What's the distinction between a ministry and a logarchy?

Short version: ministries do stuff. Logarchies support ministries in the doing of stuff.

Longer version: A ministry, whether one of the big Ministries of the Throne (headed by a Minister of the Throne who sits on the Council of the Star) or one of its smaller subordinate Ministries of the State (headed by a Minister of the State who sits on the Council of Ministers) is an organization which goes about the business of the Empire. They’re the people who actually run the treasury, the Imperial Military Service, the diplomatic corps, the Emergency Management Authority, etc., etc., etc.

(There are also the Shadow Ministries which aren’t part of the formal government at all, but that’s a whole other question.)

A logarchy provides services to ministries. There are lots of civil-service support functions that the ministries, etc., all share, and it would be pointlessly inefficient to duplicate these functions all across the Service. Instead, everyone makes use of central function suppliers such as the:

  • Central Office of Records and Archives
  • Imperial Services (the people who run public-facing offices)
  • Logarchy of Engraving, Printing, and Stationery
  • Logarchy of Pay and Rations
  • Logarchy of Procedures and Methods
  • Logarchy of Procurement, Storage, and Logistics
  • Logarchy of Promotions and Appointments
  • Logarchy of Protocol, Ritual, and Symbology
  • Logarchy of Public Architecture
  • Logarchy of Statistics and Computation
  • Loyal Association of Pages

…who provide the associated functions to everyone who needs them.

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What’s the strangest/most interesting of the logarchies?

I mean, apart from the Logarchy of Redacted For Reasons Of State Security.

Of course, if you tried that here, all your logarchies would turn into the Ministry of Administrative Affairs.

Not necessarily, but you would have to take active and strict measures to prevent it. There are examples of things avoiding that fate, so I wouldn’t say it’s impossible. Just difficult.

From the human point of view? Protocol, Ritual, and Symbology, definitely:

The Imperial governance, especially in these latter days of advanced memetics and semiotics, understands the importance of symbols. Thus, the Logarchy of Protocol, Ritual and Symbology studies the symbology of events and actions, and creates ceremonies for the Imperial governance rich with subconscious meaning, towards the goal of maintaining the sacramental aspects of harmonious governance.

This is, of course, absolutely crucial.

This is where I remind you of what I said with regard to the Ungovernable Galaxy trope:

Trope-a-Day: Ungovernable Galaxy | The Associated Worlds (eldraeverse.com)

Symbol, Meme, and Mesh. In this case, Symbol (especially) and Meme, which are particularly important because the Empire is an ideostate, not an ethnostate/nation-state. Everyone knows what the Meme is, of course, but such memeplexes are complex and coldly rational things.

To steal a quotation from Poul Anderson via Atomic Rockets:

He took a restless turn about the bridge. A million stars of space in the viewport blazed like a chill crown over his head. “It’ll be an empire in fact,” he said, “and therefore it should be an empire in name. People will fight and sacrifice and die for a gaudy symbol when the demands of reality don’t touch them. We need a hereditary aristocracy to put on a good show. It’s always effective, and the archaism is especially valuable to Sol just now. It’ll recall the good old glamorous days before space travel. It’ll be even more of a symbol now than it was in its own age. Yes, an empire, Kathryn, the Empire of Sol. Peace, ye underlings!”

The LoPRS mints those symbols, and wraps the Empire and its institutions in a cloak of myth. The purely rational definition of the Empire is a mutual-aid organization promoting protection and progress among its members; when The Empire is seen as an institution synonymous with civilization itself, timeless and eternal, sacred and plenipotent, the hearthfire to which all turn, the home of beauty and truth, the seat of wisdom and power, the bright center around which the galaxy revolves, and so forth, that’s in part the work of the logarchy ensuring that its symbols, rituals, expressions, and so forth all reflect that.

And, of course, it is.

Because people believe it. And believing it, they make it true.

“Look, son; everyone the Meme touches is our kingdom.”

“What about that dark place?”

“That’s 4chan, son. You must never go there.”