Pattern of the whole
Remember me?
Join us | Get your password | Vision | Topics | Home

Join us | Topics | Home | Collaborative Backbone | Quotes | Teilhard deChardin | Focalpoint | Shared Purpose | NCDD Transpartisan | Mapping | Circle | Pattern

All messages

Sender: Lawrence Chickering
Subject: Conservatives
Date: Wed, Apr 30, 2014
Msg: 100958


What person has a single, unitary concept of identity? The only people are extreme and disturbed, and they desperately want to search for more balanced lives, featuring some combination of separation and connection. What is the source of a 'shared responsibility'? Or more specifically: what accounts for peoples' sense of duty and obligation to others and to society? Steve, your suggestion that we start with 'shared responsibility' sounds like an abstraction, drawn from sources on both the left and right, and highlighted in civics classes fifty years ago -- of little practical value now except historical.

How does one increase one's commitment to others, especially strangers or people who are 'different'? Robert Bellah, in Habits of the Heart, published thirty years ago, focused on the same problem you are raising; and in the end, he had not the faintest clue how to do this. Much of the book sounded like the conservative Robert Nisbet's Quest for Community, from the early 1950s; yet in the end, all Bellah could come up with was centralized, leftist proposals for governmental action: we needed big government programs, he ended up concluding, to force people to be civic-minded. (Echoes of Rousseau's injunction that the key was 'forcing people to be free'.)

John Clark and Aaron Wildavsky wrote a lovely critique of where attempts to force people to public interest lead in their study of Poland under the communists (The Moral Collapse of Communism, 1985): it leads people away from public spirit to obsession with private interest -- no great gains there.

We are still trying to do it, driven by laws guaranteeing peoples' 'rights'. Busing people to effect racial integration in schools creates racially balanced schools at least for a time, but unless a major commitment is made to subjective engagement inside the schools the result is (immediately) internally-segregated schools and (over time) out-migration and renewed segregation.

While legal compulsion can equalize people objectively in terms of the law, and they can be very important overturning objective injustices such as forcing people to sit in the back of the bus, they cannot equalize people objectively in terms of how people are objectively different (no law can empower anyone who is 5' 4" to become a Hall-of-Fame NBA basketball player); and they also cannot -- much more importantly -- force people subjectively to honor or respect each other. (In fact, public 'acceptance' often stimulates only private rejection.)

In practice, attempts to equalize people by bureaucratic commands often (merely) mechanize relations between people, forcing people to fight to be human while creating nightmare cultures in which people are, for the most part -- dead. This explains an important part, I believe, of why half of all public school teachers leave teaching within five years: because they didn't go into teaching to be dead. (Someone working with the San Francisco Unified School District once offered the thought that public school teachers were unhappy because they weren't paid enough. I asked her how much she thought you would have to pay teachers to be dead. She laughed and made no effort to answer.)

Jim Turner and I, in Voice of the People -- echoing arguments I made twenty years ago in Beyond Left and Right -- argue, from our four-quadrant perspective (freedom-right, order-right, freedom-left, order-left), that all modern people (my experience working in tribal India tells me it is even true of people in the most traditional and tribal regions of developing countries) aspire to identities balancing all four quadrants.

Please note that this is not an argument between government and no- government. Large private organizations can also have nightmare mechanistic cultures, but the problem, I think, is more common in governmental organizations. The key ingredient that protects institutions from mechanization is trust, and the key to trust is personal engagement. If you trust people, you won't feel compelled to tell them what to do at every turn. If you trust people and allow them to work in self-governing units, the resulting process of self-governance will connect them in an environment of real (subjective) equality.

In terms of contemporary politics and political debate, what institutions, values, and/or policies might encourage development and integration of the four quadrants both individually and politically? The question is important both for people on the ground affected by institutions (e.g., public schools) and also for people not on the ground who are debating how best to do things. Programs that integrate the four quadrants on the ground will appeal to people in all quadrants who are simply debating. Educate Girls Globally (EGG) is a four-quadrant model that appeals to everyone on the ground everywhere it is implemented (now in 7,000 schools mostly in rural India), and it also appeals to governments, which are starting to pay for it (in our project in Uttarakhand, five or six state ministries have joined as partners because they can see how powerfully effective their work is when done in concert with empowered citizens even in the most traditional and tribal regions).

