Tutor is on the bed in Audrey's room, in his slovenly priest's garb, with white shirt and black trousers, his long legs crossed, his feet in Christlike sandals, reading Ovid's Metamorphoses in Latin aloud to Audrey, to as he says, "line her mind with gold." She, as usual, during the court mandated hour of Moral Instruction (in the wake of the Annie Oakley Incident), ignores him. She is sitting on the floor in her Audrey T-Shirt (emblazoned, "Own Rule Save") and faded pink corduroy pants, paging through a pictorial history of Great Britain. "Tutor," she interrupts him, "Why do they always call it a Kingdom when sometimes they have a Queen?" "I don't know, kid," he says, "but when you grow up you will you own it, and rule it, and you can call it whatever you want." "Could I call it a democracy, if I want to?" "Sure," says Tutor, "Now Great Britain has a democracy and a ceremonial queen." "But I want to be the real Queen!" "Of course," says Tutor, "then we shall have a real Queen and a ceremonial democracy." He launches into his own political theory, about the Divine Right of Kings and Queens, the Market as the Hidden Hand of God, SAT scores as indicative of a Divine Call, and the breeding and training of blood that is bluer, and truer, to our highest nature as human beings and children of God. But Audrey, her questions answered, has lost interest, and is busy teaching Rex how to sit up and beg.
How The Most Trusted Advisors To Concentrated Wealth can Now Capitalize on the Utter Failure of their Professional Actions and Worldview
Tutor and Master Jack are both Morals Tutors to the world's wealthiest, and at times have been Privy Counselors handling the Confidential Dirty Work, and noted procurers, for the King's pleasure. Neither judges those served. What happens in Wealth Bondage stays in Wealth Bondage. Both are as loyal to their Master or Mistress as a dog sleeping on the foot of the bed. Jack says it is his Fiduciary Responsibility. For Tutor, it is a noble tradition as old as fealty, and deference to "degree." The question now is how best to serve dynastic wealth in troubled times. Tess has noticed "the help" on their spare time following Ferguson, Dallas, Brexit, Trump, Sanders, Black Lives Matter, White Genocide, Le Pen, the Alt-Right. She sees Seal Team Seven, armed, trained as insurgents and assassins, and wonders in her paranoid moments if any would betray her. She has read in The Economist that the old globalist game is effectively over. "We," the global managerial class, whose science of justice is economic equations have over played our hand. Few have prospered. Many have suffered. Ecosystems are dying. Water is rising. Things are getting out of control. There seems to be no way to fix it. And we brought it on ourselves. Tess confers behind closed doors with Master Jack. Surely, there must yet be some way to quell discontent, while creating a Dynasty that will last at least one hundred years, like a great flourishing silver beech, rooted in soil, tended by the peasants, the loyal servants, the dispossessed, the roots among the fertile bones?
Tutor's views are very different. Not "Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves" as Jack speaks it sadly, shaking his head, and treating it as business opportunity to position his practice as the solution, but as an eternal moral admonition, like, "Ashes to ashes; dust to dust." Or, "Remember, Caesar thou art mortal." Tutor has seen Rome rise and fall, the Tudors come and go, the Bourbons rise and fall. He saw the Magna Carta signed after (as Master Jack ruefully notes) a failed regency. He saw Washington's and Jefferson's slaves freed. He saw the Confederacy fall, and the highest flower of Southern chivalry slain. (Yes, he served in the Big House with Tom and Mammy, and fled on foot with them when it burned.)
With the sorrowful wisdom of failed states, Kingdoms, and Empires destroyed, he is Preparing the Heir, Audrey. He instructs her in Catholic Social Doctrine. (Find the face of God in those who are broken and have least). In Stoicism: there is no happiness or suffering but thinking makes it so. In the riffs of naked Diogenes from his Dumpster, accosting Alexander the Great. In the historical realities of evolution and revolution. In her toybox, as the one valuable present from him to her is a Russian Doll, with mommas stacked inside mommas, down the tiny smallest one. It is his treasure. It was a gift to him from the Tsar's youngest daughter, who died in the pit, with her whole dynastic family, her vest and petticoats sewn with diamonds, the bullets ricocheting, until at last one found her heart. Yes, Rasputin, the most trusted advisor and Secular Priest had more influence with the Tsar, and had more lovers among the ladies of the court, a fuller beard, and a better claim to a divine call (with his degree in Divinity), but then as now Tutor, a child in spirit himself, was best with the little ones.
