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Congress, FBI, Schools, Libraries – Should We Reform, Break Up, or Replace?

Posted on Monday, February 6, 2023
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by David P. Deavel
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AMAC Exclusive – By David P. Deavel

Institutions

The fiery basketball coaching legend Bobby Knight once said the three options on a team are to lead, follow, or get out of the way. As Americans face a failure of many American institutions public and private, one of the main tasks of statesmen and citizens at every level is to determine what we are to do with these rogue, diseased, and destructive entities. In the spirit of Coach Knight, let us propose that we think about our task in every case as deciding between three options in the moment: reform, break up, or replace.

For many public institutions, we must necessarily seek some kind of reform. Strong governors and state legislatures in red states have the possibility of attempting reform of a great many institutions that are currently populated with dedicated liberals and leftists. Concerning the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, the main task must continue to be to attempt to put them back on a constitutional and sane footing. This will require not only savvy but fortitude. Bending an institution back into shape requires the will to do things that will not be pleasant.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was not many conservatives’ first choice for a leader. He was accused, whether fairly or not, of going along to get along. In any event, it seems the decision of some House Republicans to hold out initially against the California Representative’s bid for speaker has yielded for now a McCarthy 2.0. McCarthy wisely refused to reappoint Democratic Representatives Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell to their positions on the Intelligence Committee, citing the former’s dishonesty to the American people and the latter’s having been compromised by a relationship with a Chinese spy. While these refusals are necessary for the safety and security of our country, there was yet another Democrat removed from a committee.

Under his leadership the House voted this week to remove Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee for her anti-Semitic and anti-American statements made while serving. Republicans officially deny having taken this step as a reprisal for the Democrats’ unprecedented stripping of Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar of their committee memberships in the previous Congress for things they said (Greene before she was even in office). But it had better be a reprisal. When Democrats break the norms of our institutions, they expect Republicans to acquiesce and then continue to follow those same norms. This strategy is a non-starter. Letting bullies have their way is a good way to get bullied more.

To reform our necessary institutions in Washington, there are going to have to be a lot more confrontations like this one, especially over our national law enforcement and intelligence operations. The late strategist and scholar Angelo Codevilla argued in a 2020 essay that the FBI had become a “politically weaponized, domestic danger” to the country and needed desperate reform so that it could concentrate on crime alone.

Since Codevilla’s September 2021 death, his judgment has been vindicated over and over. Here are three examples: 1) the FBI’s targeting of pro-life activists while dilly-dallying about the hundreds of pro-life centers and churches that have been vandalized or attacked since the Dobbs leak; 2) vastly different approaches to alleged classified documents being stored by former President Trump and President Biden; and 3) the Twitterfiles revelations about the role of the FBI in censoring conservatives and dissenters from Democratic narratives. That is why the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the discrepancy between the Trump/Biden investigations and its new “weaponization” sub-committee (which was agreed to by McCarthy as one of the conditions for GOP votes for him as Speaker) are at least steps in the right direction. The DOJ is refusing the Judiciary Committee’s demands for documents related to Biden’s classified documents. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan says he is open to using subpoenas. Let’s hope he does. He has also issued subpoenas for documents related to the investigation of parents who complained at school board meetings under a rubric of counterterrorism after Attorney General Merrick Garland’s infamous March 2021 memo opening up “dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response.” We do need some sort of federal law enforcement. We also need it to enforce the law.

The new weaponization sub-committee is tasked not merely with investigating the FBI but also the intelligence community and assorted parts of the federal government that have come to seem as if they are merely tools of the Democratic Party. Codevilla noted that the best argument for the Central Intelligence Agency was that it could, well, centralize intelligence from multiple sources. But “since at least the 1980s,” he argued, “computers have made it possible and imperative for all analysts, regardless of their location, to access everything securely. Nowadays, ironically, [the] CIA’s insistence on managing the access and distribution of information is the biggest barrier to universal, all-source Intelligence analysis.”  The long and short of it is that the CIA from early on considered itself not just an agent of the three branches of government but one of the deciders—perhaps the decider. Codevilla concluded, “To firmly subordinate foreign Intelligence to military and diplomatic operations we must disestablish [the] CIA and return its functions to the Departments of State, Defense, and Treasury.” The CIA and FBI are tasked with enforcing laws and policies, not creating them.

There are a lot more agencies in Washington that need to be broken up or even disbanded. Again, this is not possible at the moment, but preparing the groundwork for paring back our bloated and extra-constitutional swamp has to be something that is on the agenda of conservatives. The immediate task is going to have to be some sort of reform—to fill the swamp with our people before draining it. But the next Republican president must have a plan for how to break up or abolish the agencies that do not merely waste money but use it for mischief.

As with reform, state- and local-level politicians in red states have more possibilities immediately at hand to disband or break up institutions gone bad. They also have a lot of opportunities for the replacement of those institutions. The most important one is education.

