I don't want the many children who love The Happy Tutor as their Silly Grownup, ally, role model, and friend, to be concerned that he is now in a Dungeon. He is just in a "time out," as you often are, when you are sent to your room, whether you deserve it or not. The cell is just his room, in the Castle, a monk's cell, the only difference now is that he is forbidden to come out, until Momma says he has been punished enough, and he promises never to take Audrey off the island without permission. That is a good rule and for her own safety. Tutor may be a Morals Tutor, and a priest, but like the rest of us he has to be careful, follow rules, and listen to Momma. He is lonely, of course, but he is not totally alone. Audrey, when everyone is asleep, quietly goes down the stone stairs, and passes Tutor notes under his door, so they are still in touch.
Those who care about him, as flawed as he is, will be sorry to hear that Tutor has, for the last three weeks and two days, been banished to a small cold cell, two floors below sea level, for having messed up again. He went AWOL with Audrey to a candy shop on the mainland where the middle class people live their dull lives of endless toil. He and Audrey both gorged themselves sick on penny candy, slipping back into the castle well past Audrey's nap time. Momma, to say the least, was not happy. Master Jack gloated to see his rival Morals Tutor demoted from Second Most Trusted Advisor to Miscreant in Irons.
Tutor has been allowed to take only one book to his cell. He considered the Bible, but rejected it as work-related, given his role as Friar in Residence at the Castle, and besides he knows it by heart, in English, Greek, and Latin. Instead he chose A Gift Observed: Essays on Philanthropy and Civilization, a good slow read that could last days, months, years, or decades, depending on when Tutor will next hear the Jailer's key turn in the rusty lock, if ever that day comes.
So how come Tutor has to live in solitary, reading a difficult book, when Audrey only had to go to her room for 2 hours? Tutor pled guilty to being a bad influence on Audrey - it was his idea; he is a grownup; he was the one who rented the skiff, and all funds expended were from his stipend, largely exhausting it for the month. At least the Dungeon is in the Castle. He might have been sent back to the Dumpster, which, now that he is out of it, seems larger and more commodious. Not that I wouldn't want him back, but it is good to be able to stretch my own legs out without tangling with his.
The Role of the Royal Eunuch in Preserving Dynastic Families, Historically Considered, with Application to Current Times
In ancient times, a hot-blooded conqueror would sack a city, and his soldiers would share in the spoils: rapine and plunder. The conqueror might then establish a harem to grow, preserve and perpetuate his dynasty. The most trusted advisor was a eunuch. Thank God, in our time it is different. More later, after my lobotomy.
I have many colleagues and friends in Wealth Bondage - this part is literally true - who one day say they are a Secular Priest to Dynastic Wealth, the next day say they are Moral Mentors or Role Models, and the next day say they are the family's Consigliere. I mean a Consigliere is a crook advising a mob family, a counselor who engages in extortion, murder, torture, and the systematic perversion of justice. Well, I guess all that is consistent. A lot of the Medici Popes were like that. Certain Archbishops. Maybe one or two Supreme Court Justices. I think, though, the fantasy element here is that a Consigliere, like Tom, in The Godfather was an attorney who got almost adopted into the family as a son. I can see how that might have some appeal. I notice myself the more I must lick the ground in the presence of wealth and power, the higher my fantasies fly. Once, I dreamt I married Queen Isabella of Spain, having served her loyally for many years as a dwarf. Another time, The Dumpster became The Santa Maria, and I woke up thinking Wall Street was Plymouth Rock. Once I woke up dreaming Tutor was John Smith and I was Pocahontas, and the Dumpster was our teepee, but that is another story. We all need fantasy or we would go crazy.
Reading this, I wonder about my colleagues, and fellow Wise Counselors, in Wealth Bondage, who dedicate their lives hardly less miserable than my own, to assuaging the harms, largely self-inflicted, suffered, in the midst of abundance, by colossally wealthy people. I wonder about advisors who write about Wealth and the Will of God to cultivate Private Bankers. And those who write about an island, a paradise, open only to the wealthy, from which those who do not get good advice (hint, hint) may be deported back to the middle class.
It not just that the wealthy elite are losing control of the Republican party; the country is losing the consent of the increasingly rancorous governed. It is sad that it takes a trash-talking billionaire, a casino operator, to rally the South, the faithful, the remnants of the middle class, the angry, endlessly manipulated patriots, and those who once had jobs, let alone unions.
Reading in my field, (Building Wealth Bondage to Last) as I do daily, holed up in Dumpster at the Corner of Wealth and Bondage, I feel as if I were alive under some decayed monarchy, reading courtiers, less well educated than they think they are, talking to fellow courtiers about service to the nobles, without any idea that the world is crashing in upon them.
Our roles as paid liars is to tell bigger and better lies, my friends, to not only preserve but to justify obscene wealth. As workaday intellectuals, paid by the hour, project or day, we need a big lie to the effect that through Flourishing Families worth billions, all citizens will flourish. Art is high class lying. Virgil, Horace, Dryden, all praised the King or Emperor as gods - not plausibly, but they got patronage and preferment! Why cannot we rise to that in praise of our dynastic clients, in the presence of the credulous rabble?
Inevitably, what readers of my post on Matt Wesley's recipe (for healthier families of great wealth) really want is my recipe for luncheon meat casserole for inconsequential families of no wealth. Honestly, I have no such recipe, but I can create one if readers can pool their assets and buy me some luncheon meat, a box of macaroni, and a pot. Maybe we can get a grant to buy the stove, too, and even an shelter of some kind to cook under.
