Lords and ladies


I play in the SCA, a medieval recreation society. Most people who play take on a persona of minor aristocracy, referring to themselves as lords and ladies. This is clearly unrepresentative of the true make-up of medieval society, and something that I used to find faintly ridiculous. However a "knighting" ceremony at Canterbury Faire has given me reason to reconsider. As part of this ceremony, the king slaps the knight-to-be, saying let this be the last blow you do not seek retribution for. King Sheridan, who always puts on a good show, delivered the slap resoundingly.

The implication here is that most people in medieval society, those who are not peers of the realm, would take such a blow without complaint, perhaps even thanking the lord that delivered it. It's an alien mindset, almost childish, and it's not so surprising that people don't want to role-play it.

With this in mind, it's not so surprising that the democratic franchise took so long to be given to everyone. It makes no sense to give peasants the vote, they would just vote as their lord tells them to.

See also: The authoritarian-libertarian axis of the political compass.