A few years ago, I searched for the word that best described our dysfunctional American government. I settled on the term “kakistocracy,” which is defined as “government under the control of a nation’s worst or least-qualified citizens.” Ironically, the term is easy to remember since the slang term “kaka” derives from the same root.
Recently, however, I find even this descriptor inadequate. Despite its uncanny ineffectiveness, I don’t really believe that our representatives in Washington are the worst Americans, or the least qualified (in the sense of formal credentials). So, I went on another search for a more accurate word to describe how our current government performs. You might be surprised at the options available.
Many can be eliminated for obvious reasons, like those that identify by the number of people involved in governing (autocracy, biarchy, triarachy, etc.). Some must be eliminated because they simply do not represent our current system accurately, such as trade-based governments (beerocracy, cottonocracy, millocracy). And others had to go, despite being wildly amusing – snobocracy (obvious), infantocracy (rule by an infant), and pornocracy (rule by harlots) … yes, these are actual terms).
Others held possibilities, being fairly accurate, but not wholly descriptive of our situation. Argentocracy is government by money; albocracy is government by white people; corprocracy is government by corporate bureaucrats; kleptocracy is government by thieves; chrysocracy is government by the wealthy. Each is a viable candidate, representing some element of reality, but not quite comprehensive enough.
No, our government is not completely run by unqualified people, whites, corporations, thieves, harlots or the 1percent – not yet. At least, not completely. But every time I hear a politician make an idiotic scientific claim that no science confirms, I see a fool. Every time I hear a politician deny ever taking a position only to watch Jon Stewart show video clips proving the opposite, I see a fool. When I see the least effective Congress in history claim excesses by a president who has taken the fewest executive actions in 70 years, I see fools. When I see judges afford corporations personhood with the right to hold religious beliefs, then I see fools. And when I see a government turning away children seeking asylum from certain death, I see a government of fools … in other words, a “foolocracy.”
And the sad truth of this situation is that many of these politicians were elected by us. So what does that say about our electorate? If you do not vote, you are not only an irresponsible citizen, but you deserve to be ruled by fools. If you vote for someone based on a single issue with which they claim to share your opinion, you may be electing a fool. If you are not satisfied with the government we have, and you vote incumbents back into office, well …