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How many times have you heard someone say they want to make a better world? It is a noble sentiment, but very hard to achieve, right?

Well, actually, it’s quite easy. All we have to do is increase just one human trait. This trait is so powerful that it alone can make people happier without working on their happiness, and make them better – and by “better,” I mean more generous, more honest, more kind, more everything good – without a single lesson in morality.

So, then, what is this one almost magical thing? Drumroll, please.

It’s gratitude.

You can’t be a happy person if you aren’t grateful, and you can’t be a good person if you aren’t grateful. Almost everything good flows from gratitude, and almost everything bad flows from ingratitude.

Let’s begin with ingratitude. Here’s a rule of life: ingratitude guarantees unhappiness. It is as simple as that. There isn't an ungrateful happy person on Earth. And there isn’t an ungrateful good person on Earth. There are two reasons.

Reason one is victimhood. Ingratitude always leads to or comes from victimhood. Ungrateful people—by definition—think of themselves as victims. And perceiving oneself as a victim or perceiving oneself as a member of a victim group may be the single biggest reason people hurt other people—from hurtful comments to mass murder. People who think of themselves as victims tend to believe that because they’ve been hurt by others, they can hurt others.

And the second reason ungrateful people aren’t good people is that ingratitude is always accompanied by anger. The ungrateful are angry, and angry people lash out at others. If ingratitude makes people unhappy and mean, then gratitude must make people happy and kind.

And so it does. Think of the times you have felt most grateful—were they not always accompanied by a feeling of happiness? Weren’t they also accompanied by a desire to be kinder to other people? The answer, of course, is yes. Grateful people aren’t angry and they also don’t see themselves as victims.

The problem, however—and it’s a big one, is that in America and much of the rest of the world, people are becoming less grateful. Why? Because people are constantly told that they are entitled to things they haven’t earned—what are known as “benefits” or “entitlements.” And the more things that people think they should get, the less grateful they will be for whatever they do get. And the more angry—and therefore unhappy—they will be when they don’t get them.

Here are two rules of life. Rule number one: The less you feel entitled to, the more gratitude you will feel for whatever you get and the happier you will be. Rule number two: The more you feel entitled to, the less happy you will be. That’s why, for example, children who get whatever they want are usually less happy children. We have a word for such children: spoiled. And no one thinks of a spoiled child as a happy child, and certainly not a kind one.

The more that you feel that life or society owes you, the angrier you will get, the less happy you will be. As a result, we are increasing the number of angry, unhappy, and selfish people. The other way we are making people unhappy, and even meaner, is by cultivating a sense of victimhood. People are constantly told that they are victims because of their upbringing, because of past prejudice against their group, because of material inequality, because they are female, and for many other reasons.

Next time you want to assess any social policy, ask this question first: Will this policy increase or decrease gratitude among people? You will then know whether it is something that will bring more goodness and happiness to the world—or less.

If I were granted one wish, it would be that all people be grateful. Gratitude is the source of happiness, and the source of goodness; and the more good people, and the more happy people there are walking around, the happier and better our world will be. If you have a way of achieving such a world without increasing gratitude, let me know what it is.
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  |  9275 learners#Social #Essays

I'm guessing you've heard of the acclaimed TV show Game of Thrones. Seven kingdoms vying for power, plots within plots, watch your back or lose your head. It's great.

But you've probably never heard of a real life drama that I call the Game of Loans. That's a game Washington politicians play on young people, that is, college students, every day.

Just like Game of Thrones, the Game of Loans has plots within plots, big winners and big losers.

The winners are politicians and colleges. They fool students into thinking that by generously providing ever-larger college loans to cover ever-larger tuition costs, they have earned student's votes at election time. Why do I say students are fooled? Because it is thanks to the very politicians who promise students more and more aid in league with the colleges that college tuition became so expensive in the first place.

Here's how the game works. According to Bloomberg News, since 1978, the cost of a college education has gone up by over 1000 percent. Way past the rate of inflation. Tuition alone at many colleges is 20, 40, even 50 thousand dollars a year! So, how do you pay for it? Answer: student loans, loans that the government is happy to give you since they collect the interest. You don't have to be a finance major to figure out that all these student loans give colleges no incentive to cut costs. Instead, it gives them every incentive to raise costs. Higher tuition obviously means more money for the college.

