The Fates of American Presidents Who Challenged the Deep State

Ryan Carboni ryacko at
Sat Mar 14 17:33:35 PDT 2020

I believe that a significant shift in the relationship between public
and deep state power occurred in the 1960s and 1970s, culminating in
the Reagan Revolution of 1980. In this period five presidents sought
to curtail the powers of the deep state. And as we shall see, the
political careers of all five—Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and
Carter—were cut off in ways that were unusual. One president, Kennedy,
was assassinated. Another, Nixon, was forced to resign.

To some extent the interplay of these two forms of power and political
organization is found in all societies. The two were defined by Hannah
Arendt in the 1960s as “persuasion through arguments” versus “coercion
by force.” Arendt, following Thucydides, traced these to the common
Greek way of handling domestic affairs, which was persuasion (πείθειν)
as well as the common way of handling foreign affairs, which was force
and violence (βία)." The two represent not just different techniques
of government but different cultures and mindsets, in fundamental
tension with each other.

This tension increases, and predictably tips toward violence, if a
well-organized open community expands beyond its own borders and is
increasingly occupied with the business of supervising an empire. It
is repeatedly the case that progressive societies (like America)
expand. As their influence expands, their democratic institutions,
based at bottom upon persuasive power among equals, are supplemented
by new, often secret, institutions of top-down violent power for the
control of alien populations abroad, often speaking different and
unfamiliar languages. The more the society expands, the more these
institutions of violent power encroach upon and supplant the original

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