David Hume found
"nothing more surprising than to see the easiness with which the many are governed by the few and to observe the implicit submission with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is brought about we shall find that as force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. It is therefore on opinion only that government is founded and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments as well as to the most free and the most popular."
His words are particularly appropriate to socieities in which popular struggle over many years has won a considerable degree of freedom. In such societies, force really is on the side of the governed, and the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. That is one reason why the huge public relations industry and the most immense propaganda agency in human history reached its most developed and sophisticated forms in the most free societies, the US and Britain. The propaganda industry arose about a century ago, when people came to understand that too much freedom had been won for the public to be controlled by force, so it would be necessary to control them via their opinions. The liberal intellectual elites understood this as well, and thus they concluded that "we must discared democratic dogmatism about people being the best judges of their own interest. They are not. They are ignorant and meddlesome outsiders who must be put in their place, for their own good, of course." [Chomsky does not source this quote, but it is from Walter Lippmann]
- Noam Chomsky