The Deep Establishment

In the title of his recent Adults in the Room: My Battle with the European and American Deep Establishment (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2017) former Greek foreign minister Yanis Varoufakis introduces this phrase:

The Deep Establishment.

I like it! The phrase, that is.

To my mind, The Deep Establishment is magnitudes better than The Deep State.

The latter implies something I stopped believing years ago: that the state is the locus of power in the contemporary world order (or disorder, if you prefer). The state being government, of course (what else could it be?). Government is just political classes — elected officials and appointees — and divisions of administrative underlings doing their bidding. While most at the top may be scoundrels, some (many?) of the underlings are decent people, even if misled. Most will never rise in the governmental system because of their fundamental decency. That alone is a commentary on our times.

Unless the political classes and their divisions of underlings have found a way to become self-financing, though, they are not independent and able to craft and implement autonomous decisions that matter (e.g., whether or not to go to war, and against whom; what higher level policies to pursue regarding, e.g., health care, etc.).

The Deep Establishment includes the political classes and many divisions of administration, for sure, especially those involved with the military in one way or another. In the U.S., that would include the Pentagon, Homeland Security, the CIA, the NSA, other security-focused entities, and probably groups we outsiders aren’t going to know about.

It also includes — obviously — central banks such as the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank (Varoufakis’s nemesis). It includes the Bank for International Settlements, based in Basel, Switzerland.

It includes investment goliaths like Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street denizens, whose British equivalents are housed in the City of London, home to N.M. Rothschild & Sons and the London Stock Exchange, and in Europe, “private” banks such as Deutsche Bank in Germany.

The Deep Establishment includes other corporations, especially those involved with energy production and distribution (e.g., Exxon), as an advanced civilization cannot be run without energy. It may include the largest corporations in the multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry, also known as Big Pharma, in the business of producing a “medicated” public. Big Insurance and Big Food are also likely tied in, the latter responsible for all the obesity-inducing processed foods laden with high fructose corn syrup that fill the shelves of the average grocery store, as well as factory farming which artificially fattens animals with hormones that also find their way into our food and into the water table.

The Deep Establishment includes, obviously, the United Nations and organizations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and so on. When the former came about, its founders and members clearly saw it as a voice of emerging world government. It has not become that (Agenda 21 type efforts notwithstanding). From a Deep Establishment retrospective standpoint, this can be blamed on the world body’s high visibility. Most peoples of the world are nationalists in some sense of that term. Patriots, that is. Their first loyalties are to their own. We see this in France now. This is human nature. Hence the moves towards subtlety and quiet networking towards consolidation of institutions we began to see decades ago.

Close-proximity satellites of the Deep Establishment doubtless include consolidated mainstream media. Since corporate Democrat Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, over 90 percent of mainstream news media in the West have consolidated into six corporate leviathans able to own multiple kinds of media as well as own a multitude of other corporate interests — despite the obvious potential for conflicts of interest of all sorts. (For example, if a corporate leviathan has ownership over both nuclear power facilities and major media outlets, are its upper echelons going to retain a news editor or broadcaster who is vocal about his belief that there are long term problems with nuclear power plants?)  Within this category of mass media in the broad sense are the big New York publishing houses, able to support writers who opine properly. Most if not all major publishing houses are now owned by larger megaconglomerates, after all.

Surely we would want to include as Deep Establishment entities “think tanks” such as those old standbys, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group, and other semi-secret organizations, as never far from its apex of influence. We would also want to include tax-exempt foundations such as Rockefeller, Ford, and now Gates, and entities such as the Carnegie Corporation and its various divisions.

Finally, the Deep Establishment surely includes key universities such as Harvard and the other Ivies. The conclusions presented by anointed authorities at the pinnacles of the various disciplines in such institutions, lavishly funded with massive endowment systems, are the conclusions of (e.g.) Settled Science, Settled History, and so on. I do not think every discipline, every department, every administration, in such institutions, is somehow controlled by puppet masters pulling the strings. Just key individuals, able to dispense authoritative opinions in crucial media at crucial times. The rest will go along, and the majority of academic footsoldiers in lower tier colleges and universities around the country will follow suit. If dissidents from Settled points of view in the sciences, social sciences, etc., are hired at all, it will be to lower-tier institutions (e.g., “community colleges”) and their work, assuming they have time to do it amidst enormous teaching loads, and usually published by small, insignificant presses, will be ignored.

