The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America

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9780062319753: The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America

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.

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From the Back Cover:

For too long, conservatism has been a movement of the head and not the heart. Now New York Times bestselling author Arthur C. Brooks offers a bold new vision for conservatism as a movement for happiness, unity, and social justice—a movement of the head and heart that boldly challenges the liberal monopoly on "fairness" and "compassion."

Many Americans today see two dispiriting political choices: ineffective compassion on one side and heartless pragmatism on the other. Progressives have always presented themselves as champions of the poor and vulnerable. But they have not succeeded—more and more people are hopeless and dependent on government. Meanwhile, conservatives possess the best solutions to the problems of poverty and declining mobility. Yet because they don't speak in a way that reflects their concern and compassion, many Americans don't trust them. Americans know that outmoded redistribution yields poor results and does little for the pursuit of happiness. But there seems to be no conservative alternative that looks out for those struggling to get by.

Arthur Brooks, one of the country's leading policy experts and the president of the American Enterprise Institute, has considered these issues for decades. Drawing on years of research on the sources of happiness and the conditions of human flourishing, Brooks presents a social justice agenda for a New Right. Proposing a set of practical policies firmly grounded in the four "institutions of meaning"—family, faith, community, and meaningful work—Brooks describes a government safety net that actually lifts people up, and offers a vision of true hope through earned success.

Brooks argues that it is time for a new kind of conservatism, one that fights poverty, promotes equal opportunity, and extols spiritual enlightenment. It is an inclusive, optimistic movement with a positive agenda to help people lead happier and more fulfilling lives.

Clear, well-reasoned, accessible, and free of vituperative politics, The Conservative Heart is a welcome new strategy for conservatives looking for fresh, actionable ideas—and for politically independent citizens who believe that neither side is adequately addressing their needs or concerns.

About the Author:

Arthur C. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute, where he is also the Beth and Ravenel Curry Scholar in Free Enterprise. Until 2009, he was the Louis A. Bantle Professor of Business and Government Policy at Syracuse University. Before entering academia, he spent twelve years as a professional French hornist with the City Orchestra of Barcelona and other ensembles. Mr. Brooks is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times and the author of ten books, most recently the 2012 bestseller The Road to Freedom. He is a native of Seattle and currently lives in Maryland with his wife, Ester, and their three children.

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