About the Author's Way of Thinking

Tom Pauken  
Former Reagan Administration Official
Texas Republican State Chairman, 1994-1996

My longtime friend Skipper Dippel often writes that you judge a man by sincerity of handshake and smile while understanding the critical importance of character. Skipper is a man of good character who has devoted a lifetime to the preservation of those values that are the underpinning of a good society. His new book, The Wisdom of Generations, continues that quest to preserve and nurture those values that have made America such a great nation.

Skipper is a Conservative in the Edmund Burke mold. While a strong proponent of the free market, he also appreciates that the free market doesn't work without an ethical compass guiding our society, and that the government has a role as an umpire in ensuring that people play by the rules. He understands the importance of individual rights, but also the need for individual responsibility for a civilization to flourish. While economics and politics are important, it is the morality of the culture that is essential to preserve a free society. If the culture becomes coarse, then a society begins to decline and lose its way.

Skipper believes that wisdom is shaped by values applied to knowledge and ultimately is transmitted to the next generation by the family, not the government. He has coined the term "Enlightened Conservatism" to describe his views. Conservatism recognizes the reality of our human existence while enlightenment comes from the thoughtful application of history to that reality.

At a time when we badly need to bring our people together for the good of the country and the future of our children, The Wisdom of Generations, by Skipper Dippel is an important contribution to building bridges between Americans of different political persuasions. Our present political climate is dominated by talking points, big money, and political consultants whose primary motivation is the gaining of political power. The question becomes: Political power to do what—say what is necessary to get reelected or make the hard choices necessary to get America back on the right track. In the post-Reagan period of American politics, all too often the focus has been on short-term political gain versus the long-term good of the nation. That is why it is so refreshing to have the voice of Skipper Dippel in his latest work yet again making the case for the power of good ideas to change the world for the good. Skipper's father had a conversation with his son as he was dying. I have quoted from that conversation often. Here is one paragraph from that conversation:  "One certainty in life is that you are not always on top. There are many people who try to avoid the falls by changing philosophies. These are people of convenience. They're often successful in the short term, while they are on earth. But I have always wondered whether they were successful in the sense of eternity. I feel following conscience is a far better guide."

One other key concern in learning how to think is to realize that our own ambitions and push for excellence help us set goals that truly matter. A friend of mine, former University of Texas Football Coach Fred Akers, often told his athletes to remember,  “Seldom, if ever, do we exceed our own expectations.”  He attributed it to a mentor who probably found it from another, but it is a truth of life. We cannot be more than we wish ourselves to be, so we must envision our future.

Skipper Dippel has consistently been a man of conscience, not a man of convenience. May his voice continue to be heard on these important issues that will determine whether our Constitutional Republic survives or whether our great nation declines and falls as so many other great nations did that came before us.

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