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Démocrature:
Nazi Concept Welcomed into French Language

686 words

It’s that time of year. The French dictionaries Le Petit Larousse and Le Petit Robert (don’t ask me why they are called “petit,” they are huge) are adding various neologisms and foreign loanwords to our beloved langue de Céline.

My interest was particularly piqued by the following new entry: 

DÉMOCRATURE 

noun, feminine (from democracy and dictatorship).

1. A political regime which, while having certain attributes of democracy, such as party pluralism, is nonetheless run in an authoritarian or even dictatorial fashion. (One also says dictocratie.)

2. The shift from democracy to dictatorship by undermining the rule of law.

How interesting! The word clearly refers to the various elected “populist” regimes which have emerged in Hungary, Poland, and the United States, which for various reasons, do not live up to liberals’ ever-changing definition of “democracy” and “the rule of law,” according to their latest ideological fashions.

What Le Petit Larousse fail to mention, however, is that the word actually goes much farther back, at least as far back as the 1930s: indeed, various fascist movements and thinkers deemed the Western parliamentary democracies to be in fact démocratures, as actually being run not by the people, but by warmongering and corrupt liberal and oligarchic elites. Given the pervasiveness of antiwar sentiment, if the people ran America or France, as these republics boldly claimed, it seems quite unlikely that either country would have gone to war against Germany, effectively on the side of the Soviet Union.

The historian Mark Mazower writes on postwar German National Socialists:

[S]uch men regarded parliamentary democracy as a sham “democratatorship” [sic] (Demokratur), believed the multi-party system had to be abolished and wanted somehow to reunify the country with the assistance of like-minded fascists abroad.[1]

What, in fact, is a liberal democracy? You will never find agreement as the two terms are in hopeless contradiction with one another. One man’s legitimate, majoritarian expression of the popular will is another man’s demagogic tyranny of the majority. To one man, the executive’s, media’s, and judges’ ignoring of public opinion will be an example of far-sighted, responsible, and enlightened leadership, while appearing to another man to be an abhorrent betrayal of democracy by oligarchic elites.

Recall: two World Wars were fought by the Western powers, tearing Europe apart in murderous conflicts from which the continent has never recovered, in the name of preserving liberal democracy. The religion of democracy excommunicates from respectable humanity all governments which are not liberal democracies. And yet, the very definition of the term is quite unclear, shifting, and ambiguous according to liberal elites’ changing moods and interests. All this is quite problematic.

In fact, all human societies are authoritarian and (civil-)religious. All societies, and their media-political elites, shun, demonize, and destroy those considered to have wrong values, lest they infect the rest of society. All societies have punishable taboos. Purging a university professor or screenwriter for his fascist or racialist views is not less “authoritarian” than purging one for his communist views. Therefore the distinction drawn by liberals and the Left in general, made popular in the 1960s by the Frankfurt School and others, is quite spurious and hypocritical. All societies have Platonic Guardians, whether they own up their role, or not.

This was not so apparent in the postwar years however. For the Boomers, bless them, one could live in a society which was, in fact, carefully policed by the audiovisual and print media, but which could claim to be “open,” “tolerant,” “pluralist,” characterized by “freedom of thought,” etc., all the while never being allowed to give a fair hearing any taboo Right-wing idea. One could have the pleasure of both thinking oneself open-minded and have the benefits of actually being authoritarian.

With the rise of national-populism, which signifies, for the first time in decades, a certain loss of control of the political process by mainstream media elites, the mainstreamers are waking up to démocrature. More and more are openly questioning democracy and elections, as leading to “instability,” “populism,” and above all, “wrong values.” Careful now, you might become Right-wingers!

Notes

[1]Mark Mazower, Hitler’s Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe (New York: Penguin, 2008).

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5 Comments

  1. Joseph S. Salemi
    Posted July 8, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Liberal democracy was never anything but totalist in its desire to control the minds and lives of everyone. The best evidence of this was the comment of that quintessential left-liberal and socialist, George Bernard Shaw. He said that socialism would triumph only when socialists had plenty of policemen who would club dissenters on the head and MAKE them conform to left-wing dictates. He hardly had in mind a “pluralist” society.

    Shaw defended the Boer War (which most sentimental leftists in Britain opposed on pacifist and anti-imperialist grounds), because he wanted all small and traditional communities crushed by the overwhelming force of militant liberalism and state power. He spoke up in favor of terrorists who assassinated royalty, because such deeds might bring about liberal revolutions. He supported the deceit of Fabian socialism, even designing their symbol of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And like all left-liberal globalists today, he worshiped the power of uncontrolled money to crush all opposition, and to establish the world-wide hegemony of finance capitalism. Read “Major Barbara” if you want to see his naked power-lust.

    The idea that any of this has to do with “democracy” in the normal understanding of the term is laughable. Left-liberals — then and now — have always sought complete hegemony over all the rest of us. Why are vermin like Angela Merkel hanging on so desperately to power? Simple: they cannot give up their dream of the world-wide triumph of Political Virtue, with themselves as Philosopher-Kings.

  2. eyeslevel
    Posted July 7, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Every democracy is a propagandocracy where the group that controls public opinion through their use of propaganda is in power. People think the way they’re told to think through repetition and vote accordingly. You can whine about that or you can accept it and deal with it.

    All through Anglosphere and Western Europe, the media/academia complex known as leftism is in power. In America, leftism took power around 1930 and they have been in power ever since. The right has been their controlled opposition. In office is not in power. Leftism is a scam to put self-styled intellectuals in power. Think social planners. Think regulation. To them, government exists to give bureaucrats ever more money and power.

    From time to time when leftists have screwed up bad enough and inflation, unemployement and crime are rampant, the right has taken over and suspended elections. But they can never maintain power because they don’t pay enough attention to propaganda. As soon as conditions improve, the leftists work their games and undermine their authority and take back power. The minute you end elections, leftists use that to discredit you. Wouldn’t you have more power if you keep the elections and YOU tell people how to think and therefore how to vote?

  3. Roscommonguy
    Posted July 7, 2018 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    You neglect to mention, for those not familiar with the French language, that démocrature is a pun on dictature, i.e. dictatorship.

  4. sylvie
    Posted July 6, 2018 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Mr. Durocher for discovering this little pearl.

    Since non of the “petits” is on our side, his interpretation that

    “The word clearly refers to the various elected “populist” regimes which […] for various reasons, do not live up to liberals’ ever-changing definition of “democracy” and “the rule of law,” according to their latest ideological fashions.”

    is probably true. But are our adversaries really that stupid?

    First, the term is not new, not really a “neologism”; it did not appear in the last decade.

    Second, whenever it was used, is was to deride the current, western Capitalism/Democracy, not qualifying any regime opposing it.

    Third, its syntax and semantics is very close to terms the fascist governments used to refer to their opponents. As Goebbels once said:
    “Communism and Democracy/Capitalism are two sides of the same coin, both controlled by Jews”.

  5. Walter
    Posted July 6, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    D e m o c r a t u r e is a very good term. It jumps out into consciousness like a shadow that is cast when a lamp is turned on behind an object.
    I have just recently read this word >Demokratur< in a book that might be from the late twenties and I thought it interesting that it had been created then. I can't remember where I read it. Nonetheless, the past is starting to cast its shadow from the sun that is nearing the horizon on "liberal democracy's" evening.

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