Home arrow Articles arrow Is our national destiny domination or servanthood? arrow WHAT IS A DOMINATION SYSTEM?
Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 14 March 2013


By Jim Jordal

I’ve been reminded that I often speak of domination systems without defining them. So today I’ll attempt at least a sketchy definition.

Domination systems are humanly contrived legal, social, political, economic, military, and religious systems deliberately designed and built to create and maintain power by a few at the top over the many below them. They exist to perpetuate the power of dominators over those dominated, explain why it is necessary, and to transfer wealth from workers up the ladder to the few obscenely wealthy persons at the top of the pyramid.

Domination systems of various types have existed since the beginning of recorded history. Ancient Babylon was an early system that thrived on financial manipulation and oppression to maintain its power. Another was the Roman Empire that used militarism and governmental organization to facilitate its hold over a vast territory from Europe into parts of Asia. When it collapsed under its own decadence and barbarian attack after about 800 years of existence it was replaced by feudalism with its lords, vassals, and serfs. Then came the early nation states under various kings and members of the nobility. Then came empires like the British, Dutch, and Spanish that virtually enslaved native peoples and colonies (including those in North and South America) to provide wealth to the mother country. They were followed by the "isms," of Socialism, Communism, Fascism, and the present world domination system that we might call Predatory Capitalism.

Domination systems have four attributes in common. Psychologist Marshall Rosenberg identifies their core behaviors as minimizing individual rights in favor of the group, prescribing moralistic judgments as to what behaviors are helpful or harmful to the system, developing a defensive language denying responsibility for their depredations, and instituting the concept of "deserve" to explain and justify their existence.

Individual rights threaten domination systems and so are minimized or destroyed. Concepts like freedom, justice, and liberty are either ignored or defined in ways helpful to the system. For example, the current craze of economic dominators concerns "right to work" laws touted as increasing worker freedom when in actuality they mean nothing more than the "right" of workers to endure wages beaten down to subsistence levels, with no opportunity to organize in resistance. Similarly, "freedom" in the market place means only the right of players with enough power to subvert the market in their favor.

Moralistic judgments define what human and group behaviors shall be considered useful to the dominators.

Such behaviors become "moral" while others not useful become "immoral." An example is what we euphemistically call "group-think," or the submersion of individual perceptions into collective attitudes and values supportive of the system. Loyalty to the Fatherland or to the Emperor come to mind, as do loyalties to the flag and other patriotic symbols that often transcend common sense, decency and mercy.

The language of avoidance takes the form used by death camp guards in Nazi Germany who claimed they were only following orders of their superiors whom they were sworn to obey. But the Nuremberg war crimes trials exposed that deceit to public scrutiny and sent many of its practitioners to prison or the hangman’s noose. Today we hear similar cries when vulture capitalists buy up failing firms with borrowed money, then saddle the struggling firm with the debt as they loot what capital remains by raising their fees and selling off what few corporate divisions remain valuable. When the firm finally goes bankrupt and thousands of employees lose jobs the vultures claim, "well, it’s just the market."

Finally comes the language of "deserve." The idea is that persons of great wealth, no matter how their largesse came to be, deserve this favor because they possess superior abilities and skills, know better how to productively use their money, and are thus deserving of their success. The same applies in reverse as those unable to survive the economic onslaught are labeled lazy, ignorant, dysfunctional, immoral and criminal, and therefore deserving of their status at the bottom of the social status ranking.

Finally, a very damaging behavior of domination systems is to subvert religion into supporting and legitimizing their power. Religion gains support from the system, while the system gains legitimacy

as parishioners are persuaded that "if God is for it, how can they be against it?" But the cost to religion of this sellout to evil is the loss of its integrity and necessary obedience to the clear commands of Jesus Christ to oppose injustice and oppression.

I hope this makes a bit more clear what I’m talking about when I mention domination systems.