A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from December 04, 2011

“Kakistocracy” is from the Greek kakistos (worst) and means a government by the worst men. The word “kakistocracy” is not found in ancient Greek and was coined as an opposite term to “aristocracy.”  “Kakistocracy” has been cited in print since at least 1815, but has been infrequently used.
A modern slang term meaning a government by the least capable people is “ineptocracy.”
Wiktionary: kakistocracy
(plural kakistocracies)
1.Government under the control of a nation’s worst or least-qualified citizens.
Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
kak·is·toc·ra·cy noun \ˌkakəˈstäkrəsē\
Definition of KAKISTOCRACY
: government by the worst men
Gk kakistos (superl. of kakos bad) + E -cracy
The Free Dictionary
kak·is·toc·ra·cy (kk-stkr-s, käk-)
n. pl. kak·is·toc·ra·cies
Government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.
[Greek kakistos, worst, superlative of kakos, bad; see caco- + -cracy.]
Online Etymological Dictionary
1829, “government by the worst element of a society,” coined on analogy of its opposite, aristocracy, from Gk. kakistos “worst,” superlative of kakos “bad” (which perhaps is related to the general IE word for “defecate”) + -cracy.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
kakistocracy, n.
Etymology:  < Greek

κάκιστο-ς  worst + -κρατία  rule, after aristocracy.
Thesaurus »
The government of a state by the worst citizens.
1829 T. L. Peacock Misfortunes of Elphin vi. 93   Our agrestic kakistocracy now castigates the heinous sins which were then committed with impunity.
1876 J. R. Lowell Lett. II. vii. 179   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?
1879 S. Baring-Gould Germany II. 286   The‥régime is at once a plutocracy and a kakistocracy.
31 October 1815, Weekly Aurora (Philadelphia, PA), pg. 268, col. 2:
Whether this partakes more of an aristocracy, or caucocracy, or rather Kakistocracy, is a problem, in the solution of which, he may find some amusement and employment of his genius.
Google Books
The Misfortunes of Elphin
By Thomas Love Peacock
London: Published by Thomas Hookham
Pg. 93:
... and they were utterly destitute of the blessings of those “schools for all,” the house of correction, and the treadmill, wherein the autochthonal justice of our agrestic kakistocracy now castigates the heinous sins which were then committed with impunity, of treading on old footpaths, picking up dead wood, and moving on the face of the earth within sound of the whirr of a partridge.
Google Books
Memoir on Slavery:
Read before the Society for the Advancement of Learning, of South Carolina, at its annual meeting at Columbia, 1837

By William Harper
Charleston, SC: James S. Burges
Pg. 49:
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.
9 July 1856, Daily Advocate (LA), pg. 2, col. 4:
But let the South go as a unit for Buchanan against the Black Fusion—given that Pennsylvania and any one other free State go the same way—and the defeat of Fremont will be ensured; the black tide will be hurled back from the Capitol which it threatens to engulph, and for four years, at least, the Union may hold together without subjecting the South to the alternative of abject submission to the rabid Kakistocracy of the North or—secession.
18 August 1977, Dallas (TX) Morning News, Guest Editorial, pg. D2:
The Greeks certainly had a word for it when they coined “kakistocracy.” Idiomatically translated, it means “government by the worst men, the most stupid men.”

There are those uncharitable enough to suggest that there has been kakistocracy for sometime now. But we would not immediately subscribe to that, holding always that things can get worse.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Military/Religion /Health • Sunday, December 04, 2011 • Permalink

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