Overflight, 39

“All of past history shows that the shift from a mass army of citizen−soldiers to a smaller army of professional fighters leads, in the long run, to a decline in democracy. When weapons are cheap and easy to obtain and use, almost any man may obtain them, and the organized structure of the society, such as the state, can obtain no better weapons than the ordinary, industrious, private citizen. This very rare historical condition existed about 1880, but is now only a dim memory, since the weapons obtainable by the state today are far beyond the pocketbook, understanding, or competence of the ordinary citizen.
When weapons are of the "amateur" type of 1880, as they were in Greece in the fifth century B.C., they are widely possessed by citizens, power is similarly dispersed, and no minority can compel the majority to yield to its will. With such an "amateur weapons system" (if other conditions are not totally unfavorable), we are likely to find majority rule and a relatively democratic political system. But, on the contrary, when a period can be dominated by complex and expensive weapons that only a few persons can afford to possess or can learn to use, we have a situation where the minority who control such "specialist" weapons can dominate the majority who lack them. In such a society, sooner or later, an authoritarian political system that reflects the inequality in control of weapons will be established.”
Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope