In parliamentary systems of government, The Loyal Opposition is a term applied collectively to the opposition parties in the legislature to indicate that the non-governing parties may oppose the actions of the sitting cabinet while remaining loyal to the source of the government’s power.
In many power exchange relationships, I’ve observed a similar phenomenon – that the person subject to the power (most typically the slave or submissive) is often allowed tremendous latitude and is permitted, or even expected to oppose the will of the Master on a philosophical, or emotional level – as long as they are compliant to the wishes of the Master at the end of the day.
The reason why the concept of The Loyal Opposition (TLO) makes sense in a parliamentary system of government is that it allows for any minority party within the government to actively oppose a specific course of action without their ultimate loyalty to the crown or system of government being in question due to their actions. The concept allows for the dissent necessary for a functioning democracy without the fear of being accused of treason.
When I’ve asked those that practice this form of power exchange what the deal is, answers vary – most of the time the Master or Dominant explains that they have adopted a Commander In Chief type of role in the relationship that permits or tolerates a TLO presence. Some indicate that this approach is their nod to giving the slave or submissive a measure of ‘freedom’…others believe that one can never truly know another persons internal state – what the slave thinks and feels is their own business (and cannot be measured) vs. that which they actually DO on the other hand, which can be measured and at the end of the day is more important than how the slave feels or what they think in the privacy of their own heads.
I believe that the Master has both authority and responsibility for the slave and for outcomes in the relationship. I also believe that the M/s dynamic is intentionally NOT a democracy. Anticipating, and being tolerant of occasional resistance is different than encouraging and supporting open opposition. Believing that they are the same thing will eventually put the hurt on your relationship. After witnessing a number of P/e and M/s relationships crash and burn, here’s why I believe TLO is a terrible philosophy to adopt or allow within a power exchange relationship.
1. TLO encourages laziness. Power exchange takes work, plain and simple – especially in the early stages of a relationship. Doing the work of a master involves being conscious, being present and intentionally putting yourself in the best position possible to receive out of the relationship that which is internally fulfilling to you. – but that’s only one part of the equation. The other part is that the person that willingly places themselves in a subordinate or surrendered position – the person that aspires to serve or to be a slave also brings a set of needs and desires into the relationship that are as precious, as relevant and necessary to the success of the dynamic as that of the Master. Some masters mistakenly believe that the best way to honor such desires is to offer such a person that which they themselves consider most precious – the privilege of autonomy, the ability to self-direct. So they are well-meaning when they ‘allow’ the slave to oppose them, to continually assert their independance and to play the role of The Loyal Opposition.
I have to say this – and I cant emphasize this strongly enough….. if this is you; STOP DOING THIS SHIT IMMEDIATELY. YOU ARE KILLING YOUR RELATIONSHIP AND YOU DONT EVEN REALIZE IT.
Think about it.
That which is most precious to you – is TOXIC to your slave or submissive.
Not toxic in the literal sense – they arent going to expire from an overdose of Mastery-ness…..but you ARE planting seeds that when fully grown will be the opposite of the surrender you desire.
It certainly doesnt work the other way round; What if she had the power to offer YOU the opportunity to experience that which SHE feels is most precious to her? The privilege of surrendering and being of service!!! YUM!!!! (did you throw up a little in your mouth?) Im always amazed at the numbers of Masters and Dominants who consistently do this and are then mystified as to why the length of their relationships are measured in months, not years.
Moreover, a master that tells the slave or submissive ‘Feel however you want, just make sure you ultimately comply with my wishes, places the power exchange in the relationship on auto-pilot, or even worse, places the slave or submissive in the dubious position of mastering themselves. Dont get me wrong – I LOVE surrender…but that beautiful garment is tailor made for my namaste alone in our relationship. I have no desire to try it on for size and I categorically refuse to put my cover on her head even in jest to see how cute she’d look as a little Master.
2. Its a waste of valuable resources – Entrainment in the biomusicological sense refers to the synchronization of organisms to an external rhythm, usually produced by other organisms with whom they interact socially. Entrainment in the power exchange sense describes the phenomenon of the Master intentionally and consistently synchronizing the actions of the slave or submissive with the Masters will, most often through repetition. For example, a speech protocol that is performed every day, multiple times a day will be more effective in deepening the power exchange relationship than an elaborate ritual that is performed twice a year. That said, Masters that have a TLO friendly power exchange relationship tend to eschew the ‘bells and whistles’ of power exchange and often fail to understand how protocols, rituals and other rites of the power exchange dynamic can be powerful allies in deepening and strengthening the bond between Master and slave.
3. It compromises alignment of will – A fundamental priniciple of our dynamic is what I have coined “Alignment of Will”. My slaves will must align with mine. It is not good enough for her to merely obey, and to give the external “Yes Sir”. I must have the internal alignment – that internal “Yes Sir”- as well. That internal “Yes” can not be faked. It can not be “acted”- it’s either there or its not…and when it isn’t there, I know it and I generally won’t rest until I have it. Obedience is wonderful, but obedience without internal alignment is unsatisfying to me on an energetic level. I want her to not just comply with my wishes or agree ‘in principle’ with my philosophies – instead it is my desire that she is to feel as I feel concerning the things that I desire most.
At the end of the day, why deny yourself and your charge the sustainable pleasure of using as many resources as possible to reinforce and deepen the relationship? As Masters and slaves we are attracted to our respective roles in the relationship because of the pleasure we receive from the experience. If this relationship style did not please me in some way it would be pointless to pursue. It pleases me to give directives as much as it pleases my slave to be both the recipient, and the instrument of my will. Her response to my leadership gladdens my heart, the way she talks to me in respect and love is a constant source of healing and pleasure to me. When she inquires and I tell her how I feel about something – it is a joy to me throughout our discussion to see her work through acquiring an understanding of how I feel about the subject at hand and to then align her will with my own. These facets of our relationship are precious to me. If I take a hands-off approach to portions of that process and basically leave her to her own devices with respect to how she feels and thinks about my directives and what I feel is important, I deny us both not only the extreme pleasure that the M/s dynamic has to offer, but also negate much of the power of the relationship as well.
There is no room in our relationship for The Loyal Opposition.