“We’ve seen it all. Nothing lasts forever. My ancestors weren’t slaughtered because they treated people fairly on a daily basis and were generous on a few occasions. It doesn’t sound like much, but the way some people were treated was awful. They say that’s what happens when the ‘worm turns’? No, that’s what happens when people in power lose their power. You once had a firm grip on the snake with your hand right behind it’s mouth. Now you’re holding its tail and getting bit.
“I’m not saying we didn’t suffer. We just weren’t killed. Our estates were confiscated. Our houses were burned. But the people gave us warning. We were able to prepare before we had to flee the zealots who had just come to power.”
“We can’t go back. So we look forward. We were once the ‘peerage’, whatever name you want to give (it). We had wealth and we had privilege and we enjoyed both without feeling bad.”
“Our responsibility was to set an example in our behavior, protect the vulnerable as much as we were able, and preserve order, not considering the form of government (that) might be in place. Forms change through history. Our duty has not. My job description has not changed since I was a child. It will not change until I am dead. This gives me peace.
“Your labels of conservative and liberal are fatiguing. It is the rule of law and respect for order that maintain a society. If socialists take that away, you have communism. If fascists take that away, you have (a) dictator. Not a situation for a free country.”
“If people do not govern themselves with right-thinking, they will be governed by harsh laws. When you say everything you think quickly, loud, and with certainty, you will lose your right to speak freely because you have lost restraint and therefore lose privileges it has always escorted.”
“When you buy everything you can and show all (of it) to others, you become a tree to cut down and use for firewood rather than a tree others might seek shelter to go under during storms. Others will want to brag that they were the ones who cut down this tree, which was once so majestic and proud. The public will not think in that moment of the shelter that endures with a living tree, but only the warmth tonight of burning wood.”
“If you would be rich, be quiet. If you would rule others, rule yourself before. Cut yourself off from your weaknesses. Manage them as you would a wild animal, with a fence or river between you. Feed them only rarely, and from a distance, and never think they are tame, safe to entertain or share space with. No matter how beautiful they may seem, like a tiger’s stripes that ripple and glisten, they belong to a tiger just the same.”
“You will have to be deliberate and bold, according to the season and the moment. There is no training or wisdom in knowing which response to make. Do your best and accept your fate with grace. You are not the father of your success. You are not an orphan when you fail. Everyone can leave you, but only you can desert yourself.”
Excerpts from The Dynasty’s Journal, courtesy of an anonymous friend.