Audrey is being prepared as an heir to own, rule and save us all, if history's wheel next pauses on tyranny. If we are to be ruled by persons, with laws flexible to the will of those in charge, those with most, let that person be a good person, wise and virtuous, bred to the task. For that Tutor prepares her. Yet, as Frost noted about foliage, "Nothing gold can stay." If Fortune's wheel must turn, as it ever will, and the highest fall and the lowest rise, as always has been, Audrey to be prepared must be able to fend for herself. Waiting on tables, walking dogs, serving as crew on a sailing ship, hiding out in the woods eating berries and bugs. For those roles, too, he prepares her. "Naked we come into the world; naked we shall leave it." "Life," he tells her at bedtime, whispering secrets, "is like the sparrow who flies from one end of the lighted warm fellowship hall, and out the other. Here for a moment, from darkness to darkness." Audrey knows the difference when she hears Tutor talk like this, as when he reads dark fairy tales, about children abandoned in the woods, or strangled in a castle, so different from the preaching in Chapel, or Master Jack encouraging her to be a good little girl and work on her "four capitals," and not stick out her tongue.
Will Tess, too, know the difference?
Several years ago, as a new Board Member for Interfaith Worker Justice, I was asked to give a talk on philanthropy to the leaders of the worker centers. Having no idea what a worker center was, I showed up with my usual slide deck, "Creating Inspired Legacies for Highest Capacity Donors." Worker Centers, it turns out out, support the poorest and most beaten down nonunion employees in industries like agriculture, food services, hospital care, and poultry plants. Workers self organize to protest sexual and physical abuse, intolerable working conditions, and "wage theft" ( being stiffed on wages by employers who know the precarious worker has no recourse for redress). So, there I was in a small room with maybe 13 workers, the only white person in the room, one of the few without Spanish. An African American man, maybe 37, with grizzled features, hands scarred, with more than one missing front tooth, a worker in a poultry plant, in SC, sat to my left, as I went through the deck all about the needs, yearnings, and unfulfilled aspirations of the world's wealthiest. How hard it is to be very rich, as our faith traditions say it is! At that moment, I heard from him, and others in the room, "Amen." I improvised on St. John Chrysostom, an early Church Father, influenced by the Stoics. "Grace like the sun shines on us all; like rain, it falls on us all." Again, "Amen."
So, I identified with Patricia Angus's recent article at Wealth Management. That "occasional essay" (written to an occasion, as if informally improvised, though artful) begins with her leaving a high level meeting, at some hotel in some foreign country, of advisors to the world's wealthiest. In such conclaves, over-educated advisors in bondage to wealth, endlessly ask each other, "What is true wealth?" only to conclude that if the client is to have it he or she must hire the Wise and Virtuous Counselor. A shtick like any other; mine (to get naked behind the Dumpster at the Corner of Wealth and Bondage, for spare change) is not much better. She finds the wisest on true wealth to be the taxi driver, as I found the most gracious among the poorest.
How far do our sympathies extend? When we say "we," whom do we include? Is our "we" demarcated by a zip code, or gated community, by a neighborhood, state, or nation state, or by wealth rating, a gender, a color? When those who have most take the jobs out of Flint, and create a factory in India, and then reason that their philanthropy should go to India, too, because that is where they made the wealth, and that is where a life can be saved cheapest, what will become of those whose lives here have been destroyed by "creative destruction"? What recourse do they have? Trump, Sanders, riots, violence, feckless social organizing, worker centers,C food stamps, crumbs from the philanthropic table....
"Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice" (MLK). Patricia is the first person I have heard from within the world of family governance for dynastic wealth to extend the conversation about governance back to the polity. What kind of society do we want? We, including the taxi drivers, the poultry plant workers, the Black Lives Matter protesters, the dynastic wealth holders, those who serve them, the alt right? Do we have a social compact, still, or only a global market? Do we need bigger government or smaller? Left or right? Or, do we need better governance? A "parliament," where people not only issue sound bites, but reason with one another towards an inclusive public good?
When democracy seizes up, the next stage, says Aristotle, who would know, is the strong leader who can drive change regardless. Tyrant is a harsh word. I would prefer to imagine Audrey, our once and future Queen, who, prepared by the Happy Tutor, will own rule, and save us all, with love, wisdom, mercy, and justice. People take good care of their own, whether a dog or a loyal subject.
Certain advisors to billionaire families say their clients live on a kind of Paradise Island, and that the goal of the advisor is to prevent the family from being deported back to the middle class. How, then, will Brexit, and the populist backlash from Trump and Bernie voters filter into the elite cliques advising the world's wealthiest? In short, have our clients, and we ourselves as their trusted advisors, brought it on ourselves? Were we - for real - trying to create a permanent global dynastic class? Can we be forgiven if we were? Will our clients not ask us, what moral insanity led us to encourage them to live as if an island unto themselves? What sort of education did we have, Doctorate or no Doctorate, that led us to recommend that the ordinary people eat cake? Can we claim that we do not have an independent mind, that we were merely "serving our clients?" That we knew no better? Can we now begin to orient our clients to a world in which the "head" and the "body" of the body politic thrive together, since no part can thrive alone (wisdom that has been obvious since Aesop, but not to wealth & wisdom advisors at the elite conferences, who still find it uncomfortable to discuss their own contribution to social inequality, injustice, and now political instability). How can we have talked so long about Family Constitutions and Family Governance, and failed to ask what kind of polity can long tolerate dynastic families living superbly apart as if on an island? Will we look back in shame?
I find that I am able now to speak so plainly, since a far better qualified person, Patricia Angus, has. It is as if a terrible silence has ended.
As to why she stowed away, Tutor knows not to ask Audrey. All that will net him is her vigilant eyes turning toward him on their swivel, her lips set, and her fingers clutching the bed covers up under her chin. Instead, knowing her as he does, he asks a better question. "I assume you had a good set of charts?" Audrey smiles warily. "From here to India?" Her smile broadens, and is less guarded. "And from the nearest port, Dahej, it would be 562 miles to New Delhi?" Nod. "And you were going to use your earnings from being a waiter to feed the starving dogs there?" Audrey nods. "Why did you not ask Momma first, Audrey?" Answer: "Because Momma would not let me!" Tutor leans down to whisper in her ear, "You are going to make a very fine Queen, Audrey, because you always know best." Audrey says, "Right!" But she and Rex are both very glad to be home, and we are glad she is safe and sound.
Where has Audrey been?, you have been asking. I had not written because I had not wanted to worry her many friends and well wishers, until the danger was past. Audrey, one dark night, rowed the skiff to the mainland, where she commandeered a three masted sloop. The crew was in the tavern. She took an axe she found on board and chopped the mooring lines. She and Rex were found several days later adrift on the high seas by a Coast Guard cutter. Audrey has not wanted to talk about it. When her distraught mother upbraided her, all Audrey would say is, "You are not the boss of me!"
Patricia Angus at wealthmanagement.com. The future is different now, because Patricia Angus had the ability, the position, and the courage, to send this essay along to her editor. If you are a wealth advisor whose clients have a fraction or a multiple of a billion, please read the article more than once. The conversation of Dynastic Wealth Planning will now shift to the role of wealth in a just society, and role of good governance (not big government or small government, but good government) in an era of creative destruction, in which so many have been destroyed and so few have grown so phenomenally rich. Wealthy families, of course, can be good or bad, but the only one who deserves to be our once and future Queen is Audrey, and The Happy Tutor shall be her "power behind the throne"! Well, no. When she comes of age to own, rule, and save us all, Tutor will be exiled, as he always is, until the new baby comes along. However the world goes, whether the rich rise or fall, every kid needs a Morals Tutor to ask how wealthy she really is.... Every time Tutor does that he ends up chasing Audrey around her room in the Castle as she shrieks, "I am really rich, Stupid, what are you?"
