Governments, like man himself, are not perfect. Sometimes noble, sometimes just, they move across the face of man's history like thunderclouds. All energy and motion with very little permanence save a few monuments and roads to mark their passing. But they do evolve, from one to the other, with the same ferocity that living things display generation after straining, clawing generation.
Out of the primordial ooze of clans and tribes came the first halting steps of a collective ruling body. They start out with brute force, ripping taxes and obedience from the faceless lower classes with cruel efficiency. Eventually these are brought low, like the monarchies of medieval Europe, by angry mobs full of people with nothing to lose. To survive, government evolved, eventually learning that the more concern it displays, the longer it can rule.
The people still pay their taxes and give their obedience, but now they do so willingly. Mollified by the exaggerated attention that public officials give their every complaint, they feel that they have a large impact on the class that rules them. Plastered up on the screens in their homes, blaring out of the speakers in their cars and lifts, they hear endless discussions and earnest speeches over whatever issues are popular in the news of the day.
When the common man hears on the news that a factory is putting poison into a river by a town a thousand miles away, he feels the factory owners should be stopped and punished. He may think on it for two minutes following a five minute news clip. Then forgets it. But he fully expects that it will occupy some official fully, who will do nothing else until the guilty are punished. He never wonders, “Why is that on the news, rather than some other injustice? Can all of the problems in the world be presented in the hour I watch the news each day? Who chooses what comes to my attention? And why do they choose it?”
Every citizen alive watches the world's events as a series of disconnected stories, each brought to public attention and then dealt with in one way or another. There is never the pressing need for action that fuels revolutions so common in ages past. Events come and go quickly, and every problem or perceived injustice is bandied around endlessly in public forums and aired from government staterooms. When a citizen has but to speak, and have his concern echoed by a politician, then how can there be oppression?
They know, they are concerned, they are working on it.
But in the end, those in power do what they want, out of the public eye. They live as an aristocracy, with wealth and privilege far in excess of the citizens they rule. They rule long years, in council, while the focus man, the chairman, ostensibly the leader of the entire governmental machine, comes and goes every few years, giving the ability to leave an unpopular era behind, tying it to the man, and not the governing body. Creating a stable government with a nearly unlimited lifespan.
And a stable government can do much. People are fed, clothed, and schooled in trades. Roads are built, industries guided, currency protected. A happy Utopia ruled by the new aristocracy, masters of diffusing public focus, who stand at the height of governmental evolution, skillfully ripping taxes and obedience from the faceless lower classes with a kind, thoughtful efficiency.