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We Are Ruled by Consensus

07/02/2014
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Our Consensus Rulers

 

Author: Daniel Greenfield
Source: the Sultan Knish blog – 06.29.2014

Every society is ruled by a consensus. The consensus rarely comes from the bottom up. Usually it’s imposed from the top down.

The consensus is what the people running things believe. It’s their equivalent of common sense.

The United States is not run by the voters. It’s not run by the people. It’s run by a consensus. That consensus is what the elites think is true. That consensus is not exactly the same among Democrats and Republicans, but it does overlap in significant ways.

 

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The first point of the consensus is that bigger institutions are better because they are smarter. This isn’t limited just to government. It also encompasses the corporate world. And the merger of governments, corporations, academics and non-profits into one large conglomeration of consensus.

The movement of executives from the non-profit, to the political to the corporate spheres, in no particular order, is really how our society is run. Even when each group remains in its own sphere, they make interdependent decisions with companies and government institutions acting as executive leaders and treating non-profits and academics as the expert class.

Pull back and we’re run by a single giant corporation whose leadership is very complicated and competitive, but whose leaders come from a common culture and who call on the consensus for their ideas.

Using elections to shift that consensus is very difficult because at the top the consensus extends across both parties and much of the governing of the consensus is not subject to voter review.

You can elect Congressman Y to represent your interests. But the system isn’t run by Congressman Y. It is highly unlikely that Congressman Y will ever be president. Even if Congressman Y becomes a Senator, he will have to win over donors whose worldview is a product of the consensus. If he manages to make it to the Senate without accepting the consensus, his legislation, should any of it make it past the Consensus Senators, will then be dumped into a pile managed by Consensus regulators and Consensus Federal judges who will reject it if doesn’t meet the Consensus.

That’s the interdependency of the Consensus. It’s a single massive system made up of individuals who are diverse in demographics, but share the viewpoints of the Consensus or shut up about it.

Making the Consensus bigger has made American government and business extremely inefficient. It’s why we can’t seem to get anything done anymore and our only products that matter come from the occasional young visionary who challenges the system with a new company. But it also makes it very hard to beat.

The Consensus is constantly increasing in size. The growth impoverishes America, puts it deeper into debt and makes it less competitive. But it also makes the Consensus unchallengeable. The parasite is killing the host.

The second point though is that the Consensus is a parasite that thinks it is the host and that Americans are the parasite.

Maintaining the Consensus requires unhealthy doses of contempt for the people. The central article of the Consensus is that it can make life better by controlling people. It’s not an idea that can be sustained without believing that most people are basically inferior.

Considering that the Consensus does draw from an elite, Ivy League grads, aggressive businessmen and financial geniuses, it’s not extraordinary that its members would think this way. And yet the country’s Founders, who were also the elite, believed in crowdsourcing politics long before the existence of Wikipedia. Meanwhile today’s elite, heavily spiced by the Dot Com crowd, dismisses the idea of allowing the people to run their own lives.

The shift from Power to the People to Technocracy took place after the Constitution, otherwise our founding documents would look a good deal more like those of some Latin American banana republic that promises everything from government day care to weight loss health clinics. But Technocracy has been in the driver’s seat for most of the 20th Century.

The members of the Consensus extrapolate from their own leadership skills and success a chilling contempt for the ordinary person and a certainty that he can and should be manipulated. It never occurs to them to think otherwise. Their experiences with their voters and their employees only reinforces their certainty that the ordinary person is unfit.

The various layers of government bureaucracy, from the DMV clerk to the local cop, share this same certainty. The more regulations they have to learn, the more their jobs seem to be those of experts coping with the ignorant masses. They become natural members of the Consensus because they have to know ten thousand regulations to do their job and the irritating public doesn’t know any of them.

The expert class of the Consensus expands with each regulation and freedom contracts with each regulation.

The voter isn’t in charge of the expert class, because the expert class deems itself superior in knowledge and expertise. Voting becomes a ritual that the expert class finds irritating. And the number of expert classes are constantly growing. Unionized expert classes form powerful guilds immune to outside pressure. Academic expert classes control much of public life through ideas that are filtered down into public policy.

 

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The ordinary American is no longer in charge of anything, including his own life. He is an employee and client of the Consensus. The two terms are largely interchangeable in this context. He works for a vast paternalistic force which gives him money and takes his money, but manipulates the entire system around him so that he lives within a company store that encompasses everything from his grocery shopping to his health care.

This is Unamerican, some might say, but the Consensus is Unamerican.

The members of the Consensus are not nationalists. They are not patriots. They are too “smart” for that. To the extent that they celebrate America, it is not for its history or its people, but for its “ideals”. These ideals are, like regulations, existing apart from culture and capable of applying to anyone anywhere.

America can be “transplanted” anywhere was the firm belief of 20th century progressives. The Iraq War was only the latest reminder that it really cannot. But we’re still fighting nation building wars on the premise that any people anywhere can be turned into good citizens with a dose of the right ideals.

The Consensus isn’t for America. It’s for the world. It cares as much about Americans as it does about Guatemalans or Pakistanis. Its members vacation and live around the world and see themselves as human beings first and members of a people or a nation second. They have a “higher citizenship” in humanity. They will take what is good about America and apply it elsewhere.

What do they believe in? What are their ideals? They believe in efficiency. They believe in justice. They believe that everything can be constantly improved until it is perfected in a perpetual process of social evolution. They are not religious. Their religion is that of the factory floor. Their faith is in their own godhood as experts. They believe that man came from apes and that someone has to see to it that he behaves like a good ape, rather than a bad ape.

Their faith in their own efficiency is vastly misguided. Like their 20th century forebears, they love the taste of efficiency, the design and sensibility of it, but they pay little attention to how well it works. They will inefficiently spend vast amounts of time and effort to improve something by a fraction of a tick.

A kinder word for their obsessiveness would be control freaks.

Green Energy’s obsession with efficiency is largely this sort of madness in which vast amounts of effort are expended to save a fraction of the total of that effort. But the Consensus dislikes mess. It thought that landfills were messy and wasteful so it championed recycling and it made money from recycling without there being any actual need for it.

If the Consensus were a person, it would be the sort of man who would spent ten times as much on a device because of the pointless ad copy beneath it that appears to give it status and polish. Except that it’s really our money that the Consensus is spending.

The Consensus is liberal. The Republican and Democratic wings of the Consensus don’t differ on whether they are liberal, but how far to the left they are willing to go. They all agree on being socially liberal on gay rights, the right kind of drug use and abortion, while cracking down on obesity, smoking and the wrong kind of drug use.

The distinctions there are class signifiers and the Consensus is all about class.

Despite some of the anti-corporate talk, the Consensus is very much corporate. Its anti-corporate talk is invariably either empty populist rhetoric or a power play among members of the Consensus. The Consensus likes bright and shiny things. Its favorite companies are government subsidized or investor subsidized and make no actual money, but promise to make money someday.

The members of the Consensus look down on actual money as vulgar. They believe that money should be used for higher purposes. Even their successful businessmen are often dealers in intangibles. They rarely engage in anything as vulgar as making things. Instead they manipulate data, financial or personal, they provide services to companies you have heard of, even though you have never heard of their companies, they manipulate the economy and markets, and make fortunes. And they feel, often rightly, that their money is unearned and that everyone else should feel the same way.

They don’t think of themselves as Socialists. They think of the word as outmoded. An “Othering” label that is most likely to be used by Tea Party members or a Bircher. They may be Socialists, but they wouldn’t use the word. No more than a doctor would call himself a Bonesetter or a gay man would call himself a Sodomite.

 

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They see themselves as modern, sleek and efficient people who rely on expert knowledge to advance society. They don’t leaf through dusty copies of Marx and have never heard of Fourier. They accept the premises and most of the conclusions of Socialism without ever being aware of the origins of the theories they embrace. This is typical of the Consensus. It is unknowingly and unthinkingly left-wing.

The Consensus’ executives like to believe that they accept the “correct” conclusions. They are big on science and even bigger on pie charts. The policies that they like convince people to change their behavior for the better. Socialism to them sounds like radicals with awkward glasses screaming at people about agriculture. They don’t see themselves having anything in common with that nonsense.

Its executives dabble in politics without understanding the ideas behind their policies. They have nothing but blind spots and their greatest blind spot is believing that their superiority will prevent them from making mistakes and makes them better able to make decisions about people’s lives. It is this very certainty that has made them such excellent puppets of the left’s Consensus expert class.

The Consensus can only be beaten in a war of organizations and ideas. Like every other ruling class, it has to be challenged and exposed as an oppressive failure, membership in it has to be reduced to an abusive joke. An elite only falls to revolution or to national contempt. Most Americans already hold government in contempt, but they do not understand that what they hate about Washington D.C. is really the Consensus. What they find ridiculous about national waste and petty tyranny is really the policies of the Consensus.

What is wrong with America is the Consensus. The only way to fix it is to shatter the Consensus.

 

 

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