"Phil," Tutor said to me last night, "when you meet a man without a nose, it is not always because he has the pox. Sometimes it is because he cut it off to spite his face." My hand went immediately to my nose. It was still tender and inflamed from alcohol, but otherwise intact. I think I must be anxious about my recent post on Matt Wesley, and the possibility that he, as a trusted advisor to wealth, and a Divine by training, might respond amicably, rather than distancing himself from me as a pariah in a dumpster, passed by in silence, as I should be. His nose looks good on him; mine on me. It would be terrible if we used logic to address ideology. That never ends well, particularly if you do it in public. For example:
- Wealth disparity does not exist.
- If it did exist it is a good thing, not an injustice, but a result of the hidden hand of God working through the market
- If it is a bad thing, it is a necessary evil
- While it may exist and be bad, wealth disparity does not matter because heirs within two generations, will dissipate the money through their well documented vice and folly
- We as Trusted Advisors can fix this by helping parents choose their values from a list, or from a set of cards, and pass them on to their kids
- We, the Wise and Virtuous, can also help the rich by serving as moral exemplars to them and as moral mentors to their heirs. Sighted ourselves we can cure their blindness. Healthy ourselves we can cure their sickness. They just have to incentivize us. Our time is limited and we can only save just so many families from themselves. We must start with the richest because they can do the most good or harm, and because they can afford to pay us a good retainer.
- For the fortunate few centa-millionaires and up who can afford us, we can make sure they enter Paradise on Earth, and remain citizens of it forever, far from the stinking mess they have left behind, the fallen world of poor struggling mortals enmeshed in sin and death.
I was taught, by Tutor, long ago, that to those to whom much is given, much is expected. This was not presented by Tutor as optional. He simply took me OTK and thrashed me, until I learned the lesson. Maybe for that reason I now take it as Gospel.
But, in all fairness to the ideologues, the mystified, the false prophets, and the gullible in dynastic wealth planning, I can see the other side too. There are rewards and punishments that shape our thoughts and feelings, and make or break our careers. The nursery rhyme about Simple Simon may be about that. Those with a penny get to eat the pie. Those without the penny do not get pie, or plum. You can look for a whale in your pail, but unless the client fills it, you have not got squat.
If we alienate our patrons by drawing attention to their responsibilities, they may not accept us as their Secular Priest, Morals Tutor, Trusted Advisor, Most Trusted Advisor, Privy Counselor, Concierge, Consigliere, Person of All Work, Swami, or Family Dynamics Coach. We may be thrown out on our ass, and have to cage charity from a Dumpster, a sorry life for a moral paragon like me.
Speak well of the devil: I sometimes feel God put me on earth as an object lesson to others, an example of what goes wrong in Paradise if you mistake the Gospels for truth.
The Happy Tutor is a special man. He is also a fictional figure, not a figment of my imagination as some might assume, but of Erasmus's, in The Praise of Folly. At least he was drawn by Holbein as an illustration. We would be a world class fool if we followed his example, Matt.