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No matter what our political views, few people believe our country is as united as it should be. Whether in the media, politics or even in our personal relationships, we all recognize that the country is increasingly defined by a culture of contempt — in which people treat others with whom they disagree as defective or worthless. Within this distressing reality, however, there lies an opportunity for our nation. Drawing on history, social psychology, behavioral economics and the counsel of ancient wisdom, Arthur Brooks addresses the divisions that plague America and finds a set of strategies to help us disagree better, forge a new model of aspirational leadership and unite the country.
Arthur C. Brooks has been president of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) since Jan. 1, 2009. He is also the Beth and Ravenel Curry Scholar in Free Enterprise at AEI. Before joining AEI, Brooks was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government at Syracuse University, where he taught economics and social entrepreneurship. Before pursuing his work in academia and public policy, he spent 12 years as a classical musician in the United States and Spain. Brooks is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and the bestselling author of 11 books on topics including the role of government, economic opportunity, happiness and the morality of free enterprise. His latest book is the New York Times bestseller "The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America" (Broadside Books, 2015). He has also published dozens of academic journal articles and the textbook "Social Entrepreneurship" (Prentice Hall, 2008).
The polarized and compartmentalized intellectual climate on American campuses both mirrors and contributes to similar maladies in American civic life.
To examine the problem and begin to discuss possible solutions both at the level of the campus and society, the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership, together with its partners in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, is hosting a lecture series and conference, "Polarization and Civil Disagreement: Confronting America’s Civic Crisis."