The undeniable fact is that corporate capitalism gouges consumers and robs mainstream prosperity under the illusion of creating it. The GOP, with its focus on business and trade, vies for control of bureaucracies at the local, state and national levels in order to keep this system in place. Since the Reagan administration, gaining control of the judiciary and the hoarding of money by the uber-wealthy have slowly but surely consolidated power and dried up the common-wealth, starving the bureaucracies that modern-day society needs to function.
As resources shrink, bureaucracies starve. Under-paid and unpaid professions feel it acutely. We are losing health care workers and their support staff, teachers, caregivers, elder care professionals, non-profit workers, and public servants like firefighters, police, and others committed to the public good. These are among the professions that keep bureaucracies alive and able to support the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
The goal of the ruling elites is that of power and control over society and all its resources solely for their own benefit. They accomplish this in many ways, i.e., the privatization of propaganda through scripted ‘news’ (FOX news channel), and conspiracy theories delivered via ‘citizen news’ channels (Breitbart, social media channels, etc). By owning and scripting the messages, they purposefully confuse democratic socialism with dictatorships. They carefully craft public messaging to push the unaware, the inexperienced, apathetic, and the uninformed, to vote against their own interests and thereby install the servants of greed to high office where bureaucratic decisions are made. They disempower (through deregulation and under-funding) the watchdog agencies, (the IRS, FDA, et al) so their cheating can continue undetected, relieving them of accountability. Any democracy, any society, relies on accountability to sustain the common good. When that breaks down, civilization will soon follow.
I think we are at the end of an era. We have used our resources as if there were no end to them, and our species has over-populated and over-used our resources, critically degrading our environment. We now have come to realize that this era cannot, will not be able to, continue. It is simply not sustainable. Historically, every time an era reaches its end, it is exploited by the greedy until it implodes. We do not have to guess as to the trajectory; we simply need to look to history.
This is correctable. We simply do not have to accept complete collapse. There have been a number of times in history that we’ve teetered on this familiar edge. Reform changed the balance. It’s what always has changed it. We simply must recognize that the goal of the Republicans, extreme or moderate, is, and (since Reagan) has been, to create a structure by which the rich could continue to game the system and feed their greed.
We first need to accept the reality we’re in and fix the systems that are already here. To quote author Yuval Harari, “It’s not the fight we want, but it’s the fight we’re in.” The task in front of us is that we have to think about what we want and create bureaucracies to carry out those reforms. This is what Joe Biden is trying to do right now. His task is closer to that of Harry Truman, the 33rd president of the United States, who had to deal with the US as the sole world power after WWII when the majority of Americans wanted to retreat into isolation. Truman saw the very real need to form global bureaucracies that had more authority than the League of Nations in order to stop communist expansion by the USSR and China. The bureaucracies were formed to give power to European democracies, to create the United Nations and NATO and giving the United Nations bureaucracy power to deal with military events. NATO provided the military backbone which effectively stopped the advancement of the Soviet Union, and prevented the use of nuclear weapons.
Bureaucracies need to be large enough to solve the real problems at hand. The nature of 19th century bureaucracies was organized to be run by officials who have expertise within the overarching bureaucracies run by elected officials. Trump fired many of our seasoned bureaucrats and replaced them with party hacks. We need to restore our earlier system of experts who are NOT political appointees. If Trump is elected again and replaces the bureaucrats, we will plunge headlong into an oligarchy. I write more extensively about bureaucracies and why they are so important in my book Facing the Moment.
Most people don’t realize that democracies can be overthrown from within, which is how Germany elected Hitler and Russia elected Putin. Dictators create, and then promise, to solve crises. They get voters to vote out of fear and elect them through the democratic process. This is why democracy is in the balance today. We need more non-elected civil servants to balance authoritarian and corrupt elected officials. For the last 40 years (since Reagan) the GOP has systematically been reducing the bureaucracy in government under the pretext of reducing waste and unnecessary expense. In reality, the overall effect is to reduce and end government regulation on business and transform the US into an oligarchy.
When those in charge no longer function for the greater good and are in the game only to gain personal wealth, the bureaucracy is outdated and needs to be reformed. Let’s get this done.