"Ever since ancient Greek times there have been two views as to the way of producing true beliefs, and two corresponding views as to the best form of government. Although these two connected controversies have existed over two thousand years, they are as vigorous in the present day as at any former period. The two ways of producing what are deemed to be true beliefs may be distinguished as the way of authority, and the way of discussion and investigation. Similarly the two forms of government are that of authority and that of discussion followed by a majority decision. Where the way of authority is adopted as the method of producing true beliefs, certain opinions are inculcated as having been proclaimed by the wise and good: those who controvert those opinions are held to be foolish or wicked or both, and are subjected to penalties which have varied in kind and in severity according to the age and the country. Sometime the supporters of orthodoxy rely wholly on tradition, but in most cases there is a sacred book with which it is impious to disagree. In Christian countries men were burnt for questioning the official interpretation of the Bible; in Mohammedan countries it was very rash to thrown doubt on any part of the Koran; in modern Russia, you risk liquidation if you disagree with Marx or Engels as expounded by the Kremlin. In all such cases the government upholds a collection of dogmas, and spreads belief in them, not by argument or appeal to evidence, but by shielding the young from contact with adverse opinions, by censoring literature, and by punishing, usually by death, such heretics as nevertheless have the temerity to proclaim their subversive views. As a rule, under such a system, the government, having the habit of authority, becomes gradually more and more tyrannical until, in the end, it is brought to destruction in a fierce revolution."
Bertrand Russel, 'A Scientist's Plea For Democracy' (1947)