A common trickery on which all despotic regimes in the history of mankind rely is the perversion of ideas and concepts. The use of fallacies, cognitive biases and euphemisms are usually accompanied by the destruction of democratic institutions to oppress the members of society.
It is not strange to observe how ideas and concepts such as peace, conciliation, dialogue and understanding are perverted and diverted from their natural purpose and used by tyrannies to weave their system of domination, deceptions that even dismayed the concepts of Constitution, constituent power, legislation, sovereignty, nation and even the idea of democracy, banalising it and reducing it simply to electoral acts, which although are important, are the least significant element of real democracies, since there can be no democracy without checks and balances of public powers, respect of human rights, accountability of the public administration, effective judicial protection, among others.
Today, Venezuela as per all the socialist nations in history, is more than a failed State, it is a delinquent State, there is no doubt about it; but the worst part of it is that those who are apparently calling to resist the tyranny as opposition, are often those who materially attempt against the rule of law, becoming actors in favour of the tyrannical system, either by action or omission, voluntarily or involuntarily, in a conscious or stupid way, they just serve the table for the tyranny with their democratic weakness towards despotism reducing the idea of democracy only to a matter of votes, when there are many other equally democratic and constitutional actions, quite forceful, for recovering the rule of law, one example: “constitutional resistance”.
In order to confront any problem and seek for a solution, from the simplest to the most complex, before venturing to take any action, we must first make a diagnosis as detailed as possible of the case, and from there, act accordingly, diagnosis and evaluation that in situations of significance such as the one that Venezuela suffers are especially important to consider.
There some political actors that are quick to point out that the solution to the political crisis of Venezuela can’t be democratic but forced; others that should not go to the electoral processes, others quite the contrary, when the truth is that after more than 18 years of a dictatorial regime, local states and municipalities are nothing but empty shells to which they have taken away their most essential attributions, and only used by the regime as means to oppress their inhabitants and the whole country has derived in the worst situation ever, where misery and corruption are present in every aspects of Venezuelans.
Let´s save some time and arrive at some specific conclusions. In Venezuela there is no rule of law and there is no democracy, and if there is some left, it is totally perverted; we are facing something totally different beyond simply mentioning that there is no democracy..
But if there is no rule of law and there is no democracy, what is Venezuela now? It is a failed State, a delinquent State in which far from having a democracy we could be facing an ochlocracy, kleptocracy, pathocracy or a “hezocracy”.
It is well known that democracy comes from the Greek “Demos” that means “people” and from “kratos” that is “authority” or “government”; then we may say that “democracy” is the government of the people. From that very elementary idea, we can perfectly deduce other notions such as ”meritocracy”, as the government of those who have achieved enough merit; but how can we understand other complex expressions and ideas such as political ponerology, ochlocracy, kleptocracy, pathocracy and “hezocracy”?
Ponerology is an expression that derives from “ponerophilus” used by Aristotle in Politics to refer about the friendship and approach towards the evil, a concept that acquires current use and dimensions thanks to the Polish psychiatrist Andrzej Lobaczewki who used it in his book “Political Ponerology” in which he develops in detail the study of the evil and its effects in politics, as well as the pathology of the ruling classes and their effects in societies, pointing out that pathocracies may arise in such environments.
About pathocracies, we can highlight:
“Definition: pathocracy (n). A system of government created by a small pathological minority that takes control over a society of normal people (from Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes, by Andrew Lobaczewski)
From Greek pathos, “feeling, pain, suffering”; and kratos, “rule”
A totalitarian form of government in which absolute political power is held by psychopathic elite and their effect on the people is such that the entire society is ruled and motivated by purely pathological values.
A pathocracy can take many forms and can insinuate itself covertly into any seemingly just system or ideology. As such it can masquerade under the guise of a democracy or theocracy as well as more openly oppressive regimes.
- Suppression of individualism and creativity.
- Impoverishment of artistic values.
- Impoverishment of moral values; a social structure based on self-interest and one-upmanship, rather than altruism.
- Fanatical ideology; often a corrupted form of a valid viable ‘trojan’ ideology which is perverted into a pathological form, bearing little resemblance to the substance of the original.
- Intolerance and suspicion of anyone who is different, or who disagrees with the state.
- Centralised control.
- Widespread corruption.
- Secret activities within government, but surveillance of the general population. (In contrast, a healthy society would have transparent government processes, and respect for privacy of the individual citizen).
- Paranoid and reactionary government.
- Excessive, arbitrary, unfair and inflexible legislation; the power of decision making is reduced/removed from the citizens’ everyday lives.
- An attitude of hypocrisy and contempt demonstrated by the actions of the ruling class, towards the ideals they claim to follow, and towards the citizens they claim to represent.
- Controlled media, dominated by propaganda.
- Extreme inequality between the richest and poorest.
- Endemic use of corrupted psychological reasoning such as paramoralisms, conversive thinking and doubletalk.
- Rule by force and/or fear of force.
- People are considered as a ‘resource’ to be exploited (hence the term “human resources”), rather than as individuals with intrinsic human worth.
- Spiritual life is restricted to inflexible and indoctrinaire schemes. Anyone attempting to go beyond these boundaries is considered a heretic or insane, and therefore dangerous.
- Arbitrary divisions in the population (class, ethnicity, creed) are inflamed into conflict with one another.
- Suppression of free speech – public debate, demonstration, protest.
- Violation of basic human rights, for example: restriction or denial of basic life necessities such as food, water, shelter; detainment without charge; torture and abuse; slave labour.”
Concerning the terms ochlocracy, kleptocracy and “hezocracy”, there should be no more difficultly distinguishing their scope and content; in fact, it is an interesting exercise, let´s do it:
We already know what “kratos” is … the government of … Let´s try with the others…
Ochlocracy, comes from the Greek “ochlo”, that means crowd, mass of people, “lumpen”, it is an expression attributed to the government of the informal unprepared groups of persons, usually used in those populist regimes resulting from a degeneration of democracy, also can be referred as “government by the mob : mob rule”
Kleptocracy: From the Greek “klepto” that means “to steal” or “a thief”, then kleptocracy it is usually defined as:
“… political regime whose members make flagrantly dishonest use of their official position for personal gain.”
“…a government where officials are politically corrupt and financially self-interested”
And the last one, “Hezocracy”; this is a little more complex, since there is no such word; and it is more a suggestion to be implemented due to its meaning and the current need to call things with names that really represent the context of where they are used. Its etymology results from the concept of “Hez” in Spanish and Aristotle would point out that it was the object of admiration of the “ponerophilus” who blindly follow the tyrants.
Considering the political pathology in Venezuela, applying the necessary treatment; to the dictatorial regime, to the opposition and its imbecility and civil society with its laziness to confront the tyranny, even more than diagnosing that Venezuela as a failed State, we better should consider if we are not under an ochlocracy, pathocracy, kleptocracy or perhaps it will be “hezocracy”.
I personally still have some doubts, but what do you think the diagnosis is?
P.S. concerning Hez:
Hex, from the Latin fex, fecis, that in English could be translated as “scum” (“residue, dregs”)
“… extraneous matter or impurities risen to or formed on the surface of a liquid often as a foul filmy covering”
“… scoria of metals in a molten state”
“… a low, vile, or worthless person or group of people”
“… a worthless or contemptible person or group of people”
“… despicable people, despicable person, rabble, riff-raff, refuse, garbage, trash, vermin, good-for-nothing, good-for-nothings, undesirable, undesirables, the lowest of the low, the dregs of society”
“hezocracy – scumocracy”