In light of the commentary flooding in from those who support “The Trump Phenomenon” and see it as the start of a “disruption” of the old establishment order of politics, I offer this humble article as an explanation of just what “Establishment” really is.
Giambattista Vico, in the age of enlightenment was seen as one of the first great “sociologists”. His cyclical theory of governance went as so: Vico saw history as a cyclical process — theocracy, aristocracy, democracy …” with a kind of recycling through those systems in turn. Of course, he was before the time of that other great political movement that has tremendous and long lasting repercussions into our own age … the rise and success of Communism as a governing order.
Whichever of the above are adopted by either consensus of voting or by enactment of aggression, it has to be admitted that each in its own way governs through a methodology of a central core of an “Establishment” of inner-circle power brokers and advisers. There may be an “approved face” at the “front-counter”, but all orders of governance and directives and edicts come from a caucus of faceless people.
Such has been the style of governance since the time of Augustus and the establishment of the Roman Empire and the ongoing; “Pax Romana” … another faux ideal that covered the many oppressions of that empire.
Once Augustus (or rather his general, Agrippa) defeated Marc Antony and Cleopatra in the second civil way of the Julian period, Augustus was left in command of the entire empire with central governance at Rome … an enterprise he was absolutely incapable both intellectually and physically able to do. He was advised to encompass into an inner-circle a clique of trusted advisers to both guide and enact the new civil codes needed for this new structure of governance. You can read of this “advice” given to Augustus by a “re-construct” of the candid conversations from three of his closest friends in Cassius Dio; The Roman History: The rein of Augustus.
There you will read of the instructions of how to set up an “Establishment” of governance from his wife, Livia. His military General, Agrippa and his economic adviser, Gaius Cilnius Maecenas. This last fellow is the one to watch. Maecenas was the modern-day equivalent of “the faceless man” – he was from the Equestrian order, the ancient equivalence of the upper middle-class, a kind of classical “Frank Lowe”, very wealthy and a patron of the arts etc. In short, a man of “irrefutable civility” and reputation that would not (as against ‘cannot’) be questioned except by those of deep pocket and short careers … Maecenas was the “Establishment”, protected by imperial decree and a “closed-gate community” of the court of Augustus.
The upshot of such advice in those ancient times was to establish what has grown to be the most acceptable method of mass governance of “the mob”. Even in Mao’s China, there existed that “necessary core” of central power, and with approximately 1000 million of “the mob”, there had to be a severe hand in the glove of rule to maintain not only internal command, but to organise a defence force to hold and secure the nation’s borders from continual aggression by the West. Not a slight headache at all I shouldn’t wonder!
Of course, as with every clique of apparatchiks, there eventually arises a corruption of the core and a purge must be enacted to cleanse or lance the infection. What we are seeing in democracy all around the major western governments at this point in time is just that; a kind of purging of the old established order and a ”draining of the swamp” … but … this “draining”, however it may appear to be chaotic or disruptive or “radical”, can really be no more than an approved in a measured way the “changing of the guard” from one “establishment” to another with as little upsetting of the core intention of governance as possible. Hence we see a person like Trump or in our case Abbott or the Margaret Thatcher of the UK prancing around the world stage like a bull in the proverbial china shop, but in the end, those central core “lever pullers” are still firmly in command.
This principle of the “Established order” has come down through the ages more or less intact, and Vico’s theory of “cyclical order” of Theocracy, Aristocracy, Democracy became entrenched with the rule of the Popes and the rise of the “Machiavellian Princes” in the age of the Medicis etc. The well-informed nineteenth/twentieth century social economist, Thorsten Veblen noted this “management” within the higher learning establishment.
“So far, nothing has been said of the Maecenas function of the well-to-do, which is habitually dwelt on at some length by writers and speakers who treat of the development of culture and of social structure. This leisure-class function is not without an important bearing on the higher and on the spread of knowledge and culture. The manner and the degree in which the class furthers learning through patronage of this kind is sufficiently familiar. It has been frequently presented in affectionate and effective terms by spokesmen whose familiarity with the topic fits them to bring home to their hearers the profound significance of this cultural factor. These spokesmen, however, have presented the matter from the point of view of the cultural interest, or of the interest of reputability, rather than from that of the economic interest….By way of characterization of the Maecenas relation, it is to be noted that, considered externally, as an economic or industrial relation simply, it is a relation of status. The scholar under the patronage performs the duties of a learned life vicariously for his patron, to whom a certain repute inures after the manner of the good repute imputed to a master for whom any form of vicarious leisure is performed …”
The maintaining of influence of what Veblen calls ”The Maecenas factor” (of patronage) has to be backed, if it is to be a continuity of culture, by some very deep pockets and very serious power. It has not come down the ages intact to be let slip so easily from the vice-like grip of inherited establishment.
So brace yourselves, comrades, for if there is to be any “draining of the swamp”, and lancing of the political boil, any “new world order”…it is going to be a fucking messy affair … and once the dust is settled, I think we will have to accept that as “The Who” sang in their classic hit, ”… meet the new boss … the same as the old boss … ”, because while I would like to see a change of the order of governance to something more socialist in construct, I have come to accept, in the light of the rise of such stupid, gormless, absurdity as right-wing reasoning the likes of Hanson, Abbott, Murdoch, IPA and any others you may want to mention … any civil control of “the mob” out there! … has to be done from a strong ordered central command of Establishment … of whatever flavour of politics.
This article was originally published on freefall852.wordpress.com.