A Structural Analysis of the Deep State

Here’s an insightful analysis of how things work in America.

There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power.

It’s not a tin-foil hat conspiracy theory. It’s an insightful exposé of how government has been co-opted by avaricious groupthink.

My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an “establishment.” All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude.

It’s easy to see how the Deep State manifests itself in El Paso, even if it’s only El Paso government emulating the national model.

The universe of people who will critically examine the goings-on at the institutions they work for is always going to be a small one. As Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

It’s a long piece, but it’s worth a full read. We can’t solve the problem until we understand it.

(Read the whole article at BillMoyers.com)


  1. “The Deep State … is a hybrid of … the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury … All these agencies are coordinated by the Executive Office of the President ….

    The Deep State sounds a lot like the State State to me.

  2. I think that’s the point. The entrenched bureaucrats have become the government, and our elected officials are just window dressing.

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