On the Nature of Political Power

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Consent flows through the halls of power like aether through the veins of the world. There is no power without consent, whether that consent be voluntary, coerced, or acquiesced.   Those are the only means by which power is exchanged. The problem is that most among the nations think power is either something intrinsic or controlled by those in authority. It is not.   Those who wish to obtain or maintain power only have three real tools at their disposal.  
  1. Sharing
  2. Giving
  3. Force
  These powers can be employed on the resources available to them. Those resources include but are not limited to:  
  • treasure
  • land
  • influence, prestige, prominence
  • armed forces
  • natural resources
  • magical items
  • magical guilds
  • magical lore
  • special rights
  Those swayed into service through such means are only loyal while the resources flow or still have value to the one purchased. True loyalty is a rare and precious thing that does not conform to the know laws of power, because when such dynamics are imposed, the nature of the relationship changes from one of loyalty to one of power exchange.   Beware confusing one for the other. In these times, those from among the Nations often pretend they are offering one kind of relationship when they are in reality seeking their own benefit, often at the expense of another.  

The Three True Powers

  Be not like those among the nations. The Eternal Padishah taught us that the only real powers a leader possesses are sharing, giving, and force. Through the use of these powers in isolation or in combination, any who chose to be a leader gain the consent of others and build their power base.   Called the paths of Gold, Silver, and Iron, all must follow these ways if the wish to accrue or maintain power. Each has its own benefits and limitations, but in every power structure, all three exist in some degree.  

The Golden Power of Sharing

 
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Sharing may sound like a lesson that we teach to our children, but it is the key tool in the arts of power.   Shared reward and loss breed personal interest in the success and failure of the corporate endeavors of the group as a whole.   Mutuality is key to maintaining stability in consent among any collection of individuals. When all members of a collective body feel a personal investment in the mission, vision, and goal of the institution, consent is freely given to empower the actions power requires.   Openness and clear accountability are the foundations upon which this power is exercised. Strange to say for those who live in the Secret Kingdom of the Rivers and Lakes, but it is the underlying nature of the Golden Path. For this reason, it is discouraged to employ those who have not been judged before The Ember Throne and been found worthy to walk among us in the secret places of the world. The secrecy necessary to keep our ways from the eyes of those who would seek to end them.

The Silver Power of Giving

 
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Giving lessens the resources available to the leadership, but it can be used as a tool to gain consent. Often, this type of power is utilized through art of equitable trades which are a cousin to sharing, but are not of the same kind.   Equitable balance is key to maintaining stability in consent among the trade partners. Imbalance, prejudice, or partiality weaken this path to power.   One who follows the silver path must place the balance above their own desires lest the whole endeavor is for nought.   The silver path also requires adherents to work against prejudice and partiality or the whole project will be rightly seen as little more than a show of power with no real intent or magnanimity behind it. The art of giving is no different from the art of asking. To receive in any measurable way, one must be willing to give, else one takes rather than receives and this is the path of iron.  

The Iron Power of Force

 
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Force weakens the state any and every time it is used. It is a sign of failure on behalf of the state to gain consent from their constituents. Force is most justly applied against those who have violated the social contract which should define an equitable and mutual relationship between all governed under said contract. Even in the most equitable and mutually contracted societies, crime still occurs, but those crimes are failures of the contract, either on the side of the state or the criminal. Thus the use of force is a sign of the failure of either the leadership, their constituents, or both.   Concord is key to maintaining stability in consent among the solidarity. Force erodes consent when inappropriately, disproportionately, or prejudicially applied or tolerated.   Beware the path of iron. Many have fallen to ruin along its course and have lost their way. The lack of trust and injustice fostered by its misuse and misapplication cannot be easily mended and require the the efforts of generations working in concord and solidarity to rebuild. It is better not to erode truth or betray the consent garnered than to squander it for temporary and impermanent gains.   Power maintained with the blade always ends with the most bitter cut. Do not make the same mistakes as those who came before you, but learn from their errors.

The Quirini Theory of Power

 The Quirini in their wisdom saw that states possessed only three powers all of which are illusions on the path of iron:  
  1. Pereziz- imperium, the power to command
  2. Auctoritanz- prestige and influence
  3. Potestanz- power to coerce
  These three powers are understood as the three forms of power exercised by the state and which are possessed in differing degrees by the ministers of statecraft. In fact, their Tables of Government defined how much of each type of power each office was allowed to have. For example, each office were allowed a number of Lictors to serve them as a measure of their imperium. Influence was measure by the number of people who were required to seek their sanction before taking action. Coercion was measured by the right to declare edicts, litigate, and marshal forces.  

Command is not an Intrinsic Power

 
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The ability of a leader to command only exists if the commanded consent to follow those orders. The type of true power this illusion masks is loyalty.   Loyalty is a rare and precious type of consent, which comes in two flavors: blind and earned.   The problem with blind loyalty is it only holds for as long as that blindness can be maintained. Lies and propaganda may be employed to establish blind loyalty, but when those lies are laid bare for all the world to see, the distrust earned can never be paid off.    True loyalty is earned through walking the gold and silver paths and accrues slowly and without notice. Each individual has their own distinct threshold for the application of loyalty and their is not way to accurately or adequately measure or predict such a thing.   It is best to use the illusion of command sparingly least your slide onto the iron path and lose yourself to the regrets of failure.  

Influence is not an Intrinsic Power

 
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The ability of a leader to gain influence only exists if the leader earns the trust of those they lead. The type of power this illusion masks is camaraderie.   Camaraderie is a precious thing born from the mutual respect and support of those in your charge. It is the fire in the blood that holds most families together, and the source of strength that forges bonds capable of withstanding the most hostile and venomous assaults.   True camaraderie cannot be forced, rushed, or manufactured. It is born from the mutual application of the Gold and Silver paths by all involved. The more people learn they can rely on each other, the more more they will become interconnected.   Any falseness, deceit, or obfuscation in the relationships will poison it and eventually bring it to ruin if not properly and quickly atoned to the satisfaction of all involved, and some sins cannot be adequately propitiated in the eyes of the people and one must admit defeat or continue further down the iron path to ruin. 

Coercion is not an Intrinsic Power

   
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The ability of a leader to coerce those they follow is only available to cowards who would rather assault the common good than work for it. The type of power this illusion masks is liberation.   Liberation is the nature state of existence free for the constraints of artifice that prevent one from living honestly in the world. It is important to remember that cruelty, slander, and unjust rankings are lies born from poisoned hearts and cannot be lived honestly.   True liberation is the freedom to be oneself in the world in a way that brings about no harm to others. It is for this reason that duels are challenges that must be accepted by both parties and are not required of any individual. Many times, the path to victory is to refuse to spar with those who have no interest in the right and proper course of affairs. Such people strike others to inflict their own wounds on others.   Any hint of favoritism, discrimination, or prejudice poisons the community and restricts the ability of other to participate. Such poisons must be actively removed from the body so as not to cause the death or dissolution of the whole


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