Today, I look at the reason for these two posts. This is the governance labelled “kakistocracy.”
The definition of kakistorcracy is “government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.”
Hey, does this sound familiar, people? The Greek word, “kakistos” means the “worst” or “bad” and may come from another word, “kakke” meaning “human excrement.” One of our Senators, according to wiki, employed this in 1838, using the term first used in 1644.
Anarchy is not so much the absence of government as the government of the worst—not aristocracy but kakistocracy—a state of things, which to the honor of our nature, has seldom obtained amongst men, and which perhaps was only fully exemplified during the worst times of the French Revolution when that horrid hell burnt with its most horrid flame. In such a state of things, to be accused is to be condemned—to protect the innocent is to be guilty; and what perhaps is the worst effect, even men of better nature, to whom their own deeds are abhorrent, are goaded by terror to be forward and emulous in deeds of guilt and violence. William Harper
An even-better quotation, and I have to admit I love wiki, even though I did not allow my students to use it for research papers, follows:
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?
My dear readers in the United States, of this good blog, choose your title, but you have to admit that we are witnessing rule by those who are least able to rule, from both sides of the aisle in this two-party church, and those who are the worst. How many voters held their noses and voted in the last election?
The same is true in Great Britain, where I am, feeding cats. The worst are ruling.
However, the worst are, also, in the wings wanting to rule. We are witnessing the most terrible leadership crisis the West has ever seen, ever, ever, ever, since Caligula.
And, why? Because government, history, and civics classes have not been taught in the states or in many schools in Europe for over forty years. Because people have no Faith, no religion, nothing but the desires to live the good life, which means comfortable, and not to get involved in the hard work of governance. Because moneyed interests have kept the talented out of politics. Because no one really cares….
In Great Britain, nothing can be talked about or considered in Parliament, but Brexit. No other laws or needs can be addressed. Why? Incompetence. Less than worthy people run this and other nations.
Like the crisis in the Church with the lack of vocations, Western nations are witnessing the lack of vocations to public service. Blame what you will, we lack leaders, and it is our fault.
Our fault. Incompetence becomes the norm when rational thinking, such as logic, and the liberal arts are no longer taught in schools. We are witnessing the death of critical thinking as a cultural skill.
Think about why it is our fault? When is the last time you read in depth any bill going through Congress? When is the last time you read serious media reports, instead of watching the oligarchs of the press give you their opinions only, or worse, lull you to sleep with canned news, guaranteed not to make you think? When is the last time you encouraged your own children to become public servants, or nuns, or priests? Public service was at one time, in all nations, a call, a vocation, and individuals were trained, prepared to serve the public. That sense of service for the common good is gone. Gross selfishness and ambition have replaced the desire to work for the common good.
Catholics can decry the lack of moral leadership, which goes back all the way to General Jackson, one of the most horrible of men to ever live in the White House, but Catholics do little to really change things. They cannot be bothered. They are too busy about trivia.
So, we slide in the United States to an oligarchy of the banking industry and the small cliques, which the current president does not have the power to stop. Too entrenched is corruption, from the spreadsheet on your table when you look at your investments, to the blah-blah curriculum of the schools to which you insist on sending your kids. In Great Britain, where I sit watching the cats eat my left-over fish, it is worse.
Either by sheer ennui, or on purpose, the people want tyranny. Socialism has ruined individual initiative, as people want others to do things for them. They do not want to be involved. They trust their governments. Bad move…never trust your government.
If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand. Milton Friedman
Regional politics is the last part of this essay.
To understand what is happening in the United States and in Great Britain, one must consider regional politics. Regional politics have arisen for historical reasons, some of which I viewed in the first part of this essay.
The problem with regional politics is that the mind-set of those in such regions is based on historical facts which no longer exist. This loyalty to local or regional politics creates a false impression of the real politics happening in any nation.
Many people vote for historical nostalgic reasons and not for the reality of politics today.
The British have a saying, “Trust in the Government, do not trust in Business.” The citizens of the United States believe the opposite, “Trust in Business, do not trust in the Government.” Both are wrong today. Both may have been true in the distant past.
