The Nature Of Government - Howard Zinn

When you know history, you know that governments lie, as I.F. Stone said.
Governments lie all the time. Well, not just the American government. It's
just in the nature of governments. Well, they have to lie. I mean,
governments in general do not represent the people of the societies that
they govern. And since they don't represent the people and since they act
against the interest of the people, the only way they can hold power is if
they lie to the people. If they told people the truth, they wouldn't last
very long. So history can help in understanding deception and being
skeptical and not rushing to embrace whatever the government tells you.

And if you know some history, you would understand something which is even
more basic, perhaps, than the question of lying about this war or lying
about this invasion, lying about this intervention, something more basic, if
you knew some history: you would understand a sort of fundamental fact about
society, and including our society, that the interests of the government and
the interests of the people are not the same.

It's very important to know this, because the culture tries very hard to
persuade us that we all have a common interest. If they use the language
"national interest"-there's no national interest. There's their interest and
our interest. National security-now, whose security? National defense, whose
defense? All these words and phrases are used to try to encircle us all into
a nice big bond, so that we will assume that the people who are the leaders
of our country have our interests at heart. Very important to understand:
no, they do not have our interests at heart.

Howard Zinn (born August 24, 1922) is an American political scientist,
historian, social critic, socialist, activist and playwright, best known as
author of the bestseller[1] A People's History of the United States.