Vigorous Meritocracy

“There is something to be said for lanect governance. Not a lot, but something.

“That something is that lanect polities are some of the truest meritocracies in the Worlds. Any lanect, regardless of birth, sex, race, wealth, or popularity who – by some talent of wit, gripe, cunning, or main strength – is able to seize some degree of power within the racial hierarchy may carve his skull, name himself Warmark, and command whatever holdings he can as his “‘ak”. Indeed, such a lanect will enjoy the utter loyalty and unquestioning obedience of the uncarved, non-entity lanect from whose ranks he rose – until and if another ambitious one rises.

“Such a one is then thrust immediately into the hierarchy of Warmarks, all simply titled so, that dominates lanect space – from those mightiest who can claim multiple systems as their holdings, down to those at the bottom who can dominate little more than two streets together or at most a small factory. This hierarchy is, too, determined by ability: one who can dominate another Warmark, will. Lesser Warmarks offer service to the greater in exchange for protection from their peers, while in turn plotting to replace the greater if they can. If and when they do, they are immediately accepted in that position: success is all that matters to legitimize a lanect Warmark, not the origin of the Warmark nor the methods of his success.

“But what is most to the credit of the lanect is their whole-hearted embrace of these principles. Many species, in such an environment, would plan to avoid having strong rivals in their service that might replace them, and seek out an overlord weak enough to be unable to make harsh demands upon them, or embroil them in dangerous affairs.

“And yet, despite the remarkably high mortality among Warmarks, whose average lifespan is less than a third of the species average of 99.4 years – even the longest-lived on record, Stantur of Nemp, only lived to be 42 before his assassination in the nuclear destruction of Stanturaken – virtually all lanect Warmarks seek to attach themselves to the greatest destiny they can find that will have them among those higher, and surround themselves routinely with the smartest, toughest, most devious advisers and lieutenants that they can successfully dominate, despite – in a majority of cases – creating their own worst rivals and eventual successors. Indeed, those few who have lived at least some time after being deposed have been recorded taking pride in creating a successor more fit to hold power than they.

“We may not want to live under a lanect meritocracy, but we should, I deem, honor their willingness to live up to their principles to the exact and final end which those principles demand.”

– Sophontology of the Lanect ‘Aks,
L. Airin Makarios, RT,
Imperial Exploratory Service


Trope-a-Day: One World Order

One World Order: Averted.  Most species have more than one government.  Even the Empire, huge as it is and prone to casual memetic imperialism and absorption as it also is, has spawned splinters – not just the individual Renunciates and Renegades, but some actual other eldraeic governances created by minority factions that just couldn’t get along with the overall libertist-technepraxic consensus. (Given the predicates of said consensus, Imperial relations with these are usually, albeit not always, remarkably toxic – with the splinters being seen as something between heretics and just plain old bastard-coated bastards with bastard-flavored filling.)

Many governments also include more than one species.  Looked at either way, no-one speaks for all.

Also, even the supposedly all-encompassing Associated Worlds and Conclave of Galactic Polities don’t encompass everything.  The Voniensa Republic prefers to stand aloof from the whole situation, smug gits that they are, and horrified by the sheer lack of control of the whole thing.  There are plenty of still balkanized planets around, whether the countries have come together to create some international body to deal with offworld affairs or are each trying to conduct their own interstellar policy.  And, heck, encouraged by the fact that at least two of the major powers in the setting are functioning libertarianesque polities that shamelessly encourage this sort of thing, there are a lot of independent habitats out there that have taken advantage of the vastness of space to declare themselves the Sovereign Polity of Brad & Janet, pop. 5, or just straight-out sovereign not-owned-by-any-government individuals, m’kay?

Unity is not where it is at, today.

Trope-a-Day: Matriarchy

Matriarchy: There are several of these in the Associated Worlds in general (although, note, that polities ruled by the female sex in general don’t necessarily carry the implications that they do for Terrans.  Some species, for example, have only one sex being sophont, rendering them all patriarchies or matriarchies or neutrarchies, etc., as applicable).  Even some Imperial constituent nations are; Veranthyr, for example, has a ruling Queen and requires that all her cabinet positions are also filled by women, although the country as a whole is hardly a with-a-capital-M matriarchy in the archy-perjorative sense.

On the whole, they turn out to be no better or worse than most other governance forms, or at least, that’s not the aspect of the governance form to look at to predict how good or how awful it’s going to be.