What The Fuck, America? In Which Bannon Is Caught Monologuing

At the Conservative Political Action Conference this week all-around dickhead Steve Bannon got up and, like a Republic serial villain, told everyone his nefarious plan. He said that Trump’s most significant actions have been in “national security and sovereignty,” “economic nationalism,” and “deconstruction of the administrative state.” The first two are pretty standard knee-jerk so-called conservative, right-wing bullshit — tough on borders and illegal immigration, shoveling more money at the military, working out stupid nation-fucking trade deals, idiot tariffs, and industry subsidies, that kind of crap. Typical GOP stuff. But that last item — look more closely at that.

If you just consider “the administrative state” as an English phrase it seems pretty obvious and, again, standard Republican bullshit — let’s just diminish bureaucracy, reduce government services, a hand up not a hand-out, whatever. But if you dig a little deeper you find that phrase, like so much of the verbiage used by neo-Nazis and assholes, actually has a very specific meaning. It comes from the eponymous book written by Dwight Waldo in 1948 and the phrase refers, not in a general way to government bureaucracy, but to a certain way of considering the bureaucracy of a democratic government. Now I don’t know if Waldo had an opinion on whether a sprawling and complex bureaucracy is good or bad, but certainly he seemed to think that it was inevitable, if not necessary, and thus that discussing how we implement it and think about it is important.

The main thing I take away from this, however, is that a vast unelected bureaucracy under the executive branch is inevitable and absolutely necessary in a country larger than, say, Staten Island; and that that bureaucracy may, in action, be more or less democratic; but that that bureaucracy is the main bulwark against the corporate takeover of the government. Thus it has long been the main target against which corporate artillery has been trained. Once the administrative state has been deconstructed — a word I assume Bannon is using for its casual meaning apart from, say, Derrida — that means there are no impediments to the exercise of the power of corporations. Further, and more frightening to me, is the way that places the levers of power within direct reach of the executive branch: no more waiting for committees to draft detailed interpretations of law for the enforcement branches to apply; the President simply gives an order and enforcement agencies enforce. No nuance.

This is truly the iron fist of fascism. Bannon’s looking to transform the United States — to the extent it wasn’t already — into an immense engine fed upon the very land itself, driven to destroy everything, with its internal armies acting as an immune system to protect it from any of its own citizens not engaged in keeping the machine fed.