On the Nature of Political Power
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.
These powers can be employed on the resources available to them. Those resources include but are not limited to:
- influence, prestige, prominence
- armed forces
- natural resources
- magical items
- magical guilds
- magical lore
- special rights
One swayed into service through such means are only loyal while the resources flow or still have value to the one purchased.
The Three True Powers
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
Sharing may sound like a lesson that we teach in grammar school, 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.
The Silver Power of Giving
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.
The Iron Power of Force
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.
The Quirini Theory of Power
The Quirini in their wisdom saw that states possessed only three powers:
- Pereziz- imperium, the power to command
- Auctoritanz- prestige and influence
- 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
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 prob