I note that Keith at Wise Counsel now has the epigraph from Seneca, "A good mind is neither borrowed nor bought." Keith is co-author of Wealth and the Will of God: Discerning the Use of Riches in The Service of Ultimate Purpose. Senecca was a wordly stoic whose dynastic clients included Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. As Keith, with a Ph.D. in Social Thought from the University of Chicago and a BA and MA in Classics and Philosophy from Boston University knows, Senecca bled out in his bathtub when the other choices given him by Nero were worse. I think for Giftub, I am going to stick with more modest subtitles, like Wealth Bondage Rebooted. Or, On Tyranny in the Spirit of Leo Strauss. See snip below.
Xenophon’s Socrates makes it clear that there is only one and sufficient title to rule: only knowledge and not force and fraud or election or, we may add, inheritance makes a man a king or ruler. If this is the case ‘constitutional’ rule, rule derived from elections is not essentially more legitimate than tyrannical rule, rule derived from force or fraud. Tyrannical rule as well as ‘constitutional’ rule will be legitimate to the extent which the tyrant or the ‘constitutional’ rulers will listen to the counsels of him who ‘speaks well’ because he ‘thinks well.’ At any rate, the rule of a tyrant, who comes to power by force or fraud or having committed any number of crimes, is essentially more legitimate than the rule of elected magistrates who refuse to listen to such suggestions, i.e. than the rule of elected magistrates as such.
I take this to mean that however a person gets power, by force, fraud, conquest, election, market forces, inheritance, or through repeated crimes, the main thing is that once in power her or she get wise counsel. I can see why a philosopher might feel that way, but doesn't it seem a little self serving? And would a person really wise and virtuous talk and think like this? I don't know; I am probably going to much by the surface meaning. The esoteric meaning is probably more in the spirit of Jesus and Thomas Jefferson, or Seneca on a good day. Still, when you think about big topics, like wealth and the will of God, the role of wealth in a democracy, the rise of self serving elites, or the emigration of the wealthy to their own Paradise, apart from the common people, and the preservation of dynastic wealth for hundreds of years, it does seem important that those set above us get the best and wisest counsel possible. That is why in my view, Mistress Candidia, she who rules us all, is lucky to have me at her side, and, really, the whole world is fortunate. Without me, God knows what she would get herself up to in her insane quest for power and privilege. As bad as she is, with a flatterer, or claque at her side, or a retinue of parasites, or a false priest, or wounded healer, or bogus moralist, or a philosopher in the Machiavellian tradition, or an opportunist, it could only be worse. Fortunately, I cannot be bought, rented, borrowed or leased! My views are my own! A man is a man and must speak truth to power!
Last night, I was reciting a choice bit from Senecca to my Leader and Generous Patron, as I did her toenails. Religion is regarded by the common people as true, Mistress, I recited, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. She whacked my head with her class ring. Cut the crap, she said. Do you think I, who hold a fucking Harvard MBA, am your student, little man? Do you think I need your bullshit moral counsel? You don't think I already know religion is a total bunch of crap? God this and God that. Jesus Fucking Christ. Concentrate on the nails, you moron.