Machiavelli described three ways a conquering prince might best treat its defeated subject. Ruin them, rule them directly or install a puppet government. “Therein a state of the few which might keep it friendly to you.”

The example Machiavelli gives of the last is the friendly government Sparta established in Athens upon defeating it[…]

The Athenian government disloyal to Athens’ laws and contemptuous of its traditions was known as the Thirty Tyrants, and understanding its role and function helps explain what is happening in America today.

According to journalist Thomas Friedman, the American elite signed up to the pact with America’s enemy more than a decade ago. It was during the Obama presidency that the elite decided that democracy wasn’t in their interest.

Blaming the Republican Party for preventing them from running roughshod over the American public, they migrated to the Democratic Party in the hopes of strengthening the relationships that were making them rich[…]

In the more than 10 years since Friedman’s column was published, the disenchanted elite that the Times columnist identified has further impoverished American workers while enriching themselves. The one-word motto they came to live by was globalism—that is, the freedom to structure commercial relationships and social enterprises without reference to the well-being of the particular society in which they happened to make their livings and raise their children.

At the apex of globalism sits the Chinese Communist Party.

Why did they trade with an authoritarian regime and by sending millions of American manufacturing jobs off to China thereby impoverish working Americans? Because it made them rich.

Naturally, Donald Trump, committed to returning American jobs, ending foreign wars and illegal immigration – the source of their cheap labour at home – was the arch-enemy of the treacherous elites.

What he called “The Swamp” appeared at first just to be a random assortment of industries, institutions, and personalities that seemed to have nothing in common, outside of the fact they were excoriated by the newly elected president. But Trump’s incessant attacks on that elite gave them collective self-awareness as well as a powerful motive for solidarity. Together, they saw that they represented a nexus of public and private sector interests that shared not only the same prejudices and hatreds, cultural tastes and consumer habits but also the same center of gravity—the U.S.-China relationship. And so, the China Class was born.

Connections that might have once seemed tenuous or nonexistent now became lucid under the light of Trump’s scorn, and the reciprocal scorn of the elite that loathed him.

The China Class crosses racial and social boundaries. LeBron James and Tim Cook are allied by the fact that they owe their staggering wealth to China, where their Nike sneakers and iPhones are made in appalling sweatshops. And both are grateful allies of the Chinese Communist Party.

Mirroring what Clive Hamilton has dubbed the Silent Invasion of Australia, the communists bought off the American elite.

These disparate American institutions lost any sense of circumspection or shame about cashing checks from the Chinese Communist Party, no matter what horrors the CCP visited on the prisoners of its slave labor camps and no matter what threat China’s spy services and the People’s Liberation Army might pose to national security. Think tanks and research institutions like the Atlantic Council, the Center for American Progress, the EastWest Institute, the Carter Center, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and others gorged themselves on Chinese money[…]

Nearly every major American industry has a stake in China. From Wall Street—Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley— to hospitality. A Marriott Hotel employee was fired when Chinese officials objected to his liking a tweet about Tibet. They all learned to play by CCP rules.

“It’s so pervasive, it’s better to ask who’s not tied into China,” says former Trump administration official Gen. (Ret.) Robert Spalding.

If only it were satire. The BFD. Photoshop by Lushington Brady.

Like all nascent tyrannies, the American elite desperately needed a “crisis”, real or imagined, to allow them to openly seize power. For four years, they tried to leverage “Orange Man Bad” for all they were worth. With little success. Until the last year, it was clear that Trump was cruising to a second term.

Then along came another, bigger “crisis” – tailor-made for them by their own beloved patron, China. The left-elite used the “COVID emergency” to embark on the most naked grab for power seen in the West since Hitler’s boot-boys rampaged through the streets of Berlin.

Americans became prey to an anti-democratic elite that used the coronavirus to demoralize them; lay waste to small businesses; leave them vulnerable to rioters who are free to steal, burn, and kill; keep their children from school and the dying from the last embrace of their loved ones; and desecrate American history, culture, and society; and defame the country as systemically racist in order to furnish the predicate for why ordinary Americans in fact deserved the hell that the elite’s private and public sector proxies had already prepared for them.

For nearly a year, American officials have purposefully laid waste to our economy and society for the sole purpose of arrogating more power to themselves while the Chinese economy has gained on America’s.

If it wasn’t clear enough, it should be obvious in the way that the most dictatorial of America’s tyrants have suddenly lost their enthusiasm for lockdowns the instant they got their own man into the White House.

What seems clear is that Biden’s inauguration marks the hegemony of an American oligarchy that sees its relationship with China as a shield and sword against their own countrymen.

As I wrote for Insight, we almost certainly ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

What does history teach us about this moment? The bad news is that the Thirty Tyrants exiled notable Athenian democrats and confiscated their property while murdering an estimated 5% of the Athenian population. The good news is that their rule lasted less than a year.

Tablet

Recent history also suggests that hegemonic regimes which seize control of all branches of government rarely last long in democracies.

The question, though, is whether after November 2020 America really is a democracy any more.

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Why the American Elite Are China’s Faithful Tyrants
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Lushington D. Brady

Punk rock philosopher. Liberalist contrarian. Grumpy old bastard. I grew up in a generational-Labor-voting family. I kept the faith long after the political left had abandoned it. In last decade or...