The Language of Conscience

loc-cover-lowresUsing Enlightened Conservatism to Build Cooperative Capital and Character  

In his first book, The New Legacy, Dippel created the concept of enlightened conservatism, which emphasized the necessity for personal responsibility if it was to succeed. In The Language of Conscience, the author expands personal responsibility to include character, which is the choice of conscience over convenience.

In his Preface, the author discusses the origin of conscience, a subject explored by philosophers, scientists, and theologists. Most agree Internal Moral or Natural Law appears inherent in Man, both in Western and Eastern cultures. Dippel's challenge is how to develop it in the world of business in order to facilitate practices for the common good of all.

This book is not written for a broad audience, but for three specific groups. The first audience includes young leaders who require advice in forming nonprofit cooperative organizations. Already established interested participants in the nonprofit sector who wish for a vision of the desired future comprises the second group. Since any vision must be international, the last group includes Asian cultural and economic leaders.

This is a logically formatted book consisting of six major parts. The author begins with Service and Responsibility, and then moves on to Perspective, Influence of History, Ethics, Case Studies, and Strategies. Sub headings clearly explain each of the six major topics, and all focus on the imperatives of leadership.

It is interesting to note this book was published at an appropriate time. The heroism exhibited on September eleventh, and the subsequent days affirmed the nation's intrinsic good. People acted with conscience, not for convenience. Almost immediately thereafter, however, corporate CEO corruption revealed flaws in our nation's character. In spite of the latter, Dippel remains undeterred in his optimism and belief that individuals with high moral values not only can, but also should make a difference in our world.

With the pages of The Language of Conscience:

Reinventing a Culture of Service and Responsibility

  • The Dynamics of Nonprofit Organizations
  • The Synergy of Organizational Networks

In Search of Perspective

  • Management Perspective in an Internet Age
  • Educational Perspective
  • International Perspective

The Influence of History

  • The Catalyst of Greatness
  • The Texas Way
  • A Long Road from Julius Caesar to Caesar Chavez
  • The Torch is Passed
  • Creating an Environment of Conscience and Ethics
  • Working Together as a Leveraged Catalyst
  • Case Studies

 Texas Arts and Humanities

  • Two Bulls’ Heads: Strategy. Value, and Purpose for Funding
  • The State of the Arts in Texas in the 1970s: Marshaling Facts for Common Understanding and Presentation
  • Presentation to Legislative Budget Board: General Direction

Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Economic Development

  • A Time for Reality: Related Prior Efforts
  • Non Nobis Nati Solum: President’s Presentation to the East Texas Chamber of Commerce

Texans for Quality Education

  • Original Perspective: Introducing the Idea
  • 1984 Chairman’s Foreword: Overview

Caring For Children Foundation

  • An Integrity Management System for the Consulting Industry

The History and Efforts of the Ethics Officer Association

The Language of Conscience Endorsements

Editorial Contributions:

Harvey Krongberg, Editor and Publisher of Quorum Report wrote:

Brenham is a sleepy little town about halfway between Austin and Houston. An hour to the west is the state capitol of Texas where John Connally, Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush all first learned the art of the possible as well as the limits of politics. An hour east is one of the great international cities driven by petrochemicals, health sciences and shipping.

Brenham could not be more different than these two cauldrons of power, intrigue and deal-making. It is a quiet town where community means vastly more than the pop-culture catch phrase that has too often turned the concept on its head. In a Houston or Dallas, community means a separate piece of a broader whole. In Brenham, community is the whole.

Geography is sometimes destiny.

In his new book The Language of Conscience, it is evident that Tieman "Skipper" Dippel is the product of this tug between the politics and commerce of his large urban neighbors and the rural values of small town Texas. Out of this tension springs clarity and conviction and a call to action.

This is not the work of a one-dimensional shade-tree philosopher. Dippel excelled in academics and did a stint in the military. He took over his family's bank and steered it through one of the worst recessions in modern Texas. His commercial reach is international, with business ties linking Texas, Mexico and China. And through it all weaves the unending influence of parents that were anchors to family and a rural community during very tough years. Dippel is an international sophisticate who obviously finds nourishment in the bucolic backwaters of Brenham.

And frankly, that is what makes his search for a language of conscience so intriguing. Decades before the word "networking" appeared in the national lexicon, Dippel was building an infrastructure of new young thinkers, political aspirants and commercial comers by founding the Texas Lyceum. Even in his later years, Dippel has seen the value of cross pollenization between the worlds of politics, commerce and intellectual ferment. His annual August gatherings at the YO Ranch near Kerrville lures the best in their respective fields who come together despite the scorching Texas summer.

The world in which Dippel finds himself is one of conflicting impulses. Globalization against a backdrop of increasingly fractured constituency-politics. Mass pop culture that too often represents a race to the bottom vs. a growing internet culture that allows individual expression, communication and exploration to a degree never before imagined. And ultimately, the theme of personal isolation despite an increasingly crowded environment.

In his first book, The New Legacy, Dippel pioneered the concept of enlightened conservatism – an individual code of behavior informed by a compelling belief in personal responsibility. In this venture, it is easy to see the author's experiences in China influencing his classical western education. Dippel broadens his view to incorporate what he describes as cooperative capitalism which he says, is" not doing something for yourself, but instead something as part of an organization that furthers a principle in which you believe."

While personal responsibility was the linchpin of the first book, Dippel reaches further here, embracing the broader questions of character. He is not particularly concerned with the personal pecadillos of mortals but focuses instead on the imperatives of leadership. He writes, "the choice of conscience over convenience is the definition of character, and character, in essence is the acceptance of personal responsibility."

