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Kakistocracy is a form of government where the least qualified individuals are in power. It comes from the Greek κακιστος (kakistos) meaning "worst"), the superlative of κακος (kakos) meaning “bad”. The first recorded use of the term was by the satirical writer Thomas Love Peacock in 1829 (The Misfortunes of Elphin),[1] but it isn't a particularly mainstream term and is mostly used by satirists and critics of government.

The more cynical will argue that all governments eventually break down into this; the most cynical argue they all start that way. Because to be part of government you have to put yourself forward first, potential rulers are those that want the job. And most people don't know how incompetent they are (or are so sociopathic they don't care), so few potential rulers will actually be competent. The public tends to reward the most charismatic individuals the highest positions, and while charisma does demonstrate high levels of emotional intelligence and is useful for some aspects of leadership, charisma alone is not enough when you need to make a spot check trying to determine who the best subordinates to run a school system would be,

Others would argue that that there are many genuinely caring people with integrity who wish to have power in order to better serve their communities. Many believe that not to engage in matters of power and government is tantamount to voting for Kakistocracy.

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  1. The Misfortunes of Elphin by Thomas Love Peacock (1829).