Glenn Beck: Gross National Happiness



Gross National Happiness


by Arthur C. Brooks

GLENN: The name of the book is Gross National Happiness.  Arthur Brooks is with us and I know, Arthur, that we only scheduled a few minutes with you and I appreciate you hanging on.  I'm just fascinated with what you found on why happiness matters, who the happy people are and how you find happiness.  We were talking about the people in Hollywood here a second ago and the difference between conservatives and liberals.  It's really just traditional stuff that we learn from our parents and our grandparents that make us happy.

BROOKS:  It's also that, but there's one other thing, Glenn, which is something that you brought up right before the break which is grievance.  The Democrats have not always been this way but over the past, at least the past 15 years, the Democratic party has cobbled together grievance groups and people who define themselves with respect to their grievances, whether they're real or not.  I mean, I'm not going to deny that some people have real grievances.  But if you define yourself in that way and the party defines its power on the basis of people's grievances, this is basically a misery-provoking machine on our hands.

GLENN:  Well, but that goes right to -- you said the three big umbrellas, if you will, are religious freedom, political freedom and economic freedom.  That takes away two of those freedoms.

BROOKS:  Oh, sure.  Basically if you define yourself as not having freedom, as being oppressed, as having a big grievance against the government or against people with power or people with money, I mean, even if you do have some sort of a grievance, if you define yourself in that way, every day you'll be wallowing in it.

I mean, there are some conservatives that do that, too.  But that's really the characteristic of what you hear in Mr. Obama's speeches and Mrs. Clinton's speeches.

GLENN:  Well, that's what I wanted to kind of go to because I find it amazing that somebody like Barack Obama and his wife are -- I know this is counterintuitive to everybody who just watches the press releases and sees the snippets on TV, but especially his wife.  She has talked about she feels guilty all the time, guilty, guilty, guilty.  And she's angry that she had to pay for Princeton and Harvard.  I mean, you've got to be kidding me.  How is it that they can, for the first time, feel proud of their country and yet they're wealthy, they are well educated, they are -- they could be the first African-American couple in the White House in the Oval Office.

BROOKS:  Yeah, they are utterly privileged people.  They have so much more privilege than you or I have, you know, enjoyed in the run-up to any sort of professional success that we would have that it makes you wonder why are they so resentful and why are they trying to play on the resentment of others.  But once again, this is the power structure of liberal Democrats today, and I'm not saying that they're wrong on every issue.  I mean, I have no problems with a lot of their issues -- I mean with a lot of their politics or a lot of their points of view, but I have to say if we're looking for happiness as a country, we can't be looking at it with respect to the grievances that we face.  I mean, even looking back on our privileged lives and trying to pick out the grievances.  I mean, it's really a recipe for misery.

GLENN:  I will tell you that in my life I have found, and I think part of it is because of I'm just riddled with ADD.  I have to be busy and I'm best when I'm busy.  In my life I am generally happiest when I'm working the hardest.  Is there a connection to hard work?  Because I see people now, you can't get people to work hard.  And the misery factor seems to be going up.

BROOKS:  Yeah.  You know, the data are really weird on this, and this completely shocks me.  If somebody asks you what percentage of Americans are satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs, most people will predict about 30%.  In reality it's 89% of working Americans.

GLENN:  Wow.

BROOKS:  70% of working Americans, even if they became independently wealthy, would not quit their current job and you find that most Americans, if you ask them anonymously, they will look into their hearts, more Americans say they wish they could work more than the percentage who say they could work less.  So when we say we need more leisure and people push leisure on us and we need more work life balance, we have to think about that very carefully because the data don't support that.  The data say that hard work is the value that brings a lot of bliss for a lot of us.

GLENN:  Okay, so wait a minute.  So what does that tell us?  I mean, is it to the point to where we're running away from something or is it just that -- is there something else that showed you that work is -- there's something -- I mean, you know, it's like Thomas Jefferson said, you know.  There's something about a farmer and sticking his hand in the soil every day.  There's something about hard working people.

BROOKS:  Well, work, it depends on where you're working.  There's a reason that work doesn't give so much satisfaction in France and the reason for that is that the labor market is so rigid that people are badly matched with their jobs.  In America we've got a pretty well functioning labor market and so if you want to build decks on the backs of people's houses, you can get the skills and do that.  If you want to become a college professor like me, you can go to school and you can do that, too.  And so if you are well matched with your profession, you are going to have more meaning in your life, have more success and create more value for other people because service to others is the key to this thing.  And you are going to be able to do it.  That's the reason that work is so satisfying in America and it probably isn't in other places.

GLENN:  You know, that's really -- because as you're saying this, I'm thinking to myself about -- I'm thinking about working here, and I love my job but I hate the frustration of New York, and the frustration isn't even with 18 million people here.  It's not about the traffic, it's not about anything.  What it is is the union restrictions, it is the government restrictions, it is -- it's all the crap that comes with this city that makes it damn near impossible to get anything done.

BROOKS:  Yeah, it's people pushing you around, and that's how a lot of Americans feel.  They just say leave me alone, to create value, to serve other people, to find meaning in my personal values and my personal life.  Yet there's this huge, you know, government industrial complex out there that's dedicated to pushing people around, to taking from one group of people and giving to another.  And, you know, who's responsible for that?  To my view the answer is we are because we're demanding for politicians to protect us from every kind of danger.  Take my shoes off at the airport.  There's misery.

GLENN:  Wait a minute.  So where is the disconnect?  Because Obama will say we've had enough of this "Go it on your own" society and I say no, we haven't -- what?

BROOKS:  Not even close.

GLENN:  We're not even close, exactly right.  Not even close.  But why is it we are attracted to that?

BROOKS:  Because in the short run we want security.  In the short run we want goodies.  In the short run we're anxious about our economic security and we're resentful about people who have more.  And so it wins votes to tell people that they're miserable and to promise them goodies.  What we know is in the long run that stuff comes home to roost, to, you know, misquote reverend Jeremiah Wright.  That's what will really come home to roost is when we strip away our liberties.  That will come back around and sooner or later you'll be stuck in the airport security line and miss your flight and at that moment the security policy that you acquiesced to from your congressman will make you miserable because it took away your liberty.

GLENN:  The name of the book is "Gross National Happiness:  Why Happiness Matters For America and How We Can Get More of It" is out now in bookstores everywhere.  Its author is Arthur Brooks.  And Arthur, it is a pleasure talking to you.  We'll talk to you again.

BROOKS:  Thank you, Glenn.

GLENN:  Thank you.  Bye-bye.

You know, isn't it amazing that your gut tells you all of this stuff but now somebody's finally done all the research on it.  And you look at the research and you're like, oh, thank goodness; I thought it was me.  This goes again back to what my gut has said for a long time.  It's not just you.  People like us, we just don't ever say it out loud because of political correctness and everything else.  Start saying it out loud.  It's not just us.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.