The Hidden EstablishmentPosted: July 28, 2016 | |
The Hidden Establishment
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus
With an election for the president looming, Americans from coast to coast will be asking each other to state their choice of candidate. Are you a Republican, Democrat, or Independent? Are you a conservative, liberal, or moderate? Do you like candidate A or candidate B, even candidate C or D? Most will happily give an answer hoping to sway the one asking to their stance.
But there’s something new in American politics this year. It goes beyond the choice of party, political flavor, even candidate. The new choice is: Are you anti-establishment or are you willing to continue supporting the establishment’s favorites?
Even though most Americans would have a difficult time explaining precisely what the term “establishment” connotes, they have sense of what it means. Suggest that it’s the “old boy network that has been running things for decades” and you’ll likely get an approving nod. Use the words “political elitists” and you’ll readily get a positive response.
But is there a definition of the Establishment? A careful selection of a few words that practically all can accept? Has anyone publicly offered a concise explanation of what the increasingly hated term stands for?
The answer is yes, there is a definition. It actually appeared in a newspaper column by the late Edith Kermit Roosevelt, the granddaughter of our nation’s 26th president (1901-1909). In her December 23, 1961 syndicated column, she used the word “clique” as a synonym for the Establishment and then went on to say:
The word “Establishment” is a general term for the power elite in international finance, business, the professions and government, largely from the northeast, who wield most of the power regardless of who is in the White House. Most people are unaware of this “legitimate Mafia.” Yet the power of the Establishment makes itself felt from the professor who seeks a foundation grant, to the candidate for a cabinet post or State Department job. It affects the nation’s policies in almost every area….
What is the Establishment’s viewpoint? Through the [past four] administrations, its ideology is constant. That the best way to fight Communism is by a One World Socialist state governed by “experts” like themselves. The result has been policies which favor the growth of the superstate….
Substitute “all our enemies, domestic and international” where she mentioned “Communism” 50-plus years ago and you have what many more Americans are beginning to realize. Some would even prefer to leave the word “Communism” in her statement because there is a sense that our country is being made over into a communist-style state. These Americans may be enrolled as Democrat, Republican, or Independent. They may have considered themselves liberal or conservative. But increasingly, vast numbers are fed up with the people who have been in charge, especially those who solemnly promised change and didn’t deliver. They want someone other than entrenched party politicians, Wall Street manipulators, media elites, and left-wing academics. They want an outsider who might really change the way things have been going for decades.
In recent years, there have been cries claiming “not a dime’s worth of difference” between Democrats and Republicans. Leading GOP figures have been tagged as a RINO (Republican In Name Only). And some who claim to be conservatives have been labeled Neoconservatives, pushing for more government, even more war.
Will the reigning Establishment be supplanted? Not easily. But the kind of change sought by those who recognize its control is sorely needed. Old labels have become somewhat meaningless. New awareness that opposes the Establishment by name is a very healthy development.
Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.