Despite the heroic efforts of red state politicians, public education as it now stands can neither be completely abolished nor thoroughly reformed. Virginia Democrats recently blocked a bill that would have required schools in the Commonwealth to speedily inform students of academic honors. This was after revelations that more than a dozen schools had withheld this information because more Asian and white students than black students had achieved such honors.

Even worse than this is the effort of Democrats and teachers unions in nearly a dozen states to block bills that would provide greater transparency about curricula and/or classroom instruction. While the line is always about how such legislation will damage “quality education,” the reality is that it would allow for enforcement of laws about teaching race and gender ideology. In Utah, where the state legislature and the state’s board of education passed rules in 2021 banning teaching Critical Race Theory, a group of teachers and administrators was captured on film boasting of how they had skirted such rules, often by deceiving parents about what they were doing.    

While legislative and administrative efforts to root out such teachers must continue, what will be of greater service to parents is the continued push for school choice so that families can choose the best education for their children and avoid toxic public schools. And politicians have been pushing for it. As Education Week reports, “lawmakers in at least 11 states—Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Virginia—have introduced and, in some cases, passed school choice bills.” The bills vary, with some providing for education savings accounts and many allowing for public money to be used to fund education at private schools. That such bills put pressure on public schools is a good feature, because the many years it might take to reform public schools are also the years in which many kids are getting their educations. Parents can have a replacement where no other possibility exists.

We can think of many other institutions that might be replaced in this kind of way. Given the way in which public libraries have become sources of progressive propaganda and woke indoctrination, it would be a delight to see more independent libraries along with funding for such endeavors. Even without legislative action or public moneys, it is clear that we need more institutions such as AMAC, New Founding and the St. Joseph Business Guild to provide alternatives to the older advocacy and business networks that have now become hostile to conservative and religious folk.      

Not every institution must exist forever. Some become burdens on our societal life. In such cases, we ought to work as hard as we can to take them down if we cannot reform them. But if we can neither reform them nor abolish them, we must pray for an extra dose of freedom and creativity to find new ones. If we have retained the best parts of the American spirit of liberty and discovery, we will, for as G. K. Chesterton argued, “The truth is that when people are in exceptionally high spirits, really wild with freedom and invention, they always must, and they always do, create institutions.”    

David P. Deavel teaches at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas. A past Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute and winner of Acton Institute’s Novak Prize, he is a Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative.

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PaulE
PaulE
1 year ago

A rather long and winding way of saying the vast majority of governmental institutions no longer serve the American public that finances them. That most government departments and agencies have morphed over time, thanks to the intentional, systematic infiltration of leftist appointees into the senior management ranks of these various agencies over the years, into unaccountable and uncontrollable bureaucratic and enforcement arms dedicated to promoting and protecting the leftist ideology.

Sorry but congressional hearings without any means to force the necessary changes needed to either reform or disband these government entities will be completely ineffective. It’s like the fire department showing up and trying to put out a house fire without any water, by simply yelling at the flames. Not an effective strategy. The house continues to burn until there is nothing left. The American public is viewed by these governmental departments and agencies as an adversary to be contained, controlled and ultimately eliminated from being an effective opposition to their agenda. All the examples of abuse and double standards the author provides in this piece simply highlight that approach through the use of the strategies and tactics being employed.

Strategies being deployed at the state level serve as workarounds to the now completely broken and politicized system, that is the federal government, may be successful in creating pockets of freedom for a public growing increasingly aware of the left’s agenda. Still they are just workarounds to a badly broken and adversarial system at the federal level. The ultimate solution still requires a massive change at the federal level to restore the public’s control over the federal government that seeks to control them. How that is accomplished is something the people will have to decide. That is usually how it works. Congressional hearings, without any enforcement teeth, are not going to be effective. That is just theater for the masses.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

Replace, break up
Change Cong procedures, policies alone
Pay on Performance
CUT DC Beltway overhead
Scrap FBI & Public school systems

pam clymer
pam clymer
1 year ago

Shut down all 3-letter organizations! All corrupt, wasting hard working taxpayers money!

Joe
Joe
1 year ago

Change Congress by imposing term limits on all members with no means for them to fill any other Congressional seat by moving to another district on changing from one chamber to the other. Ban them from stock trading and eliminate them from using political funds to benefit themselves or their families. No foreign contributions to political funds. Any salary increases are to be approved by voters.

Eliminate the FBI and any federal investigation of citizens unless a crime has been committed in which they are a prime suspect.

Schools and Libraries controlled by parents for content of the teaching and materials used. No CRT or Sexual orientation or gender changing manipulation indoctrinations. No mandatory health screenings without parental approval.

William Hodge
William Hodge
1 year ago

Scrap the people allowing these actions the lefties use.

