I spoke with a client about an hour ago. After stewing on the design of a floor for several days, I’ve finally decided the best solution is to change the framing system from a structural steel frame with a concrete floor on a composite steel deck to a light gauge metal truss frame with a thinner concrete floor on a form deck. So, I send an email to my client, the architect, asking that he call me.
Long story short, this puts in motion a set of discussions with a construction contractor / construction manager regarding the cost implications of the proposed system, and it probably sets me to work all weekend at the office making this work. Since this is the wife’s Christian retreat weekend, that means the boy will get his wish and be playing Minecraft much of Saturday while I redesign, reengineer, and redraw a portion of the building. Assuming the monarch approves the change.
This time around, there are two monarchs: the architect and the construction contractor. I’m just the wizard, which is the function I usually serve in these encounters. The two monarchs will confer regarding costs and advantages, weigh their experience with my counsel, and make a decision. As is common among wizards, I can prognosticate the outcome fairly well based on previous outcomes. Cost and ease of construction will drive the discussion to the same conclusion I’ve already reached. If I thought the outcome would be different – my recommendation would be ignored – then I wouldn’t probably voice it with the two monarchs who, in this particular instance, I trust.
This is the essence of aristocracy and monarchy that so many advocates of polling-managed mob-rule overlook: trust. Nobody really trusts the mob, and once the mob votes with either ballots or baseball bats, reasoned discussions cease because “the people have spoken.” On the other hand, if you lie and work in an environment where the aristocrats are sorted by environmental conditions that select for effective decision-making, you may rely upon those decision-makers to accurately predict outcomes within an acceptable margin of error. Keen observation of an aristocrats servants and vassals also provides a good measure of the treatment his underlings can expect. So, a good lord protects himself and his kith from aliens and provides for the welfare of kin and kith. And if you’re a wizard, like I am, you go and offer your services to such lords, and hope the blood doesn’t thin in his scions.
What you don’t want – what nobody wants – is the obligations of a lord. Such men must, with every potential retainer, assess loyalty, and with every dependent, consider a man’s long-term welfare. The aristocrat is obligated not just to himself, and not just to his family, but to every man dependent upon him for a good livelihood above rough living and homelessness. When the scion is ready, retirement to sport and gardening is a relief.
And some few of us wizards just want a few more years alone in our towers until our own obligation to assume a father’s lordship ends carefree hours tinkering with the fabric of reality.