(51) Conspiracy with and without conspirators (4 April 2017)

     The term ‘Deep State’ has entered established parrot journalism, where it joins ‘the one percent’, the other notion ascended from the internet ‘underground’. You can tell by the way it is now mocked in mainstream publications. I first noticed when one of those informed its readers that it lurked somewhere in the remote internet corners given over to conspiracy theory. And now, quite suddenly, there is a mini avalanche of pieces explaining for example why such a thing may exist in Turkey (where the term was first used) or Egypt, but not the United States where all manner of protections guard against it. David Remnick’s article in the New Yorker reflects considerable confusion in parrot journalism ranks about what to do with this concept that has forced itself on America’s consciousness through the combined maneuvers of state and non-state institutions intending to get rid of the new president.
     Two authors had come with books and articles using the deep state abstraction before all this: the meticulous Canadian scholar and former diplomat Peter Dale Scott and much more recently Mike Lofgren, who for more than a quarter century served as a staff member on the Senate and House Budget committees. Their credentials and seriousness are beyond doubt, but their deep states are not the same. Scott digs into what he calls ‘deep politics’ of a criminal nature, like the Kennedy murder and 9-11, while Lofgren assures us early on that the deep state does not add up to a conspiracy. In fact long passages in the Lofgren book, subtitled The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government, made me feel as if I was reading my own The Enigma of Japanese Power trying to explain a phenomenon for which I coined the label ‘conspiracy without conspirators’.