For centuries, the culture of Old Money has been defined by characteristics that include inherited wealth, a discreet lifestyle, generations of quality education, and a commitment to being a productive and contributing member of society.
This list is, obviously, not exhaustive. We discuss a wide range of topics here that are representative of Old Money culture. Some are as straightforward as clothing and cars. Some run deeper and farther afield. But we rarely talk about the ‘C’ word.
Loathing almost everything new, Old Money Guys and Gals can view change with suspicion. The Old Ways have worked well, they’ll rightly point out. They feel no urge to rearrange their world of well-managed assets, threadbare furniture, good books, and comfortable clothes. Why would they?
Still, as the mouton noir of the family and (probably) of this culture I write about, every once in awhile you have to shake things up. Take the some dusty ideas out to the country for some fresh air, and then, quite unexpectedly, launch them skyward and use them as skeet.
In that spirit of necessary destruction, here are some traditions I think we could do without. Feel free to comment and amend, as always…
- Let’s toss the term WASP (White Anglo Saxon Protestant). Many of us may still be that, but the values we champion are shared by Old Money families of every race, heritage, and religion. Let’s just go with Old Money, unless somebody else has an acronym that works. I’m drawing blank right now and am open to suggestions.
- Let’s ditch the secrecy about our way of life. A little. If a sincere person wants to learn about how and why we live the way we do, let’s be a little more inclined to discuss it. Sparingly. You can always just recommend The Old Money Book, but there are people who want to understand and emulate the life we lead. Consider sharing its fundamentals.
- For those in a position to do so, let’s drop the profit motive. Let’s replace it with some public service. I don’t mean running for Congress so you can serve one term, meet all the players, and then become a lobbyist. I mean giving back to the community and the country with no angle on increasing your wealth, privilege, or position. If you’re set for life, give somebody else the chance to have a better life: do your duty.
- Finally, let’s ease up on the exclusivity. If you meet someone who shares our values, minds their manners, works hard, dresses modestly, and reads well, do we really care that they’re name doesn’t start with vowels and end with numbers? We need to welcome new members. We can always give them a humiliating nickname later on. I’d go short of calling it an Outreach Program, but we need to have influence on this society. There is strength in numbers. Especially numbers think like we do.
Alright. That’s enough rebellion for one post.