Smashing the Oligarchy

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 December 7, 2017|
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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.

About the Author:

Mike Sabo

Mike Sabo is a Mt. Vernon Fellow of the Center for American Greatness and a recent graduate of the Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship at Hillsdale College. He and his wife live in Alexandria, Virginia.

  • Ming the Merciless

    Gotta do more than reducing university endowments. The problem is that Leftist control of the university system is self-perpetuating now. They control hiring and promotion; Leftists only hire and promote other Leftists. Definitely necessary to get rid of tenure, among other things. Make them ALL work on a yearly contract, and if they don’t produce useful, non-crazy work, they’re OUT.

  • As much as one might want to affirm the ‘common sense’ of the ‘common person’, that’s not how it works. The People make mistakes, sometime egregious ones, most often in following the ‘lead’ of the elite. What makes the decision-making of the common person better than that of the elite is that failure always, in the end, affects them adversely and they admit error and want to make correction. Such is not the case with the elite, who consistently insulate themselves from the adverse consequences of their decisions and never fully admit error. Their ‘reputation’ is worth more to them than actually doing the right thing. It’s not that the People are always right, only that when their not, they try to set things right.

    • Peonie

      You are exactly right. Admitting error and seeking to make amends and to learn from our mistakes is a maturational process. Without it, we remain as children.

  • Dansidea

    The infestation of attorneys into government have created this swamp – how many lawyers in the OMB vs accountants / business people for example? The only thing that sort of works in the federal government is the military which is overwhelming staffed with ….soldiers! The lawyers create this Byzantine labyrinth of regulation so that you have to have them to navigate anything. For example how can some lawyers and a judge in Hawaii overrule the powers supposedly invested in the President? AND how much federal money was spent on lawyers to get this all the way to the Supreme Court where basically they went into chambers, read the constitution and said, yeah he’s the president.

    • Doctor Bass Monkey

      Shakespeare had a remedy for that…

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  • Mark McPherson

    Well, first off, as an attorney, there are fewer elected politicians who are/were attorneys now than before. This had led to legislation of relatively lesser quality. Franken was not a lawyer. Paul Ryan is not a lawyer. Nancy Pelosi is not a lawyer. Trump is not a lawyer. Obama had the title but not the mindset. Neither Bush was a lawyer. Our regulatory state has been created by spineless Representatives and Senators. They pass the buck so they don’t have to make the hard decisions.

    I was born in 1965. My mother watched the Watergate hearings every day they were on, so I did too (one TV, black and white). The hearings captivated me and so I asked my mom, how those men got to Congress and on that investigative committee. She said “they are lawyers”. And from that moment on, I wanted to be a lawyer. And here I am. We are the answer, not the problem (Clinton excepted, but even Michael Jackson knew one bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole bunch).

    Judges are a problem. We need a way to remove those who so blatantly ignore the law. Good judges follow precedent even when they don’t want to, but note cases they believe a higher court should review to change the law. It’s called humility, and it’s in short supply these days.

    I think an obvious way to remove the oligarchy is to impose term limits on Congress. If you want to remove the Left’s influence via education, take away government provided student loans. If a university wants smart students, as the “upper crust” do, make them use private scholarships to get them. Or shut down. Or reduce their tuition, reducing their professors’ salaries. We don’t need this many college degrees. We need a more balanced mix of expertises such as mechanical. As a lawyer, I am impressed by those who can solve mechanical issues, and I gladly pay them their rate. I don’t have that expertise. Apparently it’s a God given talent, and I missed that bus.

    And by the way, Shakespeare wrote “kill all the lawyers” as a means to consolidating political control, not sharing it. We are-or should be-the gatekeepers of our Republic.

    • OkiefromMuskogee

      big difference between are and should be…… the real crux of the problem. Lawyers are no less prone to corruption and self-deception than the rest of us. I’d personally like to see more businessmen in charge, that actually have to budget, cut out dead wood, meet payroll and at least make government a break even proposition if not profitable (and I don’t mean cronyists who live off the government teat)……. and maybe hang anyone who calls themselves a “commun(ist)ity organizer”.

    • Adobe_Walls

      Term limiting elected politicians won’t solve this problem, at least not by itself. We’d do better to term limit the bureaucrats. After all it is they who truly rule us. As much as our founders would be appalled at career politicians they’d be even more shocked that we’ve allowed for the scope and power of the Fourth Branch.

  • ne14a1e

    What we need is accountability. Not in the over used vague sense but a true accounting of where our money has gone. If people can see how their money has been spent, the political corruption will be replaced by people experienced and smart about the public purse.

  • Peta Johnson

    The death tax needs to go. That is how these university endowments grow.