It is not enough, to explain crazy state policies by invoking an abstract will to "power" or "control."
Modern states are already massively powerful, far more than most of us imagine; they exercise that power to achieve specific ends.
In commenting on the many absurdities of the Corona regime, and asking what their purpose could possibly be, I’m often told that “it’s about power” or “it’s about control.”
I confess that I don’t find these explanations convincing. I think they’re grounded in a mistaken view of how western states exercise power and the constraints they face in this. The idea seems to be, that states accumulate the potential to act, which potential is however constrained by the law or popular opinion; and that they are forever striving to escape these artificial constraints through subterfuge and deception, in order to transmute more of their accumulated potential into real-world prerogatives.
I see it otherwise. As far as I can tell, neither laws nor popular opinion limit the action of modern states in any serious way. There are constraints, but these lie elsewhere, mostly in the area of coordination. As I’ve written several times now, our governments have become profoundly demobilised. Political power has accumulated at ever lower levels, with the press, academia and in the bureaucratic institutions. This process represents a kind of political decay, and yet it has distinct advantages for the senescent elite: It ensures broad consensus across all major corporate, government and media factions, shielding them precisely from things like popular opinion and judicial review.
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