During the interwar period, the increased sophistication of industrial economies led to the replacement of the original capitalist class that led the Industrial Revolution by the managerial class. The particulars as to how these class revolutions came about varied from country to county, but in terms of class power the result was the same in each.
As aptly explained in George Orwell’s 1984:
“The new aristocracy was made up for the most part of bureaucrats, scientists, technicians, trade-union organizers, publicity experts, sociologists, teachers, journalists, and professional politicians. These people, whose origins lay in the salaried middle class and the upper grades of the working class, had been shaped and brought together by the barren world of monopoly industry and centralized government. As compared with their opposite numbers in past ages, they were less avaricious, less tempted by luxury, hungrier for pure power, and, above all, more conscious of what they were doing and more intent on crushing opposition. This last difference was cardinal. By comparison with that existing today, all the tyrannies of the past were half-hearted and inefficient. The ruling groups were always infected to some extent by liberal ideas, and were content to leave loose ends everywhere, to regard only the overt act and to be uninterested in what their subjects were thinking. Even the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages was tolerant by modern standards.”
This fundamental change in the class nature of governments occurred not only in the what were called the totalitarian states, but also the Western democracies. As those class interests became more entrenched, the state institutions became more and more structured around them. This applied not only to established political parties and the elected officials that represented them, but just as much to the appointed bureaucracies, the judiciary, academia, and the press.
Since those in these positions tended to retain them, regardless of the outcome of elections, they could wield political influence that was unaccountable to popular vote. This influence was most readily apparent in the judiciary, from the time of the Warren court onward, to invalidate laws and political initiative that the managerial class opposed. Until recently, the press had managed to manipulate public opinion to prevent existential challenges from materializing. In the fateful year of 2016, however, two shockwaves appeared that the establishment could not ignore – Brexit and the election of Trump to the presidency.
It is one of history’s great ironies that the grip of the technocracy began to slip precisely where it seemed to be most firmly entrenched. However, years of relentless campaigning on the issue of EU membership by UKIP, and to a lesser extent, the BNP, compelled Prime Minister David Cameron to promise a referendum on the matter if he were elected. The polls were predicting another hung Parliament and a continuation of the Conservative Party’s coalition with the strongly pro-EU Liberal Democrats, which would never have agreed to such a referendum. Cameron, however, became a victim of his own success. The Conservatives over-performed the polls and won an absolute majority. He was left without an excuse to keep his promise. No matter, he never expected the British people would actually vote to leave…
The British political class did not take results well at all. They began to articulate an open contempt for public opinion not seen in the country since Victorian times. Westminster’s half-hearted negotiating and Brussels’ refusal to compromise, have after over three years failed to produce a deal, and because Parliament refuses to leave without one, Brexit has been postponed multiple times. With the anti-Brexit MPs expelled from the Conservative Party, and yesterday’s parliamentary elections securing the Tories an absolute majority, there seems to be little means of stopping Brexit now. But the cat is out of the bag. The technocrats are naked, and have exposed themselves for who they are.
Across the Atlantic, in the belly of the technocratic beast, the results proved even more dramatic. We all remember the public reaction of the prominent media personalities in the United States after the results of the last presidential election. The thousands taking to the streets, even rioting, to protest – the election results. There was talk of his impeachment before the President was even inaugurated. It was not simply a matter of Trump being in the White House – the results of the elections were unacceptable and a systematic effort was undertaken to delegitimize them.
As a result, Trump’s presidency was hamstrung from the beginning. He faced an uncooperative Congress and a hostile federal judiciary, but those are challenges have been faced by many presidents before him. What is unprecedented is a federal bureaucracy, or “deep state” determined to sabotage his policies at every turn, often simply disregarding his directives.
The efforts to remove Trump from office, starting with the Mueller investigation and culminating in the current impeachment hearings, are indicative of growing discontent with the ruling managerial class. That the President is up for reelection next year does not matter, possibly owing to a lack of confidence in the ability to defeat him at the polls, but as last time, Trump’s reelection does not seem to be prospect they are willing to entertain. What it most likely comes down to is the view that Hillary Clinton lost in 2016, she shouldn’t have lost, and that’s a wrong that needs to be righted. If they can’t erase the last three years of history, at least they can blacken them with whatever charges they can throw at sitting president from that time. They will not respond the concerns of the voters who elected him – to change strategy at all would be tantamount to admitting that Trump beat Clinton fair and square. So they rage, and the mask is falls off as any pretense of neutrality vanishes. Trump has simply broken their brains.