I discovered a new word today – kakistocracy.
No, it is not a government run by fans of the artist Kaki King, but that would definitely be worth a spin.
Kakistocracy, for those of you who don’t want to click on the helpful hyperlink, is a fancy word for a government by the worst people in society.
I cynically thought that we here in the United States of America might actually be in a kakistocracy after seeing that, for the umpteenth year in a row, the new fiscal year has started (as it did again on October 1) and Congress has not passed a budget for Fiscal Year 2011. In fact, of the twelve (there’s your number for the day) appropriation bills in front of Congress this time around, that legislative body has passed and sent to the President’s desk a whopping total of … wait for it … ZERO !
Instead, Congress has punted the buck (if I may mix my metaphors) and passed a continuing resolution funding the federal government until December 3.
It’s stunning to fathom that one of the main jobs of the House of Representatives and the Senate is to fund the federal government, and yet for twelve (hey, there’s your number of the day again) years straight, Congress has failed to pass a budget before the start of the fiscal year. The last time Congress was able to get its budgetary act together was the 105th Congress with the budget for Fiscal Year 1998.
Budgetary shennanigans aside, a kakistocracy seems like the right word for our government considering that our representatives seem to base their votes solely on whether it helps their party and/or hurts the other party.
However, allow me to shed my bloggy cynical skin and opine that with no data to back me up, I would say that the vast majority of elected officials try to do what is right most of the time. Now, your definition of right may be different from theirs, but I will stick to my contention.
A true kakistocracy would not hold free and fair elections because the worst people in society, by virtue of being the worst people in society, would want to stay in power by any means possible. In addition, a true kakistocracy would not have passed legislation like Medicaid, Social Security, Head Start, or the Endangered Species Act because those laws rarely affect (or benefit) the people in power. Why would the worst of society help those most in need?