An agent provocateur (French for “inciting agent”) is a person who commits, or who acts to entice another person to commit an illegal or rash act or falsely implicate them in partaking in an illegal act. An agent provocateur may be acting out of his own sense of duty or may be employed by the police or other entity to discredit or harm another group (e.g. a peaceful protest or demonstration) by provoking them to commit a crime – thus, undermining the protest or demonstration as a whole.
…society will have to live for the State, man for the governmental machine. And as after all it is only a machine whose existence and maintenance depend on the vital support around it, the State, after sucking out the very marrow of society, will be left bloodless, a skeleton, dead with that rusty death of machinery, more gruesome than the death of a living organism. Such was the lamentable fate of ancient civilization.
But even with this future ahead of us, Nock recognizes that there is always a small segment of society, “the remnant,” whom he describes as follows:
…in every civilization, however generally prosaic, however addicted to the short-time point of view on human affairs, there are always certain alien spirits who, while outwardly conforming to the requirements of the civilization around them, still keep a disinterested regard for the plain intelligible law of things, irrespective of any practical end.
I would add only that in addition to keeping a “disinterested regard for the plain intelligible law of things,” the remnant must keep this law known and available for when it is needed for the foundation of a new society–perhaps, at last, a free and just one.