Definition of INSTITUTIONALIZE
1: to make into an institution : give character of an institution to
; especially : to incorporate into a structured and often highly formalized system
2: to put in the care of an institution
Currently there is a battle within the Republican Party which is most often described as the "grassroots" versus the "establishment". The establishment segment of the party which is comprised mostly of the elected officials locally and in Washington though by no means all as well as the Republican National and State Committees. The grass roots is now primarily led by the many assorted groups known as the Tea Party but has always had other entities which have fought within the Republican Party in an attempt to retain certain principles that are important to them, primarily centered around limited government.
It is inronic that "establishment" Republicans claim to hold the same principles and the parties very foundation is built upon the principles that the "grass root" movements espouse. Despite this seemingly joint purpose, the Republican "establishment" is constantly violating or diluting the very principles upon which it was founded, why?
Actually the reason is neither all that complicated or unique. The reason that the Republican Party establishment seems always to be at cross purposes to its very foundational principles is simply that it is an institution. Republicanism is not an institution but the party apparatus is. Once a movement, a cause, a set of principles, or any purpose oriented entity becomes an institution then the focus begins to shift from the ideals and purposes which motivated the formation of the organization to the preservation of the institution, even to the point of sacrificing the very ideals and principles which were the seeds of its birth.
An institution takes on a life of its own, very often loosing sight entirely of its stated purpose. A large segment of the scientific community has lost sight of science altogether in order to maintain the influence of its institutions. Colleges have ceased to be focused on learning and instead have become pathological entities concerned primarily with their own obese growth.
The past week has shown the sickness of institutional narcissism. At Penn State by all rights one of America's preeminent academic establishments, in order to defend institutional integrity, its defenders failed the most basic of moral tenants, to defend the innocent. With the exception of the monster that allegedly committed the crimes, the other parties involved lost their moral compass not born of evil impulses but rather from an out of kilter need to protect their institution. The institution was more important than basic moral principles that human beings depend on for a civil society.
Like members of The Borg of Star Trek lore, when the hive (institution) is faced with threats, real or imagined, the members of the Borg will myopically focus on destroying the threat. The fact that the threat may actually represent the very principles that the institution is meant to represent as in the case of the Republican Party, or defending against the threat violates basic moral principles as in the case of Penn State is not even in the consciousness of those who have been institutionalized.
This institutionalization of the human mind and spirit is a sight to behold and to fear. It is the very definition of the "collective" mind warp upon which statist philosophies such as socialism and communism thrive. It is born out of the natural human desire to "belong" and "be a part of" but unless tempered with individualism and morality can and does lead people to totally loose sight of the "big picture".
The irony is that the institutionalized mind sees the Big Picture as sacrificing smaller things for the larger goals of the institution. Basic first principles can be ignored in order to win elections because unless we can win elections we will never be able to implement policies which are the fruit of our principles. This reasoning which sounds "pragmatic" is in reality no more than a deal with the devil. This "pragmatism" is the same institutionalized thinking that allows otherwise honorable and decent men to ignore the rape of the innocent for the "greater good" of the well being of the institution.
Though the comparison may seem harsh the mind set that goes into the process is the same and ultimately leads to the same result, the destruction of the ideal on the alter of institutional collectivism.
It was defined much simpler many years ago when He explained "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
And what does it profit an institution to attain power by selling its core principles.