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The Language
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A Family Philosophy
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The Language of Conscience Book Series
    Dedication for the
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    Instilling Values in
     Transcending
     Generations
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    The New Legacy
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     Conservatism
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Enlightened Conservatism
    The Tao of the
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    Enlightened
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The Heart of the Book without the Nutshell

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You have asked how the new book, Instilling Values in Transcending Generations, differs from The Language of Conscience to which you contributed. The difference is primarily in its purpose. There is a great story that is circulated on the Internet of an Indian chief training his grandson to be a warrior. One key point the old Chief made was that in every man there are two wolves constantly fighting—a bad wolf that is fed by envy, jealousy, hate, and the worst attributes of men and a good wolf that is fed by honor, integrity, compassion, and the best attributes of men. They fight constantly for a man’s soul and destiny. The grandson asked, “But which wolf finally wins?” The Grandfather replied, “The one that you feed the most.” The New Legacy focused on the importance of family and its value. The Language of Conscience taught about the importance of character and morality in shaping individuals and the futures of nations. Instilling Values in Transcending Generations talks about the power of morality and the necessity of having a common core of ideas so that catalysts can be formed. The previous two books were centered on feeding the good wolf. This new book is focused on teaching the good wolf how to more effectively fight in a world dominated by the powers of convenience, corruption, and terrorism.

                                               Tieman H. Dippel, Jr.
To the Integrity Task Force of FIDIC
(The International Association
of Consulting Engineers)
Beijing, China
September 7, 2005

Enlightened Conservatism has been described as a philosophy focused on unifying people through the power of conscience, with instilling character as its executive force. That is a good description, but it is also a synthesis of the lessons of history. Alexis de Tocqueville noted “America is great because it is good. If America ever ceases to be good, it will cease to be great.” Character is destiny. Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn perhaps captured it on the individual level when he noted, “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, not between political parties…but right through every human heart.” Enlightened Conservatism starts with the heart, hoping, in time, to change or maintain the values of a nation. The power of a culture of values creates the paradigm for economics and politics if it becomes dominant.

                                               Tieman H. Dippel, Jr.
Instilling Values in
Transcending Generations

In understanding the thought process of Enlightened Conservatism, it is essential to understand its goals from a strategic perspective. The best way to explain the logic of that thought process would be to take an example that I have used in many speeches. If I were to ask four people to each take a position, one in the center of each wall of a square, and I stood in the middle of that square room and then held up a mirror, when I ask each to describe what they saw, they would see the same object but one would describe the reflection, another would describe the blank back, and two would describe the relatively indistinct edges. Those four perspectives would represent the knowledge of the object. If I then undertake the process of slowly turning the mirror where each side sees what the others did, it begins to accumulate enough knowledge of the true perspective of the object to allow discussion. That process is the acquisition of knowledge. The next level would be the acquisition of wisdom. It involves using the knowledge to the best and most effective purpose. If each person looked into the mirror, they could perceive the use of its convenience in making certain their appearance was appropriate. Or, at a different level of thought, by looking at themselves they could judge their own sense of personal dignity and whether they lived their lives in such a way that they were happy with what they saw. This brings the question of knowledge and wisdom into a focus. Normally, we attempt to generate great amounts of knowledge to seek wisdom, but quite often when we have too much knowledge, the instinct and common sense of what is important is the true wisdom that can allow us to look at what we want to achieve and the goals that we need and engineer back for the knowledge that helps us achieve it. In Enlightened Conservatism it is wisdom that conscience and character are necessities for a stable and harmonious world, and we must find the knowledge and perspectives to achieve it by a process that turns many mirrors. It is not just an issue for the individual, but is an approach that needs to be taken by nations internally and by efforts between nations globally.

