Friday, July 12, 2019
The Deep State
The Deep State
Whilst each generation create their own identity and concepts, it is very difficult to change entrenched human attitudes and behaviour. The deep state as a concept is a relatively modern concept to describe the exercise of power by those who are not in front line politics. In his book “Deep State”, Mike Lofgren (ISBN 0525428348, 9780525428343) gives the modern version of this term in the USA.
According to Lofgren, today we look at the big social media and internet companies to understand the deep state. But this is nothing new, in 1961 President Dwight D. Eisenhower was warning the world about the “military–industrial complex” that will influence public policy for private vested interests. The operating key for us is “vested interests”.
However, there is a big problem with having an accurate insight into the deep state for the simple reason that the insiders of the deep state also control the information about the deep state. And if that was not enough, the deep state is not a single hydra creature but rather a disjointed grouping each with a vested interest that is unique to them. We can, therefore, understand the deep state not from the structure and constitution of some institution or group of people but rather from a similar behaviour pattern by some people based on the principle of vested interest.
A second issue that is relevant here is to attempt to disentangle the functions of the state: legitimate activities of the state, the wheeling and dealing people connected or working for the state get into to make things happen and, of course, the illegal and criminal activities.
When we cross the road, when the traffic lights turn green for us, make an appointment with the doctor, buy goods made in a different country, or make a telephone call all these things are part of the business of the state to make sure they happen. And a stable and democratic state will continue to function even if at the cutting edge of democracy (front line), that is the political government and parliament, things are unstable or unsettled. This is also not the deep state, but it is the function of a society where law and order and progress are the key to prosperity and justice. It is not that we cannot become rich and prosperous in Hobbes’s wild state, but rather it is not clear why someone should bother to wake up early in the morning to turn off the street lights. Contracts have no meaning in the wild state but also constitutions have no meaning when the legitimate state is over run by a criminal deep state.
The concept of deep state is not new and we’re not deprived for terminology. In Britain we are familiar with the idea of the “establishment” and even more common is the term “state within the state”. This makes our interest more difficult because we are dealing with an evolving “meme” that is evolving in a historical dimension, in language terms and behavioural activities.
For us a key issue is: how do we recognise the legitimate function of the state from the illegal activities of the deep state? By definition if we want to identify the illegal activities of the people involved in the deep state we have to go beyond the face value of the stories the illegal deep state actors disseminate through misinformation or by make information to access and process extremely difficult.
We have a saying that goes like this: if something is too good to be true, it probably it too good to be true. Meaning that if someone is intentionally or by accident offering you the bargain of the century there is probably something wrong with the item you are interested in. Politicians and members of the state are very common practitioners of this “promise”.
What matters for us is not so much to discover the empirical facts of the illegal activities of the deep state, but rather to identify the flaws and unusual thinking of the people trying to hide the illegal activities of the deep state. It is the job of investigative journalists and international prosecutions to discover the empirical facts, ours is to find the flaws in the thinking and language of the deep state.
The narrative today is that the west needs to exert pressure on Middle Eastern countries to protect their oil supplies to the world. Some might remember the oil crises of the 1973 oil crisis and how this created a hostile environment ever since between the Middle East and the West (ie the USA). Some have even argued that the US invaded Iraq for their oil. No doubt a malicious deep state would easily put forward this argument to arm the Middle East countries especially to arm allies and friendly governments. The illegal deep state would want allies to spend more money on arms than on social wealth creating activities such as education.
Remember our mission is to identify flaws in the logic (including of course inductive logic) and thinking of the illegal deep state. Now look at this headline from the CNN Business July 5, 2016 https://money.cnn.com/2016/07/05/investing/us-untapped-oil/index.html). This is where we come in as philosophers: why would a country with one of the highest oil reserves (264 billion barrels as per article) go to war with a country that has a reported 142 billion barrels of reserves (Iraq: Wikipedia)?: U.S. has more untapped oil than Saudi Arabia or Russia. (
Indeed the article does point out that countries do not necessarily report the real figures of their reserves, but this is not too relevant for us. What matters is that from basic economics when supply is much less than the demand the price goes up. Surly by having an oil rich region in constant chaos with uncertain oil supplies the price of oil of the other countries who also have reserves will go up. Incidentally, turmoil in the Middle East also influences the price of Russian oil reserves.
This looks like a plan maybe even a conspiracy, but we don’t even need to go there. An unstable Middle East directly benefits the “military–industrial complex” as mentioned above. What matters here is that whether by design or by correlation (think babies and storks during the nesting time of storks) the military complex is doing quite well with the developing and testing of new weapon system.
But there is another benefit from all this: the players at what I called the “cutting edge of democracy” that is politicians, are today in the USA very busy rejecting and playing down Climate Change. If we had to really tackle Climate Change all that money sitting in oil reserves would all of a sudden disappear.
Of course, I am not saying, as I said before, that there is some sort of concerted conspiracy. All I am saying is that once we investigate the logic and rhetoric of the state including the deep state, we can boost our view of applied political philosophy from black and white vision to 4k full colour vision.