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  • Writer's pictureDean Dwyer

Do you prefer democracy, technocracy or epistocracy?

In various articles, I have been using the term “technocracy”. As it is a somewhat modern term, it deserves some explanation, particularly has there has been a dramatic expansion of technocratic modes of governance. Essentially, that means that powers that were previously held by national parliaments have been ceded to courts, central banks and supranational institutions (ie an entity formed by two or more national governments through international treaties).


Many have blamed the rise of populism on technocratic governance. However, it is more so a symbiotic relationship. The rise of populism has been shown to lead to further expansion of technocratic governance as elites seek to insulate decision making from politicians who are perceived as irresponsible or irrational (the US is a prime example).


It was after Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump that many began to claim that democracy is fatally flawed and countries should instead be governed by “those who know best”. The name for this view of politics is epistocracy: the rule of the knowers. While many have been quick to claim that a dictatorship is the opposite of a democracy, it is a more accurate view to say that epistocracy is directly opposed to democracy because it argues that the right to participate in political decision making depends on whether or not you know what you are doing. The basic premise of democracy has always been that it doesn’t matter how much you know – you get a say because have to live with the consequences of what you do. In ancient Athens, this principle was reflected in the practice of choosing officeholders by lottery. Anyone could do it because everyone (well, everyone who wasn’t a woman, a foreigner, a pauper, a slave or a child) counted as a member of the state. Nowadays, with the exception of jury duty, we don’t choose people at random for important roles any more.


Many epistocrats hold the view that ordinary voters want to be ruled by the stupid and ignorant. It is a wholly unfair assertion. In fact, one author claimed that Brexit happened because “the wicked people lied to the stupid people”. Many believe that democracy is doing some stupid things of late. Of course, their cases in point are Brexit and Donald Trump. So, every now and thing, when democracy permits some supposed aberration, people begin to question whether democracy truly is the gold standard for governing a nation. Why don’t we give more weight to the views of people who are experts in their field? Our State has tried that with COVID and we have seen the dire consequences of “medical experts” dictating policy positions.


At this point, we have raised three governing principles: democracy, technocracy and epistocracy. In summary, democracy is governance by the people through an elected official; epistocracy means rule by the people who know best and technocracy is rule by mechanics and engineers (figuratively). A technocrat is someone who understands how the machinery works. For example, in November 2011, Greek democracy was suspended and an elected government was replaced by a cabinet of experts tasked with stabilising the collapsing Greek economy before new elections could be held. This was an experiment in technocracy. In this case, the “engineers” were economists. Technocrats are the people who understand what’s best for the machine. This is where the so-called Deep State in America comes in – they believe they know how best to operate the “machine” called the United States of America and do not welcome outside interference from celebrity Presidents (enter Donald Trump).


Why is this important? I have written extensively about the Great Reset. In the views of one author, it is a “technocratic fascist vision” for the world. We know it as the reign of the Antichrist. Friends, I believe the day is very near when we will hear that trumpet sound. Maranatha!

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