OP-ED: “The Establishment” versus “The Deep State”

When someone wants to describe the elite “powers that be,” the insider movers and shakers that help develop and drive political and foreign policy decision making, one of two terms is generally used.  One would say it’s either “The Establishment” or in more recent years it’s the “Deep State” that is calling the shots behind the scenes.  The issue is that these two monikers have become so generic and muddled that they can be used to describe just about anyone doing just about anything depending on the writer’s or speaker’s needs.  For example, a quick tour of social media sites reveals the following about the Deep State:

  • They have a bunker under Arlington Cemetery.
  • They are covering for a society of alien-human hybrids.
  • They are ultra left-wing socialists.
  • They are hardline right-wingers.
  • They are working both for and against Trump.
  • And according to Trump, the entire Justice Department is Deep State.

As you can see, the Deep State can be used to describe anyone you don’t like doing anything you don’t approve of.  The Oxford English Dictionary though defines “Deep State” as “a body of people, typically influential members of government agencies or the military, believed to be involved in the secret manipulation or control of government policy.”  Not to worry though, former CIA Director Michael Hayden has assured us “there is no Deep State.”  More on Hayden later.

“The Establishment” on the other hand has become so broad that it seems to mean the entire governmental apparatus.  Cambridge defines “Establishment” as “the important and powerful people who control a country or an organization, especially those who support the existing situation.” Sounds about the same as Deep State, doesn’t it? What most people do not realize is that each of these terms originally had a much more specific connotation that helps to differentiate the two.

Many believe the phrase “Deep State” came into being within the last couple of years, however it was actually developed by professor and historian Peter Dale Scott in the early 1990s.  In his book Dallas ’63, Professor Scott described the Deep State as “all those forces outside the public state with the power to influence its policies” that “interacts not only with the public state but also higher sources of its power: most significantly with the financial institutions of Wall Street that were responsible for forcing a CIA on a reluctant President Truman in the first place.”

Taking more poetic language from journalists Dana Priest and William Arkin in their book Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State, the Deep State can also be described as:

a parallel top secret government whose parts had mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe of its own, visible to only a carefully vetted cadre-and its entirety…visible only to God.

The Establishment, and more specifically The American Establishment, has been defined for us by none other than..The Establishment itself.  From the biography The Chairman, this cabal is comprised of

a new national elite, composed largely of corporate lawyers and investment bankers, who became stewards of the American national-security state. Beginning in the 1920s, these men formed an identifiable Establishment, a class of individuals who shared the same social and political values and thought of themselves as keepers of the public trust. Unlike the British Establishment, from which the term is borrowed, the American Establishment was dedicated not to preserving the status quo, but to persuading America to shoulder its imperial responsibilities.

“Dedicated to building a Pax Americana,” this group included such men as Henry Stimson, Averill Harriman, Allen and John Foster Dulles, David Rockefeller, George Kennan, Dean Acheson and their own “Chairman,” John J. McCloy.  Representing some of the most powerful organizations in the world such as J.P. Morgan, Chase Manhattan, Ford Foundation, Kuhn & Loeb, Standard Oil, Halliburton, IBM, General Dynamic and The RAND Corporation, The Establishment would go on to create even more powerful organizations designed to increase their own wealth and power.  These included: The Federal Reserve System, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, the United Nations, NATO, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and as many have argued, the NSA and the CIA.

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It is hopefully clear now that “The Establishment” and “Deep State” both refer to specific entities and are not necessarily interchangeable.  They do however work in tandem.  Furthermore it could be stated with a great deal of certainty that the Deep State is the machinery by which The Establishment accomplishes its goals.  Sometimes the lines do become blurred between the two.

Take for example again former CIA Director Michael Hayden.  He was a four-star general for the Air Force who later became Director of the National Security Agency and Director of the CIA.  Hayden has also been a member of the Council on Foreign Relations since 2003.  So here we have a member of two Establishment-created organizations (the CFR and the CIA) telling us “there is no Deep State.” That is exactly how Deep State operatives work to reinforce and protect The Establishment.

At a meeting of the CFR in 2007, Hayden had the audacity to say, “All I can tell you, all right, is that the Central Intelligence Agency within a framework of law carries out the foreign policy of the United States that is constructed by the people that we elect in both the executive and legislative branch.” Foreign policy isn’t “constructed by the people that we elect,” it is constructed by groups like the CFR who serve only The Establishment.  If there is any doubt as to the veracity of that claim, here is what Hillary Clinton said about the CFR:

Perhaps then the greatest explanation about the connection between The Establishment and the Deep State came all the way back in 1922 by NYC Mayor John Hylan:

The real menace of our Republic is the invisible government, which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy legs over our cities, states and nation… The little coterie of powerful international bankers virtually run the United States government for their own selfish purposes. They practically control both parties… and control the majority of the newspapers and magazines in this country. They use the columns of these papers to club into submission or drive out of office public officials who refuse to do the bidding of the powerful corrupt cliques which compose the invisible government. It operates under cover of a self-created screen [and] seizes our executive officers, legislative bodies, schools, courts, newspapers and every agency created for the public protection.

Mayor Hylan should have known…he was right down the street from “the mothership in New York City.”


Who do you think controls the government? Please share this article and leave me a comment below. “In your hands, fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course.” – JFK

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  • It is always said to ‘follow the money’s, so I think the r are al power is with the bankers. Their will is carried out by lawyers and the CIA, being their agents, as Prouty wrote. I tend to say f*** it, at this point what can we do? But we can acknowledge it’s existence, call it out when we confront it and carry on. But don’t go overboard with paranoia, like Trump wants…there are more folks out there fighting for what is right than you might think. Hope kives.