Those were the wise words of Machiavelli, the father of modern political science. And I couldn’t agree more! I’d even go further, titles just as a personal honor are completely useless in the 21st century!
That might initially shock coming from someone that defends monarchical and chivalric values. However, it makes total sense.
Nobility titles might had an intrinsic value in the past when they represented (legally) a different class, with real birthright privileges. Today, the majority of constitutions state that all citizens are equal before the law, regardless of class. And I definitely agree with this principle. None should be above the law, not even a sovereign.
Today, the legal privilege of an honorific title ends in its use. Although its legal existence can be characterized as “immaterial property” and its succession can be applied as “immaterial inheritance”, its recognition is each country’s prerogative. Meaning, a country can or cannot recognize a title regardless of its legality. But the so-called “recognition” doesn’t mean, in any way, that the title is real or not but only a “permission” for its use whithin the country’s dominions.
Back to the title’s personal value.
First, we have to understand that a title should come not only with rights and privileges but also with duties. And don’t mistake yourself in thinking that a title will make you, suddenly, a better person. I always say that a title is just a label, a beautiful golden label. We’re the product. You can have the most beautiful label in the world but if the product is bad, regardless of the label, it’ll still be bad. Personally, I rather have a great product with a simple label (or no label at all) than a bad product with a great label. In the end, “the product” is what matters.
That’s why if the title’s use is not somehow relevant in the today’s society it shouldn’t be used. That’s the reason why the serious chivalric orders usually have militant humanitarian works. Modern knights and dames won’t fight infidels but are committed to fight famine, disease, injustice, etc. Also barons, counts, marquees, dukes, etc. If they cannot live a real “noble” life being role models and helping the needy, they’re nothing more than “outdated adornments”. The title alone won’t make them “noble”.
Deposed Royal and Noble families are nothing but historical families with a glorious past and almost no privileges but nostalgia. If they limit themselves to feeding their ego, shining their medals and remembering the heroic past, they’ll definitely be forgotten in a heartbeat.
The same applies to my own title. If I cannot help my people and region being relevant somehow there’s no reason for a “Prince of Ghassan“. If I cannot preserve my people’s legacy and heritage, my title is just a “dusty museum piece” in a dark and forgotten corner of a huge ancient building.
I always repeat that I’m Al-Numan Gharios El Chemor. A simple and ordinary man, alas, terrible in sports. Although the correct protocol would be using the “Highness” address I consider it an optional courtesy and I’ve never asked anyone to treat me anymore than an equal fellow human being. And the fact that I’m “occupying” the office of the Prince of Ghassan doesn’t make me grand. The office in itself is grand, representing eighteen centuries of history and dozens of great imperial and royal rulers. Do I have their blood in my veins? Yes, but also probably you that’s reading this article descend from some King or Queen since is estimated that around 70% of the European stock descend from some royal ancestor. But I’m sure you still have to pay your taxes like I do.
But the analogy that a title would make someone better would be the same as evaluating a person by the chair he or she is sitting on. Preposterous!
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