We hear the phrases “deep state” and “nanny state” in the media every day. Where did this all come from, and what does it mean?

The phrase “deep state” is reported to have originated in Turkey in the 1990s when the military colluded with drug traffickers and hit men to wage war against Kurdish insurgents, drawing its powers from the national security and intelligence apparatus. It then took on the connotation of being a state or government conspiracy to de-legitimatize democracy and policy goals of an increasingly corrupt government run by career bureaucrats. 

The deep state then increasingly became an entrenched bureaucracy that functioned independently from elected politicians and operated in ways focused on its own goals and without the consent or even knowledge of the citizenry. It became a hidden government usually focused on job security for its members, enhanced power and authority, and pursuing ideological objectives. It also became a way to provide license for members to marginalize dissidents and opponents. And, yes, all this breeds distrust in government among the citizenry.

This deep state has been present in nations throughout world history, attributed to activities in Turkey where the modern name evolved. The problems associated with the concept still exist and are far worse today than in years past. Unfortunately, this political malady is not new and has infected our country. 

A different state is called the “nanny state,” a phrase of British origin (December 1965) where government and its policies are overprotective and interfere unduly with citizens’ choices. We see this condition daily with enactment of laws such as: mandatory wearing of helmets while riding a bicycle; limiting the size of a soft drink purchased in a city park; or banning sale of tobacco in cigarettes while approving the sale of marijuana for the same activity. These are some small examples, but the big ones can be really intrusive with federal, state and local laws, costing the private sector an estimated 15-20% of gross domestic product for compliance.

Then the nanny state diverges and institutes “welfare state” policies and laws to provide endless entitlements to citizens and non-citizens, spending national debt moneys to pursue feel-good policies (such as Medicare for all), while a large part of the population is a drag on society. So, yes, the nanny state has grown and expanded to encompass more than outrageously intrusive laws, regulations and policies and has become an impossibly expensive drag on the nation’s economy. Having the government control everything has never enhanced the life or well-being of any nation or people in world history.  

These different “state” conditions have caused great change in our country over the last few decades, in part due to a faltering U.S. educational system where performance is in decline and young people do not understand or appreciate the distortions that these different states impose on American society. I contend that these two states (deep and nanny) have fostered the arrival and growth of a third state: a pending state of civil unrest. 

To complicate the matters relating to these different states, the nation is facing a rapidly declining level of civility and understanding of heritage and its worth to the country. This can mostly be attributed to young people who have been diminished by the collapsing public education system. No, it is not only young people who are remiss; they are often led by the inept and foolish who use the political system and bureaucracy to widen the gap between truth and common sense on one side against ideological ineptitudes on the other.

It was late professor and author Dr. Jack Minzey (University of Eastern Michigan) who wrote: “When you hate each other but accept election results, you have a country. When you stop accepting election results, you have a countdown to a civil war.” It was James Madison, father of America’s Constitution, who reminded us: “… you must first enable the government to control the governed and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

The states covered in this plea are important to our national future. The time is past due to fix these different state problems before it is too late.