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August 27, 2009


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E. G. Jay Link


I am honored that you would choose to even quote from our firm's website. If you would like a fuller explanation of the differences between a values-based vs. a virtues-based approach to wealth planning, I would refer you to my first book: Family Wealth Counseling: Getting to the Heart of the Matter. And if you would send me your mailing address I would be happy to send you a complimentary copy of each of my two new books: Spiritual Thoughts on Materials Things and To Whom Much is Given. It might give you more fodder for your blog comments.(smile)

You might also enjoy reading George Wills' thoughts on the matter: http://www.jewishworldreview.com

Feel free to call me anytime. I'd enjoy the conversation. (317) 831-7200.

Phil Cubeta

Thanks, Jay. I did read your first book, awhile back. Thanks for commenting.

E. G. Jay Link


The books are being mailed out today.

I don't think I gave you the full link to George Will's article on Forget Values, Let's Talk Virtues. I think you would find it insightful.

Try this: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/will052500.asp




Mr. Jay Link,

I looked in vain in Mr. Will's "Virtues" piece for an actual example of virtue, whether embodied in a person, or an action. He prefers to endorse Toqueville's potent insight without trespassing on anything like a practical suggestion of where to begin laying the common ground for a community to build a shared understanding, appreciation (or valuation), and practice of whatever it might try to define as "virtue," or "virtuous."

Perhaps Mr. Will, if he had more space, would have looked to William Bennett? Shall we all return to the Nicomachean Ethics? Or to Mosaic Law? Or to texts of the Buddha, or Mr. Trotsky? It's slightly unclear, at least to this reader, where this wish of Mr. Will's is supposed to first find fallow earth, and how, once it's germinated, our pluralistic, democratic, fragmented nation is to commence its serious and salutary cultivation.

Phil Cubeta

Thanks, Jay. Blogged it.

Phil Cubeta


The main thing is to have an elite, to which Will belongs, whether secular or sacred, with enough myth-making and enough lip service to prevailing religions, to carry along, subordinate to the elite, the Main Street under-educated sorts for whom Will can barely conceal his disdain. The interesting thing is that the Main Street people don't hear the contempt; don't see they are being used. They just like the word "virtue."

E. G. Jay Link


I told you Will's article was interesting. I do find it interesting that you call yourself a Morals Tutor to the wealthy, yet you seem to not have a stated basis upon which your morals are founded. If there is such a thing as a moral law, it must have come from a moral law giver and if there is a moral law giver who determines what is moral and what is immoral, it would serve us well to determine whether we intend to do with him and his moral law. Who told us that telling the truth was right and lying was wrong? Who told us that cheating on your spouse is wrong and staying married is right? Who told us that killing is immoral? And that human sacrifice is wrong? That stealing is bad behavior?Or has this all just come as subjective man-invented standards that are merely just one man "opinion" that may or may not be better than another other man's opinion. Generosity as I would prefer to describe it is a virtue because it was desmonstrated to us by a virutous, moral God who modeled generosity for us. Virtue and its corresponding vices are not a mere matter of one man's opinion. It is either right or wrong and if it is right or wrong, we need to learn why from going to the source of the moral law. Anyway, some food for thought that is anything but esoteric.

E. G. Jay Link


Please feel free to pick up my book Family Wealthy Counseling and I will outline for you several examples of virtues and their corresponding vices that appear in the absence of these virtues.

If you order the book from my website, you will get a personally autographed copy of it. (smile)


Phil Cubeta

Athens and Jerusalem, Jay, from both descend long traditions addressing the questions who raise. The Morals Tutor here is a Fool, he descends from Socrates, Diogenes, Seneca, Horace, Swift, Gay, Wilde. The question of Jesus, as Trickster, rather than law giver, comes into this as well. When Jesus was asked the kind of leading questions you asked, he responded with parables, "There was a man who was set upon by thieves...." "There was in the Temple a Pharisee who got down on his knees and said, 'Thank you God for not making me like other men...." So, no, like the figures mentioned, I have no pulpit, no authority, but operate out of a Dumpster on the edge of the public thoroughfare, with few answers, holding a mirror up that others might see their own faces, as Horace said the satririst should, not that mine is all that great either.

Phil Cubeta


Also, knowing the good and doing good are so different. Knowing that Jesus said, "Give all you have to poor" is one thing. Doing it is another. As morals tutors to what degree are we expounding ethical principles? And to what extent are we cultivating virtue? To what extent can we hold ourselves out as exemplifying virtue? Is that not presumptuous, even prideful, and as such damning? "Physician heal thyself" is the obvious rebuttal from those whose disease is self aggrandizement and who notice same in us, the professed Morals Tutor. Dramatizing this presumption, unction, and hypocrisy, leads to comedy or satire, the genres used here to "hold the mirror up to human nature," my own grostesque face included. The satirist laughs or lashes the kave out of his knavery. Yet the satirist is a fool among knaves himself.

Phil Cubeta

When a morals tutor who is not ordained (as I belivwe you ar, Jay)and is not preaching to the confirmed, it is much harder to win assent to a statement like, "I at Gifthub are called by God....." In the context of this site, people would assume that I be satirizing myself, under the mask of an imposter, a fraud, a mountebank, if I made such a claim. Hence, rightly, the kind of planning you do may require a "gate" that is closed, like the door of a church, or the gates of a university, before the ceremonies begin. Not all messages, or sermons, are for all ears. Kingdom Advisors, for example, may be on the right track in bringing those whop share a particular religious tradition together to do and receive virtues-based planning from with that shared commitment. I am respectful of that effort and would like to see more such "community-centered" virtues-based planning in many faith groups as well as in the kind of schools where Socrates, Diogenes, Aristotle, Horace and Swift, along with Dante and George Eliot are taught. Connecting to our deepest tradition of "virtue" is what should drive planning, whether for one it comes from religion or for another it comes from the liberal arts.

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