There are three ways to conquer and enslave a nation: by violence, by religion and by debt. The problem with violence is people rebel and you have to continuously subdue them (see Egypt.)
The problem with religion is people now have multiple sources of information due to the internet and can think for themselves. They know when they are being manipulated in the name of religion. (See the genius of today’s group sex parties in Iran as civil disobedience against the mullahs. )
The most effective way to capture and enslave a nation is through debt slavery. Debt slavery used to be called peonage or indentured servitude. Citizens are tied to debts and tribute payments (taxes) which, they are told, they are paying for their own good and which elites mostly avoid. Tribute payments in turn fund tax breaks for the elites which transfers wealth upwards–usually to banks, corporate owners and bid rigged “service providers” like prison corporations and munitions manufacturers. Before they realize it, citizens are conquered and the transfer of wealth to their captors is complete. In the USA, predatory home and student loans, consumer debt, encouragement to over-consume and a regressive federal tax code are the main instruments of capture.
With few exceptions, all great fortunes among the 1% have been achieved through theft. Conquerors have always been thieves. Conquerors then get laws passed that allow them to avoid being snared by their own instruments of capture.
Assuming this is not you, then you have three ways to avoid being enslaved in your own country:
1. Own your own independent means of production and avoid capture by debt. See micro finance and micro entrepreneurship.
2. Lower your consumption by living the new sustainable “world citizen” lifestyle that consumes only only the earth’s human carrying capacity of natural capital. For Americans, it means reducing individual consumption by about 80%. (Excess consumption is also a tool to enforce debt slavery.) For Western Europeans, reduce by 45%. Africans and Asia Pacific people are good where they are.
3. Save one third of your income and avoid debt like the plague.
A note on the role of propaganda: elites own corporate media to help maintain their privileges, enforce over-consumption and debt slavery and disrupt people thinking for themselves, usually by manufacturing discord and paranoia (see homophobia in Russia and all the code-words for racial hatred in media in the USA.) If you view the “news” with this in mind, it becomes clear what is really going on. Governments are no better. Note the recent revelation by Seymour Hersh that the much of the story of the raid to kill Osama Bin Laden is a lie perpetuated by a popular CIA-funded movie.
Btw, I grew up pre-Internet when the truth was harder to come by. It took my a long time to see things clearly. Remember, we are all in this together — well, 99% of us anyway.