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Authority in a democracy, which is based on consent of the people, is distinct from authoritarianism. An authoritarian government exercises power on other grounds of legitimacy. For example, authoritarian justifications for legitimacy to rule have been aristocratic birth or the sanction of a supreme being (which is commonly known as the “divine right” to rule). In an authoritarian government, the military and police are commanded by rulers who are not directly accountable to the people they rule.

John Patrick, Understanding Democracy, A Hip Pocket Guide