At CPAC on Thursday, Steve Bannon — Donald Trump’s likely shadow president — announced the purpose behind Donald Trump’s nominations of appointees with clear conflicts of interest with their particular agencies. As reported by Salon, the reason is to deconstruct “the administrative state.” Of course, the purpose isn’t to deconstruct the state entirely – Trump has made a huge distinction between national security-related federal employees and other federal employees in his decision to place a hiring freeze on federal agencies earlier this year, according to Defense News. According to Politico, even his massive infrastructure bill amounts to little more than giving free money to contractors for creating new private infrastructure they will then charge us to use. The horrible idea is likened to plans put forth by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton which Trump originally criticized.
If you want to understand the plans for the future, you don’t want to ask Donald Trump whose knowledge is probably, at best, hazy, but to Steve Bannon who has had the most influence over the President. Trump said his skill wasn’t in doing the actual work, but in finding the best people to run things – it seems he mistakenly thinks that Bannon is the right person to design the overall plan for America. So, when Bannon gives such raw explanation of why Trump nominated billionaires with direct conflicts of interest with the government agencies they are set to run, it is something we need to pay attention to.
Of note, the goal is not to dismantle the state itself, but rather the “administrative state.” The security state: the military, ICE, DHS, FBI, and other law enforcement agencies and intelligence agencies, would not be dismantled, but based upon previous statements from Trump would likely be strengthened and bloated. The administrative state could be said to be the part of the state which is there to make life better, rather than protect from an outside threat. It would be our social programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, subsidized housing, small business loans, and veteran’s benefits as well as those agencies that attempt to regulate businesses and minimize the damage to individuals in areas such as the environment, labor laws, and consumer protections.
In short, you could say that what Steve Bannon and Donald Trump seek to remove are the chains around the beast of capitalism. Modern regulations go back to the Progressive era at the beginning of the twentieth century with child labor laws, workplace safety laws, and anti-trust legislation. They were strengthened in the New Deal by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in his attempt to chain the beast of capitalism to save it and to harness its power. Then, over time, first conservatives and then neoliberals weakened those chains, loosened them, to the benefit of the wealthy. Finally, Donald Trump seeks to unleash the beast in its full power in a way that could only destroy the American people if unchecked.
Oddly, Kishimoto Masashi’s series Naruto suddenly seems to be on par with Jules Verne in the accidental prediction game as the tailed beasts are forces of mass destruction which the hidden villages chained away inside jinchuriki to harness their power constructively in their view have become a perfect metaphor for the Keynesian regulations upon capitalism and the devastation that results from weakening or even breaking those bonds. [see the featured image]
Apparently, Donald Trump is nostalgic of the Gilded Age where gangs of Pinkertons went around killing labor leaders and beating up those who dared try to unionize, where children worked in mines instead of attending school, and sometimes you ate human flesh in your hot dogs as workers fell into vats. Corporations ran entire towns where you were completely beholden to their interests, working when they wanted you to, and buying all of your sustenance directly from them. These were times when your average American was effectively a slave, free to leave in theory alone.
In essence, Donald Trump — based on Bannon’s statement — is looking to create a police state on one hand and remove everything else about government. The plan is to enslave Americans to corporations, the new unruled rulers. In such a setup, the police state would be used to keep workers in line, keep them following orders and being productive with no protections for themselves. This is the quality of life of the third world. These corporations will provide us the basest of existences and will be free to dump toxic waste in our backyards — should we have any, as they will own them. That is what the beast of capitalism has provided before and what it will provide again if unchained completely from its restraints.
Your average American does not want to go back to a time when they were at the mercy of the beast of capitalism, mainstream Democrats and Republicans don’t want to loosen the chains quite to the point where your average American decides it’s time to slay the beast and hold a revolution, but Steve Bannon and Donald Trump want to remove the restraints from what I can only imagine Trump calling the most powerful, most luxurious, most awesome economic force the world has ever seen.
Americans are sure to turn against the beast, but it is certainly unclear whether we shall see their discontent in the ballot box or in popular action before then. Things are going to get interesting. You have to wonder if Donald Trump even understands the blueprints Steve Bannon has laid out for America and which he is allowing him to bring to fruition.