My favorite college Professor, George Odiorne, from the school of business at the university from which I earned my degree taught his students a seven-step process for disciplined thinking and analysis.
An essential step of the process is to crisply define the problem.
Without a concrete definition of the problem it is not only meaningless but counterproductive, wasteful, and potentially harmful, to work on solutions. Odiorne would say “If you don’t know where you’re going any road will get you there.”
Odiorne’s concept of a “problem” is defined as either a) an unmet objective, or b) objectives that conflict.
This video about Two Incompatible Sacred Values in American Universities idea is a textbook example of a “Problem” of conflicting objectives.
Practically every idea I’ve ever written about can be construed as an attempt to identify conflicting objectives.
It’s not unfair to describe my entire thought process as that of pulling on logical threads until the underlying unmet or conflicting objectives are revealed.
A Telos is the purpose of a thing; the reason for its existence.
America has a Telos. It can be described as a collection of objectives, among which are:
- Negative liberty.
- Process-based equality and justice.
- Self-dependence, and the culture of dignity.
- “Can-do,” positive outlook.
- Limited government power
- Government as garden tending that creates the conditions which ALLOW growth, achievement, and the pursuit of one’s own ideals (e.g., the Constitution)
- Aristotelian, reality-based, empiricism
- Accepts human nature as it is, and proceeds accordingly
- Healthy, U of Chicago style cognition and debate
- Epistemic humility
America’s Telos is one and the same with the Telos of Conservatism.
The Telos of Social Justice / Liberalism / Progressivism / The Democratic Party can ALSO be described as a collection of objectives, among which are:
- Positive liberty.
- Outcome-based equality and justice.
- Dependence on others, and the culture of Victimhood
- Excuse making an blaming
- Expanded government power to do “good”
- Government as mother hen that COERCES compliance with AN ideal
- Platonic, fantasy-based, idealism (e.g., “I dream of things that never were and ask why not?” – RFK
- Tries to “fix” the flaws of human nature.
- Unhealthy cognitively distorted thinking, intimidation,
- Epistemic confident/arrogance
The greatest single Problem in America today is the conflicting, incompatible, mutually exclusive, objectives of the Telos of America and the Telos of Social Justice / Liberalism / Progressivism / The Democratic Party.
This conflict is at the root of ALL the divisiveness, anger, and violence surrounding the recent presidential election.