Kyriarchy

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Kyriarchy is the power of prestige, ownership and leadership in a social context being distributed through a categorization of people.

In anthropology, the terms “matriarchy” and “patriarchy” refers to societies being run by women and to societies being run by men. Meanwhile, the term “kyrios” (an ancient Greek term typically translated to “lord” or “master”) refers to those who have the power – whoever those who have the power may be. Please note that the anthropological definitions of patriarchy and matriarchy are neutral, the terms themselves do not include any value judgment on whether the system is good or bad. Likewise, the term kyriarchy is here used as a neutral term: While a form of kyriarchy can be oppressive, it is not a priori oppressive simply for being a kyriarchy.

The concept of Kyriarchy is divided into expressions of kyriarchy and foci of kyriarchy. The expressions are how kyriarchy is done: The power of prestige, ownership and leadership. The foci is what categorization the kyriarchy is based on and what category is being elevated – such as women, men, citizens of the “correct” skin color or people of the “correct” citizenship. A society can be more or less kyriarchal in many different ways at the same time, depending on how strong the expressions of each foci of kyriarchy is. Thus a certain “form of kyriarchy” can include several different foci as well as several different expressions.

Kyriarchy and categorism are often intertwined, since they easily feed each other. Categorism can build kyriarchy: When prejudice, bigotry and discrimination is heaped on one category, it becomes easier to justify that all prestige, ownership and leadership should be held by the opposite category. Likewise, kyriarchy can build categorism: When prestige, ownership and leadership is overwhelmingly held by one category, it becomes easier to justify prejudice, bigotry and discrimination against the opposite category. Note that this definition of kyriarchy doesn't in itself include any distinction regarding whether (or to what extent) the power dynamic is being fair and constructive or is being unfair and oppressive. Whether a certain form of kyriarchy should be regarded as a good thing, as a necessary evil, or as needlessly oppressive garbage depends on many factors which can all be summed up in a single question: Does this form of kyriarchy require categorism to be justified? In other words: Does this power dynamic exist for reasons which are good in themselves (or at least better than any currently available alternative), or does the power dynamic need to be upheld through prejudice, bigotry and discrimination for it to be perpetuated?

When analyzing kyriarchy, it is very important to keep in mind that power is typically concentrated to special subsets of a category, rather than being equally distributed among all individuals who are included in the category itself. In other words, belonging to a category favored by a kyriarchal structure does not make a person become inherently powerful or responsible.

Expressions of Kyriarchy

The three archetypical expressions of kyriarchy are prestige, ownership and leadership. Each of them can in turn be expressed in different ways. A core distinction is between expressions of kyriarchy as de facto power (descriptive, how power is actually being held), and on the other hand expressions of kyriarchy as formal power (prescriptive, how society's rules says that power should be held).

  • Prestige: People who belong to the dominant category are seen as having more knowledge, wisdom, reliability or similar than those who doesn't belong to it. Thus the opinions, counsel or advice given by people in the dominant category.
    • De facto prestige kyriarchy: People with high prestige typically belong to the dominant category, and social expectations makes it easier to get one's opinions and advice accepted if one belongs to the dominant category.
    • Formal prestige kyriarchy: Laws or similar state that those who belong to the dominant category should be treated as wiser, more trustworthy et cetera.
  • Ownership: Important socioeconomic resources such as ownership of land, money and corporation stocks are held primarily by persons who belong to the dominant category.
    • De facto ownership kyriarchy: Most of the socioeconomic resources are owned by people who belong to the dominant category. People who belong to the dominant category can on average be expected to have much more buying power than those who do not belong to it, which makes it to at least some extent rational for those who want to make good business deals to cater primarily to the dominant category.
    • Formal ownership kyriarchy: Laws or similar state that the socioeconomic resources should be held by persons who belong to the dominant category.
  • Leadership: Important positions of leadership and policy-making are held primarily by persons who belong to the dominant category.
    • De facto leadership kyriarchy: Most of the leadership/policymaking power is held by persons who belong to the dominant category.
    • Formal leadership kyriarchy: Laws or similar state that the leadership/policymaking power should be held by persons who belong to the dominant category.

Actual kyriarchy versus visions of kyriarchy

It is very important to distinguish to distinguish between on one hand kyriarchy as a social phenomenon to the extent in which it actually exist in a society, and on the other hand beliefs, dogmas and conspiracy theories which makes claims about kyriarchy. A belief can be more or less accurate. Sometimes very much less. Thus expressions of actual kyriarchy needs to be distinguished not only between de facto kyriarchy and formal kyriarchy, but also against Visions of kyriarchy – the latter may be inaccurate to the point of being an expression of categorism. Note that visions of kyriarchy is not limited to categories of actual people – it may also be about space lizards or similar – an idea which may still be used to target actual people, using a fuzzy focus of categorism.

