The “Deep State” is Nothing New

Many commentators on the “deep state” that has been working tooth and nail to sabotage Trump and his administration act as though it is a new phenomenon.  It is not.  As long as there has been a federal bureaucracy there has been a deep state.  This is because every government bureaucrat is always and everywhere a conniver/manipulator/propagandist/lobbyist for the growth of government, especially his or her part of it, and a fight-to-the-death opponent of even any talk of tax cuts, spending restraint, constitutionalism, or anything else that would slow the growth of the Leviathan state.  We’re not just talking about the CIA and he FIB, but ALL federal bureaucracies. They have ALL been doing everything imaginable to sabotage Trump since, although he has greatly expanded government in general, he has also reduced regulations and cut a few taxes.  That is to the federal bureaucracy what sunlight is to a vampire.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s famous 1961 warning about the “military/industrial complex” was a warning against the machinations of the deep state of his day.  The “deep state” was also on display during the Reagan administration.  That motivated Milton Friedman to write a book entitled The Tyranny of the Status Quo.  The theme of the book by the Republican Party economist was that Reagan had only 6-9 months to achieve what he wanted to achieve during his second term because the deep state of his day (Friedman did not actually use that phrase) would quickly coalesce to sabotage him and his administration, and indeed it did.

I recommend Bureaucracy by Ludwig von Mises; The Politics of Bureaucracy by Gordon Tullock; Inside Bureaucracy by Anthony Downs; A Disquisition on Government by John C. Calhoun; and Murray Rothbard’s online essay, “Anatomy of the State,” for a little light reading on the subject.



4:52 pm on March 20, 2018