                                               Tieman H. Dippel, Jr.
Instilling Values in
Transcending Generations

Cultural Wisdom (or Thoughts) from the Heart

It is important to distinguish between the concepts of equality and excellence. With resources there is always a choice—ten different books in one great library for excellence or one book in ten libraries to give some knowledge to a greater number. Finding the necessary balance in a competitive world is an increasingly critical decision. It is a decision complicated by the confusion of the interrelationship of people and ideas. For people you seek equality of rights and opportunity. For ideas you seek excellence because all ideas are not equal. Some ideas are far more important to destiny than others. Equality of individuals is often a bottom-up process of building consensus. Implementing excellence in ideas often tends to be a top-down process prioritizing the most critical ideas. The great problem in culture is balancing the ideas that combine both. Political correctness and individual rights evolve from equality of people, group obligations, and collective concepts from ideas of common good. A system is often needed to make these balance choices more distinct, and this is why the cultural concept of enlightened conservatism evolved. It is not a system that is designed to tell others what to do beyond focusing on conscience, but to enlighten them as to a broader perspective.

                                               Tieman H. Dippel, Jr.
www.thelanguageofconscience.com

As technology and materialism begin to overwhelm the environment that instills values in our children, we must strengthen key cultural values to provide balance and stability to society. Even if we teach our children the best of our heritage, an environment dominated by convenience either corrupts them or hinders them. Our obligations to our children include an effort to positively shape the world they will inherit. That requires understanding the strategic choices and acting positively upon them.

                                               Tieman H. Dippel, Jr.
www.thelanguageofconscience.com

The most durable and best cultural bridges are built not just upon the words and actions of men, but also on the honor and wisdom of their ancestors and concern for the future of their children, for wise men understand that the lessons of history are also the strategic forces shaping destiny.

                                               Tieman H. Dippel, Jr.
Central Party School, Beijing, PRC
September 9, 2004

Honor is recognizing responsibility for obligations; ethics is the definition of those obligations. Ethics thus cannot be relative for you to have an effective code or culture of honor.

                                               Tieman H. Dippel, Jr.
www.thelanguageofconscience.com

When cultures interact and clash, there must be efforts to blend them. At first it is an appreciation of the concept of multiculturism. Often diversity follows in an effort to have respect for personal dignity given to groups rather than to individuals to whom it has been denied. Then a critical choice occurs—do you attempt to reunify the diverse cultures to common denominators of character and conscience or do you rationalize the problems by the path of relativity of morals and ethics to avoid confrontation? The strength of society hangs on this choice because it defines the level of responsibility and obligation to others and to society as a whole. Civilization is the regulation of our basic instincts, which are stronger than reason unless we have a common obligation. You must unify first on common values to the degree possible. Then you build on common interests in the benefits of a culture of ethics, conscience, and character. All cultures exist with both virtues and vices, but the dominant determines the nature of the culture and the direction of progression of the society. The fact that societies of history have not found virtues to be vices, and vice versa, demonstrates both internal understanding of good versus evil and the operational benefits of character.

                                               Tieman H. Dippel, Jr.
www.thelanguageofconscience.com

Civilizations encounter many threats that may destabilize and destroy them. What often preserves them is not their strength or knowledge. Strength with excess can become brittle; intelligence with excess can become elitist. What is critical is the ability to change and adapt to the threat. This requires a unity that lets them use their strength and knowledge. It is the cultural bond of common values that draws sacrifice for the common good that is a catalyst for change.

                                               Tieman H. Dippel, Jr.
www.thelanguageofconscience.com

This will be the century of cultural friction between the fundamental nature of enduring cultural values with entrenched economics and political interests and the pressure of modernization, which creates a new economic and political elite. It is not so much a conflict between nations but is a conflict within societies and will generate a different paradigm of concerns such as terrorism and corruption. The issue in the Mid East is less between those states and the West as it is the conflict between existing traditional values and change. In time this will be more clearly understood. Our difficulty is that the issues are often framed in this environment at the extremes. The advancement of civilization will depend upon the ability to unify a principled understanding of the common good more than a relativity of toleration. Be it in the United States, Europe, China or the Middle East, the search for a common ground will be the goal. It will not be found in the politics of transactional compromise, but instead on transformational agreements based on principles of honor, character, and the larger common good that become embraced by a diverse enough leadership to create the strength and power for a new paradigm. It will not be just the strength and vision of these leaders as much as the growing weakness of systems that will bring change. It will require people to learn how to think in new terms of values. For if you learn how to think with a complete and organized perspective then what you think is easier because facts and truth quickly overcome hypocrisy and hate. The answer to hate speaks truth not toleration and hypocrisy. The issue is learning how to think, and for kids to want to learn they have to be excited by the importance of wisdom.

