Smashing the Oligarchy

Need more proof that a corrupt oligarchy rules America? Look no further than the forced retirement of John Conyers, who sat in Congress for more than half a century.

Due to the increasing volume of sexual assault allegations against him—the newest one involves Conyers’ fondling of a woman during a church service 10 years ago—he announced he would be leaving the People’s House immediately.

Here is where the Monty Python aspect of the story creeps in. To keep the family dynasty going he endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to occupy the seat he’s vacating.

If Conyers’ son wins the election next year, he will fit right in to the family history of corruption and scandal. Mrs. Conyers was sentenced to 37 months in jail for bribery and was recently fired from a radio gig after trying to charge exorbitant rates on her employer’s account.

Conyers III, meanwhile, misused taxpayer funds on a Cadillac Escalade, which the elder Conyers later reimbursed, and has a well-documented history on social media of drinking under age. Moreover, earlier this year he was arrested but not ultimately charged with domestic violence against his then-girlfriend.

Without realizing this endorsement was in the offing, Conyers’ great nephew, Ian Conyers, a member of the Michigan State Senate, said earlier that he wouldn’t run again for the state seat, thinking he would have an easy path to being the next representative of the 13th congressional district.

As elections pundit Larry Sabato has observed, “House seats are hereditary peerages nowadays.” George P. Bush, call your office.

But it’s even worse than Sabato imagines. If Trump hadn’t won in 2016, from 1989 to 2021 either a Bush or a Clinton would have held the presidency for 24 of those intervening 32 years. And the Supreme Court’s Ivy-League bigotry, which Justice Clarence Thomas has pointed out for decades, helps to cement the bias against opinions that contravene the oligarchs’ consensus.

In his masterful 2016 essay, “Donald Trump and the American Crisis,” John Marini noted that our society is overseen by an increasingly small group of politicians, media pundits, and professional elites who are defined not so much by wealth as they are by a shared knowledge and similar background in schooling and networks of influence. Our modern oligarchs understand “their offices in terms of global and administrative rule, rather than political rule on behalf of the American people and the sovereignty of the American nation.” This explains their penchant for increasing low skilled immigration, shifting the economy towards financialization and away from production, and trusting transnational bodies rather than sovereign nations.

The entrenched bureaucracy of the administrative state and the intelligence bureaucracy is the oligarchs’ personal Praetorian Guard. Robert Mueller’s “investigation,” which is a pretext ultimately to remove Trump from office, shows that any perceived threat must be isolated, attacked, and destroyed. Rather than uncovering “collusion” between Trump’s campaign team and Russia, however, the moral rot at the center of the intelligence bureaucracy has been exposed.

We’ve learned that Peter Strzok, a top FBI official who served on Mueller’s investigatory team, was removed over the summer for sending anti-Trump texts to a colleague, with whom he was also having an affair. Strzok also changed James Comey’s description of Hillary’s email scandal from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.” This change is significant because under federal law, penalties can be assessed when an individual’s actions are described as “grossly negligent.” And this is the same man to whom Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills lied during their interviews without being charged for any crime—unlike Michael Flynn.

Reactions to this news on the Right confirm how the oligarchy has stayed in power so long.

What does it say that a member of the supposed opposition only now understands that the bureaucracy isn’t populated by neutral experts just looking out for the little guy? Fecklessness, thy name is David French.

In order to defeat the oligarchy, we need to bust their monopoly on education. The Left began their take over of American culture and politics by hijacking the universities more than 100 years ago. Enacting a 1.4 percent tax on universities whose endowments exceed $250,000 per student is a prudent step in the right direction (though the rate should be much higher than that). By limiting their money, we can limit their power.

And we also have to counter the influence of the expert class that helps prop up the oligarchy. Contra Mr. Expertise himself, Tom Nichols, it’s not expertise that has died but the connection between consent and the supposed “wisdom” of our elites. For an oligarchy who believe that a woman can be trapped inside a man’s body and has overseen an endless string of disasters both foreign and domestic, the people’s rebellion in 2016 itself was a species of moderation and expertise rightly understood. In properly understanding the circumstances, the common man displayed more expertise than the self-styled experts.

The common sense of the people must replace the pseudo-wisdom that has governed us for so long. No longer should we bow down to our oligarchs once they leave office, calling them Mr. Speaker or Governor long after they’ve cashed in for cushy day jobs and have houses on Marco Island and the Hamptons.

It’s time to push our oligarchs off their pedestals and return control of the government back to the ones to whom it was originally entrusted: the people.

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