This is a great question. I think the best way to approach this topic is to start with the theory of some very good sociologist of knowledge. Peter Berger is good as they get. He argues that all societies are socially created. This is to say that people create culture. The elites within this culture then creates systems that benefit them and make is seem like this is the right way to life. He also calls this ideology. It is this ideology that makes the people so easily manipulated. The category of their thoughts are created by society.
The general population does not see what those in power are doing. So, in this sense they are subjugators of their own subjugation. Pierre Bourdieu, the French theorist has written extensively on this topic. Within this socially constructed world, the general population is and continues to be manipulated.