A Niftier Neologism: “Citocracy”

I’ve just come up with a better name for a system of government that employs sortition: “Citocracy.” I defend it in my latest comment in my thread, “Demiocracy—a Nifty Neologism,” at https://equalitybylot.com/2018/10/17/demiocracy-a-nifty-neologism/#comment-24489. Here is its first 20%:

In response to the criticism above, I withdraw “demi-ocracy” and “randemocracy.” In their place I submit “CITOCRACY,” my best and final offer. It means “Power to, and in, the Citizens.” This meaning is broadly the same as democracy’s meaning, “Power to (and in) the People.”

But it’s not a mere redundancy, because It implies that that power will be exercised significantly by persons who have not been elected—i.e., by ordinary citizens—and not, or not only, by elected intermediary professional politicians. And also not exercised by such unavoidably accompanying afflictions of mass democracy as political parties, propagandists, pressure groups, the press (aka the middleman media), and pelf-possessors, whose character and interest notably differ from citizens’—for the worse. 

I hereby dub our current system “POLOCRACY”—“power to and in the politicians (“pols” and the “political class”).” It is a neatly orthogonal term that covers the remainder of “the people”—i.e., elected citizens and their minions.

(Perhaps, for clarity until familiarity has been achieved, the terms might be hyphenated, thus: “cit-ocracy” and “pol-ocracy.”)

“Citocracy” is ordinary English and doesn’t suggest anything off-puttingly foreign, archaic, esoteric, academic, or radical. (And yet it has a satisfying hint of radicalism in its allusion to the French Revolution’s battle-cry appeal to “citoyens!”) So, persons hearing the word might be willing to hear more about it. At which point a proponent could say:

  1. Citocracy implies a system in which “citizens panels” (advisory) and/or “citizens juries” (proposal-evaluators and/or legislator-electors) and/or “citizens assemblies” (legislators) would play a major role. (The “cit” prefix in “citocracy” builds naturally upon those three commonly used terms.)
  2. Citocracy implies the elimination or curtailment of the six above-listed Pernicious P’s (which a proponent could describe and denigrate), starting with professional party-system politicians, who reign under “polocracy”—a system that our Founders didn’t intend. They had in mind instead a system of amateur citizen legislators—though “notables,” to be sure—i.e., a citocracy.

4 Responses

  1. Hi Roger

    Late to the party, I realise.

    Thanks for posting this.

    From my perspective, I’d avoid fiddling with the word “democracy” – which has the advantage of huge worldwide currency and 2,500 years of history.

    Nifty or not, your neologism stands next to no chance of gaining any sort of meaningful linguistic traction in the face of it. Sorry, I don’t mean to be rude.

    I think the spirit of your effort is a good one, though, which is to get a single word “that names a system of government” and that is widely understood and recognised across the world.

    We have one already – it’s democracy, which sits with Aristotle’s five other systems of government namely polity, aristocracy, monarch, oligarchy and tyranny. (https://www.quora.com/What-are-Aristotles-six-types-of-government).

    I don’t think his analysis has been bettered since.

    Far more interesting, I’d suggest, is to reclaim the word “democracy” from the usurpers of its original meaning, who transformed it into shorthand for government by occasional elections plus some constitutional checks and balance of highly dubious effectiveness, bar for the beneficiaries, that is.

    This is a process successfully employed by LGBT activists for the words “queer”, and “gay” – something known as culture hacking (https://therules.org/#/about). Feminists have done the same and also people of colour.

    There’s no reason why “democracy” shouldn’t be reclaimed in the same way, bringing back to meaning something far closer to government by the people than what we currently suffer.

    It’s hard work, it always face significant blowback from the incumbents who feel threatened by the change of power structures but it’s worthwhile work.

    All change occurs first in people’s minds.

    Corporations spend billions of dollars each year promoting brands for their cocktails of sugary liquids, over-processed “foods”, monopolistic software, built-in obsolescence phones etc.

    It would be entirely possible, and comparatively cheap, to rebrand/hack democracy as something closer to the original.

    Not easy though.


  2. Patrick,

    I agree completely with your comment (sorry to disappoint!). Out of the 2,500 years or democracy, the meaning has only been corrupted for 150, so let’s reclaim it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. @Keith

    Yeah! Result!


  4. Because, for tidiness’ sake, I want to confine discussion of my neologisms to one thread, titled, “Demi-ocracy—a Nifty Neologism,” I’m responding to the comments above over there. The above-posted deep link to go there is https://equalitybylot.com/2018/10/17/demiocracy-a-nifty-neologism/#comment-24489, which begins with the seven paragraphs I copied from it above, followed by 23 further paragraphs, many of them arguing against attempting to “reclaim” democracy. They in turn are followed by another 23 paragraphs in the same vein, in a new comment.


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