EGG's program is an implicit charter school program, committed to school choice -- not, as with most current charter schools opting out of the mainstream school system, but choice through empowerment of all major stakeholders in each school. Organized opposition to charter schools is now driven by the fact that the empowerment is available only to those who opt out. This leaves the fear that many will be left behind -- 'in the nightmare'. EGG's empowerment/choice process is available to everyone -- hence, there is no opposition to it.

EGG's is a process that encourages people, in freedom, to chose the order they want in organization of schools.

When people come together at the local level and are personally engaged, they can engage on 'larger' issues of society as a whole. I don't think there is any persuasive path to this place based on abstractions, which are loved by intellectuals but have little relevance to real work (and promotion of real change) in the world.


A. Lawrence Chickering Founder and President, Educate Girls Globally (EGG)

On Apr 25, 2014, at 14:49, Steven H Johnson wrote:

> Hi Michael, everyone - > > So - if I have an impassioned sense of civic identity - then a conversation about government is also a conversation about personal identity. "My sense of identity leads me to favor limited government." "My sense of identity leads me to favor an activist government." When we put those two ideas on the table, are we really talking about government? Or - indirectly - are we actually talking about the personal identities we prefer? > > Let me suggest a different starting point. What if we start with "the question of shared responsibilities"? "As citizens, do we have shared responsibilities? Do we have shared responsibilities for the well-being of our communities? Of our society? Of our nation?" > > This approach leads directly to questions of corruption and integrity. Do we have shared responsibilities for the integrity of commerce? Do we have shared responsibilities for the integrity of politics? For the integrity of government? I think the shared responsibility question has real potential as a starting point for transpartisan conversation.. > > And - once we've opened that door - then we might find ourselves weighing two approaches to individualism. How do we feel about individualism at the expense of responsibility? How do we feel about individualism from within a framework of accepting responsibility? > > I think "shared responsibility" is a promising place to start. > > > To switch to a self-introduction (well, an indirect one), I offer today's Washington Post online story about my wife Martha Johnson and her exit from running the General Services Administration two years ago. > > > > Best, > > Steve Johnson > > > > > On Apr 25, 2014, at 4:13 PM, Michael Briand wrote: > >> Rick and Michael S. have directed our attention to "limiting government" as a point of contention between left and right. I would like to probe this observation a little more deeply. In this recent blog piece (!page3/cee5), I try to surface problems with the concept of individualism as one source of this conflict. Whether or not you find the piece illuminating, or even accurate, I'd like to suggest that it serves as an example of how transpartisanship requires that we begin to peel back the many layers of our disagreements to get at what's underneath, and at each level to practice the "mutual comprehension" (empathy) without which we will never accomplish more than mutually unsatisfactory compromise. >> >> Thanks. >> >> Michael >> Michael Briand >> Chico, CA >> >> >> To unsubscribe from the TRANSPARTISAN list, click the following link: >> >> > > > To unsubscribe from the TRANSPARTISAN list, click the following link: > >

A. Lawrence Chickering Founder and President, Educate Girls Globally (EGG) 1485 Main St., Ste 103c St. Helena, CA 94574 415.235.6628 email: ############################

To unsubscribe from the TRANSPARTISAN list: write to: mailto:TRANSPARTISAN-SIGNOFF-REQUEST@LISTS.THATAWAY.ORG or click the following link:

Anger and partisan rage
Attention Economy
Basic principles for a Transpartisan movement
Collaborative problem solving
Common ground
Community conversations
Conscious business
Creating transpartisan consensus
Crisis of democracy
Dynamic Facilitation
Facilitated conversation/dialogue
For transpartisanism to be successful, people must transform their most basic beliefs
Holding the tension of our differences while working together with respect and an open heart
Integral democracy
Integral politics
Integral thinking
Internet support for dialog and action
Out of Many, One - E Pluribus Unum
Partisan bubbles
Partisan disfunction
Political revolution
Psychological overload
Public choice economics
Science and accurate thinking
Stratified Democracy
Teleology and cultural evolution
Transpartisan alliance on specific issue
Uninvolved citizen
Unity and diversity
Unprecedented new approaches
Us versus Them
Voter ignorance
Weave together a movement of many initiatives
What is "transpartisan"?
Wisdom Council
Wisdom in society
Work together to create an activist vision