The average man, whatever his errors otherwise, at least sees clearly that government is something lying outside him and outside the generality of his fellow men; that it is a separate, independent, and hostile power, only partly under his control, and capable of doing him great harm. Is it a fact of no significance that robbing the government is everywhere regarded as a crime of less magnitude than robbing an individual, or even a corporation? . . .
What lies behind all this, I believe, is a deep sense of the fundamental antagonism between the government and the people it governs. It is apprehended, not as a committee of citizens chosen to carry on the communal business of the whole population, but as a separate and autonomous corporation, mainly devoted to exploiting the population for the benefit of its own members. . . . When a private citizen is robbed, a worthy man is deprived of the fruits of his industry and thrift; when the government is robbed, the worst that happens is that certain rogues and loafers have less money to play with than they had before. The notion that they have earned that money is never entertained; to most sensible men it would seem ludicrous. ~H. L. Mencken
The ruling group of a State has one main interest; that is to maintain their rule over the population. No group wants to lose their power. They will tend to use force and intimidation at times but that is not enough. The ruling group is vastly outnumbered and the use of force alone will just not cut it. To remain in power the rulers need the support of the majority of the people. The support does not have to be joyous and enthusiastic; as resigned acceptance works just as well. The complicit complacency of resigned acceptance probably accounts for the vast majority of citizen support.
The rulers can use force but that will not subdue the majority they need and so the ruler’s basic overall problem is ideological. The state must pay off minions to be enforcers of the will of the rulers, but they must also pay off “intellectuals” to convince the population that the state is “good”, or at least inevitable. I read a comment today at a progressive site where someone said the State was a force of nature and eternal. That fool is exactly the useful idiot that rulers want: he has the perfect slave mentality.
The state must secure support through the creation of vested economic interests. Everyone employed by the State apparatus is paid off and that makes them supporters of the ruling class by self-interest, but that is still just a small minority of the population. Subsidies and other grants of privilege will buy even more support among the privileged cronies outside the state apparatus; but in the end, promoting the statist ideology among the people is the vital social task of the “intellectuals” who act as opinion makers. The job of the intellectual is to provide the ideas for the common man who, in general, never thinks for himself but relies on his “intellectual superiors” to formulate his beliefs. And so the State needs the support of the opinion makers in the society. These people are paid off in grants, subsidies, access, money, prestige, and all the rest.
But why do the opinion makers support the State? Why not just make their living in the free market if they are intellectually superior? It is because the safety and guarantee of the blessing flowing from the State are seen to be far more secure and reliable than going it alone on the competitive market. The intellectuals will be handsomely rewarded for convincing the common man that the state is necessary and that they must support it. Their rewards are paid in monetary wealth, fame, prestige, “respectability”, and more. And the fact that most of these people are “outside” the state apparatus gives the mistaken impression to the gullible that these “intellectuals” are not bought and paid for shills for the state.
The basic argument of the opinion makers is along the lines of “the rulers are wise men with the interests of the whole country at heart”. They tell us that the rulers hire the “best and the brightest” experts among us to advise them on their burdensome civic duties. And besides that, government is said to be necessary to civilization — it would be horrible chaos to leave the warm embrace of the State say the opinion molding class in spite of all evidence to the contrary. The rule of the State is now proclaimed as being very scientific since “experts” do the advising. Since ideological support is vital to the State we see it deploy its vast army of its minions to fool the public with all manner of propaganda dressed up in logical sounding myths.
The main war against the State is being fought with ideas, not guns. We must overcome the hired prostitutes of the government who claim to be objective intellectuals or other opinion makers while, in fact, they are just hired liars. Our job is to de-legitimize the state.
When we convince the majority of the people that the state is not legitimate then the State will fall just as the USSR did when it lost the faith of its people.