Business has created stifling cartels, such as Big Pharma, and the oligarchy of wealth and the in-crowd which now runs the United States. Banking and corporate interests run both parties in the States, as do big business. Just think of the problem of Monsanto.Knee-jerk voting from Republicans in the States shows that real issues of the take over of that nation by vested interests is never addressed.
In Great Britain, the government controls details of each and every life of each and every individual. This is the result of socialism in Great Britain, which has led to Fascism, giving too much power to the government. In the United States, the monied interests control Congress. Oligarchy is another word for that state of affairs. In Great Britain, a small group give power to one person, oligarchy pushing Fascism. The small group believe the state is God. Regional politics thrive and add to the myth that Great Britain is a democracy. It is not. Ask the parents of the murdered Alfie Evans.
Local or regional voting distorts the reality of truth. For example, the country of Lancashire is heavily Catholic and heavily Tory. This is not based on the 150 year old animosity of the Tory party to Catholics, but to the 500 year old recusant tradition. Fighting the Puritans led to the idea of supporting the monarchy over Parliament, when in truth, the monarchs became anti-Catholic as well, hence the restoration of the monarchy with the Protestants, William and Mary. Catholics over 400 years ago had the idea that the King or Queen was preferable than Parliament, which was taken over by the Puritans, finally. However, after the Glorious Revolution, which re-instated the Protestant monarchy, kicking out James II, the rightful but Catholic heir to the throne, the conservative mind-set became “set in stone.” Kings and Queens were to be preferred to Parliament. Even Protestant ones…a strange anomaly of critical thinking. To base voting in 2018 on issues which have not been supported by the same party since the 1840s, but were supported 300 years ago is daft. The DUP in Northern Ireland is another example of tribal politics. It exists only because it is anti-Catholic and anti-Irish Republic, and pro-Protestant Britain.
Regional political thinking is frequently based on family loyalties, including religious affiliations. However, one only has to look at the great families which bobbled back and forth, sometimes supporting the Protestant cause and sometimes the Catholic cause, to see the problem with old loyalties. To be a Catholic was to be loyal to the King or Queen. Sadly, this old ideal has been passed down and revered to the point that some Catholics, a minority, believe that the Tory party represents them. It does not. The recent horror over the killing of Alfie Evans is proof of not only the anti-life stand of the present government, but the control it has over the private lives of individuals. This is called Fascism. Fascism, like all isms, wants the destruction of the Catholic Church as a power in the world. There is no sense of the need for God, either, as the State is god.
Regional voting happened regarding Brexit as well, and is seen in the support of big government. The descendants of the immigrant Catholics in Great Britain, like those in the United States who vote Democrat, vote Labour. Again, because of the fact that the Tories were hard on the Irish, means that many present day voters overlook the far leftist tendencies of the present Labour Party. Old loyalties seem more important than the reality of political life as it is today in 2018. Big government is loved by the two main parties in Great Britain. Labour verges on far left ideals and the Tories are Fascist. Both do not represent Catholic values. There is no major party in Great Britain or in the United States which mirrors Catholic teaching.
Regional politics across the world distort a nation’s ability to cope with real problems. Ancient hatreds cloak policies with a veneer of acceptability. In Africa, this type of problem interferes with democracy, as old tribal loyalties frequently overcome democratic principles. The massacre of the Tutsis in Rwanda, as well as the genocide of tribes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which resulted in the deaths of 3,400 in 2017, reveal the depth of such tribal loyalties which skew democratic ideals. For many voter in the West have the same tendencies of bigotry and hatred,, being loyal to the family way of voting is more important than crossing party lines in order to vote for or against issues, such as abortion, fair treatment of the foreigner, or freedom of religion.
