Rulers are so often related: power passes from member to member, forming a dynasty.
Not just with royalty or dictators, but also with representatives in a democracy.
Families pass power, or vie with other families for a turn at the top, much more than chance would have.
Dynasties seem so natural, you may have never deeply considered them, but you must if you wish to grasp and hold power as long as possible.
Even if you follow The Rules for Rulers we have discussed:
… swaying the keys to power, securing the treasure, and controlling the court: no man rules forever.
Dictators with resources abundant and power unchallenged still die.
And representatives must contend with death both literal and political.
But no matter what kind of ruler you are, your keys to power value their treasure.
They keep you in your position, not for love of you in particular, but for the rewards you provide, in general.
But dead rulers can't distribute treasure.
Thus as your grave approaches. your keys supporters get nervous.
Your impending death forces your keys to plan for your replacement, …
…not just to maintain their treasure, but also because a dead ruler surprise without plans in place will lead…
…to a scramble for power at best, and a blood bath at worst, …
… leaving many keys on the inside now, on the outside after.
This is why, if you happen to be sick, keep it secret:
If your keys even think you might die on them, they must start planning for the next ruler to avoid this.
Which is what makes even a rumor about the ruler's health… concerning.
Whispers about your health are a destabilizing poison in the minds of your key supporters, nearly impossible to remove.
To the keys, your replacement is inevitable anyway, so why not start planning sooner. Just in case.
Thus after a rumor, the keys might seem to stay on your side in their actions, …
…but you’re already dead in their minds.
You've lost control and will lose your throne, sooner than you like.
But while you can't defend against the reaper or extract poison from the minds of your key supporters:
There is a way to defend your power in this world from rumors of your departure to the next.
Family. Family is the answer.
Dictatorships and democracies have so much family rule, because the key supporters want it.
As your term limit or deathbed approach, your family is there ready to keep turning the machinery of power:
…keep raising the treasure, keep the keys calm and plot-free.
Sure, warmhearted rulers may want to give their family advantages, …
…and being the ruler comes with many, …
…but the key supporters also want the ruler's family in positions of power because…
… the family that plots together, rules together.
Generational power: transcending death and term limits.
Thus your keys get to worry less about transitions of power, and you get to worry less about their plans for your replacement.
While key supporters won't ever simply trust you and your family,
…the keys can look at the motivating interests of you all:
Calculating that sticking with your family during a transition gives them better odds of staying on the inside …
…because they know you and your relatives.
Also, calculate sticking with the keys during a transition gives you better odds of staying on the thrown.
It's a virtuous cycle. Formed by calculations that are like trust, but better.
The ruler gets to rule longer, the keys get to worry less, …
…and everything is smooth because when the king is dead, long live the king.
So put family in high-ranking military, business, or political positions.
Never mind their 'qualifications' because being family is the qualification.
They must work with your key supporters, so they know where the money comes from and how it is distributed.
Family's relationships with the keys keep everyone calm not just during the transition,…
… but more importantly for you and your political longevity: preceding it.
So even if you have no interest in a spouse and have no love for babies, nonetheless: acquire them.
Of course, the risk you run with family is they too will overthrow you.
Many a cunning prince has stabbed his king in the back once confident the keys won't mind.
But nothing is certain, you can only play the odds, and a ruler without family is more vulnerable to rivals and rumors.
Remember, your keys care about the security of their treasure in general, not you in particular.
And for them, a family of rulers is a safer investment.
Thus, possible regicide is the price you pay for buying the longer and securer reign a family brings.
Which is why: families are so popular among rulers and their key supporters.
Family is a tool for maintaining power, just like any other.