To get ahead today, you have to be a jerk, right?
Divisive politicians. Screaming heads on television. Angry campus activists. Twitter trolls. Today in America, there is an “outrage industrial complex” that prospers by setting American against American.
Meanwhile, one in six Americans have stopped talking to close friends and family members over politics. Millions are organizing their social lives and curating their news and information to avoid hearing viewpoints differing from their own. Ideological polarization is at higher levels than at any time since the Civil War.
America has developed a “culture of contempt”—a habit of seeing people who disagree with us not as merely incorrect or misguided, but as worthless. Maybe you dislike it—more than nine out of ten Americans say they are tired of how divided we have become as a country. But hey, either you play along, or you’ll be left behind, right?
In Love Your Enemies, New York Times bestselling author and social scientist Arthur C. Brooks shows that treating others with contempt and out-outraging the other side is not a formula for lasting success. Blending cutting-edge behavioral research, ancient wisdom, and a decade of experience leading one of America’s top policy think tanks, Love Your Enemies offers a new way to lead based not on attacking others, but on bridging national divides and mending personal relationships.
Brooks’ prescriptions are unconventional. To bring America together, he argues, we shouldn’t try to agree more. There is no need for mushy moderation, because disagreement is the secret to excellence. Civility and tolerance shouldn’t be our goals, because they are hopelessly low standards. And our feelings toward our foes are irrelevant; what matters is how we choose to act.
Love Your Enemies is not just a guide to being a better person. It offers a clear strategy for victory for a new generation of leaders. It is a rallying cry for people hoping for a new era of American progress. And most of all, it is a roadmap to arrive at the happiness that comes when we choose to love one another, despite our differences.
Arthur C. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute, where he also holds the Beth and Ravenel Curry Chair in Free Enterprise. He is the author of eleven books, including the bestsellers The Conservative Heart and The Road to Freedom. He is an op-ed columnist for The Washington Post, and host of the podcast The Arthur Brooks Show. Previously, he spent twelve years as a professional classical musician in the United States and Spain, including several seasons as a member of the City Orchestra of Barcelona. A native of Seattle, Brooks lives with his family in Bethesda, Maryland. In the fall of 2019, he will join the faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School.
Drawing on years of research, Brooks presents a social justice agenda for a New Right—an inclusive, optimistic movement with a positive agenda to fight poverty, promote equal opportunity, extol spiritual enlightenment, and help everyone lead happier and more fulfilling lives. Firmly grounded in the four “institutions of meaning”—family, faith, community, and meaningful work—it is a call for a government safety net that actually lifts people up and offers a vision of true hope through earned success.
Clear, well-reasoned, accessible, and free of vituperative politics, The Conservative Heart is a welcome strategy for conservatives looking for fresh, actionable ideas—and for politically independent citizens who believe that neither side is adequately addressing their needs or concerns.
Many Americans have forgotten the evils of socialism and the predations of the American Great Society's welfare state programs. But, as American Enterprise Institute's president Arthur C. Brooks reveals in The Battle, the forces for social democracy have returned with a vengeance, expanding the power of the state to a breathtaking degree.
The Battle offers a plan of action for the defense of free enterprise; it is at once a call to arms and a crucial redefinition of the political and moral gulf that divides Right and Left in America today. The battle is on, and nothing less than the soul of America is at stake.