This work is not a treatise about a reformation of the soul but rather a guidebook for good people organizing to achieve good things. Dippel does not denounce government. Instead, he prefers to advance ideas on how individuals can operate in the context of community to simply do good. Although The Language of Conscience is Dippel's personal journey told though writings and speeches, it would be a mistake to dismiss it as simply vanity publishing.
To know Skipper is to know a beehive of activity where no moment is wasted. It is also to know someone who has reflected deeply on finding a moral compass in turbulent times when generations are more likely measured in the life-cycles of computer chips than in the decades of a human life. Although the timing is coincidental, this book appears against a backdrop of extremes. Unimaginable heroism on September 11 and the subsequent days affirmed a nation's confidence in its own intrinsic good.

But in that same period, corporate CEO corruption and betrayal of their stakeholders points to some fundamental flaws in our national moorings. Even the American Red Cross came into question taking contributions expressly to help the victims of September 11th but allegedly diverting funds for other causes.

Clearly, these are not simple times. Cynicism and despair are constant undercurrents and people of good intentions too often surrender to a sense of futility. But Dippel is undeterred in his fundamental optimism and belief that individuals not only can but must make a difference. Through his own personal journey, he offers a thoughtful roadmap to organizing and acting upon conscience.

Former Congressman and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer wrote:

One of my heroes in history was Sir Thomas More, who once said, "A man who forsakes his conscience for the sake of political expedience most surely lead his country on the short path to chaos." Those words should ring in the hearts and minds of all Americans whether in private or public life. It seems ethics, morality, conscience, integrity, and character are always in short supply and in great demand. Most believe that there is a total absence of these attributes in Congress. But my experience over thirty years in the House of Representatives is that members shoulder a heavy responsibility to conduct their lives at a higher standard than the private sector because they occupy a position of prominence on view to the world. They become role models for many young Americans either by bolstering or by undermining their faith and trust in government and country.

Over all the years, in all of my actions, I was driven by my conscience. I always knew that if I strayed from my convictions of right and wrong, I would be of little worth to my country. In the end, we are always a democracy folded into a Constitutional Republic. The people ultimately do rule on all issues, and only if they support elected officials of integrity, ethics, and conscience will we see more of these characteristics in government. I compliment the author of this book for his personal integrity over the years. As this book demonstrates, his focus on life has been to attempt to bring out the best in people and try to bring them together. Those are basic efforts of all people of conscience.

The Language of Conscience is a book that helps individuals define their own perspective on life while understanding the part they can play in a much broader realm of public policy. At its core is a belief in character which is the choice of conscience over convenience. It radiates a philosophy that the pursuit of conscience is not based upon weakness, but is instead associated with strength. It recognizes that for the best of civilization men should be upright based on a culture that values integrity and rewards it, not that tries to force honor by laws that often are avoided. This book explains the importance of ideas and how they affect the culture that ultimately directs civilization. It is a guide to younger leaders and people interested in society as to how they can develop a process of reasoning and understanding that lets them contribute the most to society through a culture of service. It focuses on applying the analytics of thought to major problems by bringing together a diversity of interests that share the common trait of conscience and is far more successful than it might appear. This is especially important for being in government presents the greatest challenges to character since issues are of great importance and, thereby, heavily promoted by those self-interested. The development of an ethical background and an understanding of a broader picture of national destiny are vital.

I had the opportunity to participate in the first Texas Lyceum in 1980 which reflected these ideals, and I was joined on the program by a number of other leaders who found the timing inconvenient and the destination difficult, but who cared, as I did, that the leaders of the a younger generation were trying not only to gain understanding in how the world worked, but also how they could work with each other to reach common ideals even if their partisanship, political philosophy, and background differed. Over the twenty years that I have watched that group, I have seen a President, Senator, Congressmen, Governor, State Attorney General, and hosts of other public and private leaders emerge from it. It is worthwhile for younger leaders to truly understand and develop idealism before being tested by the reality of the world. While many believe such efforts to be fruitless in a time of partisanship, they do matter because they bring ideas and values into the process and enhance true understanding of issues. They help shape the perspective of coming leadership. Change most often occurs over time and is due to perseverance more than momentary strength.

The Language of Conscience recognizes the fact that grand strategies usually change with the early interjection of the unknown or missed execution. What is key is a vision of what you generally wish to accomplish and a trust in the instincts and abilities of your leaders to accomplish what is necessary. The author’s concept of enlightened conservatism focuses upon the creation of an ethical environment as a goal that is based primarily on the division of society and upon its leaders and values by concepts of conscience exhibited through a concern for others and the future rather than the convenience of one's immediate personal benefit. It is a different division of society than the liberal/conservative, rich/poor partisan approaches of the past and present. A global world connected by the Internet will create new challenges and environments where this concept will be increasingly relevant.

Most importantly, The Language of Conscience is designed as a handbook for young leaders, not only to show them how to bring together people of like mind and vision, but also to cement their perspectives and values so they are not easily changed in the world of business, government or politics. Men of convenience have always had an advantage over men of conscience in that they have less self-imposed restrictions on their actions. However, as is noted, the benefit of mutual association for good purpose pulls together men of conscience and is their greatest ability allowing them to succeed as they attract allies and partners for the common good far more quickly than men of convenience. Every tall oak grows from an acorn, but it takes time and favorable conditions. A nation's values and well being at the end of the century may well rest on what we teach our children and grandchildren now. The theme of The New Legacy from which this book evolved was simply stated, "Character is Destiny."

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