The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America
Arthur C. Brooks
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The prominent economist and president of the American Enterprise Institute—the leading intellectual think tank on the right—offers a bold new vision for conservatism as a movement for social and economic justice.
In The Conservative Heart, Arthur C. Brooks contends that after years of focusing on economic growth and traditional social values, it is time for a new kind of conservatism—one that helps the vulnerable without mortgaging our children’s future. In Brooks’ daring vision, this conservative movement fights poverty, promotes equal opportunity, celebrates earned success, and values spiritual enlightenment. It is an inclusive movement with a positive agenda to help people lead happier, more hopeful, and more satisfied lives.
One of the country’s leading scholars and policy thinkers, Brooks has considered these issues for decades. Drawing on years of research on the sources of happiness, he asserts that what people most need are four “institutions of meaning”—faith, family, community, and meaningful work. These are not only the foundations of personal wellbeing, but also the necessary means for building a better nation.
Combining reporting, original research, and case studies, and free of vituperative politics, The Conservative Heart is an intelligent and compelling manifesto for renewal. Clear, well-reasoned, and accessible, it is a welcome new strategy for disconsolate conservatives looking for fresh, actionable ideas to address the serious problems confronting us today and to reclaim our future, and for politically independent citizens who believe that neither political party addresses their needs or concerns.
from the recession’ by reducing the share of Americans who participate in the labor force. Hurrah!” According to an analysis by the Associated Press, the unemployment rate for the top 20 percent of the income distribution in America (those earning $150,000 or more) was 3.2 percent in 2013, three years after the end of the recession. Statistically, that is considered full employment. For the bottom 20 percent (those earning less than $20,000) the unemployment rate was over 21 percent.48 The
of an Indian hipster—and was wearing a T-shirt that said, “I Dharavi.” He meant it. Krishna was born to a poor family in a village outside Bangalore. He came to Dharavi at the age of thirteen to build his own future. He started out serving tea, went to school, and eventually built a tour business. He now makes about $500 per month. That is big money in Dharavi.8 Entrepreneurs like Krishna have built what the New York Times calls a “self-created special economic zone for the poor.”9 Dharavi
proclaim that “Europe has discarded its children.” The pope, to be sure, is no demographer. But it is hard to imagine any objective observer objecting to much of his sad appraisal. Take faith, for example. The most diplomatic way to describe the status of religion in Europe is to describe the continent as “post-Christian.” Europeans may have some cultural memory of Christianity, but fewer and fewer practice, and many are openly hostile to their religious patrimony. A 2004 Gallup poll19 found
outpaced business failures by about 100,000 per year. For the past seven years, business failures have outpaced new start-ups by about 70,000 a year. And it’s not as if ordinary employees are making out all right and it’s only entrepreneurs who are hurting. Working-class people are still in recession, years after its technical end. The bottom 20 percent of U.S. households saw their incomes decline 7 percent, on average, from 2009 to 2013.40 This helps explain a particularly unsettling trend. As
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/monkey-cage/wp/2014/05/30/the-far-right-in-the-2014-european-elections-of-earthquakes-cartels-and-designer-fascists/. 35 Richard Wike, “In Europe, Sentiment Against Immigrants, Minorities Runs High,” Pew Research Center, May 14, 2014, accessed January 18, 2015, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/05/14/in-europe-sentiment-against-immigrants-minorities-runs-high/. 36 “Biden to Women: Thanks to ObamaCare, You Can Quit Working,” Fox News,