Democratic parliamentary government is a less efficient, and therefore a more wasteful, regime than oligarchic parliamentary government, and even a parliamentary oligarchy is inefficient and extravagant by comparison with a well-managed authoritarian regime. Parliamentary government and, a fortiori, parliamentary government with a wide franchise, is a political extravagance that is a political hall-mark of already achieve power, wealth, and security. It is a tax on these assets; it is not one of their sources. Unlike the belief that science has been a source of Western power, the belief that democracy has been a source of Western power is a fallacy. Democracy has been a Western amenity that Western power has brought within the West’s reach.
- Arnold Toynbee, America and the World Revolution (1962)