The administrative state and the deep state

We no longer live in a constitutional republic.  Congress routinely passes bills that violate the letter and the spirit of the Constitution, and judges boldly legislate from the bench instead of upholding the Constitution.

American progressives celebrate the new regime.  For them, it represents a victory over a political system they consciously reject.  Americans who do not identify as progressives display a range of attitudes about the situation we now find ourselves in as a nation.  Some are indifferent, some are resigned, some are uneasy, and others are deeply concerned or even alarmed.

But what most non-progressive Americans share is a lack of clarity about what has replaced the constitutional republic the Founders designed for us and how it came about.

How can that possibly be?  How can it be that America's governmental system has been overthrown and yet most Americans don't even understand what has replaced it?

Certainly the progressives' decision to replace the constitutional order little by little – progressively – and by means of the ballot box and the courts instead of suddenly made it possible.  Also, the progressives very wisely were careful to conceal from the voters what they were up to.  They were only "modernizing government for modern times" or "expanding our rights."  They even made the brilliant decision to change their name from "progressives" to "liberals" when Americans began to realize what progressivism actually meant.  Woodrow Wilson had been too blatant, you see, in his open scorn for the Constitution.  The progressives learned from Wilson's mistake.

However, the progressives' incremental process could not have worked without a truly fundamental change.  For the progressive project to succeed, Americans had to lose the American Idea.  If Americans retained a strong understanding of their constitutional republic, they would eventually recognize – and understand – what was being done and what was being taken from them.  Consequently, the point of the spear for the progressive project had to be education.  Educators at every level had to be brought around to the progressive vision.  (That is the explanation for the readily observable fact that progressivism and political correctness are most radically evident at America's universities.)  If the progressives were going to succeed in their project of replacing the constitutional republic, Americans had to forget the American Idea.

And so that was accomplished.

Today, as the result of the 100-year-long progressive project, we live under a new system of government.  The constitutional republic has been replaced by the administrative state.  The administrative state cannot be found anywhere in the Constitution.  In fact, the progressives designed it to get around the checks and balances and safeguards of the Constitution.  Consequently, it has grown until it dominates every aspect of American life.

The administrative state is, or at least has been until this election, beyond the reach of the voters.  Corruption and folly and waste practically define the Departments of Education and Energy, the EPA, and the rest of the vast realm of the bureaucrats.  Yet the administrative state grows with each passing year.  The bureaucrats are insulated from the voters.  Enormous scandals that even the ever complicit press cannot ignore do not result in prison time or even firings.

If the American voters are no longer sovereign, who is? 

The new sovereign is the deep state.  The administrative state answers to the deep state.  Some of the members of the deep state are high up in the bureaucracy.  Some members even hold elective office.  Many members are not at any particular time even employed by the government.  Together, they run the show as the people who run for office come and go.

Donald Trump's election has driven this reality out from the shadows and into the light of day.  The deep state and its administrative apparatus are in open revolt against Trump, making it perfectly clear to everyone that the actual regime no longer considers itself obliged to work for the constitutionally elected government.  Instead, the real regime has arrogated to itself the power to accept or not to accept the results of an election.

The permanent regime the progressives built was thrilled by Obama's election; it rejects the election of Donald Trump.  It will go to any lengths to obstruct him and to bring him down.

Robert Curry is the author of Common Sense Nation: Unlocking the Forgotten Power of the American Idea from Encounter Books.  You can preview the book here

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