INTERVIEW: Arthur Brooks and ‘The Conservative Heart’

Arthur Brooks speaks at the Defending the American Dream Summit. Photo by Kimberly Morin

By Kimberly Morin

Today at the Defending the American Dream Summit, Political Buzz sat down to interview Arthur Brooks. Brooks is the president of the American Enterprise Institute and author of the book The Conservative Heart. Brooks spoke at the event about freedom, poverty and people and how it is conservative values and policies that actually help people out of poverty.

Brooks first spoke at the Summit and believes everyone is an asset. It doesn’t matter whether they are a baby, child or adult, every human being is necessary. All human beings should feel needed and be treated as such. He spoke about how the government today supports people in society but they don’t seem to believe people are needed. It’s almost as if they are paid for and forgotten about; people with no hope.

In The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America, Brooks talks about the principles that are important in order to actually help people. Those four principles are:

  1. People are assets, not liabilities.
  2. Work is a blessing, not a punishment.
  3. Values matter most in lifting people up.
  4. Help is important, but hope is essential.

During his speech Brooks touched upon the fact that Liberals, even if well-intentioned, believe that the poor are liabilities to manage rather than assets. This is one of the reasons programs like the left’s “War on Poverty” have failed. Throwing money and things at people doesn’t help them if they don’t eventually learn how to get these things for themselves. It does nothing to make them feel needed or happy.

The Conservative Heart

Brooks talks about “happiness” studies in his book including studies that show people who work are actually happier. People who work, no matter the job, feel necessary. Too often people are simply tossed aside by society into one government program or another that always fails to actually give people real hope, not Obama’s failed version of hope.

Brooks studied the Doe Fund in New York City where people that society long ago had forgotten about – homeless, drug addicts, felons – are gaining real hope; earning a living; working towards real goals. Why? Because these people finally feel needed by a society that formerly rejected them.

The Conservative Heart brings the reader through various anecdotes that Brooks has witnessed over time throughout his vast travels around the world. Not only does he explain how important it is to truly help people through innovation and uplift but how vital it is for society as a whole.

From New York City to an Indian slum, Brooks brings readers through stories that show the reality of people – what they need; what they want and most importantly, what works and what doesn’t. From abject poverty to independence and success, it all begins with The Conservative Heart.