Arthur Brooks shares the solution to contempt in American politics
By Sutherland Staff
Published on November 19, 2018
In this season of thanksgiving and gift-giving, Sutherland Institute wants to share a gift – a series, actually. Between now and the end of 2018, we’ll share important messages from our memorable gala keynote on the blog. This post is part 2 of 4.
Sutherland Institute was honored to have Arthur Brooks keynote at the 2018 Sutherland Annual Gala. In his address, he covered the biggest problem in American politics – and the solution.
Watch the short video clip below to hear Arthur solve this very problem.
Or read the transcript:
“The problem in American politics is contempt. Now what’s the conventional solution to that? Know what the conventional solution is? Civility. Tolerance. Why is that solution wrong? Because lots of organizations are dedicated to civility and tolerance. You hear it over and over again. Is it working? No. It’s not working at all. And why isn’t it working? Well, here’s a clue. If I told you, if you asked me, ‘So, how’s your marriage?’ And I said, ‘We’re civil to each other,’ you’d say, ‘Man, you’ve got to get some counseling.’ Or said, ‘You know, my wife tolerates me.’ Too low a standard for a marriage; too low a standard for our country. We need something bigger than civility, something bigger than tolerance that we can bring to it.
“Here’s a question for you, all of you tonight. Quick show of hands – how many of you love somebody with whom you disagree politically? I’m going to round that off to 100 percent, folks. That’s the point of the American experiment, isn’t it? It’s the competition of ideas. It’s being able to love and disagree at the same time with no knock in the night, no big problem simply because we disagree on things. And yet that’s the thing that seems to be in decline. How many times, my friends, have you been told by a stranger that somebody you love but who you disagree with is stupid and evil? You hear it every day. That’s the nature of contemptuous political discourse. That’s the enemy. That’s what we have to solve, and at that moment I said, ‘Yes, that’s the new solution.’ It’s not civility, it’s not tolerance. It’s love.”
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