                                               Tieman H. Dippel, Jr.
www.thelanguageofconscience.com

      The relationship between China and the United States will be the pivotal driver of the next decade. This will be a transition decade that establishes relationships and balances that will reach far into the future. Will there be two competing superpowers or a symbiotic relationship that creates the environment of the next century? Presently, the two are linked by economics not only in the production of goods and consumption, but also increasingly by financial considerations as China invests heavily in American debt adding critical marginal funding to the American economy. But this will create imbalances. How the risks are monitored and addressed has a great impact on the world’s economic growth. To me, the critical issue may well not be the economics or the politics but the perspective of thought that is driven by the people of both nations. They determine the politics and they react to the economics. But their perspective is set not just by the information they hold but also by the sense of the intent of their leadership and the confidence within it. The future challenges are going to require a type of leadership that instills confidence and comes from a cultural perspective of how people view themselves—a personal dignity and character forged both from history and a concern for their family’s future as well as the immediate.

      When I am asked my thoughts on China, I describe it as similar to my experience during the Vietnam Era when I was in the Navy. Even though I was a lawyer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, we were also trained for leadership in fire control and some training in navigation. Perhaps nothing gave me more of an understanding of the complexity of guiding a great ship than the training in the BZ Trainer at Newport, Rhode Island. In a simulated convoy, all of us were in teams to direct a large ship on the screen and keep it in position. You quickly learned that small boats reacted more quickly, that big ones were very complex, and that you had to start movements early with a significant respect for the time, speed, and power of other obstacles. It was easy to crash without careful thought and experience. China is like that great ship. The United States is as well. The media has its stories of individual instances that give many different impressions of each because we focus on the short term in media. But in reality, both countries will have groups that differ internally. The key is where the trend is determined that sets the course for the longer term like that ship. How long are the timeframes allowing decision? How experienced is the Captain for uncharted water? How much power does the ship possess to keep a course? What big obstacles must be anticipated? For the United States, partisanship clouds the answer to many of these questions because it deprives the power to unify behind a decision. Also the financial imbalances are big obstacles, but America has a history of being resilient and unified in a crisis. But what made that resiliency is a dedication to character and values that allowed sacrifice. Its retention of its culture of values is essential.

      China is different in that it is much more centrally controlled and uses the benefits of that consolidation of power for growth. It also is in uncharted waters as it broadens its market economy at an uncertain time in the world that is in part caused by its growth and investment decisions. But China is not as opaque or confusing as most would make it. The Communist Party controls the government, the military, and has a great impact on the culture. It understands the power of culture because of its history, and it often uses culture to accomplish its ends. For that reason you need look at the ideological think tank of the Communist Party to see the ideas being generated for consideration of the leadership Captains. The location is on the grounds of the Summer Palace where these future leaders are trained. It is called the Central Party School in China, often referred to as the Cadre School abroad. It is their finest minds focused, in part, on how to run that ship in the BZ Trainer. China understands the importance of time and thinks in generations in making moves. It understands obstacles by focusing on fighting corruption as a necessity for building the economic system to bring balance to growth areas and rural areas. And it understands that the long history of culture in China is a tremendous power to unify its people to keep stability during economic turmoil. It also understands the problems China will face with the environment, the necessity of future growth, and the host of problems all large nations have when governments must make choices. The school’s research will increasingly become a part of their vision of a “Harmonious Society” that gives insight on how China looks at the future. It may be a trial balloon for discussion, but it is discussion at the highest levels.

      China usually does what is in its best interest, as its leadership understands it. So the interaction of East and West is best served by building bridges so that a more complete understanding of implications of mutual actions can be appreciated. That is difficult to do in economics or in politics, but culture is the unifying force. The School has begun to build its bridges thoughtfully and knowledgably on that base. They are focusing on cultural values, morality, and ethics as cultural components that hopefully will form a significant base in their “harmonious society” with the Eastern appreciation of personal dignity and “face.” If there is a cleavage point on the diamond of understanding China and in many ways the future world, it will be what is in the concept of a “harmonious society” and how well the leadership of China embraces its core and the world seeks to understand it. As the great Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu noted, “Wisdom is knowing others, enlightenment is knowing self.” Be it China or the United States, it is important where you are currently positioned, but that is now historic. The real issue of change is in what direction you are headed, how committed you are, and how fast is the rate of change. This is what can be affected, but it must be studied and understood. What is the direction of America, of China, of the rest of the world and how does it interplay?