If you as a wealth holder, advisor, or citizen have an interest in the closed world of planning for the uber-wealthy, essentially centamillionaires and up, and are looking for a quick, but leading edge, introduction, you might read these two posts by Matt Wesley.
In talks to advisors, at conferences on Wealth and Wisdom, or such, I sometimes ask: "Are your best practices the solution or the problem?" Matt is more tactful, better informed, and more balanced. But his point, up to a point, is much the same: Advisors create structures serving wealth, but then the family must live in the shadow of those structures.
Why should you as a citizen care? Why not read instead an article like how to reduce your credit card debt? Or how to pay off your student loans? Or how to stretch Social Security payments? Or how buying two pair of pants with one suit jacket can save you money in the long run? Or how to cut your own hair? Or how to make a casserole out of macaroni and luncheon meat? Here is why: Governing Families Govern. Ruling Families Rule. Flourishing Families as that term is used in Uber-Wealth Planning circles do not include yours. Resourceful Women are not bag ladies, forced to survive under difficult circumstances. Your mother may be resourceful, but not in the sense of Resourceful, if you see what I mean? Full of Financial Resources?
The reason to take an interest in Audrey is that she will be your Queen. How she adapts to Master Jack, and a Trust Fund with 51% of the world's wealth, will determine how you and your fellow peons and serfs, the common people, "hard working Americans," live in the future, and until the end of time. That is what Dynastic Wealth Planning is about. It is written for insiders by insiders. It is hidden in plain sight. Rather, you are hidden - you are not even visible in a tour bus, or mowing the lawn, or suckling the wealth owner's child. You are invisible to great wealth, and great wealth and its culture and folkways are invisible to you.
Matt is a JD, with background in estate planing. He is fluent in the humanities. He has a Divinity Degree. I don't see any indication that he is currently tormented by the Gospels, at least not that part of the Gospels that say we find the divine in the faces of the oppressed. By oppressed, or subordinated, he means trust fund babies who are subordinated to legal structures created by less enlightened planners. By subordinated, or oppressed, he does not mean you, either. By culture at war with structure, he does not mean your culture, or American culture generally, nor does he mean democracy in tension with, say, oligarchy. He means solely the culture of wealth and privilege doing its best in the shadow of massive funds in multi-generational trusts. What has that got to do with you? Nothing. You don't have a trust fund, so you don't have to worry about it. Not your problem. Matt and Master Jack will handle mentoring Heirs to Rule a World in which you are Invisible.
I am good with it. Audrey will own, rule, and save the world she inherits. Better her than some I could name. Wish Tutor well with her, so that she will one day control the trusts that control the world, rather than her having to live under the passive aggressive control of a corporate trustee. If she exerts control, she will save us all, as she rescued Rex from the pound. Hey, look! This is the best I can do within the constraints of Children's Story. I know it is absurd. Does Matt?
In the asylum for Wealth and Wisdom Consultants to the world's wealthiest, where I spent some time awhile back, recovering from my third lobotomy (thank God I am almost normal now), I saw a madman with a pile of old papers, scribbled over and over. All I could make out was the title, "Sustainable Injustice: a Toolkit for Flourishing Families with a Billion or More." The subtitle was Wealth and the Will of God as Found in a Bank Ledger. It was spooky, frankly. I am glad to get released back into the real world, where I am able to help dynastic families flourish in an earthly paradise of their own. In competition with each other, if all goes well, they will eventually consolidate, like corporations, or Medieval Fiefdoms, until we have one Queen or King to rule us. If I can help The Happy Tutor mentor the world's wealthiest child, so that she grows up to care for all she owns, the poorest among us, and all creatures, great and small, I will have done God's work. O my poor stomach! It must be something I ate. It is not Audrey's fault her mother, Tess, owns a controlling interest in the world. Audrey is a good kid. When others love her as much as I do, and she is Good Queen Audrey, we will finally have something good that unites us all in common purpose. Maybe it is the flu. I am not feeling well. How do you feel? You probably should not get too close to me. I may be contagious.
The Family Wealth Sustainability Toolkit, by Fredda Herz Brown, PhD and Fran Lottery PhD.
I have seldom gained as much, sentence by sentence, from any book in the field of family wealth counseling. That is just as well since the book is 102 pages long and has a list price of $125 (I got it second hand for less). The authors have decades of lived experience in working with uber-wealthy families. The book leads into an online assessment tool, with several dimensions that a wealthy family (measuring net worth in fractions or multiples of billions) should consider. Now, my Fellow Americans, read the passage below, and reflect:
Surprisingly, we learned that one dimension we had included, philanthropy (or giving), was considered both by families and many colleagues to be a value statement on our part. We removed that dimension but felt strongly that the items be included, so we preserved them under the two dimensions of family legacy and connection, and human capital and development.
That passage speaks volumes for the state of our society where so few have so much; so many have so little; and the highest calling of wealth advisors to billionaires is to be trusted advisors, giving good advice and no offense, so that billionaire families remain "sustainable" for generations even as the communities around them fail. The authors deserve credit for this little exercise in communication, like prisoners in a Dungeon in Wealth Bondage, tapping, tapping, tapping -- is anyone there? They do delete "philanthropy," but they leave the trace of the word where the eraser went. Read Gifthub in that light. It is the writing and erasure of what must not be said.
Symptoms speak to the physician. Hives and pustules. A red rash. Welts. Itchy skin. A heaving stomach. Racing heart. Lock jaw. Despair. Uncontrollable laughter. That is how a passage like the one quoted above is best read. The truth, like a psychosomatic disease in the body politic, is making itself felt like a lump growing larger by the day.
You in the next cell! Tap, tap, tap. What cell? What is he talking about? Exactly. Write and erase so that you have no idea.