US poll: 74% believe in ‘deep state’

What is ‘deep state’? In the US, according to Wikipedia:

In the United States, the term “deep state“, describes a form of cabal that coordinates efforts by government employees to influence state policy without regard for democratically elected leadership.

Deep state was defined in 2014 by Mike Lofgren, a former Republican U.S. congressional aide, as “a hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process.”

In The Concealment of the State, professor Jason Royce Lindsey argues that even without a conspiratorial agenda, the term deep state is useful for understanding aspects of the national security establishment in developed countries, with emphasis on the United States. Lindsey writes that the deep state draws power from the national security and intelligence communities, a realm where secrecy is a source of power.

Alfred W. McCoy states that the increase in the power of the U.S. intelligence community since the September 11 attacks “has built a fourth branch of the U.S. government” that is “in many ways autonomous from the executive, and increasingly so.”

Probably a better question would be what degree of ‘deep state’ exists in the US (and in New Zealand).

Monmouth University Polling Institute: Public Troubled by ‘Deep State’

A majority of the American public believe that the U.S. government engages in widespread monitoring of its own citizens and worry that the U.S. government could be invading their own privacy. The Monmouth University Poll also finds a large bipartisan majority who feel that national policy is being manipulated or directed by a “Deep State” of unelected government officials. Americans of color on the center and left and NRA members on the right are among those most worried about the reach of government prying into average citizens’ lives.

As it stands right now, do you think that unelected or appointed officials in the federal government have too much influence in determining federal policy or is there the right balance of influence between elected and unelected officials?

  • Unelected or appointed officials have too much influence 60%
  • Right balance of influence between elected and unelected officials 26%
  • Don’t know 14%

Are you very familiar, somewhat familiar, or not familiar with the term Deep State as it applies to the federal government?

  • Very familiar 13%
  • Somewhat familiar 24%
  • Not familiar 63%

The term Deep State refers to the possible existence of a group of unelected government and military officials who secretly manipulate or direct national policy. Do you think this type of Deep State in the federal government definitely exists, probably exists, probably does not exist, or definitely does not exist?

  • Definitely exists 27%
  • Probably exists 47%
  • Total definitely/probably exists 74%
  • Probably does not exist 16%
  • Definitely does not exist 5%
  • Don’t know 5%

I would question whether there is ‘a cabal’ rather than different groups of people within government or the military who try to influence policy.

There are also many groups outside of US government trying to influence policy (like lobbying groups and companies), as well as all the politicians of course. So it’s a complex of competing interests.


I very much doubt that any group within the New Zealand military has any influence or attempt at influence beyond promoting their own military interests (which is what they should do).

I also doubt that there is a cabal inside our public service.

Definitions of cabal:

  • a secret political clique or faction
  • a small group of people who plan secretly to take action, especially political action
  • the contrived schemes of a group of persons secretly united in a plot (as to overturn a government); also : a group engaged in such schemes

I’m sure there are some public servants, and possibly groups of public servants, who try to influence policies, effectively in secret. But I doubt there is a secret group plotting to overturn the government.

To an extent it is the job of government advisers to advise the Government what to do, that is, influence policies.

The biggest problem here is secrecy – that withholding of information provided to our elected representatives from the public. This is more a problem with government MPs trying to keep advice to them secret, but they may be advised to do that by unelected officials.

Here in New Zealand the obvious antidote to secret manipulation or advice is transparency. So making the Official Information Act work as intended is important.

And this is a topical problem here, and not just with national government. From RNZ yesterday: Questions over tardy release of Auckland Council report:

Auckland Council senior executives stalled the release of a major report, for political convenience in a possible breach of official information law.

The study on the impact of moving the imported car trade away from Auckland was withheld from RNZ by the council for five months, and released only after intervention by the Ombudsman’s office.

The problem here isn’t a cabal trying to secretly run or take over the Government, but we do have problems with public servants generally in collusion with elected representatives try to manipulate public opinion and hide information from the public.

This isn’t ‘deep state’, but it is a significant concern.

 

12 Comments

  1. High Flying Duck

     /  March 20, 2018

    The deep state has existed for milenia. It was brutally exposed in the portrayal of Humphrey in Yes Minister.
    Public servants would be horrified if the country was run by elected politicians.

    • Gezza

       /  March 20, 2018

      Keep it real please, H. Plus, you’re stealing Al’s lines.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  March 20, 2018

        Come off it, Sir Gerald. You’ve given us master classes in how the bureaucracy educates its Ministers.

        • Gezza

           /  March 20, 2018

          Minister’s blunt warning to ‘irresponsible’ Air NZ
          Striding towards Air NZ’s regional affairs manager, Ian Collier, Jones said ”terminal” was a fitting word for the warning he was about to deliver.

          ”Don’t keep closing down regional air links. And take that message to your supervisors.”
          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12015743

          Poppycock, Sir Alan. That’s not public servants, is it?

          • Gezza

             /  March 20, 2018

            Bugger. Only the headline should’ve been bold, Sir Alan.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  March 20, 2018

            Wait till Treasury educates Jones.

  2. MaureenW

     /  March 20, 2018

    The circus that the US has become since Trump was elected is a pretty good indicator of an agenda that is not the Presidents agenda, so whose agenda is it?
    Open borders, never-ending wars, and the transfer of taxpayer money to the military industrial complex and the elite.

  3. Blazer

     /  March 20, 2018

    Nationals black ops is a symptom of ‘deep state ‘.Spy legislation introduced by honkey tonks enables ..it.

  4. PDB

     /  March 20, 2018

    A bit of Auckland Council ‘black-ops’ under Phil Goff emerged recently here with email correspondence confirming a cover up of relevant information that didn’t fit Goffs/Winston’s narrative over the moving of the port during the November election…

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/352800/questions-over-tardy-release-of-auckland-council-report

    “Auckland Council senior executives stalled the release of a major report, for political convenience in a possible breach of official information law.”

    “The study on the impact of moving the imported car trade away from Auckland was withheld from RNZ by the council for five months, and released only after intervention by the Ombudsman’s office.”

    “Mr Goff criticised the report’s approach and panned the finding that the cost and losses from moving the car trade could outweigh the benefit by about $1 billion.
    Email exchanges between senior council executive, the mayor’s office and ACIL from August to December reveal the council’s approach to not releasing the report.”

    “Assuming we will have to release it at some stage, it might be better to plan for a managed release.” “If (RNZ’s Todd Niall) objects, his only recourse is to appeal to the Ombudsman, and that process will take time, and may be overtaken by the planned release.”

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  March 20, 2018

      Cynical obstruction that deserves punishment.

    • 2Tru

       /  March 20, 2018

      My goodness, the Left do it as well!!!!

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