In all of the big institutional scandals, there is always a question that rarely gets addressed and that is, how did it go on for so long? By the time the thing starts to become public, the number of people involved, either actively or passively, has reached a point where it became impossible to hide. In some cases, the issue at the heart of the scandal just became a normal thing to the people inside the institution. For some mysterious reason, no one raised the alarm until much too late.
The best example of this is the Catholic Church scandal. By the time the story of the homosexual priests was public, the Church was infested with them. The lavender mafia had taken over whole orders. The number of pederasts had reached a point where moving them around the system was just a part of the administration. As people started asking questions and making claims, the system rallied to defend itself, without much thought about what it was defending. The corruption was systemic.
Something similar protected Jewish perverts like Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein from being exposed. In both cases, lots of people knew these men were involved in degenerate activities, but no one dared say it publicly. In the case of Weinstein, the excuse was that outing him would be bad for the career. In the case of Epstein, the excuse was he had dirt on powerful people. No one knows if that is true. It’s one of those just-so answers to avoid having to think much about it.
It seems that corruption has a dynamic that starts with the first flexing of the rules that are supposed to control the institution. Somewhere along the line, it becomes expedient to overlook some minor infraction. Like a cancer, the exception making starts to spread through the system. At first, a small number of people are breaking rules and tolerating the rule breaking. As each new person learns of the practice, he is a smaller minority relative to the set of rule breakers. Thus he is less inclined to oppose it.
At first it is a handful of senior people, for example, involved in some sort of minor shenanigans that violates the spirit of the rules. The first person to learn of it is faced with taking on that cabal of senior people. Alternatively, the rule breakers are junior people, but their bosses look the other way, because they have other political interests or they are just too lazy to address it. Either way, the potential whistle blower is always outnumbered. That alone is often enough of a discouragement.
At some point, another dynamic kicks in. Those who cannot tolerate the corruption, but lack the courage to do anything about it, are boiled off. They move on, leaving behind a mix of cowards and corrupt. Of course, the corrupt flock to corruption, so the institution becomes a magnate for the type who like rule breaking. Before long, you go from a system where rule breaking is not tolerated and the rule breakers fear exposure, to a system where rule breaking is normalized and rule enforcers fear exposure.
The best example of this is the rotten police precinct. In every case, the corruption begins with a small number of cops. The good cops try to do something about it, but run into lazy or fearful superiors, who refuse to address the issue. Those cops either move on or find a way to justify their silence. Other cops either tacitly support the bad cops or justify their willful blindness in some way. Before long, the rotten precinct becomes an organism with its own immune system and defense mechanisms.
Put another way, the corrupt organization or system becomes too corrupt to fail, as everyone has some reason to protect it. For some at the heart of the corruption, the reason is obvious, but all around them are people who fear being shamed for having said nothing or fear being implicated for having looked the other way. The fallacy of the sunk cost becomes an operating principle. Everyone assumes there can be no turning back, so the corruption accelerates until eventually it does collapse.
This dynamic of corruption is something to consider when trying to sort out the many scandals engulfing Washington. For eight years, the media was celebrating the fact that there were no major scandals under Obama. They never said it, but there were no big scandals under Bush. The Scooter Libby stuff was the only thing that approached major scandal status and that was only because the press was bored. Otherwise, it was just eight years of partisan howling about trivial matters.
Yet, Trump hits town and the city is hit with a tsunami of front page scandals. The fact that most are hoaxes and the rest are scandals those hoaxes are intend to obscure, suggests something about the system. It sees Trump as not only a foreign body, but a threat by reason of being a foreign body. He’s the new precinct captain taking over a rotten precinct or the new bishop with a reputation for piety. The defense mechanism of the corrupt organization just assumes virtue is a vice that must be expelled.
This would explain why the whole system seems to have reorganized itself to defend even the pipsqueaks in the system. Andrew McCabe should be a perfect fall guy, as he is high profile enough to be a nice trophy, but not so high up as to be important to anyone in politics. Yet, he has been funneled millions of dollars by the system, through jobs and speaking fees. His legal defense fund quickly filled up with millions of dollars from Washington lobbyists. The system wants him safe.
Something similar is happening with the fake whistle blower story. The system saw that Trump people were looking into the Biden stuff. Instinctively the system responds with the fake whistle blower, so the democrats can bellow about impeachment, rather than defend Joe Biden. Why not just let this very corrupt old man go down in flames so Warren can be the nominee? The thoroughly corrupt organization lacks the ability to sacrifice any part of itself, so it instinctively defends the whole.
This video of Rudy Giuliani talking about the Biden corruption is interesting for a number of reasons. One is the level of corruption. It does appear China bought Joe Biden, while he was Vice President. Putting that aside, Giuliani seems to be realizing, as he is talking, that Washington is just like the organized crime he prosecuted back when he was making a name for himself in New York. It is an organism whose purpose, in addition to the corruption, is to defend itself against exposure.
Back during the mortgage crisis, the expression “too big to fail” became a catchphrase for justifying government support for the banks. Something similar is at work in Washington, in that it is too corrupt to fail. It’s not that so many people depend on politics as usual. It’s that the graft and corruption is so wide spread, no one thinks they can afford even a little exposure. The business of Washington is now concealing the fact it is thoroughly rotten. The business of the empire is organized crime.
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