The New Pharisees

Jim Blasingame

November 7, 2020, is a date that will live in infamy. On that first Saturday following the election, an ignominious convergence of interests created a new and dangerous global force. 

Prior to the election, we asked small business owners which presidential candidate they thought would win, 71% of our respondents said Trump. After the election, we asked them how the unresolved vote-processing should play out, two-thirds said the counting process should be resolved before a winner is declared.

Regardless of how this election ends, millions of Americans now fear that winning at the polls isn’t enough to overcome a new force: The newly organized machine made up of Big Tech, Main Stream Media, Wall Street, the state political machines, and the Deep State.

This new force is what I’ve named “The Machine.” History is replete with parochial political machines, but this one is a global, 21st-century model, and it acts like 21st-century Pharisees. The unelected group that controlled ancient Israel, Pharisees claimed the power of “binding and loosing.” In other words, they could bind you up or let you go. And “you” were whoever acted against their interests, even if it was your constitutional right to do so.

Parochial political machines, in cities like Philadelphia, Detroit, and Chicago, are legendary and infamous. But what’s new is that The Machine has never before been able to link up for a common purpose across virtual and geographic boundaries with the help of their fellow travelers.

Let’s take a look at the cogs in The Machine.

Global Corporate

What’s new about Corporate America is that we should now refer to it as “Global Corporate.” Never mind where they were founded or are based, their allegiance is to whoever they can gain influence from across geographic, virtual, and sovereign boundaries. From today forward, every American must understand that the U.S. Constitution, revered on Main Street, is merely part of the Global Corporate reality and one of the issues they must deal with to pursue their goals. 

Big Tech

Big Tech is also Global Corporate, but this sector has weaponry unprecedented in political machine history. They control how we use the Internet and have more money than God. For example:

  • Almost 40% of Earthlings are monthly users of Facebook;
  • Google has over 90% of online search;
  • Half of every e-commerce dollar is spent with Amazon, which creates an annual revenue that would make it 41on the U.N.’s global GDP list of 194 countries.

To use a military analogy, Big Tech can deploy aircraft carriers launching stealth fighters at whomever they oppose, who are armed merely with light infantry.

Social Media

Social media platforms are both Global Corporate and Big Tech, but they deserve their own category. Remember, barely 12 years ago, MySpace was the dominant platform as we were just learning about Facebook and Twitter. Today, hiding behind the gift called Section 230, social media platforms are impinging on the single most powerful ideal in America – speech. And because of the complicit cogs in The Machine, it appears they will be able to continue.

The Media

As of today, with the assimilation of the New York Post, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, the Mainstream Media is now just The Media. And in a dangerous alloying of Global Corporate with The Media, the richest man in the galaxy leads that e-commerce giant mentioned above, while owning one of the most powerful newspapers in the galaxy.

Somewhere around 2015, The Media began their descent from journalism into unabashed, unveiled partisanism. The behavior of The Media in 2020 has elevated George Orwell’s prophet status above even the immortal Isaiah and Jeremiah.

The State

What was once considered the “Deep State” must now be shortened to “The State.” When you combine the behavior of Comey’s FBI, the current Wray FBI, the inexplicable delay of the Durham Report, and the politicization of the CIA, any illusion of deepness evaporates. Do we still have a democratic republic when unelected bureaucrats openly impose their will on the direction of the country with impunity?

And with transparency that would be refreshing if it weren’t so unprofessional, one need only to tune into cable news to witness The State and The Media linking up, as newly-removed FBI and CIA directors undermine the institutions they just left.

The Pandemic

The 100-year global pandemic has pushed 2020 into the perfect storm category. Of course, The Machine didn’t create the coronavirus, but its agenda has used the pandemic to achieve critical mass with Rahm Emanuel’s strategy: “Never let a crisis go to waste.” By leveraging the pandemic fear, besides slanted reporting and polling, The Machine launched a national early voting, mail-in ballot campaign that would not have been possible in any non-COVID year. Only a fine-tuned apparatus could have pulled this off across the country.

Obama and I disagreed on most policies, but when he was elected, I wasn’t worried about the future of America. It was just the natural gyration of a democratic republic – something good would ultimately come from it. Besides, Obama was elected by the people, fair and square – twice. Even those of us who didn’t vote for him respected that and moved on to fight another day.

But things are different now. Yes, most of the cogs in The Machine existed in 2008, but they had not coalesced as the current, fine-tuned force, communicating over a common frequency. And in that coalescing, they’ve achieved a critical mass that should concern every American. Including Biden supporters.

A democratic republic such as ours relies on Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The “Never Trumpers” achieved relevant status by finding purchase in the give and take of political motion. Intellectual honesty demanded that these recalcitrant Republicans be regarded as an example of the health of America’s seminal and most precious ideal – free speech. But going forward, I propose two important questions that every American should be asking:

  1. How will the “Never Bidens” be treated by The Machine?
  2. What will America do when the New Pharisees block President Harris’s Twitter account?

Perhaps one benefit of this year is the end of pretense. All the cogs of The Machine are now uncloaked, sailing under the same flag and operating over a common frequency. After 2020, romance, naivete, and ignorance now only exist on the TV Land channel.

Finally, to paraphrase the spirit of the powerful poem by Nazi-era German pastor Martin Niemöller: When they come for my speech and you say nothing, who will speak up when they come for yours?

America will survive Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and Kamala Harris. But will America survive The Machine and the New Pharisees?

Jim Blasingame is the author of The 3rd Ingredient, the Journey of Analog Ethics into the World of Digital Fear and Greed.

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