As Mexican democracy cratered yet again in the 1980s, Mario Vargas Llosa made a prophetic statement about Late Stage Democracy:
The perfect dictatorship is not communism, not the Soviet Union, not Cuba, but Mexico, because it is a camouflaged dictatorship. It may not seem to be a dictatorship, but it has all the characteristics of dictatorship: the perpetuation, not of one person, but of an irremovable party, a party that allows sufficient space for criticism, provided such criticism serves to maintain the appearance of a democratic party, but which suppresses by all means, including the worst, whatever criticism may threaten its perpetuation inpower.
Governments learned from the 1960s that it was essential to give the citizens a pressure release valve and let them criticize the system, but that the important thing was that the system itself not change.
It did that through two methods: first, it outsource the actual work to the administrative state, or unelected bureaucrats who make the rules that are forced on industry and private citizens, and second by establishing restrictive precedents like civil rights which would bend all other law to their will.
If you wonder why so little changes in Washington, the above will tell you: almost everything is encrusted in detailed but vague rules which the courts constantly expand, granting more power to the administrative agencies which set the standards for who lives and who dies in our marketplace.
While various media voices proclaim that we are an oligarchy or feudal system, the grim fact remains that we are worse off than that: our nations have become permanent bureaucracies committed to avoiding any deviation from their path toward the third world, which will be as corrupt as Mexico and therefore allow the deep state to take its final form, namely a democracy in-name-only.
All democracies end this way. History repeats itself. Eventually, the System takes over from the citizens, and the citizens are given only choices that benefit the system. Populism shows us a brief deviation, but cooperation between Leftists at all levels of government threatens to squash it.
We have what might be called a decentralized camouflaged dictatorship where we are ruled by assumptions: equality, wealth redistribution, class warfare, diversity, pluralism. Anyone who deviates from these never makes it into the power structure, which is gatekept by Leftist journalists, academics, and social media.
Many refer to this as “anarcho-totalitarianism.” The System takes over, and creates an Establishment (now called the “Deep State”) which rewards only true believers. People struggle to join in order to avoid being dragged down into the anarchy of the ghetto or trailer park.
Once we identify this enemy, however, it becomes easier to defeat. We reject everything which requires these assumptions, and demand that plans for the future of our civilization be stated as a whole, meaning that they specify how things will look and act rather than the symbolic ideology behind them.
As liberal democracy winds down in a fug of its own failures, we are going to see a future where people are less interested in theory, and more in real-world concerns. We have had enough of the symbolism, and now simply need function, especially that which will function in perpetuity without our attention.