Capture-Bonding by the State …

What follows is an excerpt from “The Problem of Political Authority”:

6.6.4 Are ordinary citizens prone to Stockholm syndrome?

Are citizens of well-established governments susceptible to Stockholm Syndrome?  Consider the five conditions:

(i) The aggressor poses a credible and serious threat to the victim. All modern governments control their populations through threats of violence. …

(ii) The victim perceives himself as unable to escape.  Escape from one’s own government tends to be difficult and costly …

(iii) The victim is unable to overpower the aggressor or to effectively defend himself against the aggressor.  It is virtually impossible for any individual to effectively defend himself against most modern governments …

(iv) The victim perceives some kindness from the aggressor, even if only in the form of lack of abuse.  Most citizens perceive their government as beneficent in light of the social services that it provides. …

(v) The victim is isolated from the outside world.  In the case of citizens of a modern nation-state perhaps the ‘outside world’ consists of foreign countries. …

The general precursors for the development of Stockholm Syndrome then, are reasonably well satisfied in the case of citizens of modern states.

… discussion of policy issues rarely address the justification for using force to impose various policies.

Due to the Stockholm dynamic, power has a self-legitimizing tendency: once it becomes sufficiently entrenched, power is perceived as authority.

Once a pattern of obedience has started, the need to minimize cognitive dissonance favors continued obedience and the adoption of beliefs that rationalize the authority’s commands and one’s own obedience to them.

Professor Michael Huemer has written a surgical disassembly of our rationale for political obedience.

“The problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey”

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