Explains why and how ideocratic and totalitarian governments emerge, establish themselves, evolve, eventually collapse, and disintegrate or transform themselves into new ideocracies.
Expanding upon the concept of totalitarianism, this study introduces the concept of ideocracy to encompass all those political systems that legitimize their actions by reference to an all-inclusive utopian ideology. It distinguishes pluralist systems, marked by competing schools of thought, from monistic systems in which a utopian ideology is dominant. Focusing on twentieth-century regimes, the authors develop Weberian ideal-type models to clarify different forms of ideocracy and pluralism; explore the ideal-type model of ideocracy; and analyze the dynamics of political life using models that allow readers to examine the contradictions and evolutionary paths of specific political systems. In addition, they examine diverse psychological, social, and environmental factors in analyzing the emergence of ideocracies and their subsequent evolution and emphasize that although these systems may persist for extended periods, they may also evolve into other forms of government through processes ranging from radical transformation to gradual erosion.
Jaroslaw Piekalkiewicz is Distinguished Professor of Western Civilization in the Department of Political Science at the University of Kansas. Alfred Wayne Penn is Professor of Public Administration and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Sangamon State University.
"This book helps the reader to understand why and how ideocratic/totalitarian governments emerge, establish themselves, evolve, and eventually collapse, disintegrate, or transform themselves into new ideocracies. It helps comprehend past and present ideocratic governments and provides fine conceptual tools for identifying early signs of incipient ideocracies. It is interesting, full of important insights, and clearly written and organized. " — Maria Los, University of Ottawa
"This book's real novelty is the proposal to use the term 'ideocracy' not only as a description of a distinctive feature of classical totalitarianism but as a wider typological category. I see this as a truly innovative and valuable contribution to comparative politics. " — Andrezj Walicki, O'Neill Chair of History, University of Notre Dame