Why Outsiders Need Insiders To Get Anything Done

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

You need Insiders who are loyal to an Outsider and an Outsider agenda to accomplish any real reforms.

Readers ask a reasonable question: if Trump is a political Outsider, then why has he stuffed his staff with Insiders--Goldman Sachs alumni, generals, etc.? The question follows an understandable logic: wouldn't an Outsider appoint other outsiders? The doubt expressed also follows a reasonable logic: if Insiders are running the Trump administration, won't it be just another case of "meet the new boss, same as the old boss"?

I think there is another dynamic in play here which I have laid out in this chart: Outsiders can be effective in meeting their policy goals (i.e. "success"), but they need Insiders who know how to get things done within a self-serving Establishment that is highly resistant to Outsiders and institutional reforms.

The Insider-Outsider spectrum has several important variations. In economics, Insiders rig the system to benefit themselves at the expense of Outsiders. In religion, Insiders are trusted members of the community of the faithful, and Outsiders are not members and thus untrustworthy.

In other words, there is a push-pull dynamic to being an Insider: it's easy to feather one's own bed as an Insider, because you are a trusted member of the Insider Community. Insiders have security, Outsiders do not. Insiders cover up the sins and greed of other Insiders, lest their own self-serving greed be exposed.

This means Insiders have enormous opportunities to join the Establishment that resists any reforms that reduce Insiders' private gains or the power of entrenched interests.

On the other hand, Insiders who are True Believers in reform have the trust and connections needed to bypass or overcome the inertial resistance to any change within the Establishment.

OUtsiders can only effect significant reforms if they have the overwhelming political power of numbers behind them: if enough Outsiders are enraged at being exploited by Insiders, they can threaten to topple the entire Establishment.

Only when they fear the complete loss of their own power and Insider perquisites do Insiders grudgingly accept reforms that diminish their power, perquisites and security.

The measures of success also matter. If the reformer, Insider or Outsider, seeks to remake society, government and the nation, such lofty goals will fail simply because they are too grandiose to be accomplished in a short time, even with the consent of the governed.

Grandiose goals end up disappointing those who believed them possible.

In contrast, incremental goals are far more modest in scope and therefore within reach of either a mass Outsider movement or True Believer Insiders.

Let's consider two Outsider presidencies: Abraham Lincoln and Jimmy Carter. Lincoln's presidency has been reported in great depth, Carter's has received relatively little critical assessment. Nonetheless, we discern certain similarities to the Trump presidency: all three "came out of nowhere" to win the presidency by slim margins, all three entered office with a deeply divided electorate and all three were Outsiders in the power circles of Washington, D.C.

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's book on Lincoln's cabinet, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, illuminates more than the rivalry: all of Lincoln's key appointees were consummate Insiders.

Carter's closest advisors tended to be Outsiders, while his foreign policy appointees were Insiders. Although there is ample room to debate this, as a political junkie who lived through the Carter campaign and presidency, it seems to me his presidency was doomed by an abundance of lofty goals and a paucity of Insiders who had the trust and networks to get stuff done.

I would argue the surest way to fail as a president is to stock your administration with Outsiders -- especially True Believer Outsiders who view entrenched, self-serving Insiders with utter disdain.

To get anything done in a culture of entrenched interests, one must either have an overwhelming political mandate to dismantle the entire machine--Trump does not--or you need Insiders who know the pressure points of the system and its key players--in effect, Insiders who know how to slip a political stiletto into the kidneys of key players and twist the blade to get done what would otherwise be impossible.

Insiders know (or can find out) who the politicized brown-nosers and incompetents are that must be cashiered if anything is going to change for the better. Outsiders are tempted to "clean house," a strategy that can backfire as entrenched interests hunker down and await the inevitable failure of the reforms.

It boils down to this: you need Insiders who are loyal to an Outsider and an Outsider agenda to accomplish any real reforms. Outsiders are easy prey for polished, self-serving Insiders. You need Insiders who can beat the entrenched interests at their own game, and weed out the toxic institutionalized leadership that resists reforms out of self-aggrandizement rather than principle.

We'll just have to wait and see if Trump's Insiders are loyal to an Outsider and an Outsider agenda or not. Time will tell.

*  *  *

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com. Check out both of my new books, Inequality and the Collapse of Privilege ($3.95 Kindle, $8.95 print) and Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle, $8.95 print). For more, please visit the OTM essentials website.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Mango327's picture

Finally, somebody says it. Thank you, Charles.


xythras's picture
xythras (not verified) Mango327 Jan 19, 2017 2:28 PM

Gorge Soros teams up with MasterCard to finance Migrants



BabaLooey's picture

Been saying this all along.

Am I worried about some of Trump picks?

Who wouldn't be.

BUT - Charles is absolutely correct here.

MalteseFalcon's picture

Things have changed radically since Carter's day.

Imperial presidency.

Phone and pen.

Nobody can stop Trump from any foreign policy initiative.

Domestically, he might be prevented from building, but nothing can stop him from slashing away.

But that won't be necessary, because he is a great negotiator.


runningman18's picture

This is another delusional article from CHS.  There are plenty of Washington "insiders" that are not fucking Goldman Sachs bankers and Bush era Neocons.  It's a lie that Trump needs elitist bankers that create the problems to then fix the problems.  Why would they fix a corrupt system that serves their interests?  More likely they are there to keep Trump in line.     

iAmerican3's picture
iAmerican3 (not verified) Jan 19, 2017 1:04 PM

Born, raised, and forsaking the status of "ultimate" "insider" when it dawned on me as a "starman" at West Point we were sent to kill and die in Vietnam on behalf of the Entity which created Hitler and Nazism, and soon thereafter realizing the same killed President Kennedy and Dr. King, I appreciate your article and now know only the People's beseeching God that by grace Mr. Trump shall honor The Constitution and restore the Republic by purposefully casting down the Beast of (((Gog))) and Babylon now upon our True Israel, shall usurped America be redeemed, please God.

iAmerican3's picture
iAmerican3 (not verified) We Are The Priests Jan 19, 2017 6:16 PM

God's "Promised  Land" is that foretold with eight given signs by the Hebrew prophet Isaiah: all of which are indisputably and uniquely met by America as founded, now, as prophesied of "Israel," under attack by "Gog" and "Babylon."

