Nothing appears more surprising to those, who consider human affairs with a philosophical eye, than the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and 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 effected, 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 military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular.
But what gives rise to such popular opinion? Surely, it must be that there is some real or perceived benefit.
One must realize the extent to which the foundation of tyranny lies in the vast networks of corrupted people with an interest in maintaining tyranny.
—Étienne de la Boétie