Middle management in hell

On occasion, one looks back through history — unless one has gone to school over the past decade and, therefore, has no idea what history is — and asks, "How could they have done that?"

How could a nation as clearheaded, if persnickety, as Germany have rallied around the abomination of Hitler?  How could the monsters of distant and recent past convince their fellow humans to do what they did to their other fellow humans?

Dictators may dictate, but there must be others to carry out the orders, even if they do so unwillingly (though, no matter what they say afterward, few were actually unwilling at the time).

That willingness — would we do that? — is at the heart of the personal aspect of the question.  And, if we can gauge what we see around our culture today, the answer for that is not only yes, but an excited yes, an enthralled yes, an intentional yes, a blinding yes.

It is the yes of the woke state, the yes of cancel culture, the yes of censorship, of keeping power, of getting power, of desperately trying to win the approval of those in power so you get to be in the club.

And the loudest yes is coming from the people who will one day — or currently do — make up the vast middle management of the malevolence machine.

Take, for example, the bureaucracy of torture.  Short of choosing random people to drag into the woods to beat to death, the practice of torture has levels of complexity that must be attended to by office drones.  There is, to paraphrase Hannah Arendt, a certain banality to evil, an easy willingness to dissociate from a true understanding of the end results of one's seemingly mundane actions.

Now the "woke state" bureaucracy is following the same path, though today's fetid functionaries seem more willing, more intent, more glassy-eyed committed to the end results than a mere railway clerk scheduling timetables for death camp trains.

The woke state cohort currently in power absolutely believe that they are doing what is best — that, because they are on the right side of history, history, if it is ever done again, will judge them positively.

The long-time embedded member of that woke state may better understand that manipulative lies are just that but justify their actions by telling themselves they must be doing the right thing because they have a summer house and have been promoted countless times; the newer ones, fresh from school but truly unschooled, see their societal control as a force for good for everyone, and if they happen to get a good job with decent benefits for doing it, then all the better.

And it is the middle where the most damage can be done — exploding numbers of education administrators, never-ending assistant deputies and vice presidents, mushrooming human resources departments, the creation of an entire industry — Diversity, Inclusion, Equity — to recreate the cudgel of racism and corrupted law enforcement and the security state and foundations and non-governmental organizations and the social economy and media flacks and the billions and billions of dollars funneled into the system to feed the beast, all intertwining to service a power structure intent on enshrining its future in amber.

The people doing these jobs today are the same people who were attorneys at Stalin's show trials, copying basement confessions in triplicate, and going home with a glow from the knowledge that they did their job well that day.

The woke state claims everything it is doing is to protect, purify, preserve, perpetuate, and promote that which society truly needs and desires and that the rest of us must have faith that is true.

We have all seen where that fetid and foolish faith led to in the past — the outcome will be not at all different this time.

Thomas Buckley is the former mayor of Lake Elsinore, Cal. and a former newspaper reporter.  He is currently the operator of a small communications and planning consultancy and can be reached directly at planbuckley@gmail.com.  You can read more of his work at  https://thomas699.substack.com.

Image via Flickr, public domain.

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