this, likes it, and he wants this to be the case.

Behind the scenes is his real constituency, the money people who put him in power. These people watch him closely, guide his activities, and allow him to enjoy the prestige of office only so long as he behaves according to their dictates. It was understood before he was appointed to the position of governor that he was controllable. Just speculation, and the means of control of political actors are many, but he may have hidden scandals, girlfriends, be taking bribes, or just like the idea that he is the governor … there are many levers that can be used to keep him in line. Politicians do not make it to high office without having been compromised in advance. It’s too risky to allow honest men and women to hold office. It is not done.

I would say that Bullock is nothing but a prostitute, but a prostitute delivers valuable service for a fee, and is engaged in honest commerce. Bullock has less honor than a prostitute, as he lies about the service and accepts the fee without delivering any goods at all to his audience. He is low form of vermin, as are all in the political class.

Behind Bullock is the power structure, and here is where we have to stop and begin to reconnoiter, and try to understand what exists behind the false front provided by the political class.

DennisDennis Washington is thought by many to be the most powerful man in Montana. Maybe so, but the fact that so many of us know his name belies this notion. ExxonMobil is an incredibly powerful entity, as is ConocoPhillips. The timber industry dictates public land policy, and powerful landowners have unearned and undue power, having virtual veto power in the legislative process. When Montana Power was dismantled in 1997, the force behind the politicians was Goldman Sachs. The Pentagon has bases and missiles in the state, and has moles in all the police departments. The news media in Montana, like everywhere, is, like Bullock, a tool of hidden power, and anyway has within it CIA moles, though Montana is not New York or Los Angeles. It is a news backwater.

There’s far more than that, of course, as power in this country is immense, and hardly any is expressed by the “will of the voters,” an inside joke.  No one with real power takes voters, political parties or elections seriously. It’s just a distraction.

But this is a loose description of power. It cannot function without structure. What if Mr. Washington calls the governor and demands that he be given right-of-way through Plum Creek timber holdings? What if the timber industry wants to clear-cut some acreage while a real estate conglomerate wants to develop it as a housing subdivision?  What if Mr. Washington had been a major holder in Montana Power when Goldman Sachs was dismantling it? What if the Pentagon wants to dismantle its useless base in Great Falls while the local oligarchs up there want it kept to save their own real estate and commercial values? The governor cannot answer to a cacophony of voices. There has to be more order than that.

The point is that decisions about public policy have to be placed on his desk in an orderly fashion, rather than chaotic. And for that to happen, the oligarchs have to have decided among themselves on an orderly process of governance. There has to be a ruling body, a governing body behind the vermin who masquerade as leaders.

And that is where I am at a roadblock. I know it is there, it has to be there, we cannot function without it, but I do not know its structure beyond the vague notion that we have order in public policy, it has to come from somewhere, and it cannot come from the political process, which is mere theater.

More on this as I learn more. Right now, this is as far as I can take it.

About Mark Tokarski

Just a man who likes to read, argue, and occasionally be surprised.
This entry was posted in How power works, Montana News, Montana Politics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Power cannot function without formal structure

  1. Rob Kailey says:

    “Power cannot function without formal structure”
    Function? Of course it does. The mere fact that we observe it’s existence proves that. Function in the way you desire to paint it? Yeah, that probably requires an order, but your desire makes no sense. Power exists where we cannot see it, but the only way we know it exists is that we can see it. And if we see it, it doesn’t exist. That’s absurd. That’s your argument, Mark.


    • You have a way of twisting things into illogic, making them dense, floating a dark veil of incomprehensible verbiage over any subject. Stick to football!

      My argument is that power exists but does not want to be known, and so stays hidden as best it can. But for the curious, it does not take much scratching to uncover at least some of it. But it did take me far too long to understand that our political system is constructed as a distraction that allows real power to function without interference. The Wizard of Oz makes this point as well – it turns up in art more often than real history, as power has better control of historians than artists. There isn’t any good history out there, only paid (and horribly boring) scriveners, like Goodwin.

      My argument, which I will refine as times goes on, is that there must be some order in apparent chaos. If the people we elect are not the real government, it would not do to simply allow the powerful to wildly nilly enact those things they need here and there, crossing each other up, no long-term plans or goals. While there are certainly audibles called all about as we head into an uncertain future, and inevitable conflicts of interest, there are are also long term (and flexible plans) talked about decided upon, and carried out in some sort of formal structure. Others have written on this subject, and I will start with Buckminster Fuller in the near future. I think, in the end, we will find a body of decision makers at various levels, hidden in plain sight. But my own views are flexible. I am ready to be surprised.


  2. steve kelly says:

    When one accepts that the system is not in balance and needs correction, the details of its fabrication are less important than finding an antidote. Skipping ahead to the antidote, each of us has certain power and energy that can collectively bring balance to this mess teetering on the brink.
    When the “hundredth monkey” says no more, a shift will, as always, happen.


    • A little too ethereal for my taste. There’s barely a glimmer of life in the public intellect, and an awakening here and there is not enough. You write as if there is going to be a march with torches someday. Not seeing it.


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