Shirerithian neofeudalism, also known as Noorian feudalism, is a term used to describe the phenomena of collectivist-oligarchic rule that emerged in the Imperial Republic following the Auspicious Occasion of 1651, effectively replacing the fractious federative system of governance, where constitutional checks and balances were maintained by the entrenchment of the rights of states, with a new synthesis of familial, corporate and military power directed by numerous diffuse boards of control centrally coordinated by the Imperial Advisory Council, whose powers were further entrenched at the expense of those formerly held by the Kaiser, following the revision and reissue of the Charter in 1653.
By contrast this emergent ideology further developed and guided by Kaiseress Noor during her reign in Shireroth, and later expanded upon by the post-Auspicious Occasion (1651) regencies of Shireroth. Noorian feudalism is considered a radical form off-shoot of Khanism with Shirerithian characteristics. As such, it also incorporates aspects of Shireroth's Old Feudalism, as well as esoteric Cedrism.
Its defining characteristics include a society led by the Kaiseress, for the first time in Shirerithian history – the Kaiser or Kaiseressess rules for life, with the successor being dynastically selected, with classes of people below her. The classes of people can broadly be categorized in nobles, denizens, and others. It allows for indentured servitude for life, as well as slavery.
All residents of Shireroth are classed in one of thirteen classes.
Views on the Ranks of Society
As neofeudalism became more entrenched during the administration of Burgrave Waldemar Zinkgraven the key ministries of state were handed to corporations to hold "in-commission". These corporations were in turn primarily owned by the surviving members of the ancient noble houses and the more recently ennobled minor gentry, the so-called untitled lords, to whom the privileges of citizenship, the prospect of a seat on the Landsraad for instance, accrued. This process made citizens stakeholders in the state but also held out to denizens the prospect of advancement through service as technocrats in the institutions of state and the corporate bodies.
The nobility forms the classes (2–9) of people with full civic rights. All members of the nobility have Shirerithian citizenship and noble dignity. Only very few have titles of nobility (see Imperial Peerage).
The classes of the nobility, with their respective ranks, are as follows:
- The Kaiser or Kaiseress (technically not a noble, but above the nobility)
- Princes and Imperial Highnesses (members of the Imperial Family, former kaisers)
- Dukes and Duchesses
- Marquesses and Marchionesses
- Counts and Countesses
- Viscounts and Viscountesses
- Barons and Baronesses
- Lords/Ladies in Shirekeep
- All other nobles
Once touched with noble dignity, one holds noble dignity for life. Noble dignity comes through
- being the legitimate child of a noble,
- being appointed to a noble title,
- by contracting an equal marriage to a noble,
- by – if an adopted or illegitimate child – living with one's noble parent for ten years,
It is possible to lose one's noble dignity. This occurs through caste-shaming, whereby the Kaiseress, finding that a noble has brought the nobility into disrepute (usually after having committed a treasonous crime), on the advice of the Imperial Advisory Council, removes the noble from noble dignity. The former noble becomes a denizen, and all spouses and descendants, if their noble dignity descends only from the caste-shamed person, will subsequently also lose their noble dignity.
Caste-shamed people are removed of their surnames and given the surname Esposito instead.
Privileges of nobility
Privileges of the nobility include:
- The right to own the care of community servants and loyal subjects of the Kaiser
- (also includes the rights denizens have)
- Right to contract concubines and courtesans
- Right to priority service in public establishments and the imperial bureaucracy
- Right to vote in local elections and to Adelsraad
- Right to access "citizens-only" establishments and areas
- Right to own community servants
- Right to hold care of loyal subjects
- Right for each household acquire care-hold over 10 loyal subjects (without charge)
- Right to acquire, without charge, 5 community servants.
- Right to travel abroad
- Right to house arrest in case of a custodial sentence
- Right to own and eat hovercats
Denizens constitute the majority of the Shirerithian population. Their class is ranked 10. Its membership ranges from very poor people to the non-noble upper class (mainly in business, the newly rich).
The fate of the denizen is also instructive of the nature of the neofeudal society. Although elevation through service was an avenue of advancement for the able, those who, for whatever reason, were unable to sustain themselves through their own endeavour could voluntarily subordinate themselves by a declaration of submission whereby the denizen would become His Majesty's Loyal Subject and receive guaranteed protection and employment, whether from the state directly or through a noble house or corporation at the cost of surrendering theoretical liberty. Such a submission was by no means dishonourable, indeed all recruits to the ranks of the Imperial Forces by their nature became His Majesty's Loyal Subjects and gain status subsequently through promotion through the ranks.
They hold the following rights::
- Right to marriage (same-sex & opposite-sex)
- Right to own immoveable and moveable property
- Right to use marijuana, caffeine and alcohol
- Right to enter contracts
- Right to enter loyal subjecthood.
