… is from page 255 of George Will’s excellent 2019 book, The Conservative Sensibility :
[John Kenneth] Galbraith brought to the progressive chorus a special verve in asserting that Americans are as manipulable as clay. Hence Americans were what modern progressives relish: victims, to be treated as wards of a government run by progressives.
DBx: Centuries ago rulers said to their subjects: “I’m superior to you – and I have at my disposal more coercive power than you – so do as I command for my benefit.”
Today rulers say to their subjects: “I’m superior to you – and I have at my disposal more coercive power than you – so do as I command for your benefit.”
Without denying that many intellectual elites and a tiny number of political elites are motivated to some non-negligible degree by arrogance that gives them the false impression that they really can use coercion to improve the lives of strangers, the bottom line is that rulers centuries ago were more honest about their motives than are rulers today.