New Year’s Honours 2014

The New Year’s Honours have been announced and for the first time, the majority of the recipients are women. Interesting. But is that what we should really be talking about, or should we talking about the fact that we still have an outdated honours system, in which the country effectively ranks its citizens on an arbitrary basis? Clearly, we should be talking about the latter.

The honours system has no place in modern society. It doesn’t need reform; it shouldn’t exist, and while it does, we shouldn’t acknowledge it. Many of the recipients are celebrities or members of the establishment, and even those who are neither of these aren’t exactly selected using a fair system of valuing people’s “worth” as citizens. But a country shouldn’t be valuing its citizens’ levels of worth anyway. It is not the job of a state to do this. There is no need for it to do so, it is divisive, and there isn’t a fair way of doing it. It is a completely arbitrary process.

This is not to say that there shouldn’t be awards for certain achievements but there is, generally speaking, no need for the state to be the body giving these awards. And awards don’t need to come with an official title.

To take this further, I would say that there should be no such thing as official titles, whether this be a title before your name, letters after your name or whatever. On this basis, official forms should not ask for a title (whether Mr, Mrs or anything else). I’m quite happy to be called “Mr Pereira”, but as far as I’m concerned, this is just an informal means of address, and it does not need to have any official standing. If you get a PhD, by all means call yourself “Doctor”, but let’s not get carried away. There is no reason that getting a PhD should change what you should be called in official documentation. It’s something you have achieved. It is not who you are, and it doesn’t promote above other people in society. Obviously I regard any inherited titles as a completely ridiculous and something that no-one should take seriously.

It’s been brief, but I think this largely covers what I have to say about honours and titles. See you next time!

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