Kakistocracy is a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens. I came across it this morning while searching for a single word to describe the Government of South Africa.
Source – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Kakistocracy was coined as early as the seventeenth century. It also was used by English author Thomas Love Peacock in 1829, but gained significant use in the first decades of the twenty-first century to criticize populist governments emerging in different democracies around the world.
The word is derived from two Greek words, kakistos (κάκιστος; worst) and kratos (κράτος; rule), with a literal meaning of government by the worst people. Linguistic equivalents of the English word kakistocracy are as follows: its Greek equivalent is kakistokratia (κακιστοκρατία), Catalan caquistocràcia, Spanish kakistocracia, French kakistocratie, German Kakistokratie, and Russian kakistokratiya (какистократия).
The earliest use of the word dates to the seventeenth century, in Paul Gosnold’s A sermon Preached at the Publique Fast the ninth day of Aug. 1644 at St. Maries:
“Therefore we need not make any scruple of praying against such: against those Sanctimonious Incendiaries, who have fetched fire from heaven to set their Country in combustion, have pretended Religion to raise and maintaine a most wicked rebellion: against those Nero’s, who have ripped up the wombe of the mother that bare them, and wounded the breasts that gave them sucke: against those Cannibal’s who feed upon the flesh and are drunke with the bloud of their own brethren: against those Catiline’s who seeke their private ends in the publicke disturbance, and have set the Kingdome on fire to rost their owne egges: against those tempests of the State, those restlesse spirits who can no longer live, then be stickling and medling; who are stung with a perpetuall itch of changing and innovating, transforming our old Hierarchy into a new Presbytery, and this againe into a newer Independency; and our well-temperd Monarchy into a mad kinde of Kakistocracy. Good Lord!”
Anarchy is not so much the absence of government as the government of the worst.
American poet James Russell Lowell used the term in 1876, in a letter to Joel Benton, writing, “What fills me with doubt and dismay is the degradation of the moral tone. Is it or is it not a result of Democracy? Is ours a ‘government of the people by the people for the people,’ or a Kakistocracy rather, for the benefit of knaves at the cost of fools?”
Since November 2016, the word has been used to describe the Trump administration by critics of that administration on multiple occasions.
Ed: emphasis is mine.
Ed: The word kakistocracy perfectly describes the extraordinarily inept ANC government and their (mis)governance of the Economy and State Owned Enterprises such as Eskom. I hope the lights stay on long enough for you to read this. I’m tired of hearing “but it is broken”.
Translating from Afrikaans would suggest that we are governed by a ‘Shitistocracy’. Who could argue?