Our Country Was Founded by Geniuses, but It’s Being Run by Idiots


by J.B. Shurk, American Thinker:

The eminently quotable Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana said sometime back: “Our country was founded by geniuses, but it’s being run by idiots.”  I heartily agree, and the problem is not self-correcting.

The principles behind the formation of America’s government were and are exquisite, but the American government, like all forms of government, is corrupt as hell.  This isn’t an extraordinary statement.  Exquisite things often break, and even the noblest of institutions become distorted over time until the original purposes for their creation are eclipsed (and often contradicted) by the personal motives of the men running those institutions into the ground.

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This phenomenon is apparent anywhere there is power.

John O’Sullivan, a senior policy adviser for Prime Minister Thatcher, wrote a short essay thirty years ago that should have made freedom-minded conservatives rethink any lingering attachments to institutional authorities.

He asked a question we often ask ourselves: how is it that almost all institutional bodies — whether governmental agencies or purportedly “nonpartisan” scientific academies or even religious groups and charities — transform over time into left-leaning entities?  In grappling with what might seem inexplicable, he corralled three insights about organizational behavior: (1) Robert Michels’s Iron Law of Oligarchy asserting that all forms of organization, regardless of how democratic their foundations, will come to be run by an elite group of people; (2) Robert Conquest’s Second Law stating that every organization behaves as if “headed by secret agents of its opponents”; and (3) O’Sullivan’s very own First Law positing that “[a]ll organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.”  In other words, Michels tells us that the key to understanding any institution is its leadership, not its charter.  Conquest argues that the leadership will always have objectives at odds with the organization’s intended purpose, if for no other reason than that the leadership’s continued employment and future power paradoxically depend upon never completely succeeding.  And O’Sullivan takes this insight farther by noting that the type of person who staffs such organizations tends to disdain private profit and the historic composition of Western civilization’s free-market culture.

Note also that these three observational laws explicitly take as a premise that the organizations have not been actively infiltrated by Marxist saboteurs or actual enemy agents, but rather evolve over time by the weight of natural sociological tendencies.  When we add Occam’s Razor into the mix, it is just as persuasive to suppose that all institutions become increasingly socialist over time at the rate of success that Marxists have in quietly but persistently insinuating themselves into the hierarchical ranks of absolutely any institution with power, whether those with legal teeth such as the FBI and CDC or those with cultural teeth such as Coca-Cola and Major League Baseball.  Hence, if Gramsci’s “long march through the institutions” seems to have succeeded, it’s probably because the political left has never stopped marching.

Driven by internal mechanisms of organization; cancel culture campaigns given legitimacy by corporate journalists and social media platforms (ironically, the self-described “defenders” of the First Amendment); and the covert efforts of dark money groups to coerce, co-opt, and undermine any entity not yet “turned,” institutions are under sustained pressure at all times to bend toward total leftist control.

Taken together, the three “laws” above not only aptly describe how Marxist-socialists have succeeded in assimilating everything from the public school system to the CIA, but also make plain that the fight for conserving liberty requires much more than fighting to conserve institutions, even when (or perhaps especially when) those institutions have traditionally safeguarded American freedoms.

This seems to me a remarkable indictment of any Establishment position for defending and preserving institutional powers of any kind when the stated goal is to protect and strengthen American freedoms.

The political left consistently advances its aims by either refashioning existing institutions to advance its agenda or so compromising those institutions that their original purpose is moot.  By doing so, Marxist-socialists create win-win scenarios for themselves by forcing societies to choose between keeping those corrupted institutions intact or tearing them down and starting from scratch.

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