I have never been a big fan of monarchies. Whether it is the divine right of kings or passing down of dynastic rule from one generation to the next or even our more modern pantheon of royalty crafted on the sound stages of Hollywood â€“ I could do without kings and queens. As a student of history I have noticed that societies seem to function much better when power is shared among the many rather than concentrated on the few or the one. Sure, tales of kings and queens run amuck, like Caligula, Henry VIII and Marie Antoinette are great fare but of course we didnâ€™t have to live under them. Then of course you have your Hitlerâ€™s, Stalinâ€™s Pol Potâ€™s and Napoleonâ€™s to consider. If there is one great truth in the world, it is that power corrupts – absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The irony of America is that for all of our talk about democracy and such, weâ€™ve fashioned our own privileged royal class out of the celebrities or entrepreneurs we produce. If you can sing, dance, act, play a sport or find some other way to entertain the masses, we seem to give you the world on a silver platter. Weâ€™ve all seen enough VH-1â€™s Behind the Music or other docu-dramaâ€™s that feature the rise and fall of Americans given too much too fast and too soon to know how the story goes with those folks. What values and integrity the had get stripped away and they become walking NEED â€“ one giant ID grinding up anything in itâ€™s bath cascading toward burnout and the inevitable crash. Paris Hilton, meet Caligula, Iâ€™m sure you and his horse will have lots to talk about.
As I said before, weâ€™ve also made royalty out of our business successes. Rockefeller, Carnegie, Gould, Morgan, Disney, Hershey were kings of their age by virtue of their ability to sell people something they needed or wanted (or didnâ€™t know they wanted until it was out there). Their children become princes and princesses and act accordingly, see Michael Bloombergâ€™s kids, a modern royal family at itâ€™s devilish best. Then of course you have political royalty, which begins with money and evolves into naked power; Kennedyâ€™s, Clintonâ€™s, Bushâ€™s, Reaganâ€™s, etc. It is the latter of American royalty that I have a serious problem with.
With privilege comes some serious psychosocial issues. The downside of celebrity is that you become cut off from elements of the real world. When you are the meal ticket, there are people working around the clock to stop you from hurting yourself so as to keep you viable and making money. This of course means that you have devolving, immature people taking risks or making choices without the benefit of natural consequences. Essentially, they begin to inhabit a world where they can touch a hot oven and never get burned or even worse, get burned but convinced that they didnâ€™t burn themselves by sycophantic followers. Itâ€™s one thing when this happens to Lindsey Lohan â€“ who cares? Itâ€™s a bigger issue when you are the CEO of a company like say Vince McMahon (more on him later this week) and youâ€™ve become divorced from reality. While he has a company and therefore hundreds of livelihoods dependent on him, if he loses it all by falling victim to the psychosocial traps of royal privilege, the world wonâ€™t come to an end. However, if your name is Prince George W. Bush, being privileged and cut off from reality is big and dangerous problem.
Here we have a man who has been labeled an idiot by liberals across the board who can type or put themselves in front of a camera far and wide. While Iâ€™ll give you that the man seems to have an estranged relationship with the English language, heâ€™s no idiot. George Bush was born and raised to be a CEO. That is who and what he is naked before God and the mirror. CEOâ€™s care about only one thing, making their stock go up and by extension, their stockholders happy. Though I am loath to heap any praise on the documentary, â€œThe Corporation,â€ it did get one thing right, Corporations/CEOâ€™s operate with no moral anchor. They donâ€™t have to. As leaders of this country, George Bush and Dick Cheney made decisions without a moral structure or without consulting history because that is not the behavior of a CEO, which both of them are. Now when you combine their collective mentality with the belief system that royal unto itself breeds, such as the philosophy that one can operate without consequences, it is plain to see how and why they made so many mistakes.
In other words, Bush and Cheney are not evil per se or architects of the NEW WORLD ORDER. Hell these people canâ€™t keep any secrets, let alone a secret plot to take over the world a la Pinky and the Brain. Iâ€™m sure they thought they were acting in the best interest of their stockholders by making the decisions that they made. They also acting in accordance with the way privilege people behave â€“ that is to say that they also acted as though they owed nobody an explanation of what they were doing or felt that the should be held accountable, and Iâ€™m sure Paris Hilton would agree with them.
This behavior has been the core of Presidential behavior for at least 50 years. Kennedy, LBJ, Nixon, Reagan and even Carter and Clinton all thought they were above reproach. They all thought, in their own way, that they were above accountability. It goes with the territory so I donâ€™t blame Bush for behaving the way his entire social network has behaved for a century if not longer.
His real sin however is not recognizing that the times they are a-changinâ€™. Fifty years ago it was possible to act without accountability because there was limited press exposure. The shadows of conspiracy were larger and denser. You could operate with anonymity because invention was not swift enough to catch you. With the advent of the Internet and more specifically, YouTube, one canâ€™t mosey about their abode in their bloomers without some cad recording it on his spy cam cum cell phone and posting the thing on YouTube in seconds. Between that, blogs and of course 24 hour cable news, if Prince George blows a snot rocket behind a bush, itâ€™s headline news in China by the time the booger makes contact with the dirt. George Bush isnâ€™t an idiot; he just didnâ€™t realize he was on camera for 6 straight years now.
This administration has been labeled incompetent and I think that is unfair. They are no more incompetent or heavy handed than Kennedyâ€™s or LBJâ€™s administration was but those two kings had the luxury of only having three news channels that werenâ€™t 24 hours running in their day. Bush is not guilty of incompetence per se; heâ€™s guilty of not recognizing that politics has changed by virtue of instant media and communication. Itâ€™ll probably be worse or just as bad in Hillary Clinton or Giulianiâ€™s term as well. Itâ€™ll continue to look as if the White House is a boob magnet until someone who has grown up with YouTube, camera phones, MySpace, AIM and so forth becomes privileged enough him or herself to enter politics, all the time keeping in mind that indeed all of life is a stage and the camera, squarely fixed on them, is rolling. Maybe once people realize they are always being watched, the royal will evolve and might even grow up a touchâ€¦then again I think I see a pig flying outside my window with camcorder.