“All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. In terms of its scope, financial resources, and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state is in a class by itself: sheer quantity can achieve a quality all its own. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it possesses menacing aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures — Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya; its manifest incapacity to anticipate, avert, or appropriately respond to the greatest financial crash since the Great Depression; even its curious blindness to the obvious potential for a hurricane to drown New Orleans — are routine enough that it is only is protectivensss toward its higher-ranking officials that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude.
“Far from being brilliant conspirators, the prevalence of mediocre thinking is what frequently makes the system’s operatives stand out. We had better debunk an erroneous popular notion which holds that structures that arise from evolutionary processes are qualitatively “better” than the ones preceding them. The Deep State is a wasteful and incompetent method of governance. But it persists because its perverse incentive structure frequently rewards failure and dresses it up as success. Its perverse, largely commonplace corruption and creation of synthetic bogeymen and foreign scapegoats anesthetize the public into a state of mind variously composed of apathy, cynicism, and fear — the very antithesis of responsible citizenship.”
– Mike Lofgren, The Deep State: The Fall if the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government”, 2016 (p.40).