News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: The Narcosis of Power

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Narcosis of Power

Very rarely do we get a deep insight into the secret workings of our government. The disconnect between what we the public read in the news and the real story or facts behind the story is chasmic. You have to dig deep and long to find anything that is not merely "spin" or hype.

The following description of VP Dick Cheney is important for its detail and the depth of its understanding of the psychology of an "insider" and man of power.
Vice Grip, By Joshua Micah Marshall
Dick Cheney is a man of principles. Disastrous principles.

Cheney is conservative, of course, but beneath his conservatism is something more important: a mindset rooted in his peculiar corporate-Washington-insider class. It is a world of men--very few women--who have been at the apex of both business and government, and who feel that they are unique in their mastery of both. Consequently, they have an extreme assurance in their own judgment about what is best for the country and how to achieve it. They see themselves as men of action. But their style of action is shaped by the government bureaucracies and cartel-like industries in which they have operated. In these institutions, a handful of top officials make the plans, and then the plans are carried out. Ba-da-bing. Ba-da-boom.

In such a framework all information is controlled tightly by the principals, who have "maximum flexibility" to carry out the plan. Because success is measured by securing the deal rather than by, say, pleasing millions of customers, there's no need to open up the decision-making process. To do so, in fact, is seen as governing by committee. If there are other groups (shareholders, voters, congressional committees) who agree with you, fine, you use them. But anyone who doesn't agree gets ignored or, if need be, crushed. Muscle it through and when the results are in, people will realize we were right is the underlying attitude. ... Read more

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