chapter  13
The legitimizing role of palingenetic myth in ideocracies
ByROGER GRIFFIN
Pages 18

This chapter will explore 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. For the purposes of this analysis, the connotations of the suffix “cracy” are taken to be those of theocracy, autocracy, and ethnocracy, thus suggesting a political system dominated by the primacy of a particular idea (a totalizing vision or grand récit) of historical development which serves as the basis for realizing a new society and even for founding a new historical era. This usage corresponds to how the term “ideocracy” is used in the only Anglophone monograph on the topic to date, which defines it as “a political system whose activities are pursued in reference to the tenets of a monistic ideology,” thus directly contrasting with pluralistic democracy.1