Actually it goes beyond mere scandal. A White House is 18 minutes of missing tape. Or, an intern in the Oval Office. It doesn’t involve the selling of firearms to gangsters to stimulate the murder of American and foreign citizens. Yet that was exactly what the Administration did.
The scandal is that nobody seems to care. For years now, Fast and Furious has been in the doghouse and not spoken of. Yet this was, to not be too exaggerative, treason. This was clearly aiding foreign enemies of the United States by the highest level of the government and committing acts of war with a foreign government. The sick thing is that the people in the Administration are only upset because they didn’t stimulate a run away body count to justify their crackdown. Apparently the drug gangs were smarter than the Administration. While a street war was what the Administration wanted, here in the US, the drug lords seemed to know that that may not be in their own best interest. Stirring up a war where the other side could squash them like a bug if they wanted to was an obvious bad long term living arrangement even for a Mexican drug lord. So they more or less put the guns away and just went on with business as usual, for the most part.
So there was no huge bloodbath in the streets of the US, which must have disappointed the Administration to no end. Followed by shortly after by the revelation of the whole program. Which demonstrated, what has become a repeating pattern with the Administration in all it’s foreign and domestic efforts. This has been an Administration with big dreams to “fundamentally transform” the country and total incompetence by highly credentialed people in their execution.
Program after program, the Administration has started out on their bold paths only to come a cropper with reality. This is a good thing. If the programs had actually gone as the Administration’s intent was, the body count would have been much higher and more local. As it is, things are bad enough. What the Administration is experiencing is what happens when top down planning meets the knowledge problem and real world realities. Things don’t end well.
What the Administration HAS managed to do is eat away at the bonds of trust that tie the country together. Trust that is necessary for a prosperous society and very hard to restore once it’s gone. As Richard Fernandez points out.
The loss of political faith imposes a cost to government. Ambitious men through the ages have made the mistake of imagining that power grows in proportion to the coercive force they possessed. In fact there is an inverse relationship between coercion and lasting authority. As Charles Lister of the Brookings Doha Center noted, the more armed groups, secret police and enforcers there were in Syria, the faster it fell apart. By contrast the power of the American political class was never more secure than when authority figures like Walter Cronkite and John Kennedy were implicitly trusted and obeyed.
States fail not from a lack of a police but from a surfeit of lies. Societies die from the loss of trust. Joel Kotkin of the Daily Beast believes that “the disconnect between the hoi polloi and the new bureaucratic master race has spawned a powerful blowback” the world round. “Support for the EU is at record low … the extreme discontent in America—epitomized by the xenophobic Trump campaign—reflects a similar opposition to bureaucratic overreach.”
It’s time to ask who we are and what we want. We need to ask ourselves if this the place that we all want to go? Because I’ve never seen a prosperous, successful and thriving low trust society. Yet that is what all the people aiming to “fundamentally transform” society say that they can give us.
What we are getting is a society where the government lies to us, tries to gaslight us further it’s agenda and uses overwhelming coercion for even the most trivial things. a government that cannot be trusted and trusts no one. A society whre the rule of law is being replaced with “I’m going to get mine.” A society where the only trust that exists is in the relationships and connections that one has.
The problem is that you can’t have a society that’s one big protection racket and all the various connect activities that a modern technological society needs. Consider just how much complexity is even in delivering the simplest of products and try to figure out the chains of control that it would take to deliver without the free actions of people who trust other people to get their jobs done even while they never meet. That’s why the servile state dreamed by the progressives can’t exist. And why the Progressives will always fail.