I've commented vaguely in the past about the wide and growing similarities between right-wing "America" and the Soviet state, but the most potent and damning of them is the increasingly peremptory role played by ALEC in the law-making process on every level of government. Today, in the majority of states in this country, the moment a piece of legislation is agreed upon within ALEC, it is now effectively guaranteed to be made a state law with little or no revision, reducing the legislatures and governorships of these states to rubber-stamp institutions. Given this level of power, ALEC is no mere lobbying organization, but a de facto lawmaking organ unto itself with no legal authority to make laws, and no accountability to anything but the narrow political interests it represents. As I will explain, this bears a striking and increasing resemblance to how the Soviet Union and other totalitarian Communist states were governed.
The Soviet Union had been incredibly opaque and inscrutable to Western powers not merely because of its profound secrecy, but because the actual functioning of its government had little or nothing to do with the explicit governmental structures laid out in its written laws. Officially, the lawmaking body of the Soviet Union was the Supreme Soviet - an alleged parliament of "elected" delegates who were never opposed, and never actually met or discussed anything except to assemble on rare occasions to act out scripts handed to them and pass resolutions dictated to them by the real authority. Being a delegate in the Supreme Soviet was little more than a cushy no-show job for friends and family of those wielding the actual power.
The pinnacle of that power was the Politburo - the executive committee of the Communist Party, whose official role was merely advisory and ideological. On paper, the role of the Politburo was similar to that played by the Catholic Church in the monarchies of medieval Europe: An alleged guardian of morals that could influence secular policy through ideological edicts and legitimize or delegitimize leaders in the eyes of their subjects. Of course, in reality the medieval Catholic Church was much weaker than it pretended to be, barely ever influencing the monarchies except on purely symbolic matters, and on occasion being spectacularly humiliated when direct conflicts arose. However, the Politburo was not only much stronger than its advisory role on paper, but was in fact the singular and absolute authority of the Soviet state, with literally every other institution being either totally subordinate or a complete sham.
The moment the Politburo reached a decision, it was effectively the law of the Soviet Union - its adoption by official mouthpiece organs was 100% guaranteed. If a member of the Supreme Soviet had gone mad and tried to make a speech opposing something the Politburo decided at an official assembly, the other delegates would have sprinted out the door so as not to be seen listening to it, and that delegate (and perhaps also his family) would have been breaking rocks in Siberia within the week. And, if truth be told, at least something on that level happens in Washington whenever some naive newbie dares to speak common sense - a kind of terrified hush descends, and then the cynical denizens get a little smirk on their faces, knowing what's about to happen to the fool: Total banishment from media, deranged propaganda smear campaigns if they remain stubbornly prevalent, followed by an avalanche of cash from all over the world going to whoever challenges them next.
Obviously I'm not saying there is a perfect equivalence between a totalitarian state and one where corruption has placed de facto lawmaking powers in the hands of a lobbying organization: We still have a significant level of real governance in this country, albeit one that is hemmorhaging power and stymied at every turn while ALEC-promoted legislation sails through the process on well-oiled tracks. But the resemblance is profound and growing: Try to find ALEC mentioned in a "mainstream" news source in any medium - you probably won't, because the fact is that the same people it represents also own the media. We have alternate universe, unison-chorus "news" coverage and rapid, agile lawmaking on behalf of a tiny minority by a private organization with no official authority while measures strongly supported by anywhere from half to 90% of the American people languish in obstruction because ALEC opposes them.
The fact that ALEC represents a few hundred oligarchs and mega-corporations rather than bureaucrats who actually have to do some kind of real job is, if anything, sort of worse. So I have a suggestion for what to call ALEC: Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are under the thumb of....the Paulitburo.