Recall that the large cities of the United States, such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia and St. Louis, use to be Catholic, settled primarily by Catholic immigrants from Italy and Ireland. This is one reason why the Democratic Party can take over these large areas, which are no longer truly Catholic, but are full of those who vote “regionally” out of habit and old memories, like those in Lancashire. Long memories of the Civil War in the United States impair voting in some states. Regional voting is not based on what is actually happening, but on old family and cultural memories. For years, again, some people vote as their grandparents and great grandparents did, without thinking through the issues. Such are the Catholic Democrats, and the Catholic Tories. Sadly, these Catholic will get a government which will never support the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Thomas More said that the Anglican Church was the House of Lords at prayer. We can now state that the Anglican Church is the House of Commons at prayer. Both have been degraded to havens of socialism, supporting at the same time the centralisation of governmental power and the destruction of individual rights. Ironically, the House of Lords is now more interested in the rights of the individual than the House of Commons. A strange twist of history…
Regional voting in politics is basically tribal voting. People vote as everyone in their culture or sub-groups votes without thinking through the consequences. Voters want black and white issues, not complicated ones which demand study and attention. And, yet, as de Tocqueville warned us, without an informed base, government becomes mob rule or tyranny of some sort.
A word to Catholic traditionals. There is a strong emotional attachment to monarchies among some trad Catholics. Monarchial government has never been the one choice of government supported by the Church in modern times. That people look to a romanticised past is dangerous. Again, it is a knee-jerk reaction to the obvious rule of the uninformed populace. However, we have no upper aristocratic class which understands or lives noblesse oblige, the key virtue for kingship, nor do we have Catholic hereditary rulers in the wings. All those tales of missing Bourbon kings are mythology. Let me remind you of what God thought of kings, from the Bible.
1 Samuel 8:10-22
10 So Samuel reported all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots; 12 and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers. 15 He will take one-tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and his courtiers. 16 He will take your male and female slaves, and the best of your cattle[ and donkeys, and put them to his work. 17 He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. 18 And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
I suggest that traditional Catholics look at the royal families of Europe to whom they pin their hopes and see how many are Freemasons. Again, a pining for the past cannot help immediate political situations. There is no substitute for an enlightened, practicing Catholic people, who have read the great encyclicals on politics and social justice.
Regional and cultural loyalties to parties must end, or people in both the United States and Great Britain will wake up to complete tyrannies in the very near future. The problem is simply this. If any form of government expects to rule without deferring to the teachings of the Catholic Church, that form will fail and fall into tyranny. A logical progression of godlessness is either the tyranny of anarchy or the tyranny of the despot. Take your pick. As I noted before, the United States is already run by an oligarchy, as is Russia. Democracy died under Franklin Roosevelt, but the populace of the States has not realised this, partly because of decades of prosperity and peace.
Without protecting all the moral and theological teachings of the Church, a governing body becomes the means and end of its own existence, ignoring God and His established good.
Let me give you two quotations from Immortality Dei: On the Christian Constitution of States. I do not understand why Pope Leo XIII has not be canonised.
This is an infallible encyclical which must be considered by all Catholics who vote and are involved in politics. http://w2.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_01111885_immortale-dei.html
The right to rule is not necessarily, however, bound up with any special mode of government. It may take this or that form, provided only that it be of a nature of the government, rulers must ever bear in mind that God is the paramount ruler of the world, and must set Him before themselves as their exemplar and law in the administration of the State. For, in things visible God has fashioned secondary causes, in which His divine action can in some wise be discerned, leading up to the end to which the course of the world is ever tending. In like manner, in civil society, God has always willed that there should be a ruling authority, and that they who are invested with it should reflect the divine power and providence in some measure over the human race.
5. They, therefore, who rule should rule with evenhanded justice, not as masters, but rather as fathers, for the rule of God over man is most just, and is tempered always with a father’s kindness. Government should, moreover, be administered for the well-being of the citizens, because they who govern others possess authority solely for the welfare of the State. Furthermore, the civil power must not be subservient to the advantage of any one individual or of some few persons, inasmuch as it was established for the common good of all. But, if those who are in authority rule unjustly, if they govern overbearingly or arrogantly, and if their measures prove hurtful to the people, they must remember that the Almighty will one day bring them to account, the more strictly in proportion to the sacredness of their office and preeminence of their dignity. “The mighty shall be mightily tormented.”(2) Then, truly, will the majesty of the law meet with the dutiful and willing homage of the people, when they are convinced that their rulers hold authority from God, and feel that it is a matter of justice and duty to obey them, and to show them reverence and fealty, united to a love not unlike that which children show their parents. “Let every soul be subject to higher powers.”(3) To despise legitimate authority, in whomsoever vested, is unlawful, as a rebellion against the divine will, and whoever resists that, rushes willfully to destruction. “He that resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation.”(4) To cast aside obedience, and by popular violence to incite to revolt, is therefore treason, not against man only, but against God.
