One of the best posts ever on philanthropy. Two years ago. And then the next day, one more post. Then total silence. I am sure there are lots of reasons, but one of them is that our sector is so polite, it just kills the human voice. At a tony philanthropic gathering in our nation's capitol, in the Cosmos Club, I sat next to a fellow human who smiled conspiratorially at me and acknowledged that he - yes, he himself - was none other than the mad monk. I asked him to resume blogging, but he never has. Probably just as well for his career prospects, if only he can swallow his anger for so many years without getting an ulcer. On a similar note, White Courtesy Telephone, another situs of wry indignation, and telling satire, has long been silent. My word, maybe philanthropy needs some kind of truth and reconciliation committee?
At some level this is the true dialogue of Superior to Subordinate in Established Philanthropy, "Look, we know we are full of shit. It is not like it has never occurred to us. I get up every morning and look in the mirror and know how far I have fallen from what I might have been had I had more courage. And we know our donors are mostly full of shit too. But if we smile much less become indignant, they will cut us dead. So stop the damn blogging and get back to your cubicle. Candidia will be here in an hour and I need a florid defense of capitalism on my desk in 45 minutes, so I can prepare my after dinner homage to her. She has tentatively agreed to endow the new mad house in her name." Because the dialogue must not be spoken truthfully, it comes out as this, "Really, your post is most uncalled for. You know, some might take offense. I would so appreciate your considering other ways to invest your considerable gifts. I would hate to lose you. I can only do so much, if the board takes offense, as they well might, one elegantly booted figure in particular. You understand, I am sure."
We are all at the cross roads, and for each of us the choices are moral and have consequences too. Keep your mouth shut and keep walking is my best advice. Or, you just might get burned as a public service, in the best tradition of the Ancient Greeks. Aristotle, who wrote that stuff about morality as moderation, was a Tutor to Alexander the Great. Aristotle wrote how many satires, hunh? Like maybe zero? Moderation pays. Satire may cure the body politic, but kill the doctor in the process. You could read all about it in Plutarch. See how many of those who attempted to cure Alexander (his doctors and his forthright counselors) ended up dead - speared, crucified. Moderation in the presence of power, however sick that power may be, is generally the best policy. We have that on the best ancient authority, Mr. Mad Monk. Now, it seems, you know it from your own experience.