It goes by different names, like “the deep state” and “the administrative state,” all of which are monikers for the entrenched column within the federal government that rules completely insulated from the will and consent of the American people.
We see elements of this sort of thing throughout all three branches of our government, and especially within our vast federal bureaucracy, but where did this administrative state come from? How does it operate? Why is it so entrenched? And if decades of conservative attempts to curb its influence have failed, what can really be done?
In his new book, “Rediscovering Americanism and the Tyranny of Progressivism,” Conservative Review Editor-in-Chief Mark Levin examines the real history and nature of the tyranny of the administrative state.
This tyranny, Levin explains, is the result of progressivism, through and through. Through a long, concerted effort to replace the ideals and framework of our founding with imported philosophies of collectivist central control, progressives have sought to supplant a government by consent with one by a professional governing class, which the author calls the “philosopher-kings.”
But to fully understand the true nature of the deep state, one has to understand what it opposes. In Levin’s telling, this professional governing class has slowly usurped the power of the people and undermined their liberty by subverting civil society – the vital and voluntary human ecosystem of individuals, families, and communities external to the government and necessary for a free society.
“The civil society predates the constitutional order,” Levin writes. “Its subjugation and transformation by a voracious and an unappeasable administrative state is the true object of the progressive ideologue.”
“But the purpose of a constitution, or at least the American constitution,” the author continues, “is to secure politically the human harmony within the civil society so that individual liberty, equal justice, and the civil order may be nurtured and maintained.”
What the legion of bureaucrats in the administrative state do, however, is take over the vital roles that civil society plays and replace them with top-down, centrally planned government control – all in the name of utopian progress.
After all, the thinking goes, aren’t things better run by experts? But there are clear and apparent problems with this sort of thinking.
“The issues surrounding the centralized administrative state are endless,” Levin writes. “The progressives and their philosopher-kings, who have debated among themselves for decades and even centuries about the best forms of paradisiacal rule, give scant coherent or practical direction.”
“The fact is,” he concludes, citing the works of economist F. A. Hayek and others, “that the progressives are no more capable of organizing a complex society than a complex society is capable of being organized.”
But still, the centralizing efforts press forward – or at least don’t ever seem to go away – and what Levin refers to as our “post-constitutional situation” remains just as entrenched as the bureaucracy that was put in place to create it … for now.