Saturday, February 25, 2017


So what exactly is happening in the wonderful world of Washington?  At the current Conservative Political Action Conference Steve Bannon, Chief Advisor and member of the National Security Council, announced the "deconstruction" of the "administrative state."  What does he mean?

Bannon put it in practical terms: The cabinet members were picked not to manage and improve the function of the various agencies such as the EPA.  They were explicitly picked to dismantle and thus disengage the agencies from their intended functions.  This is not simply a matter of deregulation of constraints on business.  It is a matter of the destruction, not even the 'de-construction' of the public function of these agencies in the name of the interests of the people as a whole.

In the case of education, to decentralize education and return its control to the states and communities is one thing.  But to "de-construct" the purpose of the agency in the name of destroying public education is another.  To decentralize the EPA may however amount to the destruction of the function of the EPA in that communites or even states may not have the leverage or power to combat the negative effects of the big corporations.  

What, moreover, would it mean to de-construct the Justice Department?  What does it mean to deconstruct the intelligence agencies?  What does it mean to deconstruct defense?  Can these central functions be decentralized?

Obviously Bannon paints which such a big brush that he hasn't thought through what part of the "administrative state" he wants to "deconstruct."  He hasn't thought through the difference between dismantling the mission of such as the EPA and decentralizing the function.  Decentralization based upon the principal of subsidiarity, namely, "all that can be done at home should be done at home," would be a selective process if not specialized process of populist principle.  If the "administrative state" presumes to take over the cultural life of the communities/regions, then this needs to be decentralized and returned to the people.  But when decentralization is conceived as a wholesale deconstruction of the state, then this is simple governmental incompetence or a cover for more nefarious and idiosyncratic or selective "deconstructions" in the name of achieving certain political ends such as job creation, deregulation of corporate controls, re-writing trade relations, disenfranchising voters, etc.

Autocracy is not a vehicle of decentralizing deconstruction even if we did know what could and should be decentralized.  What the people need to think about is what they can and should take control of such as education, monitoring the quality of their environment, what's happening to their tax monies, the state of the democracy, etc.  They need to think about the democratizing function and the democratization of intelligence and character.  Business and corporations can't set the standards of the values of communities/regions.  We have to decide and secure how we want to live our lives qualitatively culturally.  Economic issues construed according to certain political ideologies can't drive the democratic discourse at the community level.  Yes, all politics is local politics.  The citizen is first a local citizen.  We can think globally and act locally.  But we also live locally.

The obscurantist rhetoric of the Trump circle can't be allowed to distract the people from the positive articulation of what quality of life we want.  What needs to be deconstructed is their sophistic misdirection away from what they are doing and what the big picture of Bannon's "Economic Nationalism" really means in terms of what they are really doing.  It is not clear that our present "globalism" is better or worse than this neo-economic nationalism especially in terms of job creation and national economic sovereignty.

Is this a hidden agenda of neo-fascism that we see happening here?  Is the battle with and over the Press a ruse or is it a feeler for what the Trumpists can get away with in securing autocratic control?  Will this new deconstructed State serve us or will we serve it?

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