Codevilla: The U.S. oligarchy has taken power by force

by WorldTribune Staff, January 22, 2021

“Russians and East Germans under Communists Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker in the 1970s lived under less ruling class pressure than do today’s Americans. And their rulers were smart enough not to insult them, their country, or their race,” Angelo Codevilla noted in a Jan. 19 op-ed for American Greatness.

As Americans enter the year 2021 they are seeing “laws, customs, and habits” that have defined the U.S. since the 18th century becoming “things of the past,” Codevilla wrote.

“Americans’ movements and interactions are under strictures for which no one ever voted. Government disarticulated society by penalizing ordinary social intercourse and precluding the rise of spontaneous opinion therefrom. Together with corporate America, it smothers minds through the mass and social media with relentless, pervasive, identical, and ever-evolving directives. In that way, these oligarchs have proclaimed themselves the arbiters of truth, entitled and obliged to censor whoever disagrees with them as systemically racist, adepts of conspiracy theories.”

In 2021, “a class of rulers draws their right to rule from self-declared experts’ claims of infallibility that dwarf baroque kings’ pretensions,” Codevilla wrote. “In that self-referential sense, the United States of America is now a classic oligarchy.”

That oligarchy, Codevilla noted, intends “to relegate conservative America to society’s servile sidelines. The oligarchy’s members drew a clear, sharp line between themselves and that America. By telling conservative Americans ‘these institutions and corporations, are ours, not yours,’ they freed conservative America of moral obligations toward them and themselves. By abandoning conservative America, they oblige conservative America to abandon them and seek its own way.”

Oligarchy, Codevilla noted, “had long been growing within America’s republican forms. The 2016 election posed the choice of whether its rise should consolidate, or not. Consolidation was very much “in the cards.” But how that election and its aftermath led to the fast, thorough, revolution of American life depended on how Donald Trump acted as the catalyst who clarified, energized, and empowered our burgeoning oligarchy’s peculiarities. These, along with the manner in which the oligarchy seized power between November 2016 and November 2020, ensure that its reign will be ruinous and likely short. The prospect that the republic’s way of life may thrive among those who wish it to depends on the manner in which they manage the civil conflict that is now inevitable.”

In 2008, “as Barack Obama was running against Hillary Clinton and John McCain — far cries from Trump — he pointed to those Americans who ‘cling to God and guns’ as the problem’s root. Clinton’s 2016 remark that Trump’s supporters were ‘a basket of deplorables,’ — racists, sexists, homophobes, etc. — merely voiced what had long been the oligarchy’s consensus judgment of most Americans. For them, pushing these Americans as far away as possible from the levers of power, treating them as less than citizens, had already come to define justice and right.”

By 2017, Codevilla noted, “the oligarchy’s disparate members had already set aside laws, truth, etc. in opposition to Trump. The realization that the presidency’s awesome powers now rested in his hands fostered a full-court-press #Resistance.”

The Trump resistance movement “rallied every part of the ruling class to mutually supporting efforts,” Codevilla wrote. “Nothing encourages, amplifies, or seemingly justifies extreme sentiments as does being part of a unanimous chorus, a crowd, a mob — especially when all can be sure they are acting safely, gratuitously. Success supercharges them. #TheResistance fostered the sense in the ruling class’ members that they are more right, more superior, and more entitled than they had ever imagined. It made millions of people feel bigger and better about themselves than they ever had.”

Codevilla continued: “Ruling-class judges sustained every bureaucratic act of opposition to the Trump Administration. Thousands of identical voices in major media echoed every charge, every insinuation, non-stop and unquestioned. #TheResistance made it ruling-class policy that Trump’s and his voters’ racism and a host of other wrongdoing made them, personally, illegitimate. In any confrontation, the ruling class deemed these presumed white supremacists in the wrong, systemically. By 2018, the ruling class had effectively placed the ‘deplorables’ outside the protection of the laws. By 2020, they could be fired for a trifle, set upon in the streets, prosecuted on suspicion of bad attitudes, and even for defending themselves.

“The oligarchy that seized power in America between 2016 and 2020 is engaged in a never-ending seizure of ever more power and the infliction of ever more punishment—in a war against the people without imaginable end. Clearly, that is contrary to what the Wall Street magnates or the corps of bureaucrats or the university administrators or senior professors want. But that is what the people want who wield the ‘intersectional’ passions that put the oligarchy in power.

“As the oligarchy’s every part, every organ, raged against everything Trump, it made itself less attractive to the public even as Trump’s various encouragements of economic activity were contributing to palpable increases in prosperity. Hence, by 2019’s end, Trump was likely to win re-election.”

Then came the coronavirus.

“Because the power to crush the general population’s resistance to itself is the oligarchy’s single-minded focus, it was able to bend fears of covid to that purpose. Thus, it gathered more power with more consequences than the oligarchs could have imagined,” Codevilla wrote.

“The oligarchy’s division of all activity into ‘essential’ — meaning permitted — and ‘nonessential’ — to be throttled at will — had less obvious but more destructive effects,” Codevilla wrote. “Private clubs, as well as any and all gatherings of more than five or 10 people, were banned. Churches were forbidden to have worship services or to continue social activities. The ‘social distancing’ and mask mandates enforced in public buildings and stores, and often on the streets, made it well-nigh impossible for people to communicate casually. Thus, was that part of American society that the oligarchy did not control directly disarticulated, and its members left alone to face unaccountable powers on which they had to depend.”

Meanwhile, Codevilla noted, “the media became the oligarchy’s public relations department. Very much including ordinary commercial advertising, it hammered home the oligarchy’s line that covid restrictions are good, even cool. These restrictions reduced the ideas available to the American people to what the mass media purveyed and the social media allowed.”

Codevilla continued: “The oligarchy’s proximate objective, preventing the 2020 presidential election from validating the previous one’s results, overrode all others. The powers it had seized under covid’s cover, added to the plethora that it had exercised since the 2016 campaign’s beginning, had surely cowered some opposition. But as November 2020 loomed, no one could be sure how much it also had energized.

“Few people were happy to be locked down. It was a safe bet that not a few were unhappy at being called systemically racist. The oligarchy, its powers notwithstanding, could not be sure how people would vote. That is why it acted to take the presidential election’s outcome out of the hands of those who would cast the votes and to place it as much as possible in the hands of its members who would count the votes.

“Winning the 2020 election had been the objective behind which the oligarchy had coalesced during the previous five years. In 2021, waging socio-political war on the rest of America is what the oligarchy is all about.”

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