The Dominance Delusion: Upholding a Democracy Rooted in Partnership

October 7, 2020

The Washington Monthly article “After Hospitalization, Trump’s Dominance Delusion Gets Crazier”, cites Riane Eisler’s domination and partnership social systems, first identified in her book The Chalice and the Blade.

The article asserts that in the U.S. we are witnessing a resurgence of domination systems and a rise in authoritarianism. In her work, social systems scientist and attorney Riane Eisler explores “two very different ways of relating, viewing the world, and living in it”: the partnership model and the domination model. “After studying cultures worldwide, Eisler concluded that conventional differences such as religious versus secular, right versus left, East versus West, and developed versus developing don’t capture the trend towards authoritarianism because they fail to distinguish those that rely on domination backed by fear and force”.

Dominance and control are also woven into gender stereotypes, starting in early childhood with authoritarian control in the family (see Eisler’s latest book, Nurturing Our Humanity). In the video Domination, Gender and Fear with Riane Eisler and Deepak Chopra, Eisler notes that characteristics such as caring and nonviolence that are stereotypically associated with femininity are considered weak in the domination mindset. “In a highly punitive, dominator family, children are not really respected…that child learns fear”.

Can we uphold democratic processes that demonstrate the benefits to all of partnership systems? The article notes that “every social justice movement has been rooted in the power of partnership”, and cites Barak Obama’s 2009 speech in Cairo where he affirmed democracy through our interdependence and stated “Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; our progress must be shared”.

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Partnerism: a socio-economic system that values and rewards caring for one another, nature, and our collective future.


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