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Question About the Etymology of "Deep State"

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I have a question for the forum.

There was an article in Friday's Washington Post by a writer named Mike Lofgren, who claimed credit for popularizing the concept of the "Deep State" in his 2016 book of that title.*   From this article, Lofgren-- in addition to borrowing a term he didn't invent--  doesn't even seem to conceptualize the "Deep State" concept as it has been defined and used in the JFKA research community.

Didn't UC Berkeley Professor Peter Dale Scott originally coin and define the term, "Deep State," several years ago?

* The real ‘deep state’ is about corporate power, not entrenched bureaucrats

This right-wing catchphrase supposedly describes rebellious government workers. But moneyed influencers are the real “deep state.”


by Mike Lofgren

November 15, 2019

"As the author who popularized this term, I’m invoking the privilege of correcting them. There is no deep state as the right imagines it — that is, a secret cabal of government insiders hellbent on undermining the White House. Rather, it is Trump himself, under the camouflage of populist rhetoric, who has overseen the open expansion of the deep state: entrenched interests gaining outsize influence and setting their own policy agenda, unchecked by the will of the people, their elected representatives or the civil servants meant to regulate them.

I wrote my book “The Deep State” to capture a phenomenon I had noticed over my 30 years as a Republican staffer in Congress."

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What a joke. This self-described "author who popularized" the term "deep state" doesn't even mention Peter Dale Scott in the article. He has either never even heard of Scott or doesn't want to share any credit so he ignores him. Probably the latter. He can safely assume that what is "popularized" in the JFK research community has no bearing on the larger population, so Scott can be safely ignored.






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A more or less analogous term was first coined in Turkey: derin devlet, meaning the “state within the state," describing a phenomenon going back to the Ottoman Empire. In a footnote to his essay "Donald J. Trump and The Deep State," Peter Dale Scott writes:

"I believe the first to apply the Turkish term 'deep state' (derin deret) to U.S. politics was the Swedish writer Ola Tunander (Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11 [Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007], x, 244, 270, 384).



Edited by Rob Couteau
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10 hours ago, Paul Brancato said:

To my knowledge it was peter dale Scott, and it was not defined as entrenched bureaucrats. 

Fletcher Prouty called it the Secret Team. Prouty said in one of interviews that Churchill called it the High Cabal. 

Crazy right wingers like myself do not mean a bunch of entrenched bureaucrats on the Government payroll. 

More accurrately, it would be those government bureaucrats that are also on a separate corporate payroll, in addition to others not working for the government at all.

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I can't get it to open. The gist that I understand  here is right.

With Peter Dale Scott, I don't think it was initially about entrenched bureaucrats, except in a very loose sense.  It was  the emergence of government agencies and their heads becoming laws unto themselves. Like  the CIA or FBI ignoring executive orders or running black ops, rogue operations.Or the mighty rogue generals or military leaders, and their coordinaton with the Industrial complex, the corporate side..

But the real story for the last 40 years is the economic marginalization of the middle and working classes.

I think the corporate powers that be love the deep state diversion toward scapegoating the government that is more often popularized by Fox news. .As a lot of everyday people who may watch fox are unwittingly duped to personally see all taxation as government intrusion and interference on their lives,  they project a common struggle with corporations to hold on to their hard earned pay.  And if people rightly  or wrongly assume they're being encroached by government, and register it in the ballot box. That creates the deregulatory hands off environment and generally lower taxation that the corporations want.

Essentially we have one government that's supposed to be for us. But it's taken over by corporate interests.  .All polling shows that people want more income equality, want corporations to pay more taxes,. want some form of universal health care, sensible gun control,  environmental protection, clean air and water, To change that equation would not be that hard, maybe there would be a revolt of the investors but the investor class is relatively small and where are they really going to go anyway, despite their threats? The biggest criticism is that that they would take their money overseas, or to China, but a President could just discourage that by taxing them at a much higher rate.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't see much significant difference between references to the "Deep State" versus previous descriptions used by the extreme right for 75+ years.  The John Birch Society used the term "Insiders" to refer (primarily) to the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, and other "elitist" groups that the JBS believed controlled (and subverted) our government.  [They preferred "Insiders" after they lost an historic precedent-setting defamation lawsuit which cost them $500,000 and changed American Libel Law (i.e. Gertz v. Robert Welch Inc.).  Presumably, they thought using the more nebulous vague term "Insiders" prevented further libel actions.]

The concept of a "secret government" or "hidden hand" has been omnipresent in extreme right literature since at least the 1920's.  Years ago I created a webpage in which I attempted to capture the general narrative used by the extreme right.  See: https://sites.google.com/site/ernie124102/biblio-1

In addition, a Master Conspiracy has been posited by many individuals and organizations which they describe in the context of The Bavarian Illuminati which (they claim) took over and used the Communist Conspiracy.  At one point Robert Welch claimed that a "Zionist Conspiracy" pre-dated and was subsumed by the Communist Conspiracy.

Edited by Ernie Lazar
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I forgot to mention Dan Smoot's 1962 book, "The Invisible Government" which also presents what amounts to a "Deep State" narrative.  It was preceded by Mary M. Davison: "The Hidden Hand" and many other conspiratorial paradigms about how our government was "controlled" by subversive forces -- including multinational corporations and "elitist" organizations.

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