Foci of Kyriarchy

Below follows sixteen foci of kyriarchy, listed in alphabetical order. These are: Adultcracy, Apartheid / Segregation, Apartwelt, Aristocracy, Caste System, Classical Slavery, Colonialism, Representative Democracy, Matriarchy, Meritocracy, Patriarchy, Plutocracy, Racist slavery, Religious Theocracy, Secular Theocracy, Senioritycracy.

Again, please note that kyriarchy is here used as a neutral term for power dynamics, whether these dynamics are good or neutral or bad: Thus the list includes both good things such as democracy and bad things such as slavery. The list includes only system which exists either in the contemporary world or in known history. For entirely fictional systems of kyriarchy which some people believe exists for real, such as the global zionist occupation government or the space lizards, see instead visions of kyriarchy.

Each foci of kyriarchy exist at a level of context and can be more or less of an oligarchy - the rule of a small elite.

Adultcracy

Power based on dividing people by age: Adults having power over children.

Adultcracy has two redeeming qualities which other foci of kyriarchy lacks. First of all, most children grows up to become adults themselves. Thus the individual person who is a child doesn't get deprived of power in the long run: It is a matter of having to wait for a while, rather than a matter of being permanently excluded. Second, small children do lack the cognitive ability that most adults have. While it's unfair infantilization to treat for example adult women or adult persons of color as if they were children, it is not necessarily unfair or infantilizing to treat a child as a child.

While some mild forms of adultcracy are not only acceptable but also preferable (being in everybody's best interest, including being in the best interest of the children), some strict forms of adultcracy are still be terribly oppressive and harmful.

Adultcracy at different levels of context:

  • Micro/family: adultcracy is that the adults in the family take responsibility and makes the decisions. In a family of benevolent adultcracy, the adults take the children's wishes and needs into accounts – but holds on to the responsibility to plan for the future and to make hard choices when needed. In a family of draconian adultcracy, children are treated as inferior and as less valuable human beings rather than merely as having less responsibility.
  • Meso/organization: the adults either make all decisions or have final say in all decisions.
  • Macro/nation: only adults gets to vote or run for office.

Apartheid / Segregation

Power based on not only dividing people into different skin-colors or similar, letting both sides count as citizens but keep them apart. In South Africa and in the southern USA, this kind of system was used to ensure white supremacy after the formal end of slavery.

Apartwelt

Power based on dividing people by citizenship: Primarily governments and corporations having power over the people thus divided, secondarily persons of relatively privileged citizenships having power over persons of less privileged citizenships.

Aristocracy

Power based on dividing people by hereditary titles: Nobles having power over commoners.

Caste System

Power based on dividing people by social caste: Primarily the rulers having power over everyone else, secondarily persons of relatively privileged castes having power over persons of less privileged castes.

Classical Slavery

Power based on dividing people into free citizens and enslaved persons.

Colonialism

Power based on dividing people into colonists and the colonized. The colonists may or may not have full citizenship rights in the nation doing the colonizing, but are either way used to subdue the colonized population - and in some cases commit genocide against them, to get their land ready for more colonists.

Representative Democracy

Power based on dividing people by a voting process: The elected having power over everyone else – those who failed to get elected and those who didn't try, as well as those who wasn't eligible in the first place but are still directly or indirectly subservient under the governing body.

Matriarchy

Power based on dividing people into women and men: A society where the power is held by women. This doesn't mean have to mean that the average woman would be powerful in this society, the power can be concentrated to a few matriarchs or to old women in general.

Matriarchy and patriarchy at different levels of context:

  • Micro/family: When a family base much of its internal prestige/ownership/leadership on gender, the family can be said to be rather matriarchal or patriarchal depending on what gender is being favored. If the parents believe in an ideology where one gender is constructed as inferior to another, then this is likely to be mirrored in the power dynamics between the children – giving those children who are of the supposedly superior gender power over those who are of the supposedly inferior gender.
  • Meso/organization: Some organizations have vast gender differences in their internal prestige/ownership/leadership. This can be a matter of ideology and culture, or a matter of who happens to be in the majority, or both. Note that if the low ranking authorities are typically of one gender but the high ranking authorities are typically of the other, then the organization can appear to function in a way opposite to how it actually works. Lets for example say that a school has a male headmaster and male policy makers and a general culture of male superiority, but almost all the teachers are female – this school may appear matriarchal in the eyes of the children, yet be patriarchal in how it functions one level up.
  • Macro/nation: Most nations are still de facto patriarchal – the vast majority of resources are owned by men, the vast majority of people in top leadership positions are men, and at the top levels of society it is still easier to be taken seriously as a man. A few nations are also still formally patriarchal, with laws limiting women's right to vote or run for office or own property, and so on. Matriarchy at the level of nation-states does not currently exist (although some local indigenous societies may still be matriarchal), has not existed for a long time, and is unlikely to come into existence in the future either.