Now students were going to college in record numbers to study engineering or computer science or biology professions with high employment rates maybe these crazy sums would make some sense. Maybe. But the most common majors are in the social sciences and communications in subjects like sociology, cinema history and gender studies. Not surprisingly these majors have very high unemployment rates, as in, they don't prepare you for a job. And these majors are mainstream! You can get a degree in storytelling, bag piping and puppet arts for your fifty thousand a year.

But here's the point: colleges are no longer primarily about preparing you for a career. Today's higher education is about teaching you what a terrible country America is, social activism and binge drinking. Hey, if college didn't cost so much the parties might be worth it, but it does.

The average student loan debt in America is 28400 dollar per borrower. Note that this is per borrower, not graduate! Big difference. A large chunk of the one point three trillion dollar student loan liability is held by ex-students who never graduated. For every 100 students who enter a four-year college only 59 exit with a degree.

But maybe you're one of the lucky ones. You got a business degree and you found a decent job. Chances are you're paying off your student loans and will be for the next 10, 20 or even 30 years! Good luck saving money for a down payment on a house or just about anything else.

Mike Rowe from the TV show Dirty Jobs nicely summarized the issue this way: We are lending money we don't have to kids who can't pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist.

So, am I saying that college is always a waste of time and money? Of course not. But I am saying this:

One, remember that if you take out a student loan, it's not free money. You actually have to pay it back. I know this sounds ridiculously basic but it's also ridiculously important. And since you owe this money to the federal government, you can't get out of it, even if you declare bankruptcy.

Two, whenever you hear politicians say they want to make college more affordable, what they're really saying is that they want to get the youth vote while making it easier for you to dig yourself into a deep hole.

These politicians don't have your best interest at heart. They have their own best interest at heart namely, getting elected. You don't owe them anything.

The Game of Loans is rigged and not in your favor. But if you're smart about your choices, you can beat the odds.

I'm Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA for Prager University.
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  |  9566 learners#Economics #Speeches

I want to talk to you about a new feminism for the 21st century. There are three pillars to this new feminism: Dignity. The word no. And men. That's right, men.

But before I expound on these three ideas, you need to know something about me. I was very involved in the feminist movement, including being on the board of directors of the National Organization for Women. For this I feel much pride and some guilt. Pride because feminism has pushed forward some very important and needed changes; and guilt because it has also done a lot of damage. My work now is to reverse that damage.

So in that spirit, let's talk about the first pillar of this new feminism: dignity.

Dignity is at the core of what feminism should always be about. Dignity means that a woman should be able to freely choose her own path in life. That's what feminism once held. But does it still? Ask almost any female college student today what she aspires to be and she'll list any number of career choices. The one she won't list is wife and mother. In fact any time someone has the temerity to suggest that a woman might want to look for a husband while in college, as a very successful Princeton grad recently did in a letter to the school's newspaper, feminists go nuts. A new feminism will value and respect all responsible choices.

And while we're talking about dignity, I can't think of anything less dignified for women than the feminist belief that in the sexual arena, women are like, and therefore ought to act like, men. Is this what the truly liberated woman wants? To have casual sex and think nothing of it like men do? That's what feminism aspires to? Sad to say the answer has too often been yes.

So, let's add this up: Feminism has downplayed the desire for women to have a family while at the same time hyping the rewards of career and casual sex. Not exactly a recipe for success or happiness.

The second pillar of a new feminism is the word: no. It's very much tied in with the first pillar.

Throughout history women have made great use of the word: no. Of course many times women said: yes, when they should have said no, and that's the basis of more than a few classic stories and novels. But this was the exception, not the rule. There is great power in that word: no. And women, for the most part, knew how to wield that power. But in the last few decades they've lost it. And the consequences have been catastrophic.

Women, who fought not to be treated as sex objects, have become more objectified than ever. You see it everywhere: in music videos, on billboards, in the hookup culture on campuses. And now we have the tawdry spectacle of teenage girls sexually pursuing teenage boys the way boys pursued girls. How did this happen? Because feminism began to advocate that women should behave like men. Whatever men did and however they did it, that's what women should do. Feminists were angry at men, but they wanted to be like them at the same time. No wonder our society is so confused.

Women are robbing themselves of the ability to say no; the solution is to take that power back. This is especially true for young women. Saying: no, means, I will not be defined by anyone else, not by feminists, and not by men's sexual desires. That is female power.

This is a good segue to my third pillar of a new feminism, men. It is easy for feminists to forget this, but it was men who gave up their monopoly on political power and gave women the right to vote, men who invented birth control, the refrigerator, the washing machine, and so many other devices that liberated women.