Public education more broadly has been a scene of Deep Establishment activity all along. Its purpose, since the last turn of the century, has been to turn out not educated participants in “democracy” but obedient employees and (once the IRS was created) loyal and unquestioning taxpayers. As mass consumption society developed, the masses’ willingness to respond to incentives was noticed, and studies on how to use incentives to steer them in desired directions was heavily bankrolled by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations. The above-mentioned Carnegie Corporation has been heavily involved in steering public education down specific avenues, especially toward a vocationalist model that de-emphasized liberal arts learning that encourages students to think as persons. The marketplace, of course, rewards the former, not the latter.

There were, of course, youth who saw through the charade, at least in part (they spoke obliquely of, e.g., “capitalism” but rarely could they identify the major players). They rose very slowly during the 1950s and even more during the 1960s, especially in opposing a war the Deep Establishment wanted badly (Vietnam). They weren’t well focused, and they allowed themselves to be distracted by the sexual revolution, the “hippie” culture, drugs, and so on.

They were nevertheless strong enough to stop the war effort as if by sheer force of will, making it economically unfeasible for the powers-that-be to continue fighting it. These people were therefore very dangerous, and their influence was spreading from academia. Something had to be done, and it was.

To make a long story short: the Powell Memo was circulated in the early 1970s throughout big business and government; colleges and universities were defunded; what had been a healthy academic job market collapsed. All this occurred during the disastrous 1970s. Education at all levels has been in a downward spiral ever since. The pseudo-Marxism of identity politics has been allowed free reign in otherwise corporatized institutions following the neoliberal “business model.” Thinking disciplines such as philosophy, comparative literature, and history, are therefore in free fall. Aspiring faculty have been relegated to “adjunct” status (part-time teaching, frequently on multiple campuses, for starvation wages, and no promise of advancement).

This will ensure the long-term demise of these disciplines.

This, then, is the Deep Establishment: central banking and financial centers able to use money and its flow to control national economies and, through them, the world’s economy as a whole; governments who pass laws and whose policing and military divisions enforce them with weapons against unwilling populations when they cannot administer them peacefully on willing populations; major media of all kinds that control the flow of information which, today, would include technology and social media corporations (Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, etc.); and the core institutions of academia able to perpetuate positions in, e.g., the sciences, social sciences, or in history.

The Deep Establishment tries to avoid using direct, physical force. Its divisions and minions clearly prefer subterfuge and incentives of various sorts, simply because these are more effective. Their court economists realized eons ago that most people respond to incentives and follow paths of least resistance through life. Most people never step out of their comfort zones. All that needs to be done is make these paths easy and reinforcing: personally rewarding to follow, at least somewhat, even as they lead their followers deeper into servitude. Open coercion is therefore rarely a first resort.

What sense would it make to coerce people into buying unhealthy food laden with preservatives, etc., when food corporations can pepper them with mildly addictive flavor enhancers to keep the masses consuming “voluntarily”?

There are a multitude of additional questions we could ask about the Deep Establishment? Where did it come from? Why did it arise? Did it arise through “conspiracies,” that is, or is there something systemic in an advancing capitalist civilization that empowers different elites from those landed aristocrats and feudal lords that dominated the preceding order, and from there, gives rise to a Deep Establishment?

Who are its upper echelons denizens? Are we able to name names? (We have named a few, for those paying attention.)

What do they want? What are they willing to do, i.e., what policies are they willing to implement to obtain what they want?

In some cases, the answers to these are easy. Those in the notorious One Percent (which, in our time, has become the 0.0001%) have more money than they could conceivably spend in a hundred lifetimes. It makes no sense to say money is their primary motivation, therefore.

What they want is power. Domination. Control. Over economies, over populations.

Even if they are unfamiliar with Plato’s phrase philosopher-kings, they believe themselves most fit to rule. They have, in their minds, with Karl Marx, dethroned God and destroyed capitalism (though not in the sense Marx meant, and we are not allowed to say so).

What they can’t control, they will attempt to destroy. Witness the U.S. middle class, which rose to financial independence in the 1960s and gave rise to the cohort describe above, that publicly derailed a war effort.

Unless we are supposed to believe that the concatenation of trade deals, laws, regulations aimed at small business, etc., combined with the debauching of the currency and the financialization of the economy that began in those disastrous 1970s, are all just unlucky accidents by congenital incompetents.

I submit that the Deep Establishmentarians have known all along exactly what they were doing.

But is there direct evidence for any of this? Or is this Lost Generation Philosopher just spewing “fake news” on his own unvetted site.