Audrey, after all her hard work, bussing tables in the servant's quarters at minimum wage, so she can earn money to save dogs, is in tears on payday. 30 hours worked at $10 an hour, minus federal, state, and local taxes, and Social Security, as an independent contractor, nets her $237. At Costco, a thirty pound bag of USDA Organic Chicken & Pea Formula Dry Dog Food is $49.99 plus $5 shipping. Even a small dog needs at least four bags a year. Poor Audrey is weeping face down on the floor of her bedroom. So little money, and so many dogs to save! Rex is whining, because his savior is so upset. But not Tutor.
Tutor loves being a pedant, charged with Mentoring Heirs. He stands in his black clerical issue slacks, blacks socks, and favorite Hawaiian Luau shirt, holding up his forefinger, at right angles to his extended arm. "My Future Queen," he intones, "if I may your future Highness....." Audrey turns her head. "Shut up, Tutor, "Now is not the time to be a Stupid Grownup. We need to save dogs, and we can't. Making one of your stupid speeches is not going to help anything."
But Tutor has a plan, as Audrey will soon see. But first he must help her take inventory of her Four Capitals.
"Your Highness, what is your total wealth?"
"$237, Stupid. I already told you. And kibble is $49.99 a bag."
"Yes, but your Highness, is that your real wealth?"
"O Tutor, why do you have be such an asshole! No, of course my real capitals are - you made me write this down - Social Capital, Intellectual Capital, and what was the other one?
"I forget, too, but lets consider your intellectual capital. Can you read and write? Draw pictures? Use an Ipad?"
"Please, Tutor, why are you being such a jerk?"
"Yes, Miladay, and now what is your Social Capital?"
"The people who like me. And you are my Social Capital too, Rex., aren't you. boy?"
"And who else likes you, beside me and Rex?"
"Now," says Tutor, drawing himself up to his full height, finger pumping forward and back, "Who is Momma friends with?"
"Well," says Audrey, "The Kings and Queens of Europe, hedge fund managers, artists, poets, the President of the United States, all the people who are always coming to the Castle to get her to do something, buy something...... Stupid Grownups just like you."
"Audrey, do you want to save millions of hungry dogs?"
"We must leverage your Social Capitol...."
"You sound like Master Jack. Please, just be normal for once, ok?"
And so, they convene to the toy box, pull the blanket over the top, and as they sit facing each other, feet touching, the plan unfolds. (To be continued.)
Given the success of Gifthub, and the power of Tess's story and example, it should come as no surprise that more and more wealth advisors are shopping for Castles on behalf of their Dynastic Wealth clients. Nothing says "classy money" like a moat full of alligators.
Sleepless in the cold grey dawn, awakened with a dream (entering the Roman arena to deliver a package, "for the good of the order," as we say in business, then slain), Tutor stands at the casement window in the Priest's nook behind the altar in the chapel. Below he can see the ancient, now overgrown garden, once a "hortus inclusus" with roses; now, untended, full of weeds. Built long ago, under another dispensation, the garden had a fountain (now dilapidated) for birds, and a statue, pocked by erosion and pollution, of the blessed virgin, on a pillar of stone. The mossy fountain is filing with rain. The Virgin cemented to her pillar cants ten degrees off center, where the earth shifted under the pediment. "Blessed Mary, Mother of God," prays Tutor, "You who are entirely without sin, who intercedes for us all; you, Blessed Mother, as you stand forgotten in this cold rain, who prays for you? Whatever you wish for us all, I pray for that. Through your being, grace, and patience please guide me with Audrey that she may own, rule, and save all creation, if only between two beats of her heart, as she lies sleeping this moment in hope. Raise what is low in me; humble what is proud. Make me your stepping stone, and hers. The first shall be last; the last shall be first. I pray this in your name for what streams through you, even now as at the hour of our death and at world's end.