Thursday, June 8, 2017

Start with the End in Mind, Part II

Mondays post was mainly about education (specifically, educating for accomplished citizenship). But the process of figuring out what and how to teach is something that can be applied in a larger context. So I thought I’d apply it to the Spherical Model today. I’m doing this as an exercise; I can’t say I’m expert at this process. So we’ll find out together whether the exercise is fruitful.

So that we’re on the same page, I’ll start with reminders of what the Spherical Model is, and what human performance expert Joe Harless says is the process for coming up with what to teach.

The Spherical Model is about the interrelationships of the political, economic, and social spheres. In each of these interrelating spheres, the goal is north: freedom, prosperity, and civilization respectively. We want to stay away from—or move up from—the south: tyranny, poverty, and savagery respectively. East/west is neutral, relating to the appropriate interest, from most local ( furthest west longitude) to global (furthest east longitude)—with one proviso: issues should be handled at the most local level possible. When a higher level tries to control a lower level’s issues, the result is movement southward on the sphere.

To review the process outlined by Joe Harless in the book on education, here’s the order:

1.       Identify the results you want.
2.       Identify the measurable outputs/accomplishments that indicate accomplishment of the result.
3.       Identify behaviors/skills that must be used in order to get the outputs.
4.       Teach those behaviors/skills in the context of their purpose.
There’s probably more to it than that, if you’re going to use the process in developing a school system or a training program in the business world. But this will do for our purposes today. I don’t think we can even cover all four steps in a blog post (not sure I’ve covered them fully in the 800+ posts on this blog). But maybe we can identify what we want, plus a few measurable outputs that would show we are getting there.

The Results We Want

We want freedom, prosperity, and civilization. What do each of those look like?

Freedom: I used this definition in “What Is Freedom” a year and a half ago:

The Political Sphere

Absence of hindrance, restraint, confinement, repression. In the political sense, it is ownership of one’s own life and the production of wealth and property that results from one’s use of life and effort. A government should protect the freedoms of life, liberty, and property; it does not grant these things, but protects them from infringement. A government that takes life, liberty, or property unjustly—when the person has not unlawfully infringed on those rights of another person—that is a tyrannical government, which is the opposite of freedom.
Political freedom means living in a society in which our God-given rights are protected rather than infringed. These would include freedoms of belief and expression, such as freedom of religion and freedom of the press, as well as freedoms of property and security, such as freedom from illegal searches and seizures and the right to bear arms.
So, in the language of results, we have freedom when our rights are protected, and government is limited to that protective role of securing life, liberty, and property. The Preamble to the Constitution delineates the limits of government’s role, and the rest of the Constitution enumerates the powers the government is granted to accomplish its role.

Specific measurable outputs might include these:

·         Secure borders.
·         Sovereignty respected; peace with other civilized nations.
·         Effective and disciplined law enforcement and judicial system.
·         Representative government strictly limited to government’s proper role.
·         Adequate infrastructure.
·         No slavery or indentured servitude.
Prosperity: We’re born naked, impoverished, and inexperienced. It is by growth, hard work, and gaining in expertise that we try to overcome this condition throughout our life. Prosperity, then, means having a standard of living in which basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter are met, and opportunities for improved living standard abound. This comes from a free economy, in which we choose how we work, and more particularly how we spend what we have earned. This encourages the incentive to work harder and innovate, so that we can enjoy the fruits of labor.
The Economic Sphere

But one reason “the poor are always with us” is that some are unable, for reasons that are no fault of their own, to take care of themselves, either temporarily or permanently. Some might lack physical or mental capacity to earn enough to care for themselves. Some might be in the position of taking care of a loved one, which prevents them from earning income. Prosperity means that even those incapable of caring for themselves will have their basic needs met.

So let’s try re-wording prosperity goals as somewhat measurable outputs:

·         No death from lack of access to food or shelter.
·         Property ownership is protected.
·         Choices on how to spend earnings in hands of earners.
·         Limited taxes—that pay only for government’s proper role.
·         Fair taxes—same percentage for all income beyond subsistence earnings.
·         Low or non-existent unemployment.
·         Entry-level work opportunities.
·         Skill improvement opportunities.
·         Skilled workers well-match to business needs.
·         Entrepreneurship.
·         Parental responsibilities met (children cared for until adulthood).
·         Philanthropy—source providing basic needs to those who cannot care for themselves.
·         Upward mobility in standard of living.

Civilization: Civilization thrives when we have a critical mass of people who are moral by choice, meaning they honor God the Creator and grantor of life and liberty and definer of ultimate Good. It means they also honor family, which is the basic unit of civilization and the means of perpetuating it. Moral people also honor life, property ownership, and truth.
The Social Sphere

What does it look like? Here’s the description from the Spherical Model:

Civilized people live peaceably among their neighbors, helping rather than taking advantage of one another, abiding by laws enacted to protect property and safety—with honesty and honor. Civilized people live in peace with other civilized people; countries and cultures coexist in appreciation, without fear.
There is a thriving free-enterprise economy. Poverty is meaningless; even though there will always be a lowest earning 10% defined as poor, in a civilized society these lowest earners have comfortable shelter and adequate food and clothing—and there’s the possibility of rising, or at least for future generations to rise.
Creativity abounds; enlightening arts and literature exceed expectations. Architecture and infrastructure improve; innovation and invention are the rule.
People feel free to choose their work, their home, their family practices, their friendships and associations. And they generally self-restrain before they infringe on the rights and freedoms of others. Where there are questions about those limits, laws are in place to help clarify boundaries of civilized behavior. When someone willingly infringes on the rights or safety of another, the law functions to protect that victim as well as society from further uncivilized behavior from the offender.
So, now, for the attempt to re-word into measurable outputs:

·         Law-breaking rates low and easily handled by police.
·         Contracted commitments kept.
·         Businesses with integrity—errors toward consumers or employees corrected voluntarily and quickly.
·         Volunteer offerings of time and money to alleviate suffering of the less fortunate.
·         Thriving churches, charities, and philanthropies—shown by needs of less fortunate being met.
·         Citizen engagement high: voters educate themselves before voting; elected officials legislate no laws beyond the proper role of government.
·         Very low divorce rates.
·         Reproductive rates well above replacement—children are valued
·         Unwed parents rare; adoption is the expected result of the rare unintended pregnancy.
·         Sex outside of marriage unaccepted—not portrayed as normal and accepted in media.
·         Free expression of respectful opinions intended to preserve/repair civilization.
·         Justice that is clear, quick, and fair; creative sentences for law-breaking, including efforts toward repayment and rehabilitation.
·         Abortion and euthanasia near nonexistent.
·         Art, music, and other creative works.

One of the points of Harless’s book is that separating curriculum into discrete subjects doesn’t work. Similarly, separating the political, economic, and social spheres into discrete segments doesn’t work. They interrelate.

As I wrote in “Choosing to Solve Poverty” a year ago,

Prosperity requires a free people engaged in a free market—all of which requires a law-abiding, righteous people. Things are interrelated. There’s something that comes up in all three spheres—political, economic, and social—and that is choice
So this exercise at least lets us examine what we would see in a free, prosperous civilization.

Inculcating the behaviors to get there? That’s the lifelong job of every civilized person. And it’s done most effectively by example in the home. If we started with strengthening families, much of the rest would follow.

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