level must be augmented, and lodgednfor the most part in the executivenbranch.nAs a crude but useful generalization,nwe may say that political battles in anynmodern system are fought over the properndegree of political control over a society,nincluding its economy. The newnright—and to a lesser extent the ReagannAdministration—believes that governmentnhas already extended its powersnmuch too far, and that the reach ofngovernmental authority must be reduced:nwe must work for change in thendirection of freeing society from itsnpolitical shackles. The left, on the othernhand, advocates socialism, the idea thatnsociety in its entirety should be subject tonpolitical controls. Basically, the questionnis straightforward: how much governmentnis enough for a good society? PresidentnReagan’s answer, that of the newnright and of the majority of the Americannpeople (even Jimmy Carter soundednanti-Washington themes in his 1976ncampaign), is that we have too muchngovernment, that its dominance over ournlives must be reduced. The answer of thenMarcus Raskins and Kevin Phillipses, onnthe other hand, is that government enjoysnfar too little power, and that it mustnbe further extended. A clear understandingnof this dichotomy makes it plain hownfar the new right is from advocating thenascendancy of a Hitler, who, after all,ncalled himself a National Socialist.nIn fact, the political malaise of our daynderives from a disguised leftist dictatorshipnof the very sort Phillips promotes:nthe dictatorship of the permanent Washingtonnbureaucracy—in the legislativenbranch, the executive branch, andnespecially the judiciary’. The permanentnbureaucracy—which, in large part, is notnsubject to political control because of thenCivil Service system—attends to the dayto-daynoperations of the government:nSecretaries and Assistant Seaetaries arenmost often mere epiphenomena on thenstage of history. If the permanentnbureaucracy captures control of those inntop positions, it can pursue its estab­nlished statist policies with only slightnmodifications even under a Reagan Administration.nIf it cannot co-opt itsnsuperiors, it conducts clandestine warfarenagainst them (claiming that they aren”unqualified,” or even “motivated bynpolitical considerations,” as well theynshould be), and it often emerges victorious.nA major, widely supported plank ofnthe Reagan program was the abolition ofnthe Departments of Education and ofnEnergy. But the permanent bureaucracynhas done its work, and two years later thenReagan Administration has proposed nonserious legislation at all to accomplishnthis pmning of government. And if suchnlegislation is offered, it will have scantnchance of passage.nThe Federal budget provides a crudenbut useful measure of the extent ofngovernment intervention in our society:nthe surging increases in the budget overnthe last decade map the growth of thatnintervention. The most the Reagan Administrationnhas been able to do—andnthat by dint of great exertion—is not tonreduce the budget, but merely to slow itsnrate of growth slightly. The prevailingnpressures in Washington almost all favornincreased Federal spending: consider thenrelative ease with which the Dole tax increasenpassed Congress in light of the difficultynof obtaining domestic spendingnreductions and the unremitting attacksnon the tax-rate reductions which are thencenterpiece of the Reagan economic program.nWhen tax questions on which itncan make informed judgments comendirectly before the electorate in a referendumn, the voters usually make it clear thatnthe reach of government spending isnquite sufficient, although the establishednpolitical leadership of both partiesnusually sees things quite otherwise. So farnit has proven impossible to imposenmeaningful limitations on governmentnspending through our representativengovernment, primarily because of thenpower of the permanent and irresponsiblenbureauaacy.nThe type of power which Phillipsnhopes to see lodged in the executivennnbranch has in fact already been exercisednfor some years by the Federal judiciary,nwhich fears no retaliation at the polls. It isnprecisely the exercise of raw governmentalnpower by the judiciary—in the areasnof busing, school prayer, abortion, freenspeech—which has engendered sullennresentment and distrust of governmentnthroughout the country.nThe fact that government presentlynseems unable to move in any very coherentndirection is simply a political reflectionnof the breakdown of the nationalncultural consensus, a breakdown causednin great part by the exercise of politicalnpower. For example, 25 years ago therenexisted an almost universal consensus innfavor of school prayer. That consensusnhas now broken down—mostly becausenof the irresponsible Supreme Court rulingnof 1962—and so the issue is nownhighly controversial. As court decisionsnand other actions of the Federal governmentncontribute to the destruction ofnconsensus in many areas, the electoralnsystem yields schizophrenic results. Innfact, if tlie political system functionsnproperly, it should mntoi our culturalndisagreements. It may be fatal to seek ansolution through the imposition of brutenstate power, as Phillips would have us do;nrather we should work to restore wholenessnwithin the culture. A nation dividednagainst itself cannot stand, especiallynwhen it faces the ruthless hostility ofncommunist totalitarianism. But that isnanother question, one which Phillips,nalong with most Americans, much prefersnto ignore. Phillips thus concludes:nMy sense is that the chances for a traditionalnrealignment of the partynsystem are siiin. Instead, what we’llnprobably see are short-term politicalncoalitions and supremacies basednmore on communications technologynthan on old-style parties. In the process,nour politics will become increasinglynprone to plebiscitary techniquesnand appeals. The American partynsystem seems a long way from overcomingntwo decades of weakness. Innfact, that weakness is probably movingnfront and center.nMarch 1983n