In previous blog posts, I referred to the “Pop State”, which I want to explore further in this post. The term “Pop State” is a similar concept to that of the “Deep State”. The concept of a Deep State has been around for a few decades. Many countries complain about it, especially Turkey, where multiple ideological groups complain that the Deep State is working against them. In the US, some people have been complaining about the Deep State for decades.
The Wikipedia article on “State within a State” provides a good explanation. Here is an excerpt:
“’State within a state’ is a political situation in a country when an internal organ (“deep state”), such as the armed forces and civilian authorities (intelligence agencies, police, administrative agencies and branches of governmental bureaucracy), does not respond to the civilian political leadership. Although the state within the state can be conspiratorial in nature, the Deep State can also take the form of entrenched unelected career civil servants acting in a non-conspiratorial manner, to further their own interests (e.g., job security, enhanced power and authority, pursuit of ideological goals and objectives, and the general growth of their agency) and in opposition to the policies of elected officials, by obstructing, resisting, and subverting the policies and directives of elected officials.”
I placed the text in bold for emphasis. I want to make it clear that it’s not a conspiracy. All of these deeply entrenched government officials are not all getting together at secret meetings plotting how to work against the Elected State. They are most likely not even communicating with each other very much. It is simply that they have been there a long time, and like things the way they are, and aren’t going to change. It is not in their interest to change. They further their own interests, whatever that may be. And since they are the experts at their jobs, they can often do whatever they want without impunity.
Here is my attempt at writing a similar paragraph about the Pop State:
“The Pop State is an informational and commercial situation in a country when internal industries, such as the media and entertainment industries (Hollywood, professional sports, television, and popular music), does not reflect the will of the people. Although the Pop State can be conspiratorial in nature, it is more likely that the Pop State takes the form of entrenched and uninspired career executives, performers, and production managers acting in a non-conspiratorial manner, to further their own interests (e.g., job security, profit margins, enhanced power and authority, pursuit of ideological goals and objectives, and the general growth of their agency) and in opposition to the best interests and desires of the people they provide a service to. The Pop State does this by subverting, calculating and exploiting our society’s obsession with being entertained.”
I don’t believe there is any sort of conspiracy going among these industries. I believe that, like the Deep State, they have been doing things a certain way for so long, and learned how to profit from it, that they don’t have any incentive to change. The entrenched heads of movie studios, music producers, big media journalists, pro sports team owners, and TV networks have all figured out how to make money off of us. They calculate what makes people keep watching or listening, and they do that. It doesn’t matter if their product is good, only that it works. And for them, the definition of “what works” means what makes them money.
There is nothing wrong with making money. Businesses have to make money to survive. But they parade themselves as artists and informers, instead of salesmen. The head of a record label will “discover” some young new “talent”, whose only real talent is that the record label thinks they can sell her as a product. The calculate how to get people to pay money for the product. She now has a microphone and feels empowered to say whatever she wants. The media reports on what she says, as if it’s news, and thinks they are “bringing the truth to the people” by getting her message out to a wider audience. And there is nothing we can do about it, because they are all entrenched in their jobs.
There is one key difference between the Deep State and the Pop State, though. The Deep State has the power to make policies that affect our lives, regardless of what we do. The Pop State only has the power to influence our lives if we let them. When we stop paying attention to them, they lose some power. They still retain some power as long as enough people are paying attention. On a personal level, however, you will be free to become a better person if you stop paying attention. On a societal level, we will become better if we get enough people to Reject them.