Of all the domestic challenges America faces in government, the administrative state stands preeminent, not only in its size and scope, but in the threat it poses to liberty as such a formidable, fundamentally tyrannical institution. James Madison might as well have been describing the administrative state in Federalist 47, when he wrote: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
A new book, “Unmasking the Administrative State: The Crisis of American Politics in the Twenty-First Century,” by professors John Marini and Ken Masugi, explores the sprawling federal bureaucracy’s philosophical origins, chronicles its evolution, and provides a compelling argument that the Trump administration is attempting to curtail it.
Marini and Masugi have played an outsized but underappreciated role in American political thought, focusing on the theory and practice of the mammoth, ever-ballooning, arguably unconstitutional––and certainly anti-constitutional––bureaucratic morass of which “Unmasking the Administrative State” serves an essential part.
The administrative state is the living, breathing manifestation of progressivism’s “long march” through the institutions. It is, in effect, a fourth branch of government that usurps and combines the powers of the others, leading them to collude in the scheme, in the process corroding themselves.
It consists of hundreds of thousands of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats promulgating millions of pages worth of rules and regulations (read: laws), who––no matter how technically competent and virtuous the drafters might be––represent an affront to republican government and freedom itself. At a micro level, it creates the perverse circumstance in which an individual might find him- or herself up against a single agency playing legislator, regulator, judge, jury, and executioner all at once.
In short, the administrative state unmoors the state from the people it exists to represent. In its place, we get a government in which powers are unlawfully delegated from the legislative branch to executive agencies, checks and balances collapse, separated powers become blurred, and fundamental principles of justice are shunted aside.
……President Donald Trump is not the primary subject of this book, but he is our nation’s unlikely preeminent administrative state unmasker. In spite of, or perhaps because of, his focus on practicality over philosophy, and his elevation of the forgotten man over the reflexively progressive political establishment during the 2016 presidential campaign, he set out to deconstruct the administrative state. While the elites mocked and derided him, they also apparently took his threat to the privileges and prerogatives conferred upon them by the administrative state regime more seriously than they did the threat of any of his predecessors.
It was not just that President Trump sought to deregulate, or prescribe a set of policies anathema to our bureaucracy. Trump was deemed an existential threat to the power and prestige of our betters. The result has been an unprecedented backlash that has brought the dangers of an out-of-control bureaucracy into stark relief. In seeking to deconstruct the administrative state, the administrative state has sought to deconstruct his administration and, with it, a restoration of a modicum of constitutional rule.
There has been much sabotage, from rogue justices issuing dubious universal injunctions on even more dubious grounds, to subordinates in federal agencies and up to cabinet-level officials literally refusing to do their jobs, pulling documents from the president’s desk, leaking the most sensitive of communications, and writing missives undermining the president supposedly to “protect the country”––the nearly 63 million people who voted for him be damned.
But in no area has the resistance been stronger than in the Deep State––the intelligence community and law enforcement realm––which is a particularly chilling development because it is the stuff of police states and banana republics. The politicization and weaponization of bureaucracies that exist to protect American life and limb is disastrous on every level.
……Here is just a small sampling of the Deep State’s chicanery: Spying and siccing informants on the Trump campaign; perpetrating a fraud on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court in service of the former; illegal leaks on the most sensitive of subjects on top of all manner of additional lawless and unethical behavior; the creation of a seemingly omnipotent special counsel comprised almost uniformly of haters of the primary investigative target, in violation of Justice Department rules and based primarily on (i) salacious and unverified political opposition research collected from a foreign source who himself collected its most sordid elements from other adversary foreign sources disseminated generously throughout the Deep State, (ii) the firing of a president’s subordinate blessed by the Justice Department, and (iii) the president’s policy decisions.
The Deep State has become a branch within a branch. It is one thing for Congress to delegate power to executive agencies. It is another for those agencies to dominate the executive. The special counsel holds power above a duly elected president. More than two years into what appears to be a conspiracy to propagate the narrative of a Russia collusion conspiracy, it increasingly seems to be claiming scalps to justify its existence. And one cannot question the special counsel or declassify documents that might illustrate its illegitimacy because to do so would be to obstruct it. Quite an insurance policy.
The reality: There is no evidence of underlying treasonous Trump-Russia collusion. No matter. The administrative state continues its work in defense of itself and against the president under whose prosecutorial discretion it ultimately serves. The goal is not just to punish Trump, but to criminalize Trumpism and, with it, anyone who would dare deign to deconstruct the administrative state.
Trump threatens the Swamp status quo and the ingrained business-as-usual bullshit in D.C. He’s successful, exuberant, brash, confident, and thinks outside the box. President Trump is reversing the damage Barky Obama did to this country and has accomplished more positive improvements to the economy, foreign policy, and national security in his term in office than all the previous White House occupants since Ronald Reagan.
The leftwing Deep State really didn’t believe Trump would win the election. As an ‘insurance policy‘ during the campaign, the FBI, James Comey, the Hillary campaign, a reprobate former MI6 agent, and the Obama regime all had a hand in producing and paying for a lurid, fabricated dossier which was then used to secure a warrant from the FISA court under fraudulent claims, to spy on the Trump campaign.
Obama weaponized government agencies. to subvert and disrupt the election process.
Bottom line: The investigation was a conspiracy to oust a duly elected President on baseless grounds.
The Deep State is a shadow government comprised of malfeasants in the FBI, CIA, and DOJ, as well as Obama holdovers and ‘never-Trumpers‘ in the cabinet, who subvert the law and Constitution in an attempt at a coup d’état.