The FBI, the State, and the Death of Peoples

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, the 19th-century German philosopher, is most famous for proclaiming the death of God.  He is less famous, perhaps, for proclaiming the death of peoples.  In the former instance, he was making a theological statement.  In the latter, he was making a political statement about the nature of the state.

Nietzsche made a sharp distinction between peoples and states.  The state is "the coldest of all cold monsters."  Peoples are what exists prior to states.  For Nietzsche, peoples and states are separate entities: "Somewhere there are still peoples, but not with us ... here there are states."

Nietzsche claimed that states are the biggest liars of all liars, and the biggest thieves of all thieves.  Whenever the state opens its mouth to speak, it lies.  And whatever the state has, it has stolen.

What made the state the biggest liar was the state's own claim to be identical with the people.  The state swallows up the people "chewing and re-chewing" them.

What made the state the biggest thief was that it stole the identity of the people.  Thus, for Nietzsche, the creation of the state is the death of peoples. 

Not only does the state swallow up the peoples, but like a giant whale, it swallows up God.  The state is not only the death of peoples; it is the death of God.

"Thus, the state roars: 'On earth there is nothing greater than I: it is I who am the regulating finger of God.'"

The French sociologist Jacques Ellul agreed with Nietzsche's definition of the state.  He also recognized something that many political philosophers fail to acknowledge, namely, that

"every modern state is totalitarian."  For Ellul, all states are totalitarian in the sense that they recognize "no limit either factual or legal."

This is the secret we all know, but we've been afraid to say it out loud: America is a totalitarian state by virtue of the fact that no other kind of state exits in the modern world.  All states are not equally totalitarian, but all states are by definition totalitarian.

However, as Ellul pointed out, the biggest threat to people today is not from the centralized state as such, but from "the omnipotence and omnipresence of [its] administration."  The FBI is a central part of the administration of the state, and armed with these godlike attributes it poses a serious threat to people from all walks of life.

At present, it's hard to see where the state leaves off on the one hand, and the FBI begins on the other.  The state and the Bureau have collapsed into each other and are no longer distinguishable from one another.

In essence, this means there is no governing authority over the FBI.  Presidents are powerless before them.  Congress is unable to exercise any real authority over them.  The courts are unable to judge them.  Other law enforcement agencies posses no power to oppose their jurisdiction.  The people can only bend their knees and bow their heads in front of their new masters.

Even the Department of Justice, of which the FBI is a part, is beholden to the Bureau by virtue of the fact that the feds know where all the bodies are buried, so to speak.  

Simply put, the FBI can do whatever it wants, to whomever it wants, whenever it wants, and no one at present can do anything about it.  The FBI has seemingly subsumed the state, and by doing so, it has become monstrously totalitarian.

Practically speaking, because of the FBI's enormous intelligence-gathering authority and ability, the agency's power is nearly carte blanche.  No one in the Justice Department, or any other branch of government, or any private citizen for that matter, can possibly know what information the FBI has on him.  This technical omniscience makes the FBI nearly omnipotent.

In sum, what Nietzsche said about the state is actually true of the FBI: on Earth, they are "the regulating finger of God."

It is precisely in relation to the FBI's technical omniscience that reform needs to take place.  If there is no reform, then the "death of peoples" is at hand, and all that will remain is the state.

As John Schindler points out, the FBI is one of the few agencies in the world that is responsible for both intelligence-gathering and federal law enforcement.  For most of our allies, intelligence-gathering is handled by one agency and law enforcement by another.  In other words, the people who spy on you should not be the same people who arrest you.  What's attractive about this solution is that it seems to be rather uncomplicated, and largely unopposed by anyone in the government or the private sector — except, maybe, for the FBI.

Jim Fitzgerald is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and a missionary in the Middle East and North Africa.  His articles have appeared in American Greatness, American Thinker,, and the Aquila Report.

Image via Pixabay.

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