LMB
LMB
1 year ago

Shut down all acronym agencies!!! Look into more strict and auditable guidelines for any further agencies!! Investigate all of them and HOLD them accountable!!!

gina
gina
1 year ago

break up FBI, IRS and school system and reform all other three letter agencies, cdc, fda, cia, nih…etc. FIRE (or at least retire) the top military (bunch of worthless losers – allowing anything to make it over the ocean heading towards America – little less – they let it fly all around – it could have been ANYTHING – could have killed half of America!!!)

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
1 year ago

Public School Reuse:
Raze
Offices
Lab
Medical
Services
Housing
Warehouse
Business seedbed

Nationwide by Local needs

John Bass
John Bass
1 year ago

Reform the FBI and any other government agency that’s ran amok. Replace the IRS with a simple 3% sales tax on everything, and imprison any member of Congress or the Senate that’s commits Treason…for example, sleeping with a Chinese spy, for leaking sensitive information to the press, for insider trading in the stock market, deleting hundreds of files off your personal server and or computer and last but not least, selling crappy art work and making a fortune off of it in the process for the big guy!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. There needs to be a law that simply says there will be no law that applies to the American people that does not apply to Congress and the Senate. That would include things like the purchasing of Health Care. I’m sure if they had to follow the same laws or rulings as we do things would be fixed real quick.

Jimmyd
Jimmyd
1 year ago

Do away with the congressional budget for the House and Senate, these should be paid for by the States that elect them, with all the same benefits that the State has, nothing more…our Government
just saved Billions….and the States have more control.

anna hubert
anna hubert
1 year ago

Institution or organization can only be as good or rotten as the people in it Where do we find enough decent people to replace existing rot Where do we find enough competent teachers to start with

Mary
Mary
1 year ago

Government has become a nosey, tranny, expensive problem for taxpayers. They steal everything, our dignity, morality, money, security, family, even life (abortion) and medical care. How do we fight back? The establishment if the revolution as Victor Davis Hanson says.

T Smith
T Smith
1 year ago

We need to do a major purge of schools and universities.

David Millikan
David Millikan
1 year ago

Excellent article.
We definitely need to get rid of the FBI. They still haven’t removed J. Edgar Hoover’s name from FBI Federal Buildings that Congress ORDERED and I believe passed a Bill on it to have his name removed in 1993.
The FBI doesn’t even follow the law.
Look how they RAID and ATTACK Conservative AMERICANS for political reasons.
As for schools and universities ALL Federal, State, and Local Taxes including Grants should be STOPPED immediately unless they start teaching proper education without INDOCTRINATION teaching our children socialism, communism, Fascism, and LOSER WOKE garbage putting our children LAST on the World stage.
Look what happened to the Millennial and Z generations because of INDOCTRINATION.
They Rank pathetically low in education compared to other countries and it’s NOT the kids fault they got brainwashed.
Now imagine how much their children are being brainwashed now for only one party to CONTROL them and NOT THINK Intelligently and THINK for themselves.
They don’t stand a chance.
Which is exactly what the FASCIST liberals want.
It’s all part of their plan.

GTPatriot
GTPatriot
1 year ago

Our schools, FBI, and Congress are all failed institutions. What is amazing and indicates our
weakness is that we have known this for years. I guess 10 years from now AMAC will republish the same article as we, the people, agree and do nothing. I don’t blame the problem as much as
I blame those of us who tolerate it yet complain.

George
George
1 year ago

Term limits will reform the legislative branch. Requiring picture ID and keeping voting to the day of the election will reform much of the voting processes. Mail-in ballots must also be restricted. The FBI, since it has been so corrupted, should be dissolved. Education should be placed back in the hands of local government and national politics removed. This would, in my opinion, be a good start.

Lynn
Lynn
1 year ago

Parents need to carefully investigate private and parochial schools because some of them have woke and questionable curricula just like public schools. This is often true in the same blue states and cities like NY, Calif, etc.

Kirk Struhart
Kirk Struhart
1 year ago

Disband….

Jamie
Jamie
1 year ago

FBI DOJ NEED TO GO IRS NEEDS TO BE REDONE..

Perry
Perry
1 year ago

Finally American common sense, Thank You.

Fred
Fred
1 year ago

Reform will never work as long as these institutions are infiltrated by students from universities that teach socialism andMarxism.
The place to begin is ridding the education community of those with the intent of destroying our generations of young impressionable minds.

Tell
Tell
1 year ago

I can tell you people haven’t thought about this since none of you can put out a coherent strategy lol

Bob
Bob
1 year ago

I believe there should be a camera in every classroom where parents can look in at anytime of day to see and hear what’s going on in their Childs classroom and if teachers don’t like it let them find other jobs because they can’t be trusted as teachers !!

1960s and 2020s; history repeats itself
Helena, Montana / November 3, 2020: Woman election official directing voter where to park and vote, man in vehicle holding ballot, voting from car outside polling station, poll worker
Red - amac action update

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