6. As a consequence, the State, constituted as it is, is clearly bound to act up to the manifold and weighty duties linking it to God, by the public profession of religion. Nature and reason, which command every individual devoutly to worship God in holiness, because we belong to Him and must return to Him, since from Him we came, bind also the civil community by a like law. For, men living together in society are under the power of God no less than individuals are, and society, no less than individuals, owes gratitude to God who gave it being and maintains it and whose ever-bounteous goodness enriches it with countless blessings. Since, then, no one is allowed to be remiss in the service due to God, and since the chief duty of all men is to cling to religion in both its reaching and practice-not such religion as they may have a preference for, but the religion which God enjoins, and which certain and most clear marks show to be the only one true religion -it is a public crime to act as though there were no God. So, too, is it a sin for the State not to have care for religion as a something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit; or out of many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in with the fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which He has shown to be His will. All who rule, therefore, would hold in honour the holy name of God, and one of their chief duties must be to favour religion, to protect it, to shield it under the credit and sanction of the laws, and neither to organize nor enact any measure that may compromise its safety. This is the bounden duty of rulers to the people over whom they rule. For one and all are we destined by our birth and adoption to enjoy, when this frail and fleeting life is ended, a supreme and final good in heaven, and to the attainment of this every endeavour should be directed. Since, then, upon this depends the full and perfect happiness of mankind, the securing of this end should be of all imaginable interests the most urgent. Hence, civil society, established for the common welfare, should not only safeguard the well-being of the community, but have also at heart the interests of its individual members, in such mode as not in any way to hinder, but in every manner to render as easy as may be, the possession of that highest and unchangeable good for which all should seek. Wherefore, for this purpose, care must especially be taken to preserve unharmed and unimpeded the religion whereof the practice is the link connecting man with God.
I quote another long passage from this encyclical. Bear with me, as you will see how far we have fallen from God’s view of the governance of civil society.
31. The sovereignty of the people, however, and this without any reference to God, is held to reside in the multitude; which is doubtless a doctrine exceedingly well calculated to flatter and to inflame many passions, but which lacks all reasonable proof, and all power of insuring public safety and preserving order. Indeed, from the prevalence of this teaching, things have come to such a pass that may hold as an axiom of civil jurisprudence that seditions may be rightfully fostered. For the opinion prevails that princes are nothing more than delegates chosen to carry out the will of the people; whence it necessarily follows that all things are as changeable as the will of the people, so that risk of public disturbance is ever hanging over our heads. To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. Men who really believe in the existence of God must, in order to be consistent with themselves and to avoid absurd conclusions, understand that differing modes of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict even on most important points cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God.
32. So, too, the liberty of thinking, and of publishing, whatsoever each one likes, without any hindrance, is not in itself an advantage over which society can wisely rejoice. On the contrary, it is the fountain-head and origin of many evils. Liberty is a power perfecting man, and hence should have truth and goodness for its object. But the character of goodness and truth cannot be changed at option. These remain ever one and the same, and are no less unchangeable than nature itself. If the mind assents to false opinions, and the will chooses and follows after what is wrong, neither can attain its native fullness, but both must fall from their native dignity into an abyss of corruption. Whatever, therefore, is opposed to virtue and truth may not rightly be brought temptingly before the eye of man, much less sanctioned by the favor and protection of the law. A well-spent life is the only way to heaven, whither all are bound, and on this account the State is acting against the laws and dictates of nature whenever it permits the license of opinion and of action to lead minds astray from truth and souls away from the practice of virtue. To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, from life, from laws, from the education of youth, from domestic society is a grave and fatal error. A State from which religion is banished can never be well regulated; and already perhaps more than is desirable is known of the nature and tendency of the so-called civil philosophy of life and morals. The Church of Christ is the true and sole teacher of virtue and guardian of morals. She it is who preserves in their purity the principles from which duties flow, and, by setting forth most urgent reasons for virtuous life, bids us not only to turn away from wicked deeds, but even to curb all movements of the mind that are opposed to reason, even though they be not carried out in action.
