In the World of Sleepers


Look, every government has a need to frighten it’s population, and one was of doing that is to shroud it’s workings in mystery. The idea that a government has to be shrouded in mystery is something that goes back to Herodotus [ancient Greek historian]. You read Herodotus, and he describes how the Medes and others won their freedom by struggle, and then they lost their freedom when the institution of royalty was invented to create a cloak of mystery around power. See, the idea behind royalty was that there’s this other species of individuals who are beyond the norm and who the people are not supposed understand. That’s the standard way you cloak and protect power: you make it look mysterious and secret, above the ordinary person—otherwise why should anyone accept it? Well, they’re willing to accept it out of fear that some great enemies are about to destroy them, and because of that they’ll cede their authority to the Lord, or the King, or the President or something, just to protect themselves. That’s the way governments work—that’s the way any system of power works—and the secrecy system is part of it.

- Noam Chomsky — Understanding Power