Justin Bieber and State Titlesby James E. Miller
Dec. 06, 2012
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At a recent awarding ceremony, pop singer Justin Bieber was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The award is given to Canadians who have made "significant contributions and achievements.Ē As harmless and empty such a prize may seem, Beiber ended up causing a stir when he greeted Prime Minister Harper wearing overalls, a white t-shirt, and a baseball cap. Numerous media outlets criticized the young star's attire while the celebrity website Gawker.com crowned him "white trash prince." Bieber defended himself by explaining that he was performing the same day as receiving the medal and didn't have time to change. PM Harper later admitted he took no offense to the outfit.
While the Diamond Jubilee Metal is as trite and meaningless as any government honor, the flack heaped upon Bieber was revealing of the deifying lens through which the masses views state officials. In our modern day, public servants are seen as creatures of sacrifice who take it upon themselves to reject the riches of capitalism to ensure a smooth working order for society. In socialist, compulsory schools, children are taught that government service is a proud tradition. The postal worker, the soldier, police officers, judges, and the heads of the national executive are all referred to using language of reverence. Holidays are marked as a means of celebrating the accomplishment of robust state rule. The teaching of state adoration continues well into the adult years as the glorification of government leaders sinks into and perverts private spheres of society.
It has become fashionable to attribute the political class with no less than royalty. This blind appreciation occurs even as selfless public servants bask in this new-found admiration. Recently in New York City, commander of the Emergency Medical Services Marylou Aurrichio was caught on camera being carried queen-style by her subordinates in the midst of the wreckage of Hurricane Sandy. Despite no physical or mental injuries, she was paraded over ankle-deep water like an overstuffed princess far too dainty and beloved to allow the flood waters anywhere near her person. While she was lightly criticized, not one person called for the abolishment of monopoly emergency services that perpetuate such behavior.
For the most part, the institution of government and its leaders remain highly esteemed. Even with mild unpopular sentiment, they are addressed with titles such as "President" or "Prime Minister." These convey an inherent respect on the part of the speaker. The biggest of businessmen do not demand titles of faux-nobility outside of "Chief Executive Officer" when referred to by the general public. Job titles are used solely as an organizational concept that defines core roles in an organization. It would sound exceptional to address the vice president of a steel company as "Vice President" Smith in normal conversation. Yet it is not the same for the vice president of a country who is almost always addressed as "Vice President."
Titles act in a way to aggrandize the invaluableness of the state. Like patriotism, they are used to instill groupthink in a society so that the whole exploitive apparatus of monopoly government maintains an overall sentiment of consent. Concern over governance on trivial matters are entertained and discussed but the institution always resumes a path of grow. Bureaucrats leave and are quickly replaced. Politicians are voted out of office and new ones are voted in. Promises are made, broken, and made again while growth continues uninterrupted and unimpeded.
The overall goal of the privileged class is too perpetuate the fairy tale known as good government. No expense is spared to teach the casualties of state action to pay their respect before their anointed leaders. With enough of the population firmly induced by irrational feelings of nationalism and love for "God and country" it becomes a point of ridicule for anyone with enough smarts to think beyond the pale.
Mark Twain called this falling line with popular view "corn pone opinion"
A political emergency brings out the corn-pone opinion in fine force in its two chief varieties -- the pocketbook variety, which has its origin in self-interest, and the bigger variety, the sentimental variety -- the one which canít bear to be outside the pale; canít bear to be in disfavor; canít endure the averted face and the cold shoulder; wants to stand well with his friends, wants to be smiled upon, wants to be welcome, wants to hear the precious words, ďHeís on the right track!Ē Uttered, perhaps by an ass, but still an ass of high degree, an ass whose approval is gold and diamonds to a smaller ass, and confers glory and honor and happiness, and membership in the herd. For these gauds many a man will dump his lifelong principles into the street, and his conscience along with them."Corn pone opinion" for a nation resides in an overwhelming feeling of gratitude being lauded upon public officials no matter what criminality they engage in. It is a feeling that builds upon itself and feeds off of the lower workings of man's brain. Whether left, right or moderate, the greater majority of people still bow down and pay respect to their government overlords when told. Much of this is thanks to the media which does a better job at public relations rather than actual reporting.
The truth is and always will be that the state and its merry band of armed thugs deserve as much respect as the typical group of highway men. That is they should be looked upon with contempt and a drag on society. Whether or not you believe Justin Bieber exhibits any talent does not diminish the amount of value he creates for his fans. Not one person is forced to listen to his brand of pop music. The public official on the other hand earns an income solely through fleecing the people's collective wallet. This makes him indistinguishable from the benefactor of a widespread criminal gang.
When it comes to politicians, H.L. Mencken said it best when he quipped, "the only way a reporter should ever look at a politician is down." If only men of all professions would adopt this perspective perhaps Justin Beiber wouldn't have received such an unfair slandering. Instead, his denigration was Ottawa's gain.
James E. Miller holds a BS in public administration with a minor in business from Shippensburg University, PA. He is the Editor in Chief at the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada and a current contributor to his hometown newspaper, the Middletown Press and Journal. He currently works in Washington D.C. as a copywriter.