This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

State need

The individual need is only a part of the story. The modern state also requires propaganda and is dependent on it, although in a different fashion. It is a problem of responsibility to the public, which requires the assent of the public before the state can implement its designs.

Democratic governments depend on the assent of the public in order to govern. Or, in the words of Napoleon: “Power is based on opinion. What is a government not supported by opinion? Nothing.” Yet public opinion is irrational, erratic, absent critical faculties, and historically blind. For example, public opinion can in no way formulate long-term foreign policy. Public opinion cannot evaluate a long-term anything, if there are short term concerns present, which there always are. The solution, from the position of those who govern, is clear:

“…a government that is honest, serious, benevolent, and respects the voter cannot follow public opinion. But it cannot escape it either…Only one solution is possible: as the government cannot follow opinion, opinion must follow the government. One must convince this present, ponderous, impassioned mass that the government’s decisions are legitimate and good and that its foreign policy is correct.”

And so the government must set about manufacturing the consent that it requires in order to do what it must do. In this it has no choice. If any government at any time followed the will of the people, it would be ruined in a week.

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