If by which you mean it's an hereditary lineage, that is the Japanese way. I think you will find though that waka sensei (Ueshiba Mitsuteru) has put a fair bit of time into aikido training and is fairly proficient at it, as is his father, and was his grandfather and great grandfather......
In answer to the original poster, I think some dislike for the Aikikai is probably a result of things that have gone on in the past, mostly politics, and maybe very valid to those concerned, but I think a lot of it also comes from misconception, lack of knowing the full story and "Chinese whispers" over the years.
I'm sure that the Aikikai don't lay claim to being a perfect organisation, equally I'm sure that the Japanese way of doing things doesn't always go down well with some of us westerners. Ultimately, we have a choice to live with it or do something else, and many have chosen to do so over the years.
For my own perspective, I actually quite like it and am happy to have a direct link to the Aikikai.
I think that if one studies any Japanese martial art the study must be a two way process.By that
I mean each party learns from the other much like the relationship between Tori /Uke.Can we really say that the Aikikai is adapting to the needs and aspirations of Western aikidoka or is the Aikikai a modern day feudal system, with a Shogun at the helm?Ever big institution has C.E.O but at least the shareholders get the opportunity to make their views known to the directors and the C.E.O .If the shareholders are not happy they sell the shares or do not support the objectives of the company and sometimes this lack of support causes the company share price to drop or the firm closes down.Over the last few years I have seen movement of groups drifting away from the Aikikai connection.The question is why?I would say categorically that for the vast amount of aikidoka there is little if any feeling of a real meaningful relationship with the Aikikai.Cheers, Joe.