07 April 2009

Codes of political conduct

The most elementary challenge of representative government is the problem of fighting corruption. One of the greatest achievements of the American system of management was the solution, in commercial establishments, to the problem of keeping managers honest. American corporations figured out how to stop the corruption of agents from undermining the interests of the principals.

American managers developed a professional culture that defined self-interested management corruption as unprofessional and thus shameful, and of inferior behavior. The self-dealer in corporate business establishments was understood to lower the professional caliber of the entire organization.

A similar sort of culture needs to grow up in the political arena. Engineers, designers, architects, planners, managers of all sorts should form a professional movement to make whole earth design a matter of professional pre-requisite. Stewardship could serve as the fundamental code of honor for professional politicians much as service to the interests of the client within the temperance of the professional terms of conduct have served to guide the activities of medical doctors, lawyers, and accountants.

Schools of technology and design need to expand their scope to embrace the political elements of their practice. Technology and design needs to develop a code of political conduct along the same lines that the purer scientists have established codes of conduct in the selfless pursuit of scientific truth.

The crafts and guilds of medieval times understood this imperative. The mechanics and freemasons of old recognized their political duties along with their craftsman-like duties and responsibilities.

Likewise, the priesthood of ancient Israel altered its essential meaning when it shifted from the nation's first-born to the male offspring of Aharon. When the creative gift of grace is manifest throughout the land the first-born merely serve as agents of the families to deliver gifts of recognition and thanks to the divine source of their creative power. As the creative process becomes more institutionalized the ministers function becomes: first, to separate the divine from the mundane and thus to clarify the contribution of each; second, to professionalize the crafts so that they can serve the covenantal principles of stewardship and the duties of privilege and power.

The solution to a corrupt ruling class is a priesthood dedicated to the covenantal principles as they apply to the crafts and trades and arts. The source of the contemporary problem facing the Jewish people is the diaspora yeshiva system. The Jewish people need spiritual masters who can teach craft and technique, not merely scholasticism. The Jewish people need an education system that trains applied practica and ties it through coaching and inspiration to the covenantal principles of stewardship and the duties of privilege.

That's why camp makes more sense than school. Bnei Akiva should really be Bnei Bezalel. High schools and colleges should teach the principles of the practica which are usually reserved for competitive sports training. Rather than academic institutions drawing the best and the brightest while trade schools are second and third rate, it should be the other way around where coaching in hands-on design and development becomes the launching pad to military service and political leadership. Science was advanced less by the theorists and more by the practical experimenters.

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