Arthur Brooks (opposite) is an economist who works at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. He says the cornerstone of his book Love Your Enemies is the idea of love we need to have for others; that 95% of the dark matter of life needs to be the love that’s written on our hearts. The love for God, family, friends, country, and the people we encounter, if we get that right then all else will be well.
Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from Our Culture of Contempt
The reason he wrote the book was to help people to live in the 95% mentioned earlier, and in order to do that the people who regard love as the highest virtue need to lead by example, living in love and the magnetism that such a life brings.
The cultural crisis Brooks sights is the contempt many have for people who disagree with them, and then proceed to treat these people as though they were worthless, especially in politics… so much so that it has become a habit.
- 93% of Americans hate how divided the country has become
- 1 in 6 have stopped talking to a family member because of politics since the 2016 election
Love first and good economics will follow
He says forget the economics, market capitalism, tax policy, and the internal revenue code. That stuff’s out the window and will always be corrupted when there is a scarcity of love. A self-giving and sacrificial kind love.
American Enterprise Institute: putting people first
Arthur Brooks runs a thinktank at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington DC and insists that he and his colleagues talk about the deeper things in life, not just the public policy they help implement, it’s what gets them out of bed in the mornings.
Even though this is a secular organization he asks his people to check their consciences before they go to sleep at night: “Forget about what anyone in the media said or wrote about you, rather ask yourselves whether or not everything you’ve done in your professional capacity was of benefit to people with less power than you. If the answer’s no, then you’re screwed up man! If the answer is yes, then get a good night’s sleep and come back to work in the morning ready to fight.”
That lady just insulted my mom!
A few years ago Brooks was giving a speech to conservative activists, and he told them halfway through, the reason a lot of people haven’t attended is because of their politically liberal worldview, not because they are stupid or evil, they’re simply Americans who disagree with us. He went on to say that it was our job as conservatives to persuade them with love.
When a lady then got up and said that she thought they were stupid and evil it occurred to brooks that she had just insulted his mom because his parents were decidedly liberal.
America becoming weak and boring
According to Brooks, the biggest problem America has had over the last 20 years is that it has become possible to not hear opposing points of view or see people who disagree with you, which has made society weak and boring because a lot of the time people are only preaching to the choir so to speak. He mentions how universities have become places where it is very easy to become ideologically insular, and rather than listen to opposing points of view they usually just shout people down.
Brooks contends that America is more polarized now than at any time since the 1850s. What this means is that America has a huge moral crisis on its hands. What it also means is that Christians need to stand up and be heard, to persuade people with a message of love that in general, the country is heading in the wrong direction.
That when people treat you with contempt you should stand up and treat that person with respect. By doing this one heart will be changed and there will be one step back to a unified culture.
A kind response to an ugly threat
What he says here reminds me of the many stories I vaguely remember on this sought of thing. There is, however, one story I heard recently, parts of which I do remember clearly.
It comes from one of the many troubled countries in central Africa, where Muslims are dominant and Christians live in fear of their lives.
One evening there was a Christian pastor waiting on the imminent arrival of the Muslim Cheif Of Police who was coming to order him to cease holding church services on pain of death. The pastor had been rehearsing a rather forceful speech he was going to make to this fellow.
As the Police Chief arrived he heard God tell him to ask about the man’s family. At first, the policeman was struck dumb, and then he broke down crying. This was because the police chief’s wife and daughter were both sick and dying. The Pastor offered to go and pray for them, to which the other agreed.
Not long after that the wife and daughter recovered. The Muslim policeman went back to the pastor a week later and assured him that from that time forward he and his people would have nothing to fear from him or any of the other police under his command. They even became friends.
Love You Enemies Feedback
Brooks admits that there was some early criticism from First Things, a popular Catholic magazine, taking him to task for secularising everything, but is overjoyed that it’s been possible for a book with such a subversive title, to become a best seller. It was the ultimate subversive message brought to us by Jesus Christ. To go with the flow would have been to write a book about hating something.
Brooks was also surprised that The New York Times gave his book a review that was not at all bad. He doesn’t mind criticism because it starts a dialogue, and that, he says, is healthy.
Arthur Brooks Backstory
A French horn marries a Spanish trumpet
Arthur Brooks was the black sheep of the family. His parents were Democrats, but he tended to lean the other way through his teens.
Before he became an economist, he used to make a living playing the French horn. “It’s all I wanted to do since I was a kid”, he explains, so he had played from an early age.
At the age of 19, he was kicked out of college because of a disagreement and went on the road for four to five years with a chamber music group. For two of those years, he played alongside a Jazz guitarist by the name of Charlie Byrd. He even made a couple of albums with him.
Eventually, he ended up in a symphony orchestra in Barcelona. He had met and fallen in love with a Spanish trumpet player while in France, and had followed her into the symphony orchestra in Barcelona.
Father! I’ve met the girl I want to marry but…
When he told his father he was going to get married, his father was eager to meet the girl. He told his father there were three problems. there were three problems he needed to overcome.
- Neither spoke a word of the other’s language
- She was living in Barcelona
- She hadn’t been informed yet of Arthur’s intentions
After a year and a half they did eventually get married. By the time they moved to America Brooks was fluent in both Spanish and Catalana.
His wife was very nervous about the move, especially since she still hadn’t learned much English.
Within three weeks of her arrival she’d had three job offers and told her husband that America was the greatest country in the world for people who want to work.
Brooks says that when he heard those words it gave him new eyes for the country he’d grown up in, Suddenly everything became exciting and new.
This book has reminded me of another book, which I have decided to write about next. Love Your Enemies has a great message, not only for America but everywhere in the world. I think most people know the truth of this message, it’s just it tends to be the last thing on people’s minds when they are challenged
I trust you enjoyed this article or at least found it interesting all his books are available on Amazon. Click here to take a look.
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