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senate-bossesMany of us have experienced people in our lives who build a certain narrative which we accept despite evidence before our eyes. Sometimes it’s easier to accept the narrative, sometimes the benefit of the relationship outweighs the cost of facing the facts.

Very often, there comes a time when the dam we built to hold the facts away from our consciousness breaks. That is usually a critical moment.

The same holds for our relationship with government. We all have accepted a certain narrative about our government. The less informed talk about a “democracy.” Those who paid attention in civics class think of it as a “representative republic.”

As a member of the second group, I revere the genius of our Founders and the remarkable system they put in place resting on the Constitution.


Recently, I had an experience that broke my dam. A series of marvelous coincidences put me on a tropical hillside in Thailand enjoying the hospitality of some Thai friends who were celebrating the birthday of one of their number.

I met these guys when I took a diving trip with them. We had so much fun together, one trip became four. On the third trip, I got an invitation I couldn’t refuse.

So, there I was on this hillside on a beautiful evening. My Thai is limited pretty much to “Hello” and “Thank you,” while my hosts’ English is functional. Regardless, they did a grand job of making me feel welcome.


There was another non-Thai speaker there. Linn is a beautiful young Chinese woman who speaks remarkably good English. We established a quick bond, as she is an enthusiastic diver and similarly charmed by Thai people.

Linn lives in the People’s Republic of China. Chinese people are frequent visitors to Thailand, but generally they are in groups and keep to themselves.

Because of her superb English, Linn was the first Chinese national I have ever engaged in conversation. She is bright, well-educated, and charming.

We both did our best to tread lightly when the conversation approached the differences between our nations. However, I noticed early on that she was not the least bit defensive about the Chinese Communist Party. On the contrary she actually seemed almost indifferent.

Linn didn’t behave in any way that resembled people I’ve known from Eastern Europe and Russia during the Soviet days. Rather, she was relaxed and comfortably free to say whatever she pleased.

At one point the conversation turned to my personal experience in manufacturing in California during Silicon Valley’s manufacturing heyday. I told her about how my work in the 1980s took me to the various business parks in the Bay Area.

At the time, they were all bustling hives. Machine, sheet metal, and paint shops along with printed circuit board houses filled the area’s manufacturing landscape.


dam-breakI left manufacturing in 1991 and did not return to any of those parks until 1997. What I found on return were ghost towns. All the shops were gone. All that work was offshored.

In deference to my new friend, I avoided reflexively mentioning China and instead pointed my finger at the American oligarchs who moved all that work in those few short years. That’s when my dam broke.

America is no democracy, nor is it a representative republic in any functional sense. America is, and has been for at least a century, an oligarchy.

We learned in those civics and history classes that Teddy Roosevelt busted trusts and put those “Robber Barons” in their place. Of course, they couldn’t be oligarchs because America is a republic, not an oligarchy.


All this pleasant narrative in my case was robust enough to withstand a lifetime of contrary experience and learning from books like The Creature from Jekyll Island, or Milton Friedman’s work.

My dam held for half a century, until that moment with Linn, when I heard myself blame America’s manufacturing demise on our oligarchs, not China.

For years I separated and catalogued facts, and tossed them over the dam to swim around in my head independently. Suddenly the dam broke and those facts formed a fearsome school that flooded my consciousness.

At that moment, I realized it is America’s oligarchs who are destroying our currency. It is our oligarchs who want our border, our cities, and our nation to collapse.

It is our oligarchs who installed a senile fool in the Presidency. It is our oligarchs who control the media. It is our oligarchs who feted Chairman Xi in San Francisco last year.

It is our oligarchs who likely gave the world COVID as their response to a public that dared to think we could elect people who would actually represent us. It is our oligarchs who inflicted their “vaccines” on the world.

Can we doubt that it is our oligarchs who are now directing our own government against us? Indeed, our government has long been a helpless tool in their hands.

Neither a democracy, nor a representative republic, for well over a century America has been an oligarchy, and the pity is, we all know it. It’s the dams made of fables that were planted in our childhood minds that keep us from seeing it.


I now look back at the history and the horrors of the 20th century with new eyes. Try it and see if you get a clearer view of the immediate threat, as well as the ugly reality of the past.

land-mass-dividedI’m certainly not inclined to dismiss the CCP as a threat, but could it be a convenient distraction? A minor villain, perhaps, if not a boogeyman?

Was it created by our oligarchs? Is it being used now to misdirect us away from the true, mortal threat standing in our faces?

The flowering of manufacturing in the 19th century gave rise to the fortunes we all recognize. They were relatively few in number but their wealth is what gave us the Progressive Era and the administrative state.

The prototype of the oligarch “Brer Rabbit play” was the railroads and the Interstate Commerce Commission, established to regulate the railroads.


In short order the railroad barons came to control the ICC and use it as their tool to boost their interests. Can you say CDC? FDA? “Please don’t throw me in that regulatory briar patch!”

The technology revolution of our day has spawned hordes of billionaires, many of whom have formed comfortable “public-private partnerships” with government.

Along the way, some have become wealthier than most governments on earth. Few of them seem to show any particular loyalty to their nation or their neighbors.

The problem is that all those people are human. The recent billionaires have demonstrated an amazing capacity to get rich. However, if they were dorks when they started, they’re just rich dorks today.

In the American oligarchical system, unfortunately, we get stuck with their vices and shortcomings.

How do we protect ourselves from more of their deadly, crackpot fantasies?


C.P. Emanuel writes for American Thinker.