Governments—and the armed agencies that served them—loathed intellectuals and artists and freethinkers of every stripe, but they didn't particularly fear them.

Not anymore. They didn't fear them because in the modern corporate state, artists, intellectuals,  and freethinkers wielded no political or economic power; had no real hold on the hearts and minds of the masses.

Human societies have always defined themselves through narration, but nowadays corporations are telling man's stories for him. And the message, no matter how entertainingly couched, is invariably the same: to be special, you must conform; to be happy, you must consume.

- Tom Robbins