Bailiwick News – Volume 3 Preview – Centre Region Inverted Totalitarianism

I might write and publish a few more Bailiwicks before the end of the year, on the Beta Theta Pi prosecutions; the Slab Cabin Run water and farmland protection campaign (aka Toll Brothers/COG “Shitwater Mills” public-private partnership project in Ferguson Township); the Spring Creek Watershed Commission’s languishing Spring Creek Watershed Action Plan update process; Penn State’s corporate governance, tax exemptions and profiteering; and/or a couple other topics.

Might not. Covering public corruption in Centre County is, as they say, like trying to drink from a fire hose.

Looking ahead to 2019, for Bailiwick News Volume 3, I’ll be delving into the ways in which local governments in Centre County – as structured by the Pennsylvania Constitution and related state laws – represent examplars of inverted totalitarianism.

The term was introduced by Sheldon Wolin in 2003, to describe political systems Рmanaged democracy Рin which managerial skills are applied to basic democratic political institutions.

“…By using managerial methods and developing management of elections, the democracy of the United States has become sanitized of political participation, therefore managed democracy is “a political form in which governments are legitimated by elections that they have learned to control”.

Under managed democracy, the electorate is prevented from having a significant impact on policies adopted by the state because of the opinion construction and manipulation carried out by means of technology, social science, contracts and corporate subsidies.

Managerial methods are also the means by which state and global corporations unite so that corporations increasingly assume governmental functions and services and corporations become still more dependent on the state. A main object of managed democracy is privatization and the expansion of the private, together with reduction of governmental responsibility for the welfare of the citizens…”

Bailiwick coverage will likely focus on three intertwined issues: presenting evidence that the Centre Region Council of Governments is an excellent case study in managed democracy sanitized of citizen impact; exploring what proportion of the citizens of the Centre Region understand and explicitly consent to being managed in this way; and exploring how those who understand and yet do not consent to living under an inverted totalitarian local government might craft tools to change the form of government under which we live.

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