Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Epigovernment: The New Model

An earlier Dredd Blog post had a graphic to show the structure of the U.S. Federal Government.

That graphic has been modified for this post so as to illustrate the concept of "epigovernment."

Before we get into to the post completely let's first review some definitions and set some definitions within a useful context.

For the purposes of this post "government" means the realm of officials who are elected into office, as well as those they then hire or appoint to non-elected offices.

It also means what those government officials do while on official business.

And finally, for the purposes of this post, "epigovernment" means the layer above government that actually sets the policy and direction of government.

Thus, epigovernment is a concept like epigenetics in the sense that epigenetics is "above genetics," because epi means "above" or "over" in this context, which is a context declaring that genes are no more controlling (see The "It's In Your Genes Myth) than government is (see MOMCOM: The Private Parts - 4).

Thus, epigovernment is to government what epigenetics is to genetics.

The premier American propagandist Edward Bernays described the concept of the epigovernment quite well:
THE conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.

They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons — a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty [now 320] million — who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.
It is the purpose of this book to explain the structure of the mechanism which controls the public mind, and to tell how it is manipulated by the special pleader who seeks to create public acceptance for a particular idea or commodity. It will attempt at the same time to find the due place in the modern democratic scheme for this new propaganda and to suggest its gradually evolving code of ethics and practice.
(A Closer Look At MOMCOM's DNA - 4, quoting Bernays). In this concept the tentacles of the epigovernment reach the people through the mechanism of the media:
One of the most important comments on deceit, I think, was made by Adam Smith. He pointed out that a major goal of business is to deceive and oppress the public.

And one of the striking features of the modern period is the institutionalization of that process, so that we now have huge industries deceiving the public — and they're very conscious about it, the public relations industry. Interestingly, this developed in the freest countries—in Britain and the US — roughly around time of WWI, when it was recognized that enough freedom had been won that people could no longer be controlled by force. So modes of deception and manipulation had to be developed in order to keep them under control
(The Deceit Business, quoting Chomsky). The way the epigovernment is able to direct government is also known, which is control through the use of the power of wealth, i.e. through money.

That money is controlled by known international corporations that own stock in each other so as to "keep it in the family":
A University of Zurich study 'proves' that a small group of companies - mainly banks - wields huge power over the global economy.

The study is the first to look at all 43,060 transnational corporations and the web of ownership between them - and created a 'map' of 1,318 companies at the heart of the global economy.

The study found that 147 companies formed a 'super entity' within this, controlling 40 per cent of its wealth. All own part or all of one another. Most are banks - the top 20 includes Barclays and Goldman Sachs. [Bank of America is in the top 25]
(MOMCOM: The Private Parts - 3, quoting Daily Mail & report, emphasis added). This concept of epigovernment should probably be a required chapter in Civics Textbooks, because the physical dynamics can be observed, measured, studied, and discussed in pre-college classes as well as in university level classes.

Terms like "global economy" can be explained to civics and economics students via the concept of a plutocracy, which is the essence of the global epigovernment.

Another good thing about the concept of epigovernment is that it can be taught without getting into boogie man "conspiracy theories" that tend to scare properly trained citizens away.

The next post in this series is here.

Maybe not as American as you think ...


  1. Another example of epigovernment at work is when the EPA allows international mining and oil corporations to pollute our drinking water in the most eggregious way: Link

  2. -
    Dear Dredd, blog, abundant souls, Epigov't meme is a strong useful word and concept.

    A Bernays contemporary wrote a 1910 book elaborating a fictional design for 'ideal' government. The book influenced Bernays' thinking, shown in excerpts above, especially combined with thinking about the influence of radio broadcasting (c. 1925) as the first opportunity and incidence of mass media, mass audience, (more than millions), and mass mind 'thinking' (attention to) the same one thought the speaker is broadcasting and everyone (millions-plus) 'thinks' simultaneously.

    The 1910 book is PHILIP DRU: ADMINISTRATOR - A STORY OF TOMORROW, 1920-1935.
    Full text (html) is here:

    A certain Col. Edward House figure was the author, but the original publication was Anonymous. Col. House is noteworthy ... by wikipedia, and beyond. Quite a character, an influential figure in the unpublicized unbroadcast shadows.
    Instance: Like with Col. Sanders's title, it wasn't an obtained military rank, House simply liked to call himself 'colonel.' And other traits of his such as short stature, hyperactive overambition, (read all about him), might suggest 'Napoleon complex' if that diagnosis had been in use at the time ... if 'medical' psychology had begun and been practiced at the time.

    Col. House 'consulted' to Woodrow Wilson, (like Rasputin 'consulted' to Czar Nicholas, same 'era'), consulted TO, and as participant IN, the council of 'federal govt' operators, i.e., personages of epigovernment.
    That's the point of this comment. Suggesting that Col. House offers precedent (before Bernays) for the formulation of 'epigovt'al concepts.

    Col. House had the ear of presidents Hoover, Coolidge, and FDR as well. In some terms he occupied an office, without title or appointment simply 'personal advisor', in the White House proper.
    The ideas for policies and practices in 'administering' govt first described in "Philip Dru, Administrator", later were enacted and implemented in USGovt (or USCode) through various means and in some moments. 'Made' into Govt starting with W.W.Wilson and until reaching fullest appearance with FDR's proposals such R.E.A., Social Security, and more.

    The book was conceived and aimed as (to prime the 'public mind' to acknowledge) promotion of instituting the Federal Reserve 'system.' The banking 'cartel' that secretly designed the Fed.Rsrv. plan (on Jekyll Island), and in league with him designated Col. House unofficially 'ambassador' from their N.Y. financial center to federal USGovt, Washington,DC.

    Anyway, I hope that people get a chance to see the book if they haven't heard of it. The 'propaganda' in it, and of it, (although the term hadn't been coined then), could make the book unapproachable, for me, without some awareness of the contexts in history and politics, and MONEY, around the publication and the author.

    Where Col. House personified epi-USgovernment, 1915-35, say, he was succeeded by the similar J. Edgar Hoover 1935-50, who in turn was succeeded in 'the heritage' of epigoverning by Allen Dulles and his manifest institution there, CIA.

    just a thought ...