chapter  5
Do ideocracies constitute a distinct subtype of autocratic regimes?
ByJOHANNES GERSCHEWSKI
Pages 19

This chapter explores the thesis that spontaneous, non-coerced popular enthusiasm for the revolutionary aspirations of an ideocracy, both before and after the seizure of power, has been crucial for the perceived legitimation of several major totalitarian movements and regimes in the modern age. It explains the prevalent regime-centric perspective in totalitarian studies by concentrating on the potential of ideas to assume a powerful mythic force to mobilize spontaneous populist energies. The chapter shows that the stereotypical image of totalitarianism in the 'Free World' epitomized in 1984 has been derived from an excessive, if understandable, concentration on the enforced ideocracies of imposed, feigned, failed, or spent totalitarian revolutions. The chapter discusses several implications for the comparative study of the dynamics of legitimation within totalitarian ideocracies. It explores how far Weberian understanding of the routinization of charisma and the forces of rationalization and bureaucratization could be applied fruitfully to understanding the process by which a living ideocracy.