Snippet 0: Bloodlines in Consensus

A snippet is a post that I whip up real quick without really thinking it through.

I’ve been reading up on modern European history, prompted by a dive into Unqualified Reservations and sustained by a realization of how little I actually know.

One thing that’s not surprising is how important consensus in the line of succession is. Nature abhors a vacuum, especially a power vacuum.

One thing that is a little surprising is how often the line of succession must go through blood relations.

Take The Time of Troubles – decades of power grabs between the Rurik and Romanov dynasties in early 17th century Russia. Eventually a group of nobles convened and elected the crippled, quiet 18 year old Michael I as tsar, at the protests of his mother. Michael I happened to be a nephew to the last Rurik tsar.

Or the Gunpowder plot of 1605, where the Parliament bombers planned to holster King James’ nine year old daughter as a new Catholic king after overthrowing the government.

These are the cherry picked examples that brought this thought to my mind: perhaps there’s something about the concept of a royal blood line that made it very easy for people to accept legitimacy.

The thought is that systems of government exist because they’re effective consensus mechanisms, allowing populations to more efficiently use resources and propagate.

And the traditional way to establish consensus is to use a symbol of legitimacy that beckons to the intuition of the people, i.e. blood line. As long as the symbol resonates with the people (or at least the people who care enough about politics), things work out.

No conclusion or anything more interesting about this yet.

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