- Right to vote in local elections and to the Folksraad
- Right to travel abroad
- If convicted to a custodial sentence, the right to choose community servitude instead
- Right to own farm animals as well as pets
Loyal Subjects of the Kaiseress
Loyal Subject of the Kaiseress is the highest form of indentured servitude in Shireroth. It is a contractual relationship between a denizen and a citizen in which the contract governs the relation between them. It is usually a time-defined relationship but many contracts are for life.
They hold the following rights:
- Right to own moveable property (up to 25 kg in a 1 cubic half-metre container)
- Right to enter contracts with the permission of the careholder
- Right to 10 hours of rest every period of 24 hours, of which 8 hours consecutively.
- Right to clothing, food, drink
- Right to 1 day free of labour and service every month
- Right to not be physically injured outside punishment (and then only proportionate to the disobedience)
- Children born in loyal subjecthood have the right of denizenship upon their age of majority
- Right to have 5 days notice before transfer of care to another noble
- Right of petition to their noble
- Right of appeal to ombudsman
Persons in community servitude form the lower form of indentured servants. They are widely regarded and termed "slaves" by the wider society. They are considered to be of the same rank and rights as livestock, which include:
- Right to respect for their rank
- Right to sufficient food and sleep for their needs
- Right to avoid sadistic torture
But unlike animal livestock, they have the following extra rights:
- Right of petition to their noble
- Right of appeal to ombudsman
Except for violating the above rights, the owner (who is always a noble) of a community servant may do whatever he or she wants with the community servant. Often, nobles will rent out the labour of a community servant to factories, farms, etc.
Community Service Workers did indeed endure the conditions commonly associated with Old Feudalism. Originally the condemned survivors of the Storish community in Shireroth, the male population was viciously and systematically castrated (testing certain theories about the regenerative potential of so-called Vanakarls) and assigned to expropriate their guilt through labour in the mines, factories, farms and lumber yards of Benacia whilst the females of breeding age were distributed as comfort women throughout the Imperial Forces. By these means, and through emigration and natural wastage, the storish population was systematically reduced over time, with active measures targeted against them scheduled to endure until the year 1752 AN, but then dramatically accelerated and largely achieved by 1670. The perforce ethnically mixed off-spring of Community Service Workers were typically removed from the mother at birth, thereby set aside from their dubious ancestral culture, as the vanafolk were assessed as possessing many genetically desirable traits, and made wards of the Kaiser. Male offspring in the first two generations would be castrated and returned to the Community Service Programme, females of desirable qualities would be adopted into noble households, and the remainder would be raised and educated at the expense of the state with the expectation that they would redeem the cost of their upkeep through work in various public institutions.
Protected persons are an illusive group of people in Shireroth. They are held outside of normal society for their own protection. They have a right to full anonymity and the right to be protected from persecution.
By far the largest community of Protected Persons was formed by the transfer of Froyalaners out of Community Servitude into a new legal framework during the administration of Steward Mira II Octavius-Aryani.
Since 1687, Shireroth houses some 400,000 Tarr people as protected persons of the Kaiseress.
Foreigners who enter Shireroth legally have:
- Right to apply for asylum (Imperial Decree 713)
- Right to protection under the law
- Right to apply for denizenship and citizenship in Shireroth
- Right to respect under their rank (includes the rights afforded their equivalent Shirerithian rank, i.e. noble foreigners have the right nobles have)
Foreigners who enter Shireroth illegally are categorised as either community servants or protected persons (the latter category if they claim asylum under Imperial Decree 713).
Livism (also spelt Livvism) is the ideology represented by the politics of Shirerithian stateswoman and Imperial Mother Liv Dravot (1615–1663). It is closely related to national humanism and Khanism though is often seen as a more radical and pure form, in terms of ethics, of these two. In Livism, a strict consequentialist ethic is followed, contrasted to the more pragmatically utilitarian ethics of national humanism. As such, Livism teaches that if the moral (good) outcome of an intended action is greater than the harm it causes, it is the moral imperative to perform that action. Parts of Livism are codified in Dravot's Axioms.
It was through Livism, academics argue, rather than national humanism, that the Auspicious Occasion came to fruition, and the Froyalanish exodus was organised. Livism, not national humanism, influenced the new feudalism of post–Auspicious Occasion Shireroth where a strict hierarchy of people (nobles, denizens, loyal subjects, community servants, protected persons) was established in order to uphold stability and the maximisation of happiness among all people in Shireroth. This Livist feudalism is today, however, only still applied in Shireroth and, among the Vulture States, Sathrati, while the more conservative national humanism has dominated the political direction in the Unified Governorates and Elwynn, as well as, arguably, the other Vulture States with regard to their views on the Froyalanish question.
There are those who argue that no meaningful distinction between Livism and national humanism can be found, but rather that Livism was the successful application of national humanist theory in the Shirerithian political context to specifically Benacian problems.