N.B. Those who deny prophecy deny God.

A. Boaty's picture

Outsiders need to get rid of psychopaths to get anything done.

DuneCreature's picture

Some pretty level headed discussion about Donald J Trump and what we can expect from him.


He can't totally 'Drain the Swamp' (Although I don't want to discourage him trying if that is truly his intention) and any serious draining is going to take years. ... He will have to go on a big gator and snake safari first so the drainers don't get eaten digging the ditches. ......... Mounted heads on the wall is the only thing that will convince me he is sincere.

It should be one hell of a show nonetheless.

A good place to start hunting for black water swamp monsters:

The Clinton Satan Foundation is swimming in fraud, graft, embezzlement, income tax evasion, and obstruction of justice.

A 100 billion USD racket. .......... Hello? ...Hello? ... Is anyone home at DoJ?


Then we go for the BIG critters out in the glades....

Live Hard, The Fed Will Be The Big Mean Bull Water Buffalo Deep In The Hammocks That Won't Go Down With One Shot, Die Free

~ DC v4.0

beijing expat's picture

Soros first.  Dry up the money paying for the opposition. 


Then go after a few mid level guys who will turn states witness.  At the first sign of the law being enforced there will be a panic as everyone strives to rat out their partners before they themselves are ratted out.


Those FEMA camps will come in handy for holding all the inmates.

DuneCreature's picture

I'll buy that plan. .. Soros is one destructive, evil fuck. ... No American interests are served with anything he does. .. Even the minorities he allegedly champions are his 'useful idiots' and will be burned by him in the end. ...... Trump would be doing them and us all a HUGE favor taking out Soros.

On an even finer granular level Trump has to disinfect the DoJ and maybe the court system a tad (I'm being delicate here) first or he has nothing but legal chaos on his hands and that should be what he wants to avoid.

On a timeline the ranks further back in the enemy lines have time to distance themselves from the dirt and flee, hide or flip,...... but that is just the way things are in an enterprise this massive.

Live Hard, There Is No Bilge Plug On The Swamp, Draining Will Take Time And A Few Gators Will Walk Out Of The Remote Mud Holes, Die Free

~ DC v4.0

beijing expat's picture

Watch  Trump turn this on its head.  They will grovel and beg for his patronage.

Troy Ounce's picture



That's an old saying: 

"It's not what you know, it's who you know"

Kefeer's picture
KGB defector Yuri Bezmenov's warning to America - "Useful Idiots" (9 min)


Full version - please go to the 58:30 min mark and listen very carefully.  It's BIBLICAL, both figuratively and according to the Word.


He brings up an interesting point (because it relates to our moral fall) in the full interview when he speaks of religion (see above).  Where religion, specifically Christianity, is removed, the propaganda becomes most effective on a society without fixed moral values worth fighting for and that is part of the commie agenda.  So is the propagation of anti-Semitic, which is rampant, even among ZH'ers, who fall prey to the propaganda.  For our nations first 170 years; teaching Biblical moral values was EXPECTED and our government institutions bare the marks of this truth, but what happened?  Since 1948, we have been in steep moral decline and it is how we got to where we are today.


Here is his book titled "A Love Letter to America" (Tomas Shuman: AKA Yuri Bezmenov); search using Ctrl-F and use the word "religion" and you will find lists.  This book was about 65 pages, but is found online.  Measure these things and correlate the Supreme Court decisions contrary to the Biblical foundation, as attacking religion, education, politics, and all major institutions and causing division of people against each other on issues that do not matter (I disagree on that point).

alfbell's picture

Where did this CHS come from? Just a bunch of intellectual, non-reality babble. Making up these concepts as if he knows what he's talking about. ZH will post anyone's articles now a days. Shut up and go away CHS. Go get a real job and do something that is actually constructive.

Hail Spode's picture

Rationalizing away the signs that nothing will change. I still think it can, but it is not going to be "good vs. evil" here. Maybe the best we can hope for is that two factions of evil go to war with one another and consume one another. 

Magooo's picture

Ya - you need Goldman Sachs people in your cabinet in order to fuck over gold man sachs


Is this article a fucking joke?

Magooo's picture

If Trump is assassinated then I will believe he is (was) the real deal


If Trump fires Yellen and audits the Fed I will believe he is the real deal


Until then - everything I see indicates he is just another flavour of Obama --- an actor --- put forward by the real power in America - the Fed --- to give Americans hope --- as the empire drowns



Magooo's picture

 'Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.'

christiangustafson's picture

Long-term, currency collapse is the agent of change.  We're still in the postwar, Bretton-Woods world.

Reform is unpossible.  

Death of $USD gives you chaos and eventually a new equilibrium, after all of the unsustainable liabilities in the system are liquidated.



Grandad Grumps's picture

I believe that if there were no insiders then none would be needed. People would find a way...

Vin's picture

Unless you fire all the insiders and hire outsiders making them the insiders.

Crush the cube's picture

Elimination of all insiders works 100% of the time, expecially when .gov workers see a few hanging from the overpasses on the way to serve the public.