only elect the compromised
new adventures in tinfoil cattery: one gato's theory on maintaining control of your political party
i had some tinfoil left over from thanksgiving, so i thought i might spread it around a bit and see if we could explore the interesting and oddly repetitive state of affairs where so many politicians seem fully corrupt and yet fully repercussion proof right up until they step out of line or become a liability at which instant it’s suddenly “scandal time” and they get run out of town on a rail.
obviously, what’s to follow tends toward the speculative, but it does not seem terribly far fetched to me, represents the clear low energy path to organize and sustain political machines, and all that you really need to believe to accept these ideas is that power corrupts, that corrupt people are attracted to power, and that many will happily trade their ethics for patronage and position.
i doubt we’re really debating ideas like “does this happen?” rather, it’s a debate about “to what extent?” and “to what degree of deliberation and sophistication?” with perhaps a side order of “and how many actors are in the game and what ends are they pursuing?”
foil on. let’s explore.
as our initial case study/exemplar, let’s examine the hyper corrupt machine politics of new york.
consider the key issue for a political machine:
we’re going to back you and get you elected. then you’ll be in a position of power. but we want to be able to control you once you are so you’ll do as you’re told, not as you like. were the real power behind the throne, you’re just an interchangeable spokes-muppet for us. we want to hear our words coming out of your mouth. uppity puppetry is not an outcome we’re willing to bankroll.
so what to do?
the solution is obvious: only elect people you can, at whim, destroy. if you do not have career and reputation ending dirt on them, don’t back them.
if there’s no dirt, demand they cross the line and produce some so that you can hold it over their heads or set folks upon them to indulge their vices and trap them.
you need leverage.
your proteges might get powerful, popular, and independent. and you don’t want that.
they might do something like “repudiate your policy and criticize your national party overlords.” (video)
and if they prove ungrateful and reckless, well, then you want a quick hammer to drop.
so you can flood the box all at once and start the drumbeat for removal.
and nothing helps take the increasingly undesirable and failure tainted out of play like a good old fashioned sex scandal.
certain internet felines of notable snark might have even gone so far as to make memes about it…
zero of this was in any way “new news.” andy was notorious for this sort of behavior and anyone near him knew it for decades. it just never mattered before because he was onside. and then one day, he was a liability so the protection/omerta was lifted and suddenly he was on the hotseat. don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.
this is all the sort of stuff “the party” and “the machine” can hold at bay. they keep it out of the media, out of the courts, out of the minds of the voting public. this is how you keep a politician docile and compliant.
there is a long mooted suspicion than many of the high powered secret societies (such as skull and bones which purportedly produces so many politicians) or the infamous lolita express to epstein island and honeypot parties full of bad mistakes to make (and more importantly be seen and documented making) are all bent around this basic purpose. it’s how you get big groups of high achievers in line and keep them in line and how a machine keeps control of large numbers of egotists, narcissists, sociopaths, and other cluster B denizens.
it’s been an FBI, CIA, KGB, and everybody else classic since time was time. “find the vices, use them to compromise the target, then get them to do what you want.” j edgar hoover was a noted aficionado. some have gone so far as to argue this was a primary point of the FBI all along. are they right? who knows? probably to at least some degree. i doubt it was the reason for creating the FBI, but it sure turned into a core practice in an awfully big hurry. this is 100% the kind of behavior “the community” has always engaged in. it’s not exactly a huge jump to imagine surreptitious svengalis playing these sorts of games. the classics are classics for a reason. it’s because they’re simple and they work.
it’s unabashed, clear extortion, perhaps even a straightforward price asked of those who would “join the clan”: give me something to hold over you, and i’ll back you. i suspect many are happy to comply.
those seeking power are happy to transgress for elevation, especially when they are young. there’s a reason many of these “societies” start in universities full of ambitious students. and as long as you play the good soldier, you’re golden. nothing can touch you. no amount of hunter filth, clintonian body count, or trips to epstein island will stick to you. the whole gang closes ranks around you and none dare step out of line for fear that one day ghisaline maxwell might cease to be the only person ever convicted of “sex trafficking minors to no one.” names could be named. perhaps jeffrey might have muttered something about that. quite a concatenation of coincidences, that one…
it’s essentially the classic caper/dirty cop movie conundrum: “if we steal the money, everyone has to take some. can’t have any boy-scouts around who could play rat.” mutually assured destruction is a powerful unifier.
is this a joke or not? it’s kinda hard to say. how extensively would you want to bet on it?
now let’s consider what this state of affairs would mean:
it means that once a machine controls the paths to power, it consolidates the politicians into extortion driven fealty. that’s a helluva power base for the aspiring offstage grand viziers and all but un-eradicable once it takes root.
it means that political candidates would be outright selected for the narcissism and sociopathy that makes them seem charismatic and for the mercenary morals that make them comprisable and therefore biddable.
it means that the very acts that ought to disqualify one from ever holding office or power become the entry criteria for political patronage.
and it means that large, unseen networks of coordination and collusion would underpin politics and business in a manner essentially undiscernible from the outside.
it means that voting is a puppetshow for rubes.
it means the real power lies elsewhere.
so, look, this is a lot of tinfoil and i want to be clear that i am NOT saying that we know there is some large shadowy group pulling all the strings from somewhere. this is a harder plan to pull off than it sounds like. conspiracies always are. but it starts to look to me like there are really only 2 plausible explanations for the current phenomenon of
“those who toe the party line remain untouchable and those who betray or threaten it immediately get gang tackled from every direction and buried under scandals and accusations, old and new, true and false.”
at least some politicians are being deliberately chosen and backed by political machines because they are known to be compromised (or willingly accept becoming so)
the sorts of people who win office are such compromised dirtbags to begin with that political machines need to protect them to keep them viable and if they ever stop, these politcos get torn open like tuna filled pinatas in a tiger cage.
neither seems a terribly hopeful state of affairs nor are they inherently mutually exclusive. probably, they are mutually reinforcing. i doubt severely that the current system it can be fixed or even improved. it’s all too broken, too corrupt, too misaligned in terms of incentive and capability. the whole thing is an opaque mess of powerplay and misaligned interest.
there is only one fix: make the government small. take it out of our lives and livelihoods. remove the regulation and the fiat power that may infringe upon rights and liberty.
a powerful state is always corrupt. it can be no other way. it attracts corrupt actors like jam attracts ants. it takes a special kind of stupid to keep denying this and pretending like “this time, big government will be used for good.”
gato’s first law is not a law by accident. it’s no more deniable or avoidable than laws of thermodynamics.
to expect otherwise is to delude oneself.