Grassroots Commentary


Thomas Berry · Nov. 29, 2011

A new word recently surfaced: Ineptocracy. While not yet officially part of the language, it has been defined as, “A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.” As good a working description of our current culture as that is, I submit another: Malignantocracy.

Merriam-Webster defines “malignant,” as “evil in nature, influence, or effect: injurious,” as “passionately and relentlessly malevolent: aggressively malicious,” and, in the context of health, “tending to produce death or deterioration <malignantmalaria>; especially: tending to infiltrate, metastasize, and terminate fatally < a malignant tumor>.”

Therefore, in the context of a democratic republic, a malignantocracy is a government that, having appealed to malevolence and malice for its election, is itself malevolent and malicious in its actions, and whose policies and effects are injurious, resulting in the death or deterioration of what is governed. By this definition, we are in a malignantocracy.

Consider the current federal government. It appeals to class envy, a popular malevolence towards those who are different, especially of different political affiliation or greater financial success or standing than one’s own, to build and sustain its power.

It treats opponents with open malice. Consider the President’s conduct: He slanders opponents and misrepresents their views with the intent of stirring up even more malevolence. For example, he says Republicans want dirty water and air, broken-down bridges and no jobs. He publicly shames and humiliates those who stand against him; one need look no further for evidence than how, during the 2010 State of the Union address, he mocked and disrespected Supreme Court justices who dared defy his will.

It has been injurious to the well-being of the country, and the nation has clearly deteriorated in the last three years. The economy is stagnant, unemployment remains unacceptably high by Obama’s own admission, the federal deficit is mushrooming, the housing market is comatose, corruption is rampant, the dollar is weakened, and by every standard we are less free.

Malignantocracy is by no means unique to the present moment. Each administration, each Congress, each Supreme Court and every level of government whose actions have resulted in loss of freedom, loss of prosperity, or loss of protection of person and property against crime or of the nation against enemy attack have been malignocratic.

Malignantocracy is aided and abetted by those who vote it into power. Obama, you will recall, campaigned and won by standing President Kennedy’s famous saying on its head: Ask what your country can do for you, and especially ask what it can do to those of whom you are envious. That a government can be elected to power by appealing to malignancy bodes ill for our national character.

Although the extreme leftists in the Occupy movement have taken the public form of American malignantocracy to its most virulent extreme, they scarcely monopolize it. On both left and right, there are those who think only in terms of demonizing the opposition, in whatever form it exists. Progressives call conservatives terrorists and Nazis, while progressives are branded as idiots and spoiled potheads by conservatives.

Many conservatives want to force the pendulum of political discourse as far to the right as possible after its recent sharp leftward swing, so they embrace Dr. Ron Paul for president – even though, despite his sound grasp of the Constitution, his foreign policy would be malignocratic in its woeful naivete.

On their part, progressives don’t think Obama’s policies have been destructive enough to our freedom or our prosperity. They call for even greater expansion of government power, more spending, tighter control of the economy, and far higher taxes. Some among them, especially certain hotheads in labor, advocate intimidating opposition into silence.

We are being persuaded to accept the spread of tyranny, the vilification of traditional values and legitimately achieved success, and personal helplessness against these malignancies as a desirable norm. So much better, we are told to think, to be silent and do nothing than to speak out against what we know to be wrong. Whether in cowed silence, or in taking positions on either side that are unreasonable and bigoted towards opposition, we too thus become malignocrats. 

Our only recourse against this evil is to study our situation honestly, without prejudice and from a foundation of right knowledge of our history, and to make our voices heard in truth, honor and integrity. If public discourse continues to be dominated by hate and envy, the results will be even more malignant for us all.

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