Meritocracy

Power based on dividing people into those who have relevant knowledge/experience and those who don't.

Patriarchy

Power based on dividing people into women and men: A society where the power is held by men. This doesn't mean have to mean that the average man would be powerful in this society, the power can be concentrated to a few patriarchs or to old men in general.

Patriarchy and matriarchy at different levels of context:

  • Micro/family: When a family base much of its internal prestige/ownership/leadership on gender, the family can be said to be rather matriarchal or patriarchal depending on what gender is being favored. If the parents believe in an ideology where one gender is constructed as inferior to another, then this is likely to be mirrored in the power dynamics between the children – giving those children who are of the supposedly superior gender power over those who are of the supposedly inferior gender.
  • Meso/organization: Some organizations have vast gender differences in their internal prestige/ownership/leadership. This can be a matter of ideology and culture, or a matter of who happens to be in the majority, or both. Note that if the low ranking authorities are typically of one gender but the high ranking authorities are typically of the other, then the organization can appear to function in a way opposite to how it actually works. Lets for example say that a school has a male headmaster and male policy makers and a general culture of male superiority, but almost all the teachers are female – this school may appear matriarchal in the eyes of the children, yet be patriarchal in how it functions one level up.
  • Macro/nation: Most nations are still de facto patriarchal – the vast majority of resources are owned by men, the vast majority of people in top leadership positions are men, and at the top levels of society it is still easier to be taken seriously as a man. A few nations are also still formally patriarchal, with laws limiting women's right to vote or run for office or own property, and so on. Matriarchy at the level of nation-states does not currently exist (although some local indigenous societies may still be matriarchal), has not existed for a long time, and is unlikely to come into existence in the future either.

Plutocracy

Power based on dividing people into rich and poor, the power being held by the rich. This can be either as a very narrow ogliarchy where all power is held by a small circle of capitalists or wealthy landowners or similar. It can also be a much wider circle, such as a limited representative democracy where everyone who are above a certain income level gets to vote.

(It should be noted that while the words “oligarchy” and “capitalism” are sometimes used as synonyms for plutocracy, these two words also have very different other meanings.)

Racist slavery

Power based on not only dividing people into different skin-colors or similar, but on also deciding that one group gets to be citizens while the other gets designated into slavery. While this means that only persons of certain skin color can be slaves, it may also mean that all persons of such skin color are forced into slavery.

Religious Theocracy

Power based on dividing people into on one hand those who are claimed to speak for a higher power, and on the other hand those who are not. In Religious Theocracy, this higher power is a God, a Pantheon of Gods, the spirits of the ancestors, or similar. The rulers may or may not be priests or similar – they may also be for example a king, emperor or other dictator ruling by “divine right”. The prefix “religious” is here used to distinguish from secular versions of the same core phenomenon.

Secular Theocracy

Power based on dividing people into on one hand those who are claimed to speak for a higher power, and on the other hand those who are not. In real life historical Secular Theocracy, this higher power has typically been “The People” as per categorization by class or ethnicity: A small elite of self-identified communists or nationalists assign themselves as the true voice of The People, without any need to be elected or re-elected by the social class or ethnic group they for which they claim to speak.

To replace a deity or pantheon of deities with “the people” as justification for theocracy solves one problem, but also creates a new one. “The people” consists of actual human beings. On one hand, this makes it easy to prove that they exist and relatively easy to argue that they need and deserve someone powerful to stand up for them. On the other hand, it also mean that these actual human beings have opinions of their own and may dissent against anyone who claims to speak on their behalf. Since the global failure of secular theocracies in the name of communism, discourse in favor of secular theocracy has started to shift in favor of basing the secular theocracy on animals or on nature/environment/biosphere. Just like humans, animals and plants exist and may need protection. Unlike humans, animals and plants are unable to voice dissent against self-proclaimed saviors who demands to rule in their name.

Senioritycracy

Rule of the elders over younger people. May require all persons, regardless of age, to obey their parents – or even to obey unrelated elderly community members simply on the basis of them being older.