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: Steven H Johnson
Subject: Re: Transpartisan map
Date: Fri, Jun 6, 2014
Msg: 101054

(from before)

Hi Rick -

Let's see if I understand the assumptions you're using.  In each cell of this chart, there's a continuum of some kind, and within that particular continuum, there's a golden mean, or an optimal practice.  At the same time, there are ways of departing from optimal practice and not achieving the best balancing of contending interests.  So, for example, at the intersection point of Collective, and Resource Acquisition, you posit Limited Government as the most effective reconciling approach.  Implying, if I understand you properly (I might not), that other choices could be made, other than Limited Government, but that Limited Government would best express some sort of Aristotelian virtue, while the other options would pull us off into various sorts of Aristotelian vices.  Simply within that one cell.

Am I properly reading the flavor of what you say?

Best, Steve

I would argue that it is a bit more constrained than that.

Columns one and two. for example, exist whether we like it or not.
Column two dictates column three.
Column four is dictated by the attempt to maximize the benefit to society. (emphasis added)
Columns five and six are the natural result.
And then column seven is simply a name.

   - Rick

Hi Rick - 

"Maximize the benefit to society" is an Aristotelian virtue, is it not?  Putting the general interest first?  

To me, Rick, one of the reasons your map holds interest is because I think it suggests a series of group discussion challenges.  Cell by cell, we have opportunities to wrestle with the Aristotelian tensions between virtue and vice, between wisdom and rationalization, and, with luck, to mature as citizens who favor society's larger benefit.   

This gets to the central tension in any democracy.  A democratic republic delivers legitimacy.  And that's all it guarantees.  Any decision made by a majority of an elected Congress and signed by a President and concurred in by the Supreme Court has legitimacy, no matter how terrible it later turns out to have been.  But legitimacy is a powerful advance over, say, the War of the Roses.

What if legitimacy isn't enough?  In a nation of vast scale, with the capacity for vast impact on all areas of life, for good and for ill?

For democracy to achieve its higher potential, its citizens have to converge upward toward some sense of the general interest, or as you put it, Rick, maximizing the benefit to society. 

Otherwise citizens get pulled into special interest passions and we have Madison's bleak safety net - majority rules, tempered with the protection of minority rights.  

The tension between general interest virtues and special interest passions will always be present, in every society, in every period.  

This tension is present with American liberalism and within American conservatism; it's present within those who prefer order and within those that prefer freedom.

So the split that matters the most for our future isn't just the ideological split between liberalism and conservatism, per se, it's also the virtue-vice split that appears within both the right and the left, between national interest conservatives and special interest conservatives, on the one hand, between national interest liberals and special interest liberals, on the other.

To put this point in more graphic terms.  When there's big money to be had, people will cheat.  Not everyone.  But many.  Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds.  Lance Armstrong.  Lehman Brothers.  Capitalism is not just a private property system, not just a market system, it's also a wealth accumulation system.  And because it's a wealth accumulation system, it's more than capable of rewarding cheating.  Congress suffers from the same vulnerability.  It's a power accumulation system.  People will also cheat in order to gain power.   

And with the temptation to cheat as a permanent reality, conservatism easily becomes a cloak for one set of cheaters.  Liberalism becomes a cloak for another set.  Vice triumphs.  The nation loses ground.  The dark side of the conservative agenda takes hold;  the dark side of the liberal agenda takes hold; the American people suffer.  We were led toward vice by partisan passions; no one led us toward virtue. 

Our constitutional tradition gives us legitimate government.  It gives us ballots, not bullets.  But it doesn't give us character.  For that, each generation is on its own.  Including ours.

Steve Johnson

Steven Howard Johnson - Civic Futurist
Book in Progress:  Thoughtful Patriotism

To unsubscribe from the TRANSPARTISAN list, 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