Larry leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. … He teed it up this way: I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don’t listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People — powerful people — listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule. They don’t criticize other insiders.

The above is a quote from Senator Elizabeth Warren‘s 2014 book, A Fighting Chance. “Larry” refers to Larry Summers. Summers proffered this advice to Elizabeth Warren in 2009 when he was President Obama’s chief economic adviser and she was Chairperson of the Congressional Oversight Panel.

What did Summers mean. Who are the “insiders” and why is it necessary to be an “insider” if you want to accomplish something? Whatever happened to the “maverick” who takes on the insiders, the so-called “establishment” and wins?

Let’s start with a reality check. The maverick who wins against the insiders is largely a myth. I can’t say it never happens. But it’s very rare. I cannot think of a single case of a maverick winning against the insiders since World War II.

Appearances may be deceptive here. A civil rights leader such as Martin Luther King may appear to be a “maverick”, an outsider who brings about change. In reality Dr King was pushing America in a direction the insiders wanted the country to go. It was a case of the insiders using King rather than King fighting the insiders.

But who is the insiders? Are the insiders the Conspirators? Is Larry Summers one of the Conspirators?

In the fevered imaginations of people like Alex Jones the answer is “yes”.

The reality is more complicated. To explain it I’m going to borrow from George Orwell‘s novel, 1984 [1].

In “1984” Britain is called “Airstrip One” and is ruled by “The Party”. The Party is in turn divided into an “Inner Party” and an “Outer Party”.

The Inner Party comprises a small group of people, mostly known to each other, who wield the real power in Airstrip One. The people who actually run Airstrip One make up the Outer Party. Depending on their status Outer Party members wield a certain amount of discretionary power. However they all have to defer to the Inner Party.

All the rest are “proles“, short for the proletariat.

The Conspiracy organises itself like The Party in 1984. There is an “Inner Conspiracy” which currently numbers somewhere between 500 and 4,000 members worldwide. My best guess is somewhere around a thousand. I’m afraid I cannot be more precise.

All the other Insiders in their various countries are members of the Outer Conspiracy. They may wield a great deal of power but, ultimately, they are subordinate to the Inner Conspiracy.

There is however one important difference between the The Party in Orwell’s 1984 and the Conspiracy. In 1984 Inner and Outer Party members are clearly identified. This is not the case with the Conspiracy. The Inner Conspiracy members guard their identities closely. Even Outer Conspiracy members do not know the identities of Inner Conspiracy members.

However the Inner Conspiracy members all either know each other personally or have acquaintances in common. In modern parlance there are no more than two degrees of separation between inner Conspiracy members.

Larry Summers is not a member of the Inner Conspiracy. He is at most a fairly influential member of the Outer Conspiracy.

In a way it is a pity he is not more influential. As the Conspirators go he a benign figure.

The advice he gave Elizabeth Warren is sound and, appearances notwithstanding, she’s followed it.

[1] This book is as relevant today as it was when first published in 1949. You should also read Animal Farm by the same author and Brave new World by Aldous Huxley. You can”t really understand the modern world without reading these three novels.
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