Rather than as a result of individual decisions or founding acts, they [institutions] evolved and came into being as a result of some collective manifestation of 'communicative power'. As widely observed practice, they 'emerge' anonymously under certain conditions and contexts, which later historians then usually explain as having created a specific institutional pattern. There may have been heroes, protagonists, or prophets, as well as theorists who elaborated and explained the reasons for the validity of an institution. But any ascription of an institution to a personal and hence mortal creator would expose it to the risk of being later denounced as arbitrary or self-interested...Anonymity is also a defining element of institutions in that they refer to actors in terms of offices, rules, resources, and so forth, never in terms of persons and names of persons.
Institutions such as the school, the family, the joint stock company, the political party, the state and its bureaucracy owe their robustness and proclaimed timelessness to the fact that we cannot tell who 'invented' them. In that sense, 'fatherlessness' is an asset, as is the myth of parthenogenesis in the case of the founder of Christianity. Similarly, human reason itself, rather than some personal founder, is held to be...the source of the state as an institution.
"Political Institutions and Social Power," Claus Offe
April 11, 2003
Found in Rethinking Political Institutions: The Art of the State
Published by NYU Press, 2006