All this talk of plutocracy and plutocrats arching across the world in fast private jets simply does not capture the true state of things. A wise family member once said in response to meeting a new word: “oh it must be French, the French have a word for everything.”
Merriam-Webster tells us that Kakistocracy is “government by the worst people.” It derives from the Greek kakistos (a superlative of kakos,) which means “bad” and the English suffix -cracy meaning “form of government.”
The Republican Presidential field of candidates promise us even more of this sort of governance. It is plain to see.
And their fellows in Congress, committed and acting to ensure the defeat and failure of President Obama, obstructing any move to aid the masses of the people they serve, and thousands more in Republican dominated Statehouses and Governor’s mansions across the nation preside over governments that are distinctly Kakistocratic.
Then there are those Democrats who owe everything to Wall Street, and the casino gamblers who mismanage our world’s financial system now based solely on speculation and not real nuts and bolts business. These are the financiers and the wealthy, that privileged one percent, that must be guarded and helped along at all costs, even to the detriment of the other ninety-nine percent of us.
Our world is out in the desert and water, food, and an enlightened and meaningful life is in short supply, we cannot see the lush green vegetation and waters of life from here but bold action and enlightened leadership can save the day.
But instead of putting everyone to work, and sharing the labor and the creation of what is needed to get out of the desert into the promised land those leading us give what little we have to one in a hundred of us and when the predictable uneasiness and trouble breaks out throughout the cowering billions stretching throughout the desert lands, that favored one percent uses their share of the water and influence that comes from it to send others to beat back any effort to share the sacrifices needed to get out of the wilderness of our present troubles and avoid wandering in it for the biblical forty years and more.
The world’s leaders would do well to heed the words of the Prophet Isaiah who said:
“Woe to those who make unjust laws
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.
What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?Where will you leave your riches?
Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives
or fall among the slain.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
his hand is still upraised.”
-Isaiah 10: 1-4
Thus those who hold the reigns of power have responsibilities and culpability for what both they do and fail to do for the people who they rule, or in the twenty-first century a world where democracy and republican government have spread and these leaders are given the authority to rule by the consent of the governed.
This government by the worst people brings on calamities that need not come upon the people of our world, and it robs us all of the kind of concerted action and shared sacrifice and experience that brings people together: with the ability to see our common humanity and to celebrate that most crucial insight. We can walk out of the desert we have been led to and back to the promised land.
Our leaders have become so selfish and focused only on their own monetary gain and the enjoyment of power over others that they no longer serve the interests of that common humanity. There are no appeals to what Lincoln so aptly called “the better Angels of our nature.”
In the United States, a nation whose republican form of government that lifts up equal opportunity and democracy we are seeing a systemic failure of leadership that goes beyond mere party. It is the ascendancy of the Kakistocracy here and over much of the Earth.