It’s Saturday evening as I write this, right after watching one of the most mesmerizing hours of TV I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s a particularly brilliant episode of LIFE, LIBERTY & LEVIN that explains why we in America are becoming less and less free, no matter who we vote for. Why our society is moving more and more to the left, no matter who we vote for. Why the central “authority” keeps growing bigger, stronger and more pervasive no matter who we vote for.
Everything clicks. It all makes sense.
Mark Levin’s guest was his friend of 25 years, Prof. John Marini of the University of Nevada, Reno; Senior Fellow, Claremont Institute; and author of the new book “UNMASKING THE ADMINISTRATIVE STATE: The Crisis of American Politics in the Twenty-First Century.” The show I saw on Saturday must have been a re-broadcast of the one that ran last Sunday on FOX News, which I inexplicably (and inexcusably!) missed.
Anyway, on to the administrative state, or what we call “the swamp.” Marini defines this as something much more pervasive than just the bureaucracy. One particular threat is that it possesses the kind of authority that allows politicians to defer to it, to delegate, so they don’t have to make the kind of political decisions that they, as legislators, are supposed to be making. Public deliberation is no longer a part of the legislative process; it’s mostly done behind closed doors. Congress has abdicated its role, he says, and the so-called “specialized bodies” (the “experts”) have taken over the authority to make rules. “It’s a terrible thing for a democracy,” he says.
This happens at every level --- federal, state and local. (As someone who has tried to fight City Hall, I know that’s true.) Administrators are, in effect, making the laws we live under.
Marini explains that, typically, the people who end up in these bureaucracies are those who are university-trained, as nearly every specialized area of knowledge is utilized by government because it has taken on the decision-making in more and more areas. All areas of science are utilized in the exercise of that authority, from the hard sciences, to social and behavioral sciences, and especially in certain specialized areas such as political science and public policy. (I would also include the “sciences” that deserve quotation marks around them, such as climate “science.”) Importantly, these are areas that have been taken over by the “progressive” ideology.
Thus, the bureaucracy is an extension of universities and colleges. And since we know the kind of leftist indoctrination going on at universities and colleges, that is a really scary thought. One visit to a typical college campus should give us a pretty good idea of what the government bureaucracy is becoming. These are the people who are running things. God help us.
What about Constitutional authority for this? As Marini points out, “There is absolutely no authority for the ‘administrative realm’ in the Constitution. Every authority that is in the Constitution is a political authority.” That’s not the way these bureaucrats derive their authority.
Please, watch the whole hour of this interview. It will stun you with its clarity. It’s not just that Prof. Marini has figured all this out; it’s that he’s able to explain it perfectly without being too-too professorial. So see it and share it, and in the meantime, I’d like to leave you with some of my favorite quotes from the interview:
“There’s no question that this is all part of the progressive legacy, [which] was to establish, really, a modern administrative or ‘rational’ state. And that meant, of course, that the problems of society would be solved by ‘expert’ knowledge, not social institutions. It’s meant, really, to replace civil society...and, in a certain way, that goes --- that extends all the way down almost to the family.”
(Speaking of these so-called experts who have advanced degrees, etc...) “Those are credentials that give them the authority for that; that is not the same as knowledge.” (I’m reminded of the Scarecrow being given a diploma in THE WIZARD OF OZ; that piece of paper would have qualified him to be a governing authority.)
(After the government started spending on “health, education and welfare”...) “That changed the nature of how it is that Congressmen could look at spending. Before, you always had Congressmen that were concerned about too much spending...But once you could connect dollars to votes, after the 50s...[mostly after the ‘64 election of LBJ]...there you saw a fundamental transformation of the institution. Congress reorganized itself in 1970. It started expanding its staff. It ceased dealing with the big questions of lawmaking and started acting like little executives –- every office was its own executive oversight body of some part of the executive branch bureaucracy.”
NOTE: I would say, just look at what we’ve got going on RIGHT NOW, with Congress not doing its primary job at all, ignoring numerous crises and wasting time conducting its own “witch hunt” in the name of oversight. Now, back to the professor...
“The government works perfectly well for organized interests...If you went to Washington before 1964, you would have found no real lobbying in Washington by any of the interests, because [under] the federal system --- the states still regulated. If you were a business that worked in California, you lobbied Sacramento...When you centralize administration, there’s only one place you need to lobby.”
“Once you establish ‘rational’ rule (rule by the ‘experts’) over political rule, the more you expand government...you’re expanding bureaucratic rule. The real problem of our time is we don’t have the ability for people to participate in their own political rule, as citizens. I mean, it’s gotten so difficult that citizens don’t even know that they’re a part of a country.”
NOTE: I would say that this is entirely deliberate on the part of the “progressives” who are running things now.
“You cannot reconcile ‘rational’ rule and political rule. “Everything is treated uniformly, by a formula...that purports to have some kind of expert knowledge behind it. The problem with that is that you turn that kind of decision-making over to people who are unaccountable.”
“[This state of affairs] makes it very difficult for people to live...free lives as individuals, as social citizens, in other words, in civil society institutions –- churches, all kinds of associations that are non-governmental. Those kinds of associations have been co-opted, really.”
“The perks that are derived from delegating power to a bureaucracy is to relieve them [Congress] from responsibility and accountability.”
(Speaking of Trump…) “I said [from the first], this guy is a danger...to the whole of the Washington establishment, of all stripes. [It’s] partly because he’s not an academic, he’s not an ‘intellectual,’ he doesn’t have ‘expertise’ in those areas where you define success abstractly [the way government defines it]...For somebody like Trump, you measure success by the outcome –- by whether this WORKS or doesn’t work. And that’s not the way Washington has worked...”
(About Trump…) “I don’t know him at all, but I like what he’s doing...I thought from the beginning, if he does what it looked like he was doing, he would be the first person to be political since Reagan –- ‘political’ in the sense of trying to get people to participate in their own government, not the people who are in the [ruling] class that participate. What we have right now is, Americans are spectators to politics.”
“When he [Trump] looks at politics from the point of view of a citizen, from the point of what the common good, the public good is, [he sees] –- and I think he’s right in thinking this –- that so many in Washington refuse to take the interest of the country first.”
“He did not even run in the way all candidates have been running the last 30 or 40 years, by breaking down the electorate into selective groups. He ran trying to get everyone to vote for him. And yet they try to portray him as if he was dividing, whereas he’s the first modern President who’s trying to unite the country.”
Is this not brilliant? He puts into words why Trump supporters voted for him and will vote for him again (you mean, it’s NOT because we’re white supremacists??) and why the country really needs him now if we’re going to avoid devolving into a total authoritarian bureaucracy. The show goes on to examine what the Trump phenomenon is doing to the bureaucracy we currently have –- and to the media –- and why they want him OUT. I just had to bring this to you, and I hope you watch the entire interview with Prof Marini.