It is with a healthy mindfulness of the need for wisdom and humility in the face of complex discourse that we introduce the author’s personal opinion of the notion of a so-called “deep state” in American politics. It is not the author’s intent to investigate matters outside his understanding, nor to imply disrespect towards different opinions on this highly contentious topic. Rather, we seek to explore one man’s personal opinion in the context of his professional experience as an intelligence officer — an opinion framed in this piece of broad political philosophy.

The “deep state” theory posits that a shadowy association of unnamed government officials, private sector magnates, and faceless movements are secretly operating to undermine President Trump and that the President alone stands against the forces of evil (e.g. “Radical Left” and Antifa) that seek to destroy this nation.

This theory and its narrative — while coherent amidst a confusing pandemic response, aggressive social justice discourse, fears of civil liberty violations due to contact tracing, and other issues — cannot and should not be accepted at face value. Proponents of the deep state theory carry the burden of proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt, and in the author’s opinion, have yet to deliver any “actionable intelligence.”

Rather, the deep state theory is a polarizing political tactic that poses a threat to U.S. national security because it sacrifices necessary public trust in government for short-term partisan gain.

For the readers familiar with political philosopher John Locke’s social contract theory, it is generally found that individuals tacitly or explicitly surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of government in exchange for the protection of their remaining rights. Indeed, it was such sentiment that helped establish the grounds for a colonial revolt against British tyranny in the American revolution.

The deep state theory insidiously dismantles this social contract from within by using the natural fear of authoritarian rule as a threat to strip citizens of fundamental rights, thereby undermining the required trust upon which the government interacts with its citizens (We are thus reminded of the intent of this piece, which is to seek healthy accountability for publicly elected officials, thereby ensuring the integrity of the social contract).

The use of fear to motivate a populace notwithstanding, it also appears that claims of a deep state within the American government are far too politically convenient. Note that it is not those who seek power that make such claims, but rather those who seek to maintain it.

The origins of the deep state theory are not clear. Yet, most sentiment entered American political discourse largely from bipartisan findings that Russian active measures did in fact influence the 2016 election and that Russia perceived it would benefit more from a Trump presidency. When Mr. Trump refers to such facts as a “hoax,” it dilutes the truth and complicates the necessary understanding of critical national security matters. It is also dangerous because it further solidifies the coherency of the deep state narrative while leaving no room for dissent or discussion.