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As the Biden administration attempted to create its own Ministry of Truth with the Disinformation Governance Board this month, it was common to hear conservatives and Republicans saying things like “just wait until President Trump or President DeSantis is the one appointing the head of that agency, then you’ll be sorry.” The underlying assumption is that, once the administration changes, the natural pendulum swing of democracy will act to punish the Left for overreaching and consolidating government power while in office. But that’s a common and very serious error in understanding how power really works inside the American government.

We are taught that the natural ebb and flow of electoral politics acts as a safeguard against tyranny; that a cost will be paid by the Left if they accrue too much power to themselves while in charge because, eventually, they will have to hand the apparatus they constructed back over to their enemies. Once the machinery of state is in the hands of their opponents, conservatives believe, the Left will finally be punished and realize their mistake, which will temper their desire to gain power the next time. The fear of a weapon in the hands of the enemy is supposed to govern the desire to wield it yourself. Self-preservation limits the aspirations of the country’s ruling class.

This check and balance that the mechanism of democracy is meant to provide may have functioned at some point in the country’s past, but that’s not how the United States government actually operates today. The majority of our government’s day-to-day decisions are not made by the legislature or even the President. The elected officeholder is not even the one regularly exercising discretion. Today, those decisions are handled by the technocracy, which is safely tucked away in our government agencies, i.e. the permanent bureaucracy that has come to be known as the deep state.

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