The full scope of how the Deep Establishment arose, and what its denizens are willing to do to gain and maintain power, obviously goes light years beyond what a blog post of this length can accomplish. But there’s plenty of material available on the subject. Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World In Our Time (1966) is the classic text, but admittedly it is a bit hefty. But if one can still locate a copy, W. Cleon Skousen’s The Naked Capitalist (1970) provides a short summary of that work’s key sections and observations. Other short works deal with specific divisions of the Deep Establishment. William Norman Griggs’s America’s Engineered Decline (2004) describes just that, with detailed references, charts, graphs, the whole nine yards — again, if you can find one as these sorts of books have a way of not staying in print. There is, of course, that old standby, G. Edward Griffin’s The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve (1994).

Occasionally the Deep Establishmentarians themselves have spoken openly of what they believe and what kind of world they want. Again, Quigley was someone close to them and their instruments, as he says himself, and the fact that the first edition of his book appears to have been suppressed (allowed to go out of print despite thousands of back orders) surely helps corroborate this notion, however indirectly. Two other revealing examples are Zbigniew Brzezinsky’s Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era (1970) which uses the term globalism openly for what its author considered the next highest stage of civilization, and David Rockefeller Sr.’s Memoirs (2002) in which he openly concedes to have conspired with others around the world to produce a more integrated global system (pp. 404-05).

Among the things to look for are works that have been systematically suppressed: “privished” is the term I have seen used. Published, but then given the silent treatment, on top of being printed in such small quantities that copies are unavailable unless you have hundreds or even thousands of dollars to spend. The best recent example of such a book is Udo Ulfkotte’s Journalists for Hire: How the CIA Buys the News (2016). At the moment of this writing Amazon has one copy available. Cost: $900.00.

As the Internet rose in the late 1990s, it became a gold mine of information, allowing alternatives to Deep Establishment official narratives to surface and be read by anyone with a computer and an Internet connection. By the 2000s this was millions of people! The free flow of information from uncensored news sites was becoming a bigger threat than anything that happened in the 1960s. Arguably, the Deep Establishment goofed, letting the Internet get away from them, simply assuming that the superior resources of major corporate media would ensure its retention of dominance. The election of Donald Trump in 2016 changed all that, along with evidence of a rising populism that extended beyond mere politics with challenges to expertism generally.

Thus we saw the beginnings of a counterattack with the references to fake news, Russian propaganda, etc. Google and Facebook began to change their algorithms. We also saw worried defenses of the status quo, often with extensive history or efforts to place it within the bounds of our supposed “post-fact” or “post-truth” moment (e.g., this and this).

What we know is that traffic to alternative news and commentary sites dropped dramatically in 2017, and has continued to drop in 2018. (If my email was any indication, my own readership on sites like plummeted.)

Over the past two years, disseminating the truth has grown more difficult. What has grown more difficult is being noticed, given especially Google’s algorithms, notorious for ratcheting down “conspiracy theories” and other ilk of that sort.

Franklin Foer has recently documented the rise of the technology leviathans — Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. — and how their upper echelons have transformed the Internet into just one more instrument of control, by controlling information. See his World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech (2017).

Some Liberty-minded folks believe cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are the answer, by relying on platforms (blockchain technology) for free transactions outside the Deep Establishment’s banking and financial systems. I am frankly skeptical, not of the possibilities of such transactions taking place, but of their anonymity and hence their long-term sustainability, not to mention their volatility (for those using them to speculate). The origins of blockchain technology are shrouded in mystery; the technology itself is designed to record every transaction on its ledgers, suggesting that claims of anonymity are deceptive. Moreover, organizations such as the IMF themselves are now pushing the blockchain. I suspect a Trojan Horse. But again the matter requires a longer discussion than I can supply here.

Brandon Smith, however, has some useful thoughts on IMF plans for crypto and how it ties in with Deep Establishment goals.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Always remember that what sounds too good to be true in this world, usually is.

This blog affirms the reality of truth, which is what it is, whatever “theory” of truth one prefers. This includes the truth about the Deep Establishment, how we know it exists, and why Deep Establishment is a better term to use than Deep State.

The more the truth is suppressed, the more it will find ways to manifest itself indirectly, because actions taken and policies based on false premises always have a way of leading to bad consequences.

About Steven Yates

I have a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Georgia and teach Critical Thinking (mostly in English) at Universidad Nacionale Andrés Bello in Santiago, Chile. I moved here in 2012 from South Carolina. My most recent book is entitled Four Cardinal Errors: Reasons for the Decline of the American Republic (2011). I am the author of an earlier book, around two dozen articles & reviews, & still more articles on commentary sites on the Web. I live in Santiago with my wife Gisela & two spoiled cats, Bo & Princesa.
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