Each day, approximately 370,000 babies are born into our world. Some of them will become world-renowned scientists. Some will become democratically-elected leaders. Some will work to end disease and hunger. Some will work to end poverty. Most will simply work to survive.
Of all these babies, only one captured the attention of US and European media. Only one boy, with the incredible good fortune to be born into a life of extreme wealth and privilege, caused young women to swoon; aristocrats to break out their best bottles of bubbly; and ordinary adults to interrupt their own lives in order to await news of the delivery and the baby’s gender.
No single event could better demonstrate the problems we face.
This is not just a matter of ordinary citizens being captivated by celebrity. This baby, his parents and most of his ancestors have done nothing to earn celebrity status. They are not accomplished at music, acting, sports, science, medicine or politics. They have no lengthy list of accomplishments. They are merely expert at collecting and spending money, and living like royalty.
What lies at the heart of their celebrity is the romanticism of every young girl wanting to be a princess; of every adult wanting to know what it’s like to be King or Queen.
This, after all, is the real talent of the privileged: Making you believe that you somehow benefit from their wealth and power. Making you believe that if you continue to support them, they may eventually recognize you. Making you believe that you will eventually share in their good fortune.
Of course, it never happens.
This phenomenon is at the heart of all class warfare. It’s what keeps all of the wealthy and the privileged in power. Corporate CEOs convince shareholders that supporting their enormous salaries will lead to higher share prices. Multinational corporations convince voters that cutting regulations will lower prices and create jobs. Billionaires convince voters that offering them tax breaks will improve the economy.
The reasoning is as phony as the societal value of monarchs (the gem-infused bloodlines, not the butterflies). But naive voters accept it and continue to make the rich richer and themselves poorer.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can level the playing field for all of the babies born into the world. We can vote to improve our own fortunes rather than those of the privileged. It begins by recognizing a “prince” for what he really is…just another baby.