"Ordinary people, he had noticed, tended to do what they were told, as long as they were given orders by someone who was a recognized authority. Or, as long as the orders did not affect their own lives very much, they would support the orders through simple inaction. If you made changes gradual, and made them seem reasonable, no one really cared about them.
And the changes mounted, imperceptibly, until one day people who had been "good neighbors"—which basically meant that they had not disturbed each other and had no serious quarrels with each other—were now deadly enemies. And it all seemed perfectly reasonable by then."
Mercedes Lackey in The Robin and the Kestrel