The foregoing analysis leads Rothbard to conclude that the exercise of political power is inherently an oligarchic enterprise. The small minority that excels in wielding political power will tend to coalesce and devote an extraordinary amount of mental energy and other resources to establishing and maintaining a permanent and lucrative hegemonic bond over the productive majority. Accordingly, since politics is the main source of their income, the policies and actions of the members of this oligarchic ruling class will be driven primarily by economic motives. The exploited producing class, in contrast, will not expend nearly as many resources on politics, and their actions in the political arena will not be motivated by economic gain to the same degree, precisely because they are absorbed in earning their livelihoods in their own chosen areas of specialization on the market. As Rothbard explains:
"the ruling class, being small and largely specialized, is motivated to think about its economic interests twenty-four hours a day. The steel manufacturers seeking a tariff, the bankers seeking taxes to repay their government bonds, the rulers seeking a strong state from which to obtain subsidies, the bureaucrats wishing to expand their empire, are all professionals in statism. They are constantly at work trying to preserve and expand their privileges."
The ruling class, however, confronts one serious and ongoing problem: how to persuade the productive majority, whose tribute or taxes it consumes, that its laws, regulations, and policies are beneficial; that is, that they coincide with “the public interest” [...].
Here is where the intellectuals come in. It is their task to convince the public to actively submit to State rule because it is beneficial to do so, or at least to passively endure the State’s depredations because the alternative is anarchy and chaos. In return for fabricating an ideological cover for its exploitation of the masses of subjects or taxpayers, these “court intellectuals” are rewarded with the power, wealth, and prestige of a junior partnership in the ruling elite. Whereas in preindustrial times these apologists for State rule were associated with the clergy, in modern times—at least since the Progressive Era in the U.S.—they have been drawn increasingly from the academy.
Politicians, bureaucrats, and those whom they subsidize and privilege within the economy thus routinely trumpet lofty ideological motives for their actions in order to conceal from the exploited and plundered citizenry their true motive of economic gain.
the modern democratic State [i]s essentially a means for coercively redistributing income from producers to politicians, bureaucrats, and special interest groups[...]
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