Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Battle of the Oligarchs: Trump v. Intelligence "Community" and Other Denizens of What He Thinks a Swamp

In his study of POLITICAL PARTIES (1911), Robert Michels noted an "Iron Law of Oligarchy": that organizations generally, even political parties dedicated to democracy, fall into a kind of not-necessarily-rich oligarchy of people who know how the organization works (well, and where, as the American saying goes, "the bodies are buried"). What can disrupt the "oligarchy" is the success of a popular movement under a charismatic Leader, which is why Michels ended up supporting Mussolini.
Okay, I don't even see much less feel Donald Trump's charisma, but Trumpism might be most usefully seen as desire to "drain the swamp" to destroy not the oligarchs of wealth but of elite knowledge and positions in powerful bureaucracies. Through this lens, much of what we've seen the last few days is the opening of a battle through the Everglades of Trump and allies against "the permanent government."
Either a nicely-placed figurative body-blow — a toe into the groin let's say — or a figurative shot across the bow was when the Republicans in Congress empowered members to try to cut the salaries of bureaucrats down to $1 per year. And from the other side may be leaks and reinvigorating (unproved) stories of Trump and associates acting badly in Russia, which minimally had the effect of Mr. Trump's admitting to being a "germaphobe" and apparently unaware that bacteria are ubiquitous on the inhabited Earth outside of the lava of active volcanoes (and at low levels in the blood and brains of healthy mammals — and pretty low in the urine of healthy people).
For ordinary politicians, taking on "the Intelligence Community" would just be stupid. For Trump, it may be part of the central task that may be a whole lot more negative than envisioned by those who use "disrupt" as an unambiguous positive and have called for radical change in a globalized, post-Enlightenment, (post)modern world. Like, Occupy Wall Street and such talk up radical change, but if you really want change from the roots and the world turned upside down, look to the Taliban and ISIS and the far, far Right. For those who just want the swamp drained of intellectual, professional, professorial, and Leftish political elites, who want some Iron Laws broken or melted down — Trump may be starting on that crusade.

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