Fraudulent nature of inherited titles
Claim: Inherited noble and honorific titles impute to descendents the virtues and at least potential for similar achievements of their forebears. To a lesser extent, honorifics are also passed to the successive occupants of venerable or powerful offices, without blood-line descent. The passing of noble and honorific titles that are not earned by the recipients is a fraud against society and hereditary nobility is a racist concept when strictly analyzed. While estates pass and may continue to pass, subject to due taxation for the whole society to benefit, hereditary titles are not expiring quickly enough. Taxing the nobility to penury is not a remedy, for there is moral justification for the retention and transmission of wealth. There is insufficient utilization of one alternative to hereditary privilege, lifetime recognition after the models of the British lifetime peer, the Roman Catholic lifetime prince, or the Soviet Union hero. One may take into account, as well, that titles such as PhD and MS, for example, are not transmittable to another generation. Fortunately, people seeking medical advice do not have to contend with hereditary MDs. Considering the political dimensions, the classical world long ago found out the shortage of able men to lead society from among the ranks of hereditary nobility and in some cases instituted legislative and other offices for representatives of the commoners. The provision that one may become a senator or Lord by birthright rather than ability is an appalling one, equivalent to physicians attaining their practice because their fathers had studied and trained for twelve years. The legislative houses of commons or commoners are a democratic necessity; the houses of 'lords' are anachronisms that should be done away with, along with the trappings of hereditary nobility, which include racist ideas, unjustified political power, and an entrenched mentality that obstructs individual human and social development.
Counter Claim: Hereditary offices, hereditary functions that are traditional but are not legally established, and hereditary holdings can provide the cohering force of a nation and preserve the national identity. Hereditary holdings and traditional functions guard and maintain the cultural heritage and the fabric of social relations. Hereditary responsibilities of representing constituencies in public office are the only counter-balance to demagogic manipulation of the electorate. Those who must suffer the vicissitudes of periodic re-election will bow before public opinion and fit themselves to short-term emotional issues, but those whose office is taken, not only from hereditary eligibility but from preferential appointment due to ability, stand fast for the longer-term interests of the whole society. Those that attack what they call privilege are in fact attacking responsibility. The ship of state, no matter what its destination under the captain-of-the-moment's hand, will always need stability to challenge the wind and waves of national and international turbulence. The mechanism of preserving tradition by inheritance is the ballast that assures safe passage. The responsibility of a proud lineage is inseparable from the cultivation of the virtue of patriotism: 'shamed be he who thinks evil of it' (motto of the Order of the Garter).
Problem Type: E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update 01.01.2000 – 00:00 CET