The politics of jealousy, which prevent suitable remuneration being paid to members of society that deserve it, has been a bane on our life for many years, not only for the last 20. If memory serves, says he with tongue firmly implanted, it was the Labour governments of the 1970s and 1980s, with which Mr Spiteri was not unfamiliar, that inculcated in the great unwashed notion that everyone is the same and those particular chickens are coming home to roost now. – I.M. Beck (Times of Malta, 27/10/2007)
So that’s where it comes from, this thing of everyone deserving the same treatment and same pay. This false meritocracy where being born into society got you the one and only diploma that was necessary – that of cittadin and once you had it you had a right to anything. The more I hear about this way of thinking the more I begin to feel classist – in a quasi-caste-system kind of way. Oh I started out very much tinged with the same ideas of “What’s the big deal being a member of a profession? Isn’t it just earning your bread in a different way?” You kick off working as a lawyer in a governmental department and try to remove old habits instilled by your predecessor. Old rituals like the messenger getting you your coffee early in the morning and “ordering” photocopies from a machine a couple of steps from your desk rather than doing it yourself. You erase these trivial acts because to you they seem humiliating on the 55 year old who comes into your office with head bowed as though you were the latest reincarnation of Vishnu.
And it’s much more than just that… you even try to erase the other boundary… “Tghidulix Dott ghax tittikani” (my qualms with the Dr appellation for Maltese lawyers go far beyond these matters). They even tried to resist. They would still call you Dott infront of “clients” or “visitors” – the public faceof the ingrained deference. But then something clicks and you notice why the deference and the facade was there. Soon they are insisting that the avukat should sign the same roster as themselves. They value their output in the same way as your own. In other words, to them one hour of making tea, pressing COPY on the photocopy machine and shifting paper around a building was the same as one hour of drafting a decision for the Office of Fair Trade about the existence or otherwise of abuse of a dominant position.
It’s difficult to write about this without sounding snobbish. But then it’s probably the political correctness bandwagon painted fluorescent by wishy-washy socialists in need of something to fight for that has caused me to feel this way. In the past, long before capitalism reigned supreme, our medieval forefathers already recognised the importance of respecting different professions. The Guilds of Traders, Merchants etc were all highly respected in their societies. Lawyers, doctors, architects and all. They were professions that merited a modicum of respect. Far from the zero-sum equalization of today. The socialist urge lies in us all… to equate and raze to the zero. Admittedly some members of a particular profession do not help with flying the standard. For many years a particular profession’s reputation has been ridden by a nobody and this has led to some disastrous “dragging in the mud” moments.
There’s no conclusion this time. This post must fall under the category of reflections. I know what I think. I am not sure that many others would agree. But then I would also doubt the source of disagreement – after all by disagreeing they would be sort of proving my point. As the class of’99 used to sing in pig-latin:
NON FACIT NIX, CON CURSUM LEGIS