I'm reading Aldous Huxley's After Many a Summer, from which one could extract an army of brilliant extractions, but the following which reiterates a couple of earlier posts on Machiavelli (here and here) and the evolution of democracy; the lines, in Huxley's work, written by a rapaciously inclined character, particularly in relation to his sensual pleasures, a member of the ruling elites, an Earl, whose notebooks from the early 1800s sprinkle the novel.
'Privilege is dead; long live privilege.' Government must always be by Tyrants or Oligarchs. My opinion of the Peerage and the landed gentry is exceedingly low; but their own opinion of themselves must be even lower than mine. They believe that the Ballot will rob them of their Power and Privileges, whereas I am sure that, by the exercise of even such little Prudence and Cunning as parsimonious Nature has endowed them with, they can at ease maintain themselves in their present pre-eminence. This being so, let the Rabble amuse itself by voting. An Election is no more than a gratuitous Punch and Judy show, offered by the Rulers in order to distract the attention of the Ruled.
A character commenting on a separate earlier fragment of the Earl's notebooks observes:
"Have you ever noticed the way even the most hard-boiled people always try to make out they're really good. Iagos don't exist. People will do everything Iago did; but they'll never say they're villains. They'll construct a beautiful verbal world in which all their villainies are right and reasonable."