And men are different from women. Academics like to speculate that men and women are basically the same, that they're only socialized differently, but as George Orwell famously noted: that's an idea that only an intellectual would be foolish enough to believe.

Moreover, the sexes need each other. For example, women civilize men. It's what we are supposed to do. But in order to accomplish this critical task, we must preserve our dignity.

Not be afraid to use the word no, and, see men as partners, not as competitors, let alone oppressors.

That's the way to a new feminism. And the way to a better world for both sexes.
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  |  9257 learners#Politic #Speeches

Why is the government so bad at healthcare? They've been at it for seventy-five years and still can't get it right. It's expensive. Access is spotty. It's mired in bureaucracy. And it's fraught with waste.

Obamacare was supposed to fix all this, but instead, like every other government healthcare program before it, it just made things worse. Why? Because the government is a third-party payer.

Let me explain. Suppose you are going to buy something for yourself. You have two priorities: price and quality. You want the highest quality for the lowest possible price.

Say you're buying a television. You have many options: the size of the screen, the quality of the image, the price. Only you know which one best suits your needs and your budget. And a lot of companies are competing for your business. You do your research; you make your choice.

This is called a first-party purchase, the person paying is the person using.

Now, let's suppose that either the price or quality is not controlled by you; in this case, you are buying something for someone else. You care about the price because you are paying for it, but you are a little more flexible on the quality. A good example would be a wedding gift, say, a coffee maker.

You might think, by the time it breaks they'll forget who gave it to them anyway the cheaper one will be fine.

All of us have bought things for others we never would have bought for ourselves. We care about the price because we're paying for it, but not so much about the quality because we're not going to use it.

Or, suppose that we're going to use something, but we're not going to pay for it. Then we're concerned about the quality because we're consuming it, but the cost is not as important because we're not paying for it. Any father who ever got roped into paying for an open bar at a wedding understands this program. Nobody ever orders the cheap stuff when it's free.

These are called second-party purchases. The person paying is not the person using.

And now, for the coup de grace: when it is not your money paying for something, and you don't use it. Then you're not concerned about either the price or the quality.

Suppose the boss gives you 150 dollars to buy a door prize for the office party. In a store window, you see a six-foot tall stuffed frog marked 149 dollars You think, Oh, that's perfect, let's buy it. The raffle winner is awarded the six-foot frog. Everyone laughs at the gag.

Now, this is called a third-party purchase, a purchase that is made with money that is not yours, therefore you don't care about the cost, to buy something you're not going to consume therefore you don't care about the quality.

Here's the point: By definition, all government purchases are third-party purchases. The government spends other people's money on things it won't consume. It doesn't care about the price or the quality. Thus, there will always be waste in government spending.

That is why, to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, government should do only those things that a man can't do better for himself.

If 300 million Americans were free to buy health insurance for themselves, just as they buy their own life and home and car insurance, then that little gecko on television would offer us health insurance with a little more coverage for a little less cost.

And he wouldn't be the only one. Insurance companies and hospitals would be working night and day to get our business. Quality would go up, and prices would go down. It's already happened with laser eye surgery. It used to cost 2200 dollars per eye. Now it can cost as low as 500 dollars per eye. That's the way free enterprise competition works every time.

But when the government gets involved, costs go up, waste and fraud go up, essential medical services are denied or unavailable. These are the hallmarks of government healthcare bureaucracies around the globe.

The sooner we make health insurance a first-party purchase again, the sooner Americans will get the health care they want finally.
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  |  9113 learners#Politic #Speeches

Do you believe in free speech? Do you believe that people should be judged by their character, not their skin color? Do you believe in freedom of religion?

If you believe these things, you're probably not a progressive. You might think you're a progressive. I used to think I was. My show, The Rubin Report, was originally part of the progressive Young Turks network. Progressives struck me as liberals, but louder. Progressives were the nice guys; they looked out for the little guy; they cared about women and minorities; they embraced change.

In short, who wouldn't want to be a progressive?

But over the last couple years, the meaning of the word progressive has changed.

Progressives used to say, I may disagree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it. Not anymore.

Banning speakers whose opinions you don't agree with from college campuses, that's not progressive. Prohibiting any words not approved of as politically correct, that's not progressive. Putting Trigger Warnings on books, movies, music, anything that might offend people, that's not progressive either.

All of this has led me to be believe that much of the left is no longer progressive, but regressive. This is one of the reasons I've spent so much time on my show talking about The Regressive Left.

This regressive ideology doesn't judge people as individuals, but as a collective.

