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Saturday, January 11, 2020


Published by HarperAudio in March of 2019.
Read by Will Damron.
Duration: 6 hours, 55 minutes.

Arthur C. Brooks was the President of the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute from 2008 to shortly after the publication of this book in 2019. 
The author, Arthur C. Brooks

Brooks is deeply worried with the present level of political discourse in America. Debates where the candidates just insult one another. Derogatory comments rather than actual proposals. Look at your typical Facebook political argument. Anonymous posters with names like "Trump_2020_Forever" arguing with "Trumpsters_Suck" and using terms like "libtards" and "conservacunts" while they insist that the other side is nothing but a literal bunch of communists and Nazis.

This is getting us nowhere.

And that is his point.

What we are showing each other is contempt. He quotes a couples' counselor that he can work with all kinds of marital struggles - infidelity, anger, distance, physical issues. But, one thing he can't work with is contempt. If the two partners are rolling their eyes at one another and dismissing everything the other one says, the relationship is over.

The problem is, unlike a failed marriage, one half of the entire country can't just go off and find a new political partner to work with. We have a two party system. We need to work together. We are literally stuck with each other. 

Both sides need each other's ideas and both sides need to know that the other side is coming at the problem of governing the country in a sincere, meaningful way. They may have different points of emphasis but they can still work together. One of the more interesting chapters of this book explores the sociological differences between conservatives and liberals. It also shows how they can frame problems in such a way that the other side understands where they are coming from.

In the end, Brooks is advocating for a simple application of the Golden Rule - treat the other side the way you'd like to be treated. He's not saying that you shouldn't advocate for your ideas - he is saying that both sides need to listen, not be rude and look for ways to work together.

I highly recommend this book.

I rate this audiobook 5 stars out of 5. It can be found on Amazon.com here: LOVE YOUR ENEMIES: HOW DECENT PEOPLE CAN SAVE AMERICA from the CULTURE of CONTEMPT by Arthur C. Brooks.

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