33. To wish the Church to be subject to the civil power in the exercise of her duty is a great folly and a sheer injustice. Whenever this is the case, order is disturbed, for things natural are put above things supernatural; the many benefits which the Church, if free to act, would confer on society are either prevented or at least lessened in number; and a way is prepared for enmities and contentions between the two powers, with how evil result to both the issue of events has taught us only too frequently.
34. Doctrines such as these, which cannot be approved by human reason, and most seriously affect the whole civil order, Our predecessors the Roman Pontiffs (well aware of what their apostolic office required of them) have never allowed to pass uncondemned. Thus, Gregory XVI in his encyclical letter Mirari Vos, dated August 15, 1832, inveighed with weighty words against the sophisms which even at his time were being publicly inculcated-namely, that no preference should be shown for any particular form of worship; that it is right for individuals to form their own personal judgments about religion; that each man’s conscience is his sole and all-sufficing guide; and that it is lawful for every man to publish his own views, whatever they may be, and even to conspire against the State. On the question of the separation of Church and State the same Pontiff writes as follows: “Nor can We hope for happier results either for religion or for the civil government from the wishes of those who desire that the Church be separated from the State, and the concord between the secular and ecclesiastical authority be dissolved. It is clear that these men, who yearn for a shameless liberty, live in dread of an agreement which has always been fraught with good, and advantageous alike to sacred and civil interests.” To the like effect, also, as occasion presented itself, did Pius IX brand publicly many false opinions which were gaining ground, and afterwards ordered them to be condensed in summary form in order that in this sea of error Catholics might have a light which they might safely follow.(22)
35. From these pronouncements of the Popes it is evident that the origin of public power is to be sought for in God Himself, and not in the multitude, and that it is repugnant to reason to allow free scope for sedition. Again, that it is not lawful for the State, any more than for the individual, either to disregard all religious duties or to hold in equal favour different kinds of religion; that the unrestrained freedom of thinking and of openly making known one’s thoughts is not inherent in the rights of citizens, and is by no means to be reckoned worthy of favour and support. In like manner it is to be understood that the Church no less than the State itself is a society perfect in its own nature and its own right, and that those who exercise sovereignty ought not so to act as to compel the Church to become subservient or subject to them, or to hamper her liberty in the management of her own affairs, or to despoil her in any way of the other privileges conferred upon her by Jesus Christ. In matters, however, of mixed jurisdiction, it is in the highest degree consonant to nature, as also to the designs of God, that so far from one of the powers separating itself from the other, or still less coming into conflict with it, complete harmony, such as is suited to the end for which each power exists, should be preserved between them.
Both regional and global issues and views must be weighed against the words of this and following popes. The only way true governing bodies can operate is with the appropriate and appreciation of the teachings of the Catholic Church. All other forms of government will fall into falsity, and thus, dominate over individuals. Nothing less than protection of what Christ founded Himself while on earth, the institution of the Catholic Church, can insure justice and peace in this world.
The logical consequence of politics without God is the list of isms I gave you above. Take your pick, but a nation which is Protestant or secular will fail, as a tower build on sand. A nation which does not hold dear the teachings fo the Catholic Church is not working in the Will of God. Catholics must wake up to the fact that the way to renew political parties is to renew one’s self, and to spread the Gospel according the the long tradition of the Church. Without a God-centered government which protects the Catholic Church, a nation will absolutely fall into the quagmire of one of the isms.
Jamie Hunter is a political analyst, who has written online for years. He is now in semi-retirement, but still comments, especially with his close friends over a good dinner. His neighbours’ cats are not interested in his political views.
JMJ, pray for us.
God is good,