If you're black, or female, or Muslim, or Hispanic, or a member of any other minority group, you're judged differently than the most evil of all things: a white, Christian male. The Regressive Left ranks minority groups in a pecking order to compete in a kind of Oppression Olympics. Gold medal goes to the most offended.

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream that his children would be judged by their character and not their skin color was a liberal idea, but these days, it's not a progressive ideal.

And what about religious freedom, the idea that no one else can tell you what you have to believe? Surely progressives still support that basic right. Well, not so much.

I'm a married gay man, so you might think that I appreciate the government forcing a Christian baker or photographer or florist to act against their religion in order to cater, photograph or decorate my wedding. But you'd be wrong. A government that can force Christians to violate their conscience can force me to violate mine. If a baker won't bake you a cake, find another baker; don't demand that the state tell him what to do with his private business.

I'm pro-choice. But a government that can force a group of Catholic nuns, literally called the Little Sisters of the Poor, to violate their faith and pay for abortion-inducing birth control can force anyone to do anything.

That's not progressive; that's regressive!

Today's progressivism has become a faux-moral movement hurling charges of racism, bigotry, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia and a slew of other meaningless buzzwords at anyone they disagree with.

The battle of ideas has been replaced by a battle of feelings, and outrage has replaced honesty. Diversity reigns supreme, as long as it's not that pesky diversity of thought.

This isn't the recipe for a free society, it's a recipe for authoritarianism.

For these reasons, I can no longer call myself a progressive. I don't really call myself a Democrat either. I'm a classical liberal, a free thinker, and as much as I don't like to admit it, defending my liberal values has suddenly become a conservative position.

So, if you think people should be able to say what they think without being punished for it; that people should be judged by their behavior, not their skin color; and that people should be able to live the way that they want to live, without government interference, then there's not much left on the left for you.

I'll keep trying to explain that to progressives until I'm totally left out.
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  |  9023 learners#Politic #Speeches

Why are you Right? Yes, you, conservative person. Can you answer that question?

I think it's so important that I wrote a book about it. How to be Right? The Art of Being Persuasively Correct. Because if you can't be persuasive about why you are right, then we, the United States of America and the Republic for which it stands, are lost. So, here is the simple answer to why you are Right: It is a more practical, generous, and compassionate way to live. Let me explain:

There have been a bunch of academic studies on how those on the Left and Right approach problems. They pretty much all come to the same conclusion. The Right tends to be risk averse, more concerned about external threats like tyranny and terror. Conservatives, get this, tend to be conservative. They are less likely to play with fire, in just about every sense: financially, artistically, sexually. They are cautious about changing traditions, sometimes to a fault, which is why they cling to that crazy Constitution they like so much and to their guns and their religion.

We conservatives also focus on what we can fix, and accept what we cannot which is one of the many reasons we're not obsessed over global warming. With Radical Islam we know what the threat is, and that it's a lot worse than a few missing polar bears. I know that makes me sound mean, sorry polar bears.

Liberals, the research tells us, are generally more outgoing, more likely to try new stuff. They are open to new ideas though not school choice, or flat taxes, or a market based health care reform, and are less likely to feel threatened by unfamiliar things. This is why, in general, they seem to have more fun. They are more likely to try drugs, for example which is fine, as long as they don't end up throwing up in my toaster. In short, liberals are pretty liberal. They feel free to take risks that the risk-averse usually end up paying for, over and over. Which explains the necessity for conservatism. We are the clean-up crew.

Liberals may seem to have more fun and many do, but according to polls they aren't as happy as conservatives. And with all the fun they're having, I've never quite figured out why the angriest people I've encountered in my life have been liberals. Maybe it's because short-term fun doesn't translate into long-term happiness. Marriage, families and religion do that and those are the things conservatives most value. Liberals tend to live for now. Conservatives for later.

A risk-averse conservative is more likely to save money. He is more likely to protect his investments. He is more likely to protect property, and advocate for rule of law and preservation of individual protections. And he offers no excuses for looting. Instead, he empathizes with the Asian, Arab and black small businessman whose convenience store, laundry or restaurant goes up into flames during the riot that liberals reflexively endorse as an understandable response to injustice.

Of course, conservatives aren't risk-averse in everything. But they take risks with their own lives, not with the society. Conservatives risk all to build businesses. That risk, however, is rooted in a fact-based belief not faith in the free market. If people want the product or service you're supplying at the price you're asking, you will succeed and the risk will pay off.

