The following comes from a July 23 story by James Poulos on thefederalist.com.
Americans dimly grasp that the new American regime has jettisoned the venerable public-private divide at the heart of classical liberalism. But most of us remain in the dark about what exactly is taking its place.
Despite the avalanche of regulations, rules, and guidance issued by our state and federal governments, no official—elected or otherwise—has done for Americans what President Dwight Eisenhower did in his farewell remarks on the military-industrial complex. Eisenhower was the last president to speak to us (much less warn us!) about the changing character of the American regime.
Today, it is perhaps too much to ask a president to do the same. Eisenhower was intimately familiar with America’s military and civilian bureaucracy. He recognized how a “scientific technological elite” could use both branches of federal organization to make “public policy” its “captive.” Which presumptive occupant of the White House has such a sweeping, personal grasp of the new officialdom—yet opposes it enough to bear witness?
Today, the public policy elite has captured the very idea of public policy. Far exceeding the bounds of the old regime—the industrial, managerial, and male-yet-sterile form of rule portrayed by The Man In The Gray Flannel Suit—today’s elite has superseded the 21st-century logics of industry, management, and, perhaps most importantly, of the neutral or neutered male intellect first attributed to proper social science by Max Weber.
The logic of industry required men to fill factories and work in linear fashion to construct machines. The new logic of officialdom requires men and women—or boys and girls, depending on where we date the onset of maturity—to work in hive fashion to deconstruct, and sometimes rearrange, knowledge….
The logic of neutral male rationality, gendered but sexless, has given way to the logic of therapeutic administration—prefigured by Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Big Nurse, as she’s otherwise known, is a transitional figure between the old American regime and the new. A former Army nurse, Ratched is machine-like, robotic, bent on total control and orthogonal order. In that sense, she still inhabits the world of unsexed, male-gendered rationalism. But that should not mask the sea change that Ken Kesey detected. Goethe, as Philip Rieff reminds us, considered it “a fact that humanity will ultimately triumph”; he only feared, however, “that at the same time the world will become one great hospital in which one man will be the other’s humane nurse….”
Today, in the new officialdom, this position is completely reversed. The most forceful strain of female-gendered political thought embraces postindustrial corporatism and condemns the economics of domesticity. To be sure, the ardent appreciation for birth control in the sick-dangerous realm, outside the precincts of health-and-safety regulation, betokens a mischievous sort of fearful admiration for the ultimate in deranged risk: conceiving a child not only out of wedlock but outside of love and even out of “like.”
Within the realm of health and safety, however, the mania for birth control is of a strikingly different quality. Rather than demanding consumption, it demands production; rather than a license to access the realm of transgression in which nothing is ever completely supervised or completely predictable, it is an ideological mandate to enforce healthy and safe conduct among the ruled, right down to the most intimate details and choices of their lives.
Here, there is no better example than the sea change in the status of LGBTQ individuals and the whole concept of diverse sexual identities. Big government and big business elites have more or less rushed with open arms to wave the rainbow flag—increasingly, in a literal sense. Today it does not really count as news that a Bank of America branch in the heart of West Hollywood has decorated its lobby with lots of festive little rainbow flags. There was, however, a minor stir when the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv recently hoisted the rainbow flag just below the Stars and Stripes itself.
To read the entire posting, click here.