      To me the future is brighter than many people think because the world will face crisis, but crisis brings a desire for wisdom. And leadership is becoming more prepared and thoughtful than is probably perceived by our reading of the media. Values will be seen to matter because sacrifice toward a solution necessitates a vision of the future and a willingness to care beyond self. The battle of cultures will ultimately be, not between cultures, but within cultures for what visions of the future take hold and what values are chosen. Those cultures with character’s determination and dedication have the balance of history on their side. It is not the strongest that survive, and it is not the most intelligent. It is the most adaptable and that requires the cultural ability of unification of common values. The world will always have crises. The problem is that those of the future may have more serious disruptions because of the leverage of size. The individual problems may not be as much of a necessary focus as the method by which we address them cooperatively. How we think about them and the process we use to solve them may be more critical to the future than individual problems themselves. The Golden Rule has always been a good beginning until man or government leaves conscience to seek personal convenience. Ultimately, with time, the results came from what each succeeding generation retains or builds in its values. Instilling these values in many ways follow an old Chinese proverb that applies to children and in building cultural bridges.

Tell me; I forget,
Show me; I remember,
Involve me; I understand.

                                                        Tieman H. Dippel, Jr.
Instilling Values in Transcending Generations 

On Understanding China’s Future

        I am often asked how I see the future of the United States and China, and I reply that history shows great nations and emerging nations can maintain, grow or fail. There is no certainty, but leadership, values, perspective, unity, and a host of changeable characteristics have impact. Usually great nations and growing powers implode from within and are only conquered in a weaker state. To assess how the two nations will be positioned twenty or thirty years from now, you can only estimate likely trends, and there is no certainty. Both nations are in transition to global change. Will China become a military and a major economic power? I think yes, and there is little that will change that unless its policies are such that it implodes. Another key question is how will America look at the Chinese rise? It can be viewed as a threat or as an aid to world economic growth and stability. One thing is certain—the future of the two is inter-related. 

        Do you look at the Chinese in an economic perspective, a political perspective or a cultural perspective? The answer of the relationship probably depends upon which alternative China chooses to emphasize in its external relations and how the United States learns to view China. If you look for a friend, it is easier to find one; if you look for an enemy, you almost always find one. To me, you have to assess the direction of trends to estimate where China will be on a timeline.

        In America we are individualistic and look to the individual situation of the people—individual rights and bottom-up expression of political power. Having a military background with a strong national defense orientation, a conservative free-market economic perspective, and a values-based individual responsibility cultural orientation, my first impressions of China were mixed. But as time has progressed, and I have worked with their scholars comparing Enlightened Conservatism and its triangles system to their Harmonious Society and Scientific Thought, my impressions have changed. You have to understand how China works to really understand how they view the world and how they use the patience of time to make dramatic changes. 

        On a recent exchange program under the Collaboration Agreement of the Central Party School and the Texas Lyceum, our group was shown the new Special Economic Zone in the city of Shenzhen just opposite Hong Kong. With a statue of Chairman Deng on the overlook point, it is a totally modern city that has produced almost an economic miracle in the last 25 years that symbolizes the new China. It has two theme parks: one of the major sights of the world, and the other of the minority groups and provinces of China. Both are extremely well done. But most impressive is the building that shows how plans are 25 years along on 50 and 75 year plans and the detail of thought involved. But the point also made was that the culture of China and its values were also being studied and getting equal focus because they realize a culture 50 years hence needs to be different in a more developed economic environment. It is not left to haphazard chance but is researched and developed with the same methods of thought as the economic plan. 

        Unlike the West, the Communist Party is a very different system and far from simple to understand. On a previous visit to the United States, in answer to a student’s question o the delegation as to whether Democracy would come to China, we heard a description that gave a different perspective of how it worked as a conduit or thought beyond being a political force of government. The answer noted that in a sense many of these concepts were being built into the system now, but it is not seen in the same way as the West where you look at the immediate effects on the individual. Their concept of the Party is that of an umbrella on a very undeveloped nation with many problems, which require strong economic growth to maintain stability. The change takes place in the party from the top down over time. So education and cultural change begins at the top and gradually, over time, flows into the system. This is a logical explanation if you understand the importance of the Central Party School of the Party and its satellites in various provinces that train the leadership, originate leadership at younger levels, and are the ideological think tank of the Party. What they teach, over time, is conveyed to lower levels. If you think of water flowing down a pyramid, it is more graphic.

        They have a very unique system because of the power of the Party to implement change. Whether what is intended to be taught actually succeeds in an increasingly materialistic society is quite uncertain. But understanding what is being attempted is the best way to project intent. That means understanding the Harmonious Society to be created and the Scientific Method of Thought adopted as the new approach to analysis is very important. Scientific Thought emerged as a new approach to effective theory after the SARS problems at the turn of the Century and is a significant modernization of the Marxist Dialectic that began their thought methods. The Harmonious Society includes many of the concerns the West has from economic development, to economic fairness, to value systems to fight corruption, and to environmental and health concerns. In Instilling Values to Transcending Generations, I had the benefit of writings from several of their major scholars on the contents of these ideas and tried to compare them to where Western values provided insight to a more developed economy such as the use of nonprofit entities to bring compassion to the harder edges of market capitalism and how peer pressure organizations like the Better Business Bureau could help ethics practices. What I saw in these discussions is the seriousness of the planning even generations hence and surprisingly their full recognition of the extent of problems they face, their understanding that cultural values are a key component of building unity for stability and sacrifice, and that most of the concerns and ultimate solutions would be far more compatible to Western values than would be expected. My writings on Enlightened Conservatism, which were an attempt at a more comprehensive theory of Western integration of thought on market economics, limited government, and value-based culture were not inconsistent with many of their goals and principles.

        They had read my books and I their thoughts, but it was interesting that they made one observation to me where they disagreed with my analysis. I made too much of an assumption that their system worked top down with the leadership directing the future. They agreed the system enforced top down the ideas and change, but they noted that in reality the issues affecting the leadership were directly from the people because if they were not sensitive to the people there could be no stability. Their interest in my writings was originally in the area of ethics and systems to fight corruption because many of their problems arose from the impact of corrupt officials and the disharmony it brought. So they start with the people’s concerns that threaten stability and add to it the future impacts of global economic growth, and then search history and the world for ideas that help shape the policies. The Russian conversion to markets was a significant case study, as I am sure the Mid East is today. Their concern is that the future culture not be one of total materialism. It needs individual responsibility because the government cannot support as it did in the past, and it needs cultural values instilled in the next generations to keep stability. The Harmonious Society is well named, and it is interesting that they on occasion speak of a harmonious world because many problems are common to all. The point emphasized to me was that I needed to understand that the system was both bottom up and top down out of necessity. That leads me to believe that China will change toward the Harmonious Society of which the School is writing not because the Party wills it so, but because the Party there is much more responsive to its challenges than is understood, and it is at least defining its options and planning in terms of generations. They understand change and react, but they think in different terms and timeframes than the West. A key point is that too often hate is taught in the Mid East whereas in China there is a movement to more values, and in the West we hesitate to teach much for fear of offending.

        I think America will rediscover some of these same concerns—unity being one—as it moves forward, and the common good will again become an important unifying focus. In both societies personal dignity is important even though it is defined differently— politically in America, culturally in Asia. Time will have many challenges to the relationship of what will be the two super powers. But if the common values 50 years from now are closer, the world of our grandchildren may be a better place than we think. The Chinese will never have the same exact situation as Americans. This is not possible with the limited resources of the world and their numbers. But if they choose to value not who is the richest man or who is the most powerful man but who is the most honorable, you have a society that is focused on values and not politics or economics alone. That has been a utopian effort often in history, but the realism of the future options of civilization may help it along. 

        In America we will have our own challenges as to how we envision our society of the future and what we want to create. It will not be done in a central school or our universities and hopefully not in our legislatures, which have not set the best of examples. But it will be determined as it always is, by the ultimate common values of our people as we integrate in a multicultural society. What we will have to create is a system that helps us understand how to think about the future and foresee the implications of our actions.

                                               Tieman H. Dippel, Jr.
www.thelanguageofconscience.com
 
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