Over time, it's conservative risk-taking that creates a civilization, by building families, businesses, and nations. All of which creates more wealth, wealth that can then be used to help those in need. You need money to make money, but you also need money to give money. Conservatism makes what liberalism takes.

So, for example, for liberals to get their minimum-wage hike, first we need conservatives to build businesses, to think like businessmen, to sacrifice their own salaries in order to pay others; to sleep on floors if necessary in order to break even. Then when they make a profit, and things are going great when the calm sets in, liberalism can appear and say, How dare you not pay these people a living wage? Once the tables are full of diners, and bills are being paid, and you're thinking about opening a second joint, liberalism arrives to demand its cut. Think of it as a protection racket. Sort of like the Gambino family, but without loyalty, job prospects, and track suits.

In short, conservatism doesn't compete with liberalism, it sustains it. And so when a liberal asks you, why are you a conservative? Simply say, so that you can be a liberal.
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  |  9116 learners#Politic #Speeches

So when I do my job, people hate me. In fact, the better I do my job, the more people hate me. And no, I'm not a meter maid, and I'm not an undertaker. I am a progressive, lesbian talking head on Fox News.

So y'all heard that, right? Just to make sure, right? I am a gay talking head on Fox News. I am going to tell you how I do it, and the most important thing I've learned.

So I go on television. I debate people who literally want to obliterate everything I believe in, in some cases, who don't want me and people like me to even exist. It's sort of like Thanksgiving with your conservative uncle on steroids, with a live television audience of millions. It's totally almost just like that.

And that's just on air. The hate mail I get is unbelievable. Last week alone, I got 238 pieces of nasty email and more hate tweets than I can even count. I was called an idiot, a traitor, a scourge, a cunt and an ugly man, and that was just in one email.

So what have I realized, being on the receiving end of all this ugliness? Well, my biggest takeaway is that for decades, we've been focused on political correctness, but what matters more is emotional correctness. Let me give you a small example. I don't care if you call me a dyke. I really don't. I care about two things. One, I care that you spell it right.

Just quick refresher, it's DYKE. You'd totally be surprised. And second, I don't care about the word, I care about how you use it. Are you being friendly? Are you just being naive? Or do you really want to hurt me personally?

If emotional correctness is the tone, the feeling, how we say what we say, the respect and compassion we show one another. And what I've realized is that political persuasion doesn't begin with ideas or facts or data. Political persuasion begins with being emotionally correct.

So when I first went to go work at Fox News, true confession, I expected there to be marks in the carpet from all the knuckle-dragging. That, by the way, in case you're paying attention, is not emotionally correct. But liberals on my side, we can be self-righteous, we can be condescending, we can be dismissive of anyone who doesn't agree with us. In other words, we can be politically right but emotionally wrong. And incidentally, that means that people don't like us. Right?

Now here's the kicker. Conservatives are really nice. I mean, not all of them, and not the ones who send me hate mail, but you would be surprised. Sean Hannity is one of the sweetest guys I've ever met. He spends his free time trying to fix up his staff on blind dates, and I know that if I ever had a problem, he would do anything he could to help. Now, I think Sean Hannity is 99 percent politically wrong, but his emotional correctness is strikingly impressive. And that's why people listen to him. Because you can't get anyone to agree with you if they don't even listen to you first. We spend so much time talking past each other and not enough time talking through our disagreements. And if we can start to find compassion for one another, then we have a shot at building common ground. It actually sounds really hokey to say it standing up here, but when you try to put it in practice, it's really powerful.

So someone who says they hate immigrants, I try to imagine how scared they must be that their community is changing from what they've always known. Or someone who says they don't like teachers' unions, I bet they're really devastated to see their kid's school going into the gutter, and they're just looking for someone to blame. Our challenge is to find the compassion for others that we want them to have for us. That is emotional correctness.

I'm not saying it's easy. An average of, like, 5.6 times per day I have to stop myself from responding to all of my hate mail with a flurry of vile profanities. This whole, you know, finding compassion and common ground with your enemies thing is kind of like a political-spiritual practice for me, and I ain't the Dalai Lama. I'm not perfect, but what I am is optimistic. Because I don't just get hate mail. I get a lot of really nice letters, lots of them. And one of my all-time favorites begins I am not a big fan of your political leanings or your sometimes tortured logic, but I'm a big fan of you as a person. Now this guy doesn't agree with me yet.

But he's listening not because of what I said, but because of how I said it. And somehow, even though we've never met, we've managed to form a connection. That's emotional correctness, and that's how we start the conversations that really lead to change.